Pancakes are a weekly ritual at my house, so I have very strong opinions about how pancakes are made. These opinions often get directed toward my kids or husband when they try to help mix, fry, or flip a batch of pancakes. This pancake practice has given me a sense of authority on the virtues and pitfalls of hot-cake commandments, so here are the seven things I never, ever do to my pancakes.
7 Things I Never Do When Making Pancakes
1. Forget to turn on the oven.
You've got to start pancakes with serving in mind, because cold pancakes won't do. Preheat the oven to 200°F and set a cooling rack inside a baking sheet as a landing (and warming) zone for the finished pancakes.
2. Use a boxed mix.
My mom was a dedicated Krusteas pancake mix maker during my childhood, but you won't find boxed mix in my pantry. DIY'd pancake mix, sure, but not the mass-produced stuff and here's why. With boxed pancake mix, you can make very few changes to the batter for pancake variety, making it nearly impossible to turn my buttermilk pancake recipe into a Dutch baby. Besides, I always have flour, sugar, leavening, milk, and butter on hand and I'd rather spend my pancake money on syrup, not mixes.
3. Mix them with a mixer.
The absolute worst thing that you can do to pancake batter is to over-mix it. Pancakes are meant to be tender, not springy or chewy. It's super important to whisk together dry pancake ingredients and wet ingredients separately and then bring them together gently, by hand.
4. Fry them in a hurry.
First of all, pancake batter needs to rest before frying. This allows the baking soda to create tiny bubbles in the batter, which make the pancakes light and fluffy in the pan. I also don't rush frying my pancakes on the griddle either. I've watched my husband bumble through a batch of pancakes because he didn't have the patience to properly heat and cool the pan through the process, and let me assure you — taking your time is key.
5. Cook them on nonstick.
This might be my most controversial personal pancake commandment, because I know many people swear that a nonstick skillet makes for a more caramelized exterior without butter. First of all, I don't want to skip the butter in my cast iron skillet — it creates pancakes with a crispy, buttery edge that I'd eat straight-up hot from the pan. Secondly, I prefer a fish spatula for flipping, which easily scratches my nonstick. Nope, I prefer a large cast iron skillet or griddle for pancake frying.
6. Serve them cold.
That preheated oven I mentioned above is mostly for extra pancakes because I'm one of those pancake makers who likes to take the pancakes straight from the pan to the plate and serve up each diner as the pancakes are piping hot.
7. Skip the real maple syrup.
I picked this one up from my own mother, who is a born-and-raised Vermonter: I cannot stand by and watch beautiful pancakes be drizzled with pancake syrup, honey, or even treacle syrup. Only real maple syrup will do. Sure, some Saturdays my plate of pancakes gets a smear of almond butter or a flurry of coconut before their maple syrup shower, but most mornings butter and maple syrup are all these masterpieces need.