When to Flip Pancakes

It’s happened to all of us. You make the pancake batter, you start making pancakes, and they’re either burned on one side or gummy. How do you know when to flip pancakes so they’re fully cooked inside, but they don’t burn?

Image: stack of pancakes topped with butter with pancake syrup being poured over the top.

If you’ve had a pancake fail once, then this post is for you because with the tips in this post it won’t happen again.

Knowing When to Flip

Flipping your pancake over is one of the most important steps in the pancake making process -after achieving the perfect pancake batter. 

Image: Bowl of pancake batter.

Knowing when to flip your pancake over can be tricky, with so many different pancake recipes available.

The first sign that it will soon be time to flip the pancake is when a defined edge around the pancake is visible and the batter is held in place. 

Many recipes call out “flip when bubbles begin to form.” However, if your heat is too hot, your pancake base can burn before the bubbles form.

There are two things to look out for:

  1. Make sure the heat under the pan or the temperature of your large non-stick griddle isn’t too high.
  2. Your batter is “set” on the pan and not undercooked.

Once your base is cooked to a golden brown, edges have formed, and you see a few bubbles on the top of the pancake batter, it’s time to flip your pancake. 

image: two rounds of pancake batter cooking on a griddle, right before it's time to flip them to the other side

Cooking Pancakes Step by Step

Before we go into cooking the actual pancakes, let’s talk about having a good batter. A good pancake batter is not runny. A runny batter is best for waffles, where the heat comes from both sides.

Over the years, I’ve perfected the perfect pancake batter and in this video, I show you what it should look like.

As you can see, making pancakes is easy. Here are the steps and when to flip:

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk, egg, and butter. Mix with a whisk or fork until smooth.

2. Heat a non-stick griddle or large pan over medium-high heat, I set my griddle at 300-350F.

3. Pour or scoop 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.

4. When the edges of the pancake begin to appear solid and the middle of the pancake no longer looks like a runny batter, some air pockets or bubbles will form. This is how you know it’s time to flip.

5. Slide a thin spatula under the pancake and gently lift to check that the base is golden brown and not burnt. Flip the pancake over and cook for an additional minute, until it’s cooked through and golden brown on the second side.

6. Remove from the griddle and serve. Repeat the process with the remaining pancakes.

Now that you know when to flip them, here are a few more tips to make sure that your pancakes turn out perfect every time.

Image: Stack of pancakes on a plate drizzled with maple syrup.

Best Temperature for Cooking Pancakes

It’s best to set your heat to medium heat. If you have an electric stove, set it to medium. If you have a gas flame, heat it to medium where the flame lightly touches the pan. On an electric griddle, you can usually select the degrees in temperature, I set my electric griddle around 325F.

Pre-heating the Pan

It’s important to preheat the pan before you spray or spread butter or oil. Your pan does not have to preheat for a long time, about 15-30 seconds is all it takes.

Set your flame or electric element to medium heat, and once you can feel the heat through the surface, spray, or butter the surface.

How Long to Cook Pancakes

The length of time it takes to cook pancakes through will vary by how thick your batter is. I always say to pour about 1/4 cup of batter on the pan or griddle, allowing it to spread naturally, and then after about 2 minutes of cooking, checking the pancakes before flipping.

You know pancakes are ready to flip when edges form and you begin to see air pockets or bubbles on the top side of your pancakes. At that time, slide a thin spatula under the pancake to check for a medium golden-brown color and flip.

After flipping, an additional minute or so is usually all it takes to cook the pancakes through.

Avoiding Burnt Pancakes

If you have a great pancake batter like the one below, you’ll want to avoid burnt pancakes. Here are the most common mistakes that yield burnt pancakes:

  • The heat is too high.
  • The pan got too hot / preheated too long
  • The oil/spray or butter got burnt
  • The pancakes were not flipped on time

All of these are preventable with the tips on this post.

Best Pan for Pancakes

The best pan for pancakes is one that fits within the size of your stove heating element. A pan too large and the pan will be hotter in the middle than the edges, and therefore yielding uncooked pancakes on one side.

If pancakes are your jam, I highly suggest purchasing in an electric non-stick griddle. It’s an inexpensive investment that heats evenly and yields great pancakes every time.

Keeping Pancakes Warm

If you’re making a big batch of pancakes or serving a crowd you can keep pancakes warm by preheating your oven to 200F and placing your pancakes on a sheet pan as you cook them.

If you’re serving pancakes at a party or gathering, you can also place them inside your slow-cooker set on its lowest setting to keep them warm.

Best Pancake Recipes

Now that you know how to achieve a smooth pancake batter, when to flip your pancakes and make sure they’re not burnt; all you need are recipes to get cooking! 

Image: Stack of pancake with butter

In this post, I’m leaving you with the perfect fluffy pancake recipe for you to get started. And beyond that recipe, below you’ll find my best pancake recipes that my family and website visitors keep coming back for:

Grab your favorite pancake flavor add some delicious pancake toppings and get to flipping!

Now tell me, which recipe will you be making first?

When to Flip Pancakes

This post will show you when to flip pancakes, so they are crispy around the edges, fully cooked inside, and fluffy! The perfect pancake every time!

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 pancakes 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk, egg, and butter. Mix with a whisk or fork until smooth.
  3. Heat a non-stick griddle or large pan over medium-high heat, I set my griddle at 300-350 F.
  4. Pour or scoop 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Wait until bubbles form to flip. Continue cooking for an additional minute to cook through, and brown on the other side. Remove from the pan or griddle and serve.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 pancakes
  • Calories: 208
  • Sugar: 4.8g
  • Sodium: 2337.mg
  • Fat: 6.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 6.1g
  • Cholesterol: 47.3mg

Keywords: when to flip a pancake, pancake flipping, fluffy pancakes,

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