Kitchn Love Letters

These Extra-Fluffy Pancakes Have Ruined All Other Pancakes for Me

published Mar 24, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

I make pancakes almost every single weekend. Not just because my 3-year-old requests them like clockwork (although she does), but also because I take comfort in the morning ritual. Toni (said pancake enthusiast) will help me whisk together the batter while my husband chases our 1-year-old and makes coffee. The tedious task of pouring batter and waiting for bubbles to rise and pop before flipping? That’s glorious “me” time before we sit down to eat. 

We always have a box of Bisquick in the pantry, but I like to make pancakes from scratch when I have an extra 10 minutes. I’ve tested dozens of recipes, and Kitchn’s buttermilk pancakes and oatmeal pancakes are in my regular rotation. But my hands-down favorite recipe is Nicole Rufus’ fonio pancakes. They’re extra fluffy and easy to pull off, plus the extra nutrition makes them incredibly satisfying (aka it buys me a couple hours until I hear “I’m hungry” again).

The Key to Fluffiness: Fonio

These are the most delightfully fluffy pancakes I’ve ever pulled off in my kitchen. Far too many pancake recipes require you to whip egg whites into stiff peaks. It turns out, you just need some cooked fonio. 

When I first cooked fonio, I was surprised by how tiny the grains were — they’re almost sand-like in texture. After it cooks, which happens in mere minutes, it becomes similar in texture to couscous. Stirred into an otherwise traditional batter, it elevates the pancakes to new lofty heights. The crumb is slightly more toothsome than if you were to go the egg whites route, but I don’t consider this a bad thing. Each bite is soft, pillowy, and even more satisfying.

As for the added taste, the ancient grain is deliciously nutty. It’s noticeable enough to add intrigue but subtle enough for Toni who, despite what she may claim, is very much a stereotypical picky toddler.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

If You’re Making Fonio Pancakes, a Couple Tips 

  • Cook the fonio ahead of time. The recipe includes cooking instructions, and the process is pretty quick. But to make the batter-making process a breeze, I like to cook the fonio the night before so it’s cooled and ready to go in the morning. 
  • You can use a cast iron skillet. The instructions call for a nonstick pan, but I get consistently good results using my well-seasoned 12-inch cast iron skillet. 

Get the recipe: Fonio Pancakes