We Tried Ice Cube Pancakes—Here’s What We Think
The popular internet hack isn't necessarily the time-saver it purports to be
2022 was the year of gochujang cookies, Aperol spritzes and, apparently, ice cube pancakes. We all love a good stack of fluffy pancakes, but there isn’t always the time in the morning to make them. Enter: the ice cube pancake.
The hack is credited to food Instagrammer Nicole Keshishian Modic, aka @kalejunkie. Does this hack deliver on the hype? I tested it myself to find out.
What’s an Ice Cube Pancake?
An ice cube pancake is pretty much what it sounds like—pancake batter that is frozen into an ice cube tray so that all you have to do in the morning is pop a frozen pancake ice cube out and make it. The appeal is an opportunity to make delicious, gravity-defying pancakes super-quickly on busy mornings.
Learn how to make pancake mix better these easy upgrades.
I Tried Ice Cube Pancakes—Here’s What I Thought
Van Van Cleave for Taste of Home
I’ll be frank: if you—like me—have particularly exacting standards for your breakfasts, this hack is not doing you any favors. There were a few critical main problems:
- Freezing the batter imparted a plasticky “freezer” taste to the batter.
- Spooning the batter into ice cube trays is messy and time-intensive.
- The pancakes take a long time to cook as you must fully thaw the frozen batter.
This final factor was my primary sticking point. While I confess my ice cube tray yields particularly thick cubes, I worry about the safety of eating these pancakes regardless of your tray specs. Even on low and slow heat, my pancakes had a raw, uncooked interior, instead of the fluffy, craggy texture one hopes for.
Additionally, over the course of cooking, the butter burnt long before the pancakes cooked through, which imparted a bitter note. Because the main point of the hack is to save precious morning minutes, the lengthier cook time to fully thaw the batter seems like a fundamental flaw. In the end, making pancake batter the morning-of ended up being almost as fast as cooking the frozen batter.
How to Make Ice Cube Pancakes
If you would still like to try ice cube pancakes for yourself, follow the instructions below.
While you can definitely use a store-bought mix, I prefer making my pancake batter from scratch to get tall, almost crumpet-like pancakes. Feel free to adjust my recipe below and add your favorite mix-ins. However, know that those containing more water (like fruit) will further lengthen your cook time.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups milk of choice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- Butter, for frying
Van Van Cleave for Taste of Home
The night before you’d like your pancakes, prepare the batter as you would normally: mix the dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients. Whisk until incorporated and mostly smooth—some lumps are OK.
Now, using a spoon, transfer the prepared batter into an ice cube tray. Do your best to minimize “connecting” the batter across the cups, as this will make the pancake portions more difficult to remove later. Cover the ice cube tray of batter and freeze overnight.
The following morning, preheat your griddle to medium-low heat, then melt a pat of butter onto it. Place the frozen cubes of batter directly onto the griddle, and let them cook for about four minutes per side, or until fully thawed, spread out, and cooked through.
Once cooked, serve the pancakes with maple syrup and any other desired toppings.
For the most satisfying pancakes, nothing beats fresh-off-the-griddle. My recipe above is excellent for a delightful indulgence, and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes from start to finish. But if the 15-minute prep isn’t in the cards for you, I recommend making the pancakes ahead of time, refrigerating them, then reheating them in a pan (or microwave) when it’s time to eat. If all fails, cover those babies with plenty of toppings. There are few flaws that a boatload of syrup can’t fix!