In our house, Sundays are for sweet breakfasts. Among other things, we make the rounds between muffins, oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, waffles, and pancakes. But pancake Sunday is my oldest son’s favorite breakfast, and I never knew a little boy could eat so many pancakes. I’ve made it a mission over the last several years to perfect my pancake recipe and make the most delicious, best classic pancakes ever. These light and fluffy pancakes are quick and easy to make, perfectly sweet, lightly spiced with nutmeg and vanilla, and absolutely picture perfect.
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This is a classic pancake recipe that makes great-tasting pancakes that are so light and fluffy. The pancake batter is uncomplicated, using standard pantry ingredients, so there’s not much time waiting for a delicious breakfast. And with a pancake recipe this easy, there’s just no reason to use a box of pancake mix when you can make homemade pancakes that taste so much better.
- All-Purpose Flour. Provides structure to the batter.
- Granulated Sugar. A little sweetness.
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda. Leavens the batter, making the pancakes light and fluffy.
- Coarse Kosher Salt. Balances the sweetness.
- Nutmeg + Vanilla Extract. Flavor. You can leave out the nutmeg, if you like, or replace it with another spice like cinnamon.
- Whole Milk. Adds richness and moisture.
- Melted Unsalted Butter. Butter adds flavor and richness, as well as tenderizes the pancakes.
- Eggs. Add protein and structure to bind the batter together.
Making the best classic pancakes doesn’t get any easier than this recipe. You don’t need to let the batter rest, or whip and fold in egg whites separately, or anything like that. Just mix the batter, heat up the griddle, and you’re minutes away from enjoying a fantastic pancake breakfast.
Sift or Whisk the Dry Ingredients.
First, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, to ensure there are no lumps in the flour. Whisk the dry ingredients so that everything is evenly distributed.
Whisk in the Liquid Ingredients.
Now whisk in the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Just whisk until mostly smooth and combined, but it’s okay if there’s a few lumps.
Cook over Moderate Heat.
To cook these pancakes, it’s best to use a large, ungreased, non-stick electric griddle which has a temperature setting. I like to cook pancakes fairly low and slow for even, light, golden browning, so I set the temperature to between 310-315 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure the batter onto the hot griddle, leaving sufficient room between each pancake for them to spread without touching. Cook the pancakes for several minutes on one side until the color on the bottom is golden brown, bubbles are rising to the surface, and you can easily slide a spatula underneath to flip them over. Cook the other side for another minute or two, until they’re cooked through.
With a non-stick griddle, you don’t need to spray the griddle or grease it with butter. Actually, adding extra butter or grease to the griddle will brown your pancakes unevenly. That said, though, if you want to cook your pancakes at a higher temperature, and fry them in melted butter for darker, crispier edges, then by all means do so! This pancake recipe is very adaptable, and you can make them how you love them.
When it comes time for everyone to eat, you can either serve the pancakes hot off the griddle as fast as you can cook them, or keep them warm so everyone can eat together as a family.
- To keep the pancakes warm, heat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Place the cooked pancakes on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until you’re done cooking all the batter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Another goal of mine with making the best classic pancakes has been to make a picture perfect pancake that’s as beautiful as it is yummy, with even golden browning. Both my ratio of ingredients and method for cooking them over moderate heat contributes to the gorgeous, even browning that you see on my pancakes. If you make substitutions or changes to the ingredients, note that your pancakes may not brown quite as evenly, although they will still taste great.
Should the pancake batter be thick or thin?
The pancake batter shouldn’t be too thick or too runny, but should spread out easily when you measure it onto the griddle. 1/4 cup of batter should make a pancake that’s about 4-5 inches in diameter.
Can I make pancakes with whole wheat or gluten free flour?
To make classic pancakes gluten free, you can simply substitute your favorite measure-for-measure gluten free flour. For other flour substitutions, such as whole wheat flour or rye flour, try substituting 25-50% of the all purpose flour with another flour of your choice.
What can I substitute for the eggs if I have an egg allergy?
Unsweetened applesauce is a great substitute for eggs in baking, and doesn’t add too much apple flavor. You can use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce to replace each egg.
What if I want to use dairy free milk, buttermilk, skim milk or low fat milk instead of whole milk?
I love the richness and flavor of whole milk, but you can certainly use other milks of your choice in this pancake recipe.
Can I make these pancakes vegan?
Yes, you can absolutely make these pancakes vegan.
- Instead of the whole milk, use your favorite non-dairy milk.
- Replace the melted butter with vegan butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil.
- Replace the two eggs with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.
Can I add blueberries, chocolate chips or nuts to the batter?
Yes, of course! For add-ins, I like to add them after I’ve measured the batter onto the griddle, so that they’re evenly distributed. To do this, measure the batter onto the griddle. Wait about a minute, then sprinkle the batter with your berries, chocolate chips or chopped nuts. When the pancakes are cooked on the bottom, flip them over, and cook the other side.
Should I cook pancakes at high or low heat?
If you cook your pancakes on too high of a heat setting, they’ll get too dark and crispy on the outside with underdone middles. If the heat is too low, they can end up tough. I have an electric griddle with a temperature setting, and I usually set it to around 310-315 degrees Fahrenheit (and never hotter than 325). A moderate temperature evenly browns the outside of the pancake while allowing them to cook through in the middle.
Why are my pancakes mushy and under-cooked in the middle?
Your heat was likely too high, so they overcooked on the outside before they were able to cook through in the middle. Try lowering the heat to a more moderate temperature.
What should I do if I don’t have a griddle for cooking pancakes?
A nonstick electric griddle with a temperature setting is certainly convenient for cooking pancakes evenly and perfectly. If you don’t have one, though, use your largest non-stick skillet and grease it with butter or non-stick spray. You’ll probably only be able to cook 2-3 pancakes at a time, since a skillet has a much smaller surface area than a griddle.
How do I reheat leftover pancakes?
One of the best things about these pancakes is that they’re still great leftover. You can store the pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or wrap and freeze the pancakes for 3-6 months. To reheat the leftover pancakes, toast them in a toaster or convection oven for crispier pancakes, or warm them in the microwave for several minutes at 70% power for soft pancakes.
What should I serve with pancakes?
- A classic and favorite way to serve pancakes is with softened butter and pure maple syrup, and the fluffy texture of these pancakes is perfect for soaking up all that sweet, yummy syrup.
- For an alternative to maple syrup, try honey, agave nectar or even golden syrup (light molasses).
- A lower sugar option would be a light dusting of powdered sugar and fresh fruit.
- For my Butter Pecan Pancakes, I drizzled them with Toffee Butter Bourbon Sauce – yum!
- Strawberry jam, lemon curd, or a homemade fruit syrup would be delicious.
- For a really fun and decadent pancake breakfast, top a stack of pancakes with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles!
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The Best Classic Fluffy Pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
- Add the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla, and whisk for about 30 seconds until smooth. Let the batter rest for a few minutes while you preheat the griddle to a moderate temperature, around 310-315 degrees F.
- Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure the batter, leaving plenty of space between the pancakes so you can flip them. Cook the pancakes on one side until golden brown underneath and bubbles are rising to the surface.
- Flip the pancakes and cook the other side until cooked through.
- This recipe yields 12 small pancakes (1/4 cup batter each), or 6 large pancakes (1/2 cup batter each).
- You can keep the cooked pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven, while you finish cooking the rest.
- Leftover pancakes can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for 3-6 months. Reheat leftover pancakes in the microwave or toaster for a quick breakfast.