For Better Pancakes, Follow This One Simple Rule

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Regardless of the recipe (of which there are many to choose from), and whether they’re thick or fluffy, a really good stack of pancakes comes with a signature golden-brown hue. You know the color — not too pale, and definitely not so dark it’s nearly burnt. Getting there with every batch of pancakes is easy, as long as you remember this one simple rule.

Wipe Out the Pan Between Batches

As with many things in life, including your Sunday pancakes, it is the little things that so often make the biggest impact. Which is why the simplest thing you can do for better pancakes is to wipe out the skillet or griddle with a paper towel between each batch.

After you’ve transferred your freshly cooked pancakes from the stovetop to a warm pan in the oven, take a few seconds to run a paper towel around the bottom of the skillet or griddle to wipe away the browned butter and any stray bits of batter left in the pan. Then, add another pat of butter and ladle in the next batch.

Why It Makes a Difference

The first step in cooking pancakes is adding a pat of butter to the warming pan or griddle. Even when cooked over low heat, the milk solids in butter start to caramelize the longer the pan is on the heat, and eventually burn. In turn, that leaves a ring of burnt butter around the surface of pancakes. Wiping out the pan removes the deeply browned or burnt milk solids, and makes for better-looking and better-tasting pancakes every time.

Our Favorite Pancake Recipes