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How to Make Perfect Pancakes

Breakfast is calling. Pull out the skillet and whip up something amazing with these tips on how to make perfect pancakes.

This image is a collage of four images showing various pancakes speckled with fruit. In one photo, the pancakes are cooking on a skillet.

When my children were very little, their preferred breakfast nearly always included pancakes. So I whipped them up in so many varieties — with fruit or chocolate chips or extra cinnamon or … it went on and on. And we’d even get creative with toppings. Real maple syrup is the classic (and our favorite — especially Maine maple syrup, naturally), but macerated strawberries or raspberries, sauteed bananas or apples or even just powdered sugar could transform the pancakes into something amazing.

My children are teens now and they still love pancakes for breakfast. But pancakes can be tricky to make. It comes down to the right cooking vessel at the right temperature with the right amount of greasing and the right spatula for flipping.

Here’s what you need to know to achieve breakfast perfection with golden brown discs of fluffy goodness to delight your family.

The Basics of Perfect Pancakes

Pancakes are a science. The best thing you can do is follow a recipe. Use the right amount of leavening agent with the right amount of the right kind of liquid and your pancakes will come out well. But be careful with how hot the pan is. A too-hot pan will result in dark or burnt pancakes.

  • Choose The Right Recipe For You: Working from a recipe is recommended with pancakes. I am partial to buttermilk-based pancakes, which have a fluffiness that can’t be duplicated without the acidic buttermilk. But find the recipe that meets your flavor desires and ingredient needs.
  • Heat Matters: Always start by heating your skillet or griddle. You want it already warm when you begin the cooking process. I let mine preheat for about 10 minutes at a hair below medium heat. That’s 4 on my stove’s 0-10 burner dial.
  • Grease It Up: Once the skillet or griddle is heated up, it’s time to prepare the surface for cooking. Grease it with unsalted butter. It needs just enough to make the surface shiny — but not so much that melted butter begins to pool.
  • Ladle The Batter: Using a ladle to measure the batter (I fill it between 1/4 and 1/3 full for my pancakes). Not only does this ensure that there’s less mess for cooking, but also the batter forms similar-sized rounds.
  • Mind The Heat: Skillets and griddles have a way of getting hotter while you are cooking on them. If this happens, turn off the burners and remove the cooking vessel for a few minutes to allow the temperature to cool. This will lessen your chance of burning the pancakes.

How To Make Pancakes For A Crowd

When making pancakes for a group, it’s key to batch-cook them, keeping the already-cooked ones warm as you cook. To do this, put a large baking sheet into the oven heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Then cook the pancakes in batches, transferring cooked ones to the baking sheet and continuing until all the batter has been used. Stacking is recommended as it will keep the pancakes soft.

You can use a similar technique for waffles. For best results, put a metal cooling rack on the baking sheet and don’t stack the cooked waffles. This ensures that the outside of the waffles maintains a crispness.

Once all the pancakes (or waffles) have been made, serve them hot from the oven.

Ready for your pancake adventure? The following recipes will help you achieve pancake perfection in your home.

What’s your favorite pancake flavor combination?