Whether you struggle with making pancakes, or you’re an accomplished pancake-maker, I’m willing to bet you can benefit from the list of tips compiled here.
While working on my post for Apple Cider Pancakes, I realized… I have a LOT to say about pancakes!
Before getting into a specific recipe, let’s cover the basics, shall we?
If you knew my dad, you knew he was serious about pancakes. But he didn’t always make them himself.
Sometimes, he’d have us kids do the work. Smart guy, right?
So, as a result, I have more than 30 years of pancake-making experience, besides being taught by the master himself!
The Ultimate Baking Tool:
This is actually a tip from Martha Stewart, not my dad.
A wire whisk is great to get all the lumps out of flour.
Whether it’s cake, muffins or pancakes, if I’m making anything with flour, I always grab the whisk!
Way less messy than a sifter! Y’all, I do not even own one of those vile sifter contraptions!
If you do own a sifter, you may now throw it away forever. You’re welcome.
Don’t give it to Goodwill and shoulder some poor soul with the burden of that asthma-inducing, flour-cloud-puffing machine. I mean, put that vexation in the trash, please, for the sake of humanity.
(If you’ve never used a sifter, then you may not understand my contempt, but just consider yourself lucky, ok?)
Pan Temperature: Heat is key.
Pancakes sit too long when the pan is too cool. (And it’s hard not to be tempted to flip them too early. Tears them all up!)
Test your pan’s heat:
Run your fingers under the tap and get them slightly damp. Shake a few drops of water over your pan.
A good sizzle = hot pan!
Too hot? Also a problem!
Your pancakes burn outside to get fully cooked.
Or they brown nicely… with a raw middle. (Don’t worry, in that tragic event, I can help you salvage your batch. Keep reading.)
Tip for the flip:
THIS is the golden moment of perfection to flip your pancakes!
When those bubbles pop and stop refilling with batter, they’re perfect!
Notice also that the edges are not as shiny. Moisture is leaving your batter.
Go fast! They’ll burn soon!
Serve Them Hot!
As a kid, we ate our pancakes right off the griddle. Only one person got to eat a time!
If you wait for a whole family’s pancakes, the first batch gets cold.
Thankfully, we all eat at once at my house with a simple trick.
Use the Oven to Keep Them Hot
The low setting on my oven is 170. Each batch goes straight onto a cookie sheet in the oven.
(If you’re no kitchen wizard, use a plate first and transfer to the pan. Don’t burn yourself!)
When I cook bacon on a cookie sheet (the only way I do it, because those flying, grease sizzles can’t get me!), the oven stays warm after I take out the bacon. That works too.
Saving an Under-Done Batch:
Stack on the cookie sheet as above. Crank up the oven to 350 — the standard temperature for cookies and muffins. The underdone pancakes will cook the same way.
The pancakes directly touching the pan get a little extra brown. My husband prefers those — but I like to stack them neatly so that the outsides don’t get too crispy or brown.
Be Careful With Chunky Fixings!
If you have lumpy stuff like nuts, the batter immediately surrounding the nuts needs extra time to cook than a plain pancake.
You’ll likely need to reduce your pan temperature a bit, down from what you’d normally do for plain pancakes and go low and slow and — hardest of all! — be patient.
A friend once served me “healthier” pancakes with oatmeal.
They looked gorgeous… until I cut them. Then I realized they were half-raw inside.
If you only want to eat the outside edges of your food, that’s one way to cut back on your calories. Blech!
Honestly, though, when adding nuts, or other chunky fillers, I’ve made the same mistake… only I finished cooking before I served them!
Not to worry! The method outlined above, Saving an Under-Done Batch, works on these pancakes that end up under-done, due to lumpy add-ins.
Cheater Pancake Recipe:
Daddy made pancakes with only a coffee cup, a fork and bowl.
Scoop a heaping cup of self-rising flour with your coffee cup. Dump into bowl.
Crack an egg into the cup.
Pour cooking oil on top of the egg, just enough to make a thin layer of oil.
Mix them with the fork. Pour into your bowl with flour.
Pour a scant cup of milk into the cup. Pour into the bowl.
(Buttermilk is ideal, and regular milk pancakes just can’t quite compare. If you have buttermilk, you’ll want the full cup, not a scant cup. For some reason, it seems to need a little extra liquid.)
Stir with a fork. Don’t overmix. (Better to have a few tiny lumps that cook away than to activate the gluten and make them tough.)
Add a squirt of pancake syrup. Mix.