Kitchn Love Letters

The Practically Perfect Pancake Recipe I Make Over and Over

updated Sep 8, 2020
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Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn

I don’t really believe in objectively perfect recipes. Everyone wants something a little different out of a recipe, and what is perfect to me may be subpar to you.

That said, I have a recipe for the most incredible pancakes. We have eaten them hundreds of times in my house, and I will never, ever need (or use) a different recipe. To me they’re perfect. But what makes them so wonderful? Let me see if I can persuade you that these are the pancakes you need in your life too.

The Perfect Pancake Recipe

First of all, this recipe is very easy to find and it’s right here on Kitchn. It’s Dana’s recipe for lofty buttermilk pancakes, which we first published way back in 2013.

Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn
Perfect pancake, baby-style!

What Makes for a Perfect Pancake?

To me, great pancakes need to check a few boxes. First, they should be easy to make in a morning — no yeast-raising, no breaking out the blender, no complicated extra steps. Secondly, they should cook up with a crisp, mouth-melting crust on the outside; I can’t stand flabby pancakes. Third, they should be creamy inside, not tough or dry. And finally, they should have great flavor, not too sweet (sweetness is a job for the real maple syrup!), but have a hint of salt and tang to round them out.

These pancakes check all those boxes. They are delicately crisp, with the tiniest sense of a shattering when you bite into a fresh hot one. They are lofty and creamy inside, with a tangy mild sweetness. I could eat a pile right now!

These Pancakes Have a Food Science Secret

Although it’s not difficult or time-consuming, the recipe includes one extra step that makes a huge difference. It’s a funky little food science secret. Instead of whisking the two eggs straight into the batter, you separate the eggs and stir the whites in at the end. You don’t have to whip the egg whites or do anything laborious: You simply stir them in separately.

Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn
Separated eggs.

On first glance this seems weird, right? Like why do this if you’re not going to whip the egg whites? But it makes a noticeable difference in the loft and the texture of the pancakes. How? Well, in a review of this recipe by Kristen Miglore, Rose Levy Beranbaum offers an explanation: “Adding the white at the end gives [the pancakes] more support — this is a technique used in soufflés — adding a little of the white unwhipped at the end so that the soufflé doesn’t deflate as quickly.”

It may be strange, but it works. And more importantly, it’s uncomplicated — separating an egg takes just an extra moment or two (and, bonus, fascinates my toddler daughters).

Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn
My husband cooking pancakes (the pan is this great cast iron griddle from Staub).

But the Ultimate Perfect Pancake … Is Made by Someone Else

I have to say, that along with all the boxes my perfect pancakes check, there’s one more: My husband always makes them. It’s the sweetest gesture — but also, he’s really skilled at cooking pancakes, which honestly is just as important as the recipe itself. Knowing how to get the griddle hot enough so the pancakes puff (but don’t scorch) and when to flip them is so key to making a great flapjack.

There is one other thing that he does that is so important (and he learned it here!). It lets him cook pancakes in batches, ahead of breakfast, while still keeping that all-important crisp, delicate crust: He keeps them warm on a rack in a 225°F oven. The rack prevents the pancakes from getting soggy. If you’re not eating pancakes straight out of the pan, this is the next best thing.

Finish with real maple syrup and you’re set. Perfect pancakes!

Ready to make pancakes? Have you ever tried these? Seriously, they are so good.

Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn

More Pancake Recipes That We Love

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.