Recipe Review

I Tried John Legend’s Weekend Pancake Recipe — And They Are Perfectly Light and Fluffy

updated May 18, 2021
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stack of pancakes with butter on top
Credit: Patty Catlano

Last weekend, while Pepper Tiegen prepared her kanom krok (Thai coconut pancakes) during the final segment of Kitchn’s Brunch Fest, she and Kitchn’s Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, chatted pancakes. Pepper gushed that her son-in-law, John Legend, makes the best, fluffiest pancakes on Sundays. After a lot of digging, I discovered that the recipe for Legend’s beloved pancakes comes from blogger Oh Sweet Basil. Of course, I had to try it.

Credit: Patty Catlano

How to Make John Legend’s Favorite Pancakes

We may never know how the buttermilk pancakes from blogger Oh Sweet Basil made their way to the Legend-Teigen household, but thanks to Pepper Teigen, we know this is John’s go-to recipe.

You’ll start by whisking the dry ingredients — salt, baking powder, baking soda, sifted flour, and granulated sugar — together in a bowl until combined. In another bowl, combine a pair of eggs and buttermilk. Drizzle in melted unsalted butter and whisk the wet ingredients together until well-blended. Set the whisk aside and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir gently until almost all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Cook the batter on a buttered griddle until bubbles form, then flip and cook until golden. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

Credit: Patty Catlano

My Honest Review of Oh Sweet Basil’s Buttermilk Pancakes

A lot of recipes for lofty buttermilk pancakes call for separating eggs or whisking whites until stiff, so when I heard Pepper Teigen praise John Legend for his fluffy Sunday morning pancakes, I assumed they would involve extra work of some kind. But to my surprise and delight, Oh Sweet Basil’s take on the classic diner breakfast is simple and straightforward, while still managing to be some of the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever tasted.

This recipe uses the muffin method for assembly, simply combining the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Rather than manipulating egg whites, this recipe relies on the lift from baking powder. In fact, it has double the amount of baking powder than other similar recipes do.

The pancake batter is thick enough to be scooped with a 1/3-cup measuring cup or an ice cream scoop, which made the process fairly mess-free. They browned beautifully and grew tall once flipped. If you’re looking for a reliable recipe with show-stopping results, look no further than this. I would 1000% make these again.

If You Make John Legend’s Favorite Pancakes from Oh Sweet Basil, a Few Tips

  1. Mix the dry and wet ingredients well before combining. Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl first, then the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (or large measuring cup) next. This evenly distributes all of the ingredients, incorporates some air, and reduces the mixing necessary once the two are combined into a batter.
  2. Avoid over-mixing the batter. Let me repeat: Do not over-mix this batter. If the batter is smooth and lump-free, you’ve worked it too much and the flapjacks will be tough. Instead, combine with a spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  3. Let the batter rest. Mix the pancake batter before heating the griddle. Then while the griddle warms, the flour has time to absorb some of the liquid and the first round of baking powder-induced bubbles can begin to form. Just a five-minute rest will result in taller pancakes.

Have you tried John Legend’s favorite pancakes? Let us know in the comments!