The Secret to Delicious Diner-Style Pancakes: Malted Milk Powder

updated Nov 12, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Everyone has their preferred pancake recipe. For some, they’re studded with blueberries. For others, it’s a kiss of buttermilk. I hold with those who firmly believe the stack at their favorite diner is far and away the best.

If you have enjoyed a stack of local diner pancakes and wondered just what it is that makes them so different from the stack you flip at home, you’re not alone. Diner pancakes are indeed unique. Why? There’s malted milk powder in them.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

What Malted Milk Powder Does for Pancakes

Although it’s available at most grocery stores in the baking aisle, malted milk powder shows up as an ingredient in many bulk pancake mixes that diners use. It has a sweet, toasty flavor that will be familiar to anyone who enjoys Ovaltine or malted milk balls.

Luckily, you can actually buy mixes that have malt powder in them. My in-laws swear by Golden Malted brand, which is available at Williams-Sonoma. They love it so much, it was one of my bridal shower gifts. However, you can also just swap the sugar in your favorite pancake recipe with malted milk powder. Since the powder is naturally sweet, it will provide all the sweetness you need in your stack so it can be a one-to-one replacement.

Buy it: Carnation Malted Milk Powder, $4 on Amazon