The Best Pancake Recipe: Lofty Buttermilk Pancakes

Recipes from The Kitchn

Pancakes get high marks for being one of the most comforting of comfort foods. What this means is that everybody has their family favorite, resulting in thousands of recipes to choose from. But here's one with a unique twist, a shortcut actually, that hands-down produces the best pancakes I have ever made.
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The secret? In many pancake recipes you separate the egg white from the yolk, beat the white until peaks form and then gently fold the white into the batter. (This really lightens the batter and makes the pancakes incredibly fluffy.) But in this recipe, curiously, you don't beat the white before adding it into the batter! You just stir it in. It's that simple and easy, and yet it makes all the difference. These pancakes are quick to come together, foolproof and quite delicious!
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I don't know the source of this recipe, only that a friend gave it to me a few years ago and it's made my morning pancakes cravings (and pancakes for dinner!) easy to satisfy.
Tester's Notes

It's been over two years since I posted this recipe for my favorite, from scratch pancakes. Many people have gone on to discover this recipe, and it makes me very happy that it is now a delicious part of their morning routine! I'm still a fan of separating the egg and skipping the step of beating the white, despite the fact that this may be a controversial step for some. Go on, give it a try! You may be pleasantly surprised.

We've doubled the recipe here from the original post since pancakes are a classic family recipe, so this recipe now serves 4-6. It's easy to just cut it in half if serving 2-3 people is more appropriate for your household. I also just discovered that the batter can handle a little resting when I was interrupted for 2 hours while testing and shooting this repost. When I returned to making the pancakes, I found that they were still light and fluffy, even though the batter sat for a few hours. Good to know! -Dana

Lofty Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes 18 to 20 3-inch pancakes. Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Canola or peanut oil for frying

Heat the oven to 225°F and prepare a large baking sheet by setting a cooling rack inside. Place both in the oven.

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, and milk. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk until well combined.

Pour the yolk and milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until barely combined. Add the egg whites and stir just until a thick batter is formed. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, film with 1/2 teaspoon of neutral oil such as canola or peanut oil. After about 30 seconds, when the oil shimmers but is not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and use a soup spoon to drop in heaping spoonfuls of pancake batter.

The batter will spread into a pancake about 3 inches wide. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes. (If the pancake scorches or the oil smokes, lower the heat.) When the bubbles that form on the edges of the pancakes look dry and airy, use a thin spatula to gently lift one side and peek underneath. If the pancake is golden brown, flip and cook on the other side for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown.

Remove from the skillet to the baking sheet in the oven. Scrape any stray crumbs or scraps out of the skillet, add a little more oil, and continue to cook the remaining batter.

Serve as soon as possible, with butter and warm maple syrup.

Recipe Note:

If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can use plain yogurt instead. Just use about 2/3 cup and thin it with some milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. You can also quickly make a buttermilk substitute by mixing 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar with 2 cups of milk.

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Related: Recipe: Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes

This post was originally published 12/7/2010.

(Images: Dana Velden)

Per serving, based on 4 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
667
Fat
34 g (52.3%)
Saturated
20.4 g (101.8%)
Trans
1.2 g
Carbs
73.7 g (24.6%)
Fiber
2.1 g (8.4%)
Sugars
14 g
Protein
16.5 g (33.1%)
Cholesterol
177.3 mg (59.1%)
Sodium
1460.2 mg (60.8%)

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Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.