Behind every delicious stack of pancakes is the perfect batter, and today I’m sharing the best tips along with a video on how to your pancake batter yield fluffy, soft pancakes every time.
When it comes to breakfast, pancakes are always the first choice at my house. I love making them because the recipe is simple, and they are made with basic pantry staples.
Panakes can be made in bulk, they can be frozen for later, and it’s one breakfast food everyone can agree on.
My recipe for the Fluffiest Pancakes on Earth has been one of the most popular recipes on this site since I first published it in 2013. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of questions about the pancake batter itself like:
- What should pancake batter look like?
- Can you make pancakes without milk?
- Can you freeze pancake batter?
- Can I make pancake batter the night before?
All the answers plus the EPIC recipe for Classic Pancakes, right below.
Best Pancake Batter
Pancakes should be light, fluffy and delicious all by themselves. But when topped with butter and syrup, they need to be epic. The last thing you want is your pancakes getting soggy from the liquid and there is a lot you can do when making pancake batter to prevent this.
The recipe isn’t complicated, but there are a few tricks to nailing the perfect batch, and it all starts with the batter.
It’s the right ratio of wet and dry ingredients, not overmixed, and poured onto a hot griddle at the right moment. But what does this all even mean? Ok. I’ll continue because I love these pancakes and I know you will too.
The Secret to Fluffy Pancakes
As promised above, I’d be sharing the best tips to make delicious and fluffy pancakes. If you’re gluten-free, use these tips along with my recipe for fluffy gluten-free pancakes for pancakes that taste like they’re made with regular flour.
Make sure the ingredients are fresh
Using fresh flour, baking powder, and eggs are crucial for fluffy pancakes, double-check that all of your ingredients are within the expiration date.
By “fresh flour” I don’t mean that you need to mill it yourself. What I’m referring to is that your flour doesn’t have a moldy smell and preferably, it has been kept in your pantry and never in your fridge.
Fresh baking powder
I know I just mentioned the baking powder thing above, but baking powder is a crucial ingredient for pancakes. Baking powder makes pancakes rise and have a fluffy texture.
If you’ve been looking around the internet and a pancake recipe does not include baking powder, those pancakes will not be fluffy.
A good rule of thumb is to toss your baking powder 9 months after opening. But don’t’ worry, with this recipe your can won’t last that long because you’ll be making pancakes on repeat.
It seems that every recipe states “but don’t over mix” and yet, you’ve gotten chewy pancakes before. What does this mean, exactly?
“Not overmixing” means to stir the batter until the ingredients are just combined- and not a second more. An over-mixed batter will be thin and yield chewy, dough-like pancakes. If you see a few pea-sized lumps in the batter, you’re on the right track. It’s better to toss them than keep mixing.
How Thick Should Pancake Batter Be?
If you’ve wondered what the texture of pancake batter should look like, you’re not alone. The answer depends on what kind of pancake you want.
Want fluffier pancakes? Aim for a thick batter, that spreads slowly onto the pan. Also, a few small pea-sized lumps are a good thing and give it the airy texture, so don’t try to whisk that out. Lumps are not the same thing as flour “clumps,” those should be taken out with a fork.
If thinner pancakes are the goal, you’re going to need to make a thinner (runnier) batter, by adding a little more liquid to the recipe. If you’re using the recipe below, simply add 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup of extra liquid. Those pancakes are great when you want to top with fruits. Remember not to overmix.
What if your batter turns out too thin? Sift an additional tablespoon of flour at a time into the mix, and stir until the desired texture is achieved. Again, be careful not to overmix, 3-4 whisks with each addition of flour and you’re good to go.
Homemade Pancake Batter Ingredients
Pancakes are an easy breakfast food to whip up since the ingredients are pantry staples and readily available. For my recipe you’ll need:
- Baking powder
- Sugar (optional)
- Melted butter
Whenever possible, swap the regular milk for buttermilk. The acid in the buttermilk boosts the chemical reaction of the baking powder, giving the pancake more rise. So worth it but not necessary and delicious as-is!
And if you don’t keep buttermilk on hand (who does?!), add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup, then pour enough 2% or whole milk to make a cup. Stir and wait 3 minutes before using as directed.
Pancake Recipe without Milk
Whether you ran out of regular milk or your household is dairy-free you can still enjoy delicious pancakes by using non-dairy milk such as almond or soy. I recommend neutral-flavored non-dairy milk to keep the taste of the pancakes similar to the original recipe.
However, if non-dairy milk isn’t an option, use water. This will change the taste and texture of the pancakes and won’t be as fluffy, but if pancakes are what you’re going after today, it is possible to make pancaes with just water.
Pancake Batter Recipe
This recipe is simple and extremely easy. Just remember to use fresh ingredients and not to overmix the batter.
- Combine the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Add the wet ingredients
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix with a fork or whisk until smooth, but a few pea-sized lumps remain.
- Heat and grease the griddle
Heat a non-stick griddle or large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat to 325F.
- Pour the batter
Pour or scoop ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Wait until bubbles form to flip. Brown on the other side and remove from heat, repeat with remaining batter. More about how long to cook pancakes here.
- Stack ’em high
Stack the pancakes and serve with butter and syrup.
Can You Make Pancake Batter the Night Before?
Yes and no, some pancake batters can be prepped the night before while others should not.
Recipes made with baking powder can be made the night before and stored in the fridge overnight. Since the baking powder will lose some of it’s “boosting power” overnight, when ready to make pancakes, whisk ¼-1/2 teaspoon of additional baking powder into the batter, before cooking.
However, pancake batter recipes made with baking soda shouldn’t be made ahead, since the “rise” action is an instant reaction. You’ll have flat pancakes with that batter.
How to Freeze Pancake Batter
Yes! You can freeze pancake batter, and it’s the best way to both make-ahead pancakes and enjoy them fresh from the griddle. If you want to go this route, I highly recommend doubling or tripling the recipe since frozen pancake batter is good for up to 1 month.
Here’s how to successfully freeze pancake batter:
- Prepare the batter as directed in the recipe below.
- Pour the batter into a freezer-safe zip bag.
- Lay the bag filled with batter flat on a baking sheet place it in the freezer. Freeze. Once frozen, remove baking sheet from freezer. Keep frozen pancake batter for up to 1 month.
How to thaw pancake batter:
The night before you plan to cook, remove it from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Or, you can place the frozen bag inside a larger baking pan with sides, fill it with water, and wait for 30 minutes for it to thaw.
How to cook previously frozen pancake batter:
When you’re ready to cook, use scissors to snip a corner off the bag and pipe out about a ¼ of a cup onto a greased hot pan or griddle and cook as directed.
Otherwise, pour contents from the bag into a large bowl, and scoop out ¼ cup of batter onto a greased hot pan or griddle and cook as directed.
Easy, delicious pancakes with minimal mess!
The Best Toppings
Sometimes I like to serve pancakes, traditionally with maply syrup and butter. Other times it’s something different like a homemade syrup or pancake breakfast bar with various toppings so everyone can build their own plate. It’s a life-saver on weekend mornings and even for weeknight dinners. Here are a few topping ideas below:
- Strawberry syrup
- Blueberry syrup
- Honey with butter
- Cinnamon Syrup
- Sliced bananas with chocolate chips
- Whipped cream with berries
- Whipped cream cheese with berries