How To Make the Easiest Pancakes Ever

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Pancakes are often considered a weekend-only treat, but there’s no denying that the other five days would be substantially better if they, too, started with a warm short stack. To make this an actually feasible option on hectic mornings, you have a few options. You can make and freeze pancakes in advance (or even freeze the batter), or you could master this one-bowl recipe that requires just six pantry ingredients and is ready in 30 minutes or less.

The Smart Shortcut to the Easiest Homemade Pancakes

I’m of the mind that every home should have two pancake recipes: a lofty one for weekends and an easier, more straightforward recipe for weekdays (and I’m not just talking about breakfast, either). These are my basic everyday pancakes that I’ve been making once a week ever since I became a mother seven years ago, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

My favorite shortcut is to skip the mixing bowl entirely and shake up the batter in a Mason jar (you can thank a disastrous camping trip with the kids for that tip). Then, cook them immediately or screw on the lid and stick the jar in the fridge, where it can hang out until you’re ready for pancakes. Not only does this mean fewer dishes (you don’t even have to dirty a whisk!), but it also allows you to pour them straight from the jar you mixed them in, so you don’t have to worry about using a ladle or transferring to a liquid measuring cup to pour them.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4 Tips for Better Basic Pancakes

Use your pantry! I often have buttermilk on hand (my husband is a born-and-bred Southerner), and I don’t mind whisking the occasional egg white for lofty pancakes, but on a Tuesday morning at 7:10 a.m. with an internal countdown to the minute the school bell rings, I am not reaching for either.

These pancakes rely purely on kitchen staples: all-purpose flour, a little sugar, milk, eggs, and baking powder. The baking powder is responsible for these pancakes’ rise, so it helps that you aerate the batter well (with a whisk or by mixing in a jar) and that you let the batter rest before cooking.

A single bowl or jar is perfect for mixing. I waffle (pun intended) between shaking these up in a jar — which my kids love to help with — and using a single bowl to whisk them up.

If you use a jar, layer the ingredients as listed — you don’t even need to beat the egg first. If you’d rather use a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; then add the milk, oil, and egg and whisk until almost smooth.

Always rest the batter. Whether you shake in a jar or whisk in a bowl, be sure to rest the batter for about 10 minutes. This gives the flour a chance to properly hydrate and the baking powder time to activate. Refill your coffee and pull out your favorite pancake pan, and by the time you return the batter will be ready to go.

Use cast iron for cooking. Cast iron is my skillet of choice for pancakes, because it heats well and browns the pancakes without an excess of butter. A nonstick pan or a griddle can be used, too.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Cooking and Serving the Pancakes

On harried weekday mornings, my kiddos eat these about as fast as I can make them, so I don’t fuss with holding them in a warm oven. This recipe makes 12 silver dollar-size pancakes, which perfectly serves four on a weekday. Maple syrup is usually my go-to, but a dusting of powdered sugar can keep kiddos from leaving for school with sticky fingers and is just as delightful.

40 Ratings

How To Make the Easiest Pancakes Ever

Makes12 3-inch pancakes Serves4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    milk

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2 tablespoons

    vegetable oil, plus more for cooking

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    salt

  • Powdered sugar or maple syrup, for serving

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Wide-mouth quart jar with lid

  • Large cast iron or nonstick frying pan

Instructions

  1. Combine the ingredients in a wide-mouth jar. Place the milk, egg, and oil in a quart jar first. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Seal the jar tightly and shake to combine. Seal the jar and shake the jar vigorously for at least 2 minutes. Don’t stress about any small lumps in the batter.

  3. Set the batter aside while you heat a pan. Set the batter side for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. Fry 3 pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add 2-tablespoon portions of the batter to the pan, cooking 3 at a time. Cook on the first side until bubbles appear on the surface, the edges begin to look dry, and the bottoms are golden-brown, about 3 minutes.

  5. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancakes. Cook until the second sides are golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a warm oven or plate. Repeat using the remaining oil and cooking the remaining batter.

Recipe Notes

Rather use a bowl? Just whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then add the milk, oil, and egg and whisk until almost smooth.

Storage: Pancakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

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