That awful moment you wonder how to thicken your pancake batter after thinking… Oh.my.gawd! What is this watery liquid in this bowl?
If you’re standing in your kitchen with that bowl in front of you… I’m here to help you save that pancake batter and get some pancakes on that griddle.
Fixing Your Pancake Batter Consistency
More than likely, the reason your pancake batter needs to be thickened is that too much liquid was mixed in with your dry ingredients. Below, I will explain how to thicken this step by step.
This is probably not your fault, by the way. I’ve seen my share of bad pancake batter recipes on the internet written in the same fashion of when Aunt Jenny shares her “a bit of this and a little of that.”
It doesn’t matter. We’re here to fix your pancake batter consistency asap. I’m going to assume you followed a good pancake recipe and didn’t make any substitutions and that you’re using wheat / all-purpose flour.
Related: When to Flip Pancakes
Thicken Pancake Batter Step by Step
Thickening pancake batter is not as easy as “let’s just add flour” and mix it into your batter to thicken it. Unfortunately, you might end up with really dense pancakes. Here is what you need to do:
Add all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time
If your batter is very runny, start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder for every 2 tablespoons of flour you add in. Then, mix them well into the bowl. Once combined, without overly mixing, check the consistency.
Test the batter
Since not all pancake recipes are the same, I would suggest you test the batter on a hot, greased pan, and cook your pancakes. Make sure to flip your pancakes when they’re ready.
If you’re not happy with the test pancake, add an additional 2 tablespoons of batter and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder into the batter bowl. Mix, and test again.
Note: you should never have to add more than ⅓ of a cup of flour to any pancake recipe (6 tablespoons). At this point, your egg ratio might be off as well, and I suggest you start from scratch and watch this how to make pancake batter video.
How to Thicken Runny Pancake Batter Without Flour
There are several ways to thicken pancake batter without flour, most of which include using an alternative like tapioca, corn, or potato starch, or coconut flour.
Using a starch
Add 1 tablespoon of tapioca, corn, or potato starch to the bowl. Mix it well to combine and wait 5 minutes. If it’s still too thin, add one more tablespoon and then do a test pancake on your pan.
Using Coconut flour
Depending on how watery your batter is, add 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of coconut flour into the batter bowl. Mix to combine and wait 5 minutes for the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.
Coconut flour is not technically flour, it’s ground coconut with a flour-like texture, and it’s 10x more absorbent than traditional wheat flour. It’s like a sponge, so you’ll need to wait for it to absorb.
Mashed banana or pumpkin puree
You can also mash a large ripe banana or add ½ cup of pumpkin puree to the mixture. This will not only thicken the batter but it will make it denser, so make sure to add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of baking powder to the mix so your pancakes don’t turn out dense.
Related: How to Fix Common Pancake Mistakes
Why Pancake Batter Gets Watery
Pancake batter gets watery due to too much liquid used in a recipe or inaccurate measurements. This also happens when you’re trying to adjust a recipe to accommodate for missing ingredients or allergies and make your own substitutions.
It’s always best to start with a recipe specifically developed for allergies or substitutions in mind, such as pancakes without eggs, gluten-free pancake recipes, pancakes with water, oat flour pancakes, and paleo pancakes.
Perfect Pancake Batter Recipe
Great pancakes begin with the right pancake recipe, where the flour to milk ratio, proper baking powder amount, enough eggs to bind the ingredients (usually one is all you need), and butter for flavor has been accounted for.
The perfect pancake batter is at your fingertips with the recipe below.
How to Thicken Pancake Batter
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- 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 a non-stick griddle or large pan over medium-high heat to 325F.
- 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.
- Stack the pancakes and serve with butter and syrup.