Quick & Easy Tips for Making Pancakes Better

Pass the syrup! These simple tips for making pancakes better ensure golden-brown goodness every time.

Is there anything cozier than fresh pancakes hot off the griddle—golden brown, edges just slightly crisped, brushed with butter and drizzled with syrup? If you’re making pancakes for breakfast—or jumping on the breakfast-for-dinner trend—these tips for making pancakes will help you achieve homemade flapjack perfection no matter when you eat them.

Make it in Advance

Want to make pancakes from scratch but think you don’t have the time? Prep them in advance.

  • In a jar, combine all the dry ingredients for scratch pancakes and store in your pantry. When the pancake craving hits, your dry ingredients are ready to go.
  • Turn your scratch pancakes into a truly make-ahead meal by combining the wet ingredients, covering them and refrigerating them overnight. In the morning, combine them with the premixed dry ingredients from your pantry for a quick, no-hassle homemade breakfast.

Know These Batter Tips

Ingredients for pancakes - eggs, flour, milk on white wooden background. Selective focus.; Shutterstock ID 167598458; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeShutterstock/Antonova Ganna

A few simple tricks will ensure light and fluffy pancakes. Like starting with your ingredients at room temperature.

  • Sift the flour for extra light pancakes. Then whisk all the dry ingredients together.
  • Separately, whisk the wet ingredients together. For extra fluffy pancakes, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks separately from the yolks. Mix the batter as directed but fold in the egg whites just before pouring the batter onto the griddle or skillet.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.
  • Whisk just until moistened—DON’T OVERMIX! A few lumps are fine. The more you mix, the tougher the gluten in the flour becomes. Tough gluten equals tough pancakes.
  • You can mix your pancake batter in a pitcher for a no-fuss, no-drip method. Or use a funnel to pour the batter into a squeeze bottle. Simply squeeze the batter onto a griddle and avoid the drippy mess that comes with ladling it out of a bowl.

Substitute This for That

Missing an ingredient? Time to get creative.

  • Many pancake recipes call for milk. To make them extra rich and delicious, substitute buttermilk instead.
  • Substitute the milk with apple cider for extra light pancakes with a nice apple flavor.
  • To make pancakes extra fluffy, substitute part or all of the milk with club soda. Yes, club soda. Follow our step-by-step guide for the fluffiest pancakes ever.

Add These Extras

Making of home made pancakes. Close up view; Shutterstock ID 584348617Shutterstock/exousia

Take your pancakes up a notch with add-ins that enhance the flavor.

  • Add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to your pancake batter and cozy up to a breakfast that tastes like fall.
  • Perk up boxed pancake mix by adding a dash of baking soda, lemon juice, vanilla and sugar.
  • For maple flavor, add a small splash of maple syrup to the pancake batter.
  • For a sweet-and-spicy touch, sprinkle some vanilla and cinnamon into the batter.
  • Add a little berry-flavored yogurt to the batter for added richness and a unique taste.
  • For a change, try stirring a little ginger, nutmeg, orange extract or chocolate chips into the batter.

Know How to Cook Them

Images of pancake batter on an iron pan, sequence of pancake being prepared; Shutterstock ID 1119378833Shutterstock/Eye For Images

Griddle’s on! Get ready for golden brown perfection.

  • Cooking pancake batter in a seasoned cast iron skillet or on a heavy, non-stick griddle at medium heat produces the most dependable results.
  • Lightly grease the cooking surface with oil or clarified butter—the fats in regular butter can easily burn.
  • Before pouring the batter, sprinkle several drops of water onto the cooking surface. If they do a happy dance, the surface is ready to go.
  • If your batter is in a bowl, scoop it onto the cooking surface with an ice cream scoop to get consistently sized pancakes.
  • For fun shapes, place cookie cutters onto the cooking surface and pour in the batter. When it’s time to flip the pancakes, carefully remove the cutter.
  • Leave enough room between pancakes for expansion.
  • Flip pancakes when the edges become dry and the bubbles that appear on top begin to pop. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  • • Resist the urge to press down on the pancakes with a spatula. You’ll squish out the fluffiness.
  • To make pancakes for a crowd, spread 3 cups of batter in a lightly greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter or cookie cutters.

Keep ’em Warm

A griddle is only so big. 

  • To keep batches of pancakes warm before serving, place them in a single layer on a cooling rack in a 200-degree oven.
  • Unless serving immediately, don’t cover or stack the pancakes or they can become soggy.

Freezer Option

Freezer full of ice cubes and frozen foodPhoto: Shutterstock / PJjaruwan

Leftovers? No problem.

  • To freeze, allow pancakes to cool completely. Stack between layers of wax paper, place in a plastic zip-top bag and store in the freezer. To use, pop in the toaster, heat and enjoy.

Now put all those tips to good use with our best pancake recipes.

Our Best Pancake Recipes
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Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who dishes up tasty stories that celebrate the joy of cooking. Meeting Julia Child and living in Paris reinforced her passion for delicious food—butter and wine included.