Have you ever wondered how long to cook a pancake on each side? How about whether or not it’s too early (or late) to flip?
In this post, I share everything I know from making these weekly for nearly two decades. You’ll learn about heating the pan, using oil or butter, how long to cook, when to flip, and more so that your pancakes come out great each time!
Disclaimer: the first pancake is never the best pancake of any batch, so don’t worry!
Is it better to cook pancakes with butter or oil?
Both butter and oil are good for cooking pancakes and giving them that golden brown crust we like. If you’re using butter, make sure to pour the batter immediately onto the pan so you can avoid the most common pancake mistakes.
I like to use oil when making old-fashioned pancakes, and if I’m using a large burner of the stove or if the electric griddle is too hot since butter tends to brown very quickly.
Do you heat the pan before adding oil or butter?
If you want to avoid burning your butter and, therefore, dark brown, burnt-looking pancakes, the most important part is to heat the pan first. Once hot, use oil or butter to grease the surface. You’ll want to pour the batter immediately once the butter is melted or the oil moves around the pan easily, which will take about 10 seconds.
How Long To Cook Pancakes on Each Side
How long it takes pancakes to cook depends on how thick the pancake batter is and the temperature of your cooking surface. The first side usually takes a bit longer to cook, approximately 2-3 minutes, and the second side a little over a minute.
I don’t recommend cooking pancakes based on time. Instead, you’ll want to go by some visual cues, like defined edges and bubbles beginning to form. When you see that, it’s time to give them a flip.
Knowing when to flip a pancake makes the difference between an even golden-brown surface and burnt bottoms. I recommend flipping pancakes over when the edges are defined, there are bubbles through the batter, and the pancake lifts easily in one piece.
Should you flatten pancakes
When you first pour the batter onto the hot pan, use the back of the spoon or scoop to spread it out a little. Once you flip pancakes over, you should not press them down and flatten them. Doing this will spread the batter outside of the initially defined edges and tend to leave some areas uncooked.
Watch this quick video that shows you all the tips for cooking the perfect pancakes every time.
Do you cook pancakes on High or Low?
Regardless of the type of stove (gas or electric) or whether you’re cooking pancakes on a pan or griddle, they should be cooked over a medium setting. Cooking pancakes on low will take a long time, they will taste slightly raw, and they’ll never brown. Cooking them on too high of heat will burn the butter or oil first as well as turn them dark brown (or burn them) before the batter is cooked enough and they’re ready to flip.
What Temperature to Cook Pancakes
On a stove, I recommend cooking pancakes over medium heat; however, this can vary due to the size of the heat source. First, make sure to heat the pan without oil or butter. Once the pan is hot, grease it or melt the butter and immediately pour your pancake batter.
An electric griddle with temperature settings should be set between 325F and 350F, and an electric stove at a setting of 5 or 6. Again, repeat the pan or griddle first before greasing or pouring the batter.
When the pancakes are done, keep them warm on the side while you make the rest.
Why Pancakes Bubble
This is science in work and the reason your pancakes will turn out light and fluffy. As the batter cooks, the fresh baking powder is activated by the heat and produces air pockets. Steam builds up in the pockets and tries to escape through the thick proteins in the batter, creating bubbles.
Bet you didn’t think pancake batter was doing all that, but it’s another reason to use fresh baking powder. Using baking powder within 9 months to a year of opening the package will yield optimal results when trying to achieve fluffy pancakes.