We Tested Three Ways to Keep Pancakes Warm — Here’s What Worked Best

updated Jan 24, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you’ve ever cooked a large batch of pancakes on a weekend morning, you know it’s nearly impossible to keep them all consistently warm so that everyone can eat all at once. Either some (lucky) people get a stack fresh-out-of-the-pan pancakes that have a crisp, buttery exterior and hot, fluffy interior; while the rest of the group gets limp, cool, mediocre pancakes that have been sitting around. Or you can serve the pancakes as they’re ready, which means your household ends up eating in shifts! Determined to find a better way, I decided to test three popular methods for keeping freshly cooked pancakes warm until serving time. (I even used an instant-read thermometer and everything! Because, science.)

All were low-maintenance but only one proved to truly make a difference. 

Credit: Kelly Vaughan

Method: Using a Pancake Warmer

Did you know that pancake warmers actually existed?! This attractive piece of pottery is designed, theoretically, to keep pancakes warm while letting the steam escape so that the pancakes don’t get soggy. When I took the pancakes off the griddle, the temperature registered at 215 degrees. After just 10 minutes in the warmer, the pancakes were 110 degrees and lost most of their crispness. While a pancake warmer works as an attractive vessel for serving the pancakes, it didn’t do much in the way of keeping the pancakes warm.

Buy: Farmhouse White Pancake Warmer, $25 at Crate & Barrel

Rating: 5/10

Credit: Kelly Vaughan

Method: Covering the Pancakes with Aluminum Foil

Perhaps the easiest method is to just place the pancakes on a dinner plate and cover them with a sheet of aluminum foil. The pancakes registered at 182 degrees when I transferred them from the griddle to a plate. Ten minutes later, they registered at 129 degrees and became slightly soggy, due to the rising steam that was trapped inside and turned into condensation before dripping back down onto the pancakes. While this method kept the pancakes hotter than the pancake warmer, it wasn’t ideal if you’re going for that classic golden crisp.

Rating: 6/10

Credit: Kelly Vaughan

Method: Warming the Pancakes in the Oven

This was always my go-to method before I tested all three side-by-side; and after my test, it remains to be the best method for keeping pancakes warm. I pre-heated my oven to 250 degrees while the pancakes cooked in the pan and then placed them on an unlined baking sheet in the oven to warm for 10 minutes. Initially, they were 190 degrees and after 10 minutes, they were 201 degrees (even warmer than when I made them!) and perfectly crispy. The trick here is that you avoid stacking the pancakes directly on top of each other, which can create a small amount of steam to form and cause the pancakes lose their crisp, buttery exterior. Instead, just line them up like you’re baking cookies. Overall this was the best method because it not only worked but required no special equipment and very little additional clean-up.

Rating: 10/10

How do you keep pancakes warm when serving a crowd? Tell us in the comments below!