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Essential Pancake Recipe

by on September 16, 2013 · 75 comments

We love basic, no-fail recipes. Recipes you come back to again and again. Those that you know are easy to adapt or add to with ease. This recipe is just that. It’s simple and we’re willing to bet you’ve got everything you need to make them right now.

Essential Pancake Recipe

We’ve already shared one of our adaptations with you — it was our cinnamon pancakes.

You May Also Like: We used this exact recipe with a few twists to make our popular Cinnamon Pancakes with a Cinnamon Roll Glaze.

In the past, we called on boxed mixes. Not anymore.

Boxed mixes are great, but everything needed to make fluffy, light pancakes already sits in our kitchen. We said goodbye to the mix and haven’t looked back since.

Let me show you how easy this is.

Pancake Recipe 101

Essential Pancake Recipe

This recipe makes light and fluffy pancakes. They’re not too sweet and are lightly scented with vanilla, making them extra delicious. See all those air pockets?

1. The Ingredients

For the dry, you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt — We like to use 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (sometimes 1 teaspoon). It balances the sugar nicely and brings out lots of flavor in the pancake.

For the wet, you’ll need:

  • Milk
  • Melted butter
  • One egg
  • Vanilla extract

2. Mix It

Over-mixing batter is a common pancake mistake — it makes pancakes heavy and flat. To prevent this, mix dry and wet ingredients separately at first then combine just before cooking.

Essential Pancake Recipe

Once you’re ready to cook, combine the two mixes — we use a fork. Stir until you no longer see dry clumps of flour. There can be some small lumps, though.

3. Adapt It

This is our essential pancake recipe. We use it often as is, but have used it as a base for other pancakes. Add what you love. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sprinkle a handful of berries, nuts or chocolate chips into the batter. (We love adding fresh blueberries for blueberry pancakes)
  • Layer a few thin slices of strawberry or banana onto the wet batter once added to the skillet. Then, flip.
  • Add lemon zest or spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice.
  • Try replacing some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
  • Add a few spoonfulls of flax seeds, oats or reduce the sugar.

Essential Pancake Recipe

There’s lots of things you can do to make these your own. So go experiment and add what you love. Then, if you’d like, come back and share what worked for you. We’d love to read about it.

More Pancake Recipes to Try

For something different, try another favorite (and easy) breakfast: Perfect French Toast Recipe.

4.3 from 15 reviews
Essential Pancake Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pancakes that are light and fluffy. They're not too sweet and are lightly scented with vanilla, making them extra delicious. These are easy to adapt -- try adding a handful of berries, nuts or chocolate to the batter.
Yield: 8 pancakes
You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk, whole or 2% reduced fat milk are best
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for skillet
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Prepare Pancake Batter
  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and the salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Warm milk in microwave or on top of stove until lukewarm, not hot (you should be able to keep your finger submerged for 10 seconds). Whisk milk, egg, melted butter and the vanilla extract until combined. (By warming the milk slightly, the melted butter mixes into the milk instead of turning into small lumps).Essential-Pancake-Recipe-Step-1
Cook Pancakes
  1. Heat a large skillet (or use griddle) over medium heat. The pan is ready if when you splatter a little water onto the pan surface, the water dances around the pan and eventually evaporates.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour milk mixture into the well and use a fork to stir until you no longer see clumps of flour. It is okay if the batter has small lumps, in fact you want that – it is important not to over-mix the batter.
  3. Lightly brush skillet with melted butter. Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to spoon batter onto skillet. Gently spread the batter into a 4-inch circle.
  4. When edges look dry and bubbles start to appear and pop on the top surfaces of the pancake, turn over. This takes about 2 minutes. Once flipped, cook another 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle.Essential-Pancake-Recipe-Step-2
  5. Serve immediately with warm syrup, butter and/or berries.
Notes and Tips
We use kosher salt. If you don’t have it on hand, keep this in mind: 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt = about 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt.

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About the Author

Adam

I'm Adam Gallagher and alongside my wife, Joanne, I photograph and share favorite recipes from our kitchen. Sharing our recipes began as a hobby, turned into a dream and now has become our business. I just love that.

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75 Comments

1 Tom September 17, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Nothing beats a light, fluffy pancakes. I think that adding in the vanilla really makes for a great tasting pancake.

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2 Joanne September 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

Hi Tom, we completely agree. Sometimes, we’ll even add an extra teaspoon.

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3 Dawn September 29, 2013 at 9:58 am

These were the best pancakes we have ever had! Puts IHOP to shame!

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4 jodie October 2, 2013 at 9:53 am

I’m mixing these up right now! :)

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5 Sheets October 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

Wow!!
Super easy, and awesome.
The kids love them. Thanks!

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6 Leigh October 29, 2013 at 7:14 am

Best pancakes ever, going straight in the recipe book, thanks!

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7 Joanne October 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

Awesome! So glad you enjoyed them :)

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8 Joan November 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm

These were okay. Nice textures, but needed more flavor.

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9 Joanne November 4, 2013 at 10:46 am

Hi Joan, you could always increase the vanilla or add some spices to the mix. Nutmeg or cinnamon would be lovely.

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10 Zee November 5, 2013 at 1:10 am

Hello there!

I just tried this recipe and it only took me less than 30 minutes to prepare and to cook it.
So far, this is all time favourite pancake recipe ever!

*Ps : i didnt use vanilla extract, i used cream of tartar and cinnamon powder..

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11 Yenne November 7, 2013 at 7:21 am

This recipe is really foolproof! I added slices of banana, and had the best pancakes I’ve had in months. Thanks for cautioning about over-mixing; that really points out my old mistakes.

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12 Flower November 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm

My hubby and I just made it and we LOVE it. I am happy to say that our hunt for the perfect pancake recipe has ended now. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

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13 Joanne November 18, 2013 at 11:09 am

Wonderful :)

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14 kerrisha November 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

hey those pancakes looks absolutely delicious. I’m going to make some tonight but i just want to know how much pancakes does this recipe yield?

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15 Adam November 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

This recipe makes eight pancakes.

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16 Chlo December 5, 2013 at 12:15 am

This was a terrible recipe had to throw it in the bin

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17 Joanne December 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Sorry they didn’t work out for you.

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18 debbie December 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

love this recipe, but wondering why it seems so thick! like, almost yogurt consistency; i had to add more milk; that was the first batch…also added sliced apples and TONS of cinnamon. second batch going right now– i added frozen lemonade (after seeing recipes elsewhere that used lemon juice) and eliminated the sugar; then added blueberies…..looks like they will be great! but wondering why, still, again–the batter is so thick?? and i am very conscientious about not over-mixing, too…ideas, guys? thanks in advance!

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19 Joanne December 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

The batter can be on the thicker side — you can add milk or just use a spoon to spread the batter in the pan. Sometimes the way we all measure flour is a little different. Adam and I use the scoop and sweep method, which means one cup of flour equals 140 grams. That method “fluffs” the flour a little before measuring. If you were to just scoop right from the bag, you would probably have more flour in the measuring cup. This could lead to a thicker batter.
Hope that helps.

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20 Leslie Hunt December 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

I have been looking for a good recipe for pancakes lately. I made these this morning and they are fabulous! Thanks for posting!

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21 C Josepg December 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

My grandson is over and wanted pancakes and since he has many allergies I did it from scratch thanks to you.

It was a hit, light and fluffy as you said and great without syrup andhe ate it.

It’s a keeper.

Thanks Clare

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22 Joanne December 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Wonderful! So glad he enjoyed the pancakes.

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23 Shushu December 13, 2013 at 2:34 am

Finally, a “fluffy” pancake recipe! 5 stars

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24 Pao December 18, 2013 at 12:07 am

I’m really interested in trying this recipe but I’m surprised at the amount of baking powder — is it really a full tablespoon, or that’s an error and it’s just a teaspoon?

Also, do you know the total amount of dry ingredients in cups? I would like to make this recipe in bulk and store it in a big bin. Then, any morning, I could make pancakes for my family in no time. But I’d need to know how many cups of dry ingredients to use though…

Thanks!

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25 Joanne December 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

Hi there — 1 tablespoon is correct. We know it seems high, but that’s what makes them extra fluffy. Not sure about the total recipe amount in cups. Making in bulk is a great idea, though!

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26 Pao December 19, 2013 at 1:15 am

Thanks so much Joanne! I will definitely try it :)

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27 Pao December 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Wow!! I tried these this morning and they are fantastic! Super easy to make (made them on a weekday morning before going to work, although I mixed the dry ingredients last night).
They are definitely fluffier than standard pancakes and the flavor is very delicate. They were delicious as-is, but they are the perfect base for mix-in’s. I can’t wait to experiment with citrus zest, chocolate chips, berries, or winter spices such as ginger and cinnamon! Yum

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28 Thea December 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

This worked wonderfully as the base pancake recipe for my first attempt at making breakfast for my friend. I tweaked it of course. I used almond milk and added cinnamon and a little more liquid to make pouring it easier.

Its very tasty and fluffy, like you promised. Thanks.

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29 Betthany December 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

My dad gets mad at me because i have tried sooo many recipes and this one pleased him! Thank!

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30 SAra December 25, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Just made these this morning and they were extremely heavy not fluffy at all and followed the ingredients to a T and even read not to over mix, so i dunno.

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31 Joanne December 30, 2013 at 11:39 am

Hi Sara, Sorry they didn’t work out for you. We’re not sure why they were heavy. Is it possible your baking powder was not fresh? That could have prevented them from rising.

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32 Samantha December 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I measured everything with exact measurements and it came out way too lumpy. I needed a little more milk. Kind of disappointed.

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33 Missy December 26, 2013 at 9:47 am

Easy as pie – no more box mix for my family :)

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34 culinary mama December 28, 2013 at 10:02 am

These pancakes sucked. Was more like a crepe. Smelled good but ended up giving my kids cereal instead.

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35 Joanne December 30, 2013 at 11:21 am

Hi there — We’re really not sure why your pancakes were so thin. These should puff up quite a bit. You might want to check your baking powder for freshness. It’s possible it didn’t react as it should have. Sorry they didn’t work out for you!

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36 James January 5, 2014 at 12:05 am

Needed to add more milk as batter was too thick. I’ve never heard of kosher salt, I don’t think it’s common in Australia, I used sea salt ground down a little coarser than table salt but mixture was way too salty, couldn’t eat it. Could see how it would be nice otherwise.

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37 Joanne January 7, 2014 at 11:12 am

Kosher salt can be saltier than sea salt. If you don’t have it on hand, keep this in mind: 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt = about 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt.

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38 Ashhley January 18, 2014 at 11:17 am

can i use a regular salt than the kosher salt?

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39 Joanne January 19, 2014 at 10:09 am

Yep. If you don’t have kosher salt, keep this in mind: 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt = about 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt.

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40 Tira Agassi C January 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Hi Adam and Joanne,
Thanks heaps for your super easy peasy pancakes recipe! This was my first time making pancakes according to a recipe (usually I made my mum’s version of flat and thin, actually). But with this one, it’s so tasty! I managed to make exactly 8, and mum finished four! She usually disliked my cooking experiments but this one, she thought I bought them! Thanks for making me finally a genius in the kitch.

I notice some of you commenting how your batter turned disaster. My advice: never settle for anything less than good. Because it could either be your lousy technique (mine was under-mixed and didn’t warm the butter but I mix and redo after realising that one the first attempt) or just inaccurate measurements.

Common sense is kinda required, too so don’t give up if it didn’t work out first time. Keep trying.

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41 Jess February 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm

does anyone know the nutritional info on this? or of a recipe building website?

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42 Joanne February 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Hi Jess, At the moment we do not provide nutrition facts for our recipes. It is something we are considering, though. For now, a great resource is this url: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

It allows you to copy the ingredient list of our recipe and paste it into the form. Then it outputs nutritional facts. Hope that helps.

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43 Nazcarl February 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Made these recently and I’ve never been good at making pancakes, this recipe was incredibly easy and good. I made small pancakes with lots of butter and non stick pan, amazing really

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44 Gail February 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I enjoyed this pancake. I haven’t used a box mix in years because of certain reactions to some preservatives. I add 1/2 cup of oats and some cinnamon. Delicious!!! I would like to suggest to those that are not getting a fluffy pancake, to make sure that the baking powder is fresh and not to overheat the milk.

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45 Lyndsay March 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

The best pancake recipe I have ever made in my life! I’m sticking with this one and my family loves the pancakes so much I have to make 2 batches of it lol. You guys are awesome!!!!

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46 Joanne March 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Yay! So glad you and your family loves them :)

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47 Cathy March 8, 2014 at 11:59 am

I have searched high and low for years for a good light fluffy pancake recipe with just using basic ingredients (no ricotta cheese, sour cream, etc) and this is seriously AMAZING. I printed it and will make it for years to come. I paired it with a homemade brown sugar syrup recipe and YUM. Thank you so much for sharing!

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48 Joanne March 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Homemade brown sugar syrup sounds amazing!

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49 Cathy March 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I did melt the butter in the milk so I think the milk pancake mixture was a bit warm and therefore thickened up so I added some water to it to thin it out. Amazing.

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50 Jules March 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

Just Made Them! Wonderful Recipe! Thanks!

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51 Midge March 12, 2014 at 10:04 am

As a longtime wife and mother(31years) I’ve used many recipes for lots of things, and this is a very good one for a great American pancake,it’s light , fluffy and tasty. It will lend itself well to many additions and could be mixed up by a beginner cook very easily. Just know your ingredients should be fresh , throw out baking powder after 6 months and get new if you can’t use the whole can up. It is better to toss it out than waste a whole batch of something. Warm the milk means take the chill off it,not heat it like you would for a yeast bread and whisk the dry ingredients first so when you add the wet you will only stir to combine. You will have a great pancake and a full tummy.

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52 Joanne March 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for sharing your own tips, we really appreciate it.

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53 Amanda March 18, 2014 at 2:35 am

I’ve tried a few pancake recipes found online and have never gotten fluffy pancakes till I tried this recipe yesterday! One question though, how do I measure 4 tbsp butter, melted? Does that means just adding 4 tbsp of liquid butter in the batter? My pancakes were almost perfect but was too savoury! I added around 8-9 tbsp of liquid butter that I melted. I scooped 4 tbsp of butter to melt. Kindly advise!

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54 Adam March 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Measure the butter while at room temperature or cold then melt it. If you have sticks of butter, the package usually shows lines for tablespoons — 1 stick is usually 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup.

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55 Sivaraj March 28, 2014 at 1:11 am

Hello, we can use whole egg or egg yolk only?

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56 Joanne April 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

We use whole egg for this.

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57 Kitty March 30, 2014 at 11:17 am

I don’t normally bother giving reviews, but these just aren’t any good!!
I followed the recipe exactly and they are flat and just the wrong consistency. (And yes, my baking powder is fresh!)

You’d be better off just using bisquick–easier and they turn out nice and fluffy.

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58 Joanne April 3, 2014 at 10:54 am

We’re really not sure why yours would have been so flat. Sorry they didn’t work out for you!

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59 Rich April 5, 2014 at 9:36 am

We made these two week-ends in a row now. The Aunt Gemima will never grace our table again. Great recipe and hints. Whole family loved them. Very light and fluffy. I did add an extra tablespoon of sugar this time as I wanted to try them a little sweeter. Did not take away from the flavor at all. Thanks for the recipe.

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60 Adam April 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

So glad you enjoy them!

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61 Melinda April 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Hi Joanne!
I would like to try this amazing pancake recipe. Do you think it would work with gluten free flour blend and coconut oil instead of butter? Thanks a lot.
Melinda

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62 Adam April 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Hi Melinda, it is really hard for us to tell since we have not tried this. We’d suggest replacing one or the other at first to see how things turn out.

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63 lee lee April 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

This pancake recipe was soooo good! So fluffy and perfect.

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64 Linda April 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Great recipe! Ran out of mix so decided to make pancakes from scratch. My daughter, who never comments on my cooking, commented on how much she liked these pancakes. I couldn’t find my liquid measurer so had to use my dry measurer for everything and they still came out fluffy, light, and tasty! Thanks for sharing!

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65 Joanne April 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Awesome! Glad you found our recipe.

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66 Serena Pumipi April 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Kia Ora, this recipe is fantastic. My sons are really fussy when it comes to pancakes and they loved these. Thank you soooo much. I definately noticed the fluffy texture and we loved it more with mini m&m’s .

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67 tanya May 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

Love this recipe …best pancakes I ever had

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68 Monica May 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm

We LOVE these pancakes. I also love almonds, so I added 1 teaspoon Almond extract and you won’t need to add syrup..My fiance loves it that way!!!

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69 Joanne May 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Great idea! So happy the pancakes worked so well for you.

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70 Nick May 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

This is a very easy and delicious recipe. I have a pan that cooks them in the shape of donut holes (Tim Bits) and the kids love it.

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71 Joanne June 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

How cute! We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe :)

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72 alex June 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm

These pancakes were perfect, fluffy, buttery and light.

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73 Joanne June 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

Awesome! So glad you enjoyed them!

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