A Pancake Primer: Tips and Tricks

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A Pancake Primer: Tips and Tricks

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

Nothing quite says Saturday morning like a stack of pancakes fresh off the griddle dripping with butter and syrup. Add blueberries to the mix and we’re in brunch heaven! (Or if you like them as much as we do you can make ‘em for dinner!)
Want to know how to make the world’s best pancakes? Follow our tips and tricks and you’ll have a plate full of delicious light and fluffy pancakes on the breakfast table in no time.

Measure Precisely
Like with all baked goods recipes, you’ll need to measure your ingredients precisely. We follow the dip and sweep method here at Paula’s Test Kitchen (dip your dry measuring cup into the dry ingredient, overfill, then use a butter knife to sweep the excess away). Adding too much or too little flour will result in a batter that is either too thick or too thin. You want the batter to be able to spread to a ¼ inch thickness once added to your griddle so it cooks evenly and all the way through.

Don’t Over Mix
When you’re mixing together the wet and the dry ingredients, be careful not to over mix the ingredients. Lumps are actually a good thing with pancake batter. The lumps help to make a lighter and fluffier pancake. A smooth lump free batter will produce a dense and doughy pancake.

Use a Ladle
We like to use a ¼ cup sized ladle to make evenly sized pancakes.

Moderate Heat
You want your pan or griddle hot, but not so hot that the pancakes burn on the outside and stay raw and runny on the inside. We find that a moderate to medium low heat works best to make evenly golden brown pancakes. Don’t forget to preheat the pan for a few minutes before starting and adjust as necessary as you cook, never turning up the heat beyond medium.

Use a Mix of Butter and Oil
Wipe the griddle down with a neutral oil (like canola or vegetable) with a clean paper towel. Then lightly brush a small amount of melted butter on for that delicious buttery taste. Don’t add too much oil- you don’t want the pancakes to fry! After each batch wipe down the griddle, and refresh the oil and butter.

Know When to Flip
You’ll know when to flip the cake once you see bubbles form on the outer ring of the pancake. Flip too soon and you’ll enf up with a pale cake, flip too late and you’ll have a charred cake.

Mixin’ and Fixin’
Add your favorite mix-ins after the pancake is already cooking on the griddle for even distribution. We like to sprinkle blueberries over the tops of our pancakes but also love chocolate chips, bananas, and nuts. 

Super Fluffy
For the ultimate lightest and fluffiest pancakes, separate the eggs then beat the egg whites to stiff peaks to fold into the batter. This trick keeps the pancakes light and airy.

Make Ahead (but not too far ahead!)
If you don’t own a large pancake griddle, or you’re feeding a crowd, you can make your pancakes in batches, and hold on a wire rack over a rimmed sheet tray in a 200 degree oven for up to 30 minutes. After that, they may begin to dry out.

To Top It Off
We love to top our pancakes with soft butter, maple syrup, and confectioners’ sugar. And nothing beats a homemade berry sauce!

Here are a few of Paula’s pancake recipes to try on your own:
Sausage Pancake and Egg Sandwich
Ricotta Infused Pancakes and Thyme Syrup
Honey Whole-Wheat Pancakes with Honey Lime Butter
Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Cream

Read More From Cooking Basics.

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Reader Comments:


This sounds so yummy, I love pancakes so this sounds easy to do, we shall see? I use a pancake mix, they are good but I like from scratch when I have time to be in the kitchen.

By x Lauren Deans Ramirez Ramirez on February 20, 2014


Just this morning I made the best pancakes-ever- 2 cups self rising flour 2 eggs-seperated 1 1/2 c buttermilk 1/4 c sugar 1/8 t salt this how I put this together, beat the egg whites until softpeaks put yolks and 1 cup buttermilk in cup mix the dry ingredients in a bowl -when you get the eggs beaten, fold in wet and dry,add the rest of the buttermilk it makes a thick batter-but it was sooo good-iI cooked them on a cast iron griddle on top of my gas stove-enjou

By mary jane Burgess on September 21, 2013


I find putting in vanilla extract adds good flavor.i also use that in French toast...

By judy howell on May 25, 2013


If you dip and sweep, you run the risk of getting too much as well. I teach high school and we teach spooning the mix into the measuring cup and then sweeping the excess off with a offset spatula. smile

By Linda K on May 24, 2013


I had a new style. If pancakes this past weekend they were great. ! Lemon juice and lemon rind in the mix and dusted with a little powder sugar of course. Butter. On top

By Ruby Zavala on May 24, 2013

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