Home Cooking: Perfect Pancakes

In his magnificent cookbook How To Cook Everything, Mark Bittman writes that “Americans must have been sadly alienated from the kitchen for pancake mixes to ever have gained a foothold in the market, for these are ridiculously easy to make.”

Ridiculously easy is an understatement when it comes to making his Basic Pancake recipe because the batter for these pancakes can be ready before the pan gets hot. It takes only a very few minutes to pull the batter together, and the pancakes that result are light and fluffy. Although I think the Tip Top Cafe’s pancakes are the best I’ve ever had, these easy ones are a close second, and I think with a few tweaks I may be able to get even closer.

Blueberry pancakes coming up!

In How To Cook Everything, Bittman gives several ideas for variations: Regular milk can be replaced with buttermilk, or partially with yogurt or sour cream. The pancakes are a great way to use up milk that’s soured or going sour. Fruits such blueberry, banana, or apple pieces can be added to the batter as well. I’ve been known to replace a little of the milk with orange juice and add some grated orange peel, or add pumpkin puree for some of the liquid. Buckwheat flour can be substituted for some of the all-purpose flour, and we’ve also made these using 100% whole wheat pastry flour with great success. Finally, the batter can also be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for several days, until ready to use.

Whether sticking to the recipe or dressing them up a bit, these really are perfect pancakes, and perfectly easy too.

Blueberry pancakes with a little lilikoi curd: perfection!


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 TBSP baking powder (I often add 2 TBSP to make very fluffy pancakes)

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP sugar

2 eggs (we use 2)

1 1/2  to 2 cups milk

2 TBSP melted and cooled butter (or vegetable oil)

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you make the batter. Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs into the milk, then stir in the melted butter or oil. Whisk this into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten the flour (don’t worry about a few lumps). If the batter seems too thick, thin with a little milk.

Dry edges and lots of bubbles mean this pancake is ready to flip
The pancakes rise up nice and fluffy after they’re flipped

If your skillet or griddle is non-stick, cook pancakes without any additional oil. Otherwise use a teaspoon or so every time you add batter. Pour the pancake batter onto the hot surface; when the edge of the pancake looks dry and bubbles appear all over the top, turn the pancake. The bottom should cook in 2 -4 minutes, or when lightly browned. Turn and cook until the bottom is browned as well and serve hot. If necessary, the pancakes can be held in a 200° oven for up to 15 minutes.


4 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Perfect Pancakes

  1. Wow! I can’t believe how easy this recipe is and all the ingredients are ones that most people would have readily available. I will definitely make these this weekend.


    1. I couldn’t believe how easy it was the first time I tried it either. I remember trying it on a school morning, afraid it might ruin everyone’s schedule, but that it went together faster than the griddle heating up! I love all the variations that can be made as well.


  2. We love pancakes made from the recipe passed down from my grandma & mom. Similar recipe but made with fresh buttermilk. I could eat pancakes daily…but I would need new clothes soon. LOL.


    1. Buttermilk pancakes are the BEST, but it’s an expensive ingredient here so I haven’t used it. Maybe when the girls are here at Christmas? I could eat pancakes every day as well but have restricted them to every other week so that I don’t have to buy new clothes!


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