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Anybody can whip of a batch of pancakes in a pinch, and they’ll be tasty and great for any breakfast or brunch. There are even hundreds of recipes and methods you can use for pancakes, but if you want the fluffiest ones possible, you need a recipe that employs some food science. The keys to fluffy pancakes are using the right ingredients in the right quantities, mixing them properly, and using the resulting batter immediately.
Makes 16 pancakes
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1½ cups (356 ml) buttermilk
- 1 cup (230 g) sour cream
- ¼ cup (57 g) butter
- Oil for cooking
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Mixing the Dry Pancake Mix Download Article
- 1Gather your ingredients and supplies. Making fluffy pancakes involves using the right ingredients and tools.
- 2Use fresh baking soda. Pancakes are a type of quick bread, meaning that they use baking soda instead of yeast to power the leavening (the rising) process. Leavening happens when the baking soda is dissolved in a liquid and mixed with an acid, because the reaction produces carbon dioxide.
- Because the baking soda is so integral to fluffy pancakes, only use baking soda that’s newer than six months.XResearch source
- 3Combine the dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. It’s important to sift the ingredients, because it will combine everything and help prevent lumps in the batter.XResearch source
- If you don’t have a sifter, combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl and whisk them together for a minute.
- You can proportionally increase the quantities of all the ingredients if you want to make extra dry pancake mix for later.
- 4Store leftovers. If you made extra pancake mix to store for later, measure out 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (11 ounces) for one batch of pancake mix and set it aside for the batter. Then transfer the rest of the mix to an airtight container for storage and keep it in the pantry or cupboard.
- This dry pancake mix will be good for the next three months.XResearch source
Part 2Part 2 of 3:Making the Batter Download Article
- 1Melt the butter. Measure the butter into a small bowl. Melt it in the microwave by cooking it in 30-second increments and stirring in between. You can also transfer the butter to a small saucepan and melt it over medium heat.
- When the butter has melted, set it aside to cool a bit so it doesn’t cook the eggs when you combine all the wet ingredients.XResearch source
- 2Whisk the egg. Another important element in making fluffy pancakes is whipping air into the egg whites like you would when making meringue. Put the egg whites into a medium bowl and whisk or beat them with a hand mixer.XResearch source
- Continue beating the eggs for four or five minutes, until they form stiff peaks.
- 3Combine the wet ingredients. Pour the egg yolks, buttermilk, and sour cream into a large bowl and whisk to fully incorporate. Then drizzle in the cooled melted butter and whisk to combine.
- You can substitute more buttermilk instead of the sour cream. However, it’s important to use buttermilk rather than milk in this recipe, because the acidity in it will activate the baking soda.XResearch source
- 4Fold in the egg whites. Pour the egg whites into the bowl with the other wet ingredients. Gently fold the eggs into the wet ingredients with the rubber spatula, and stop when everything is just combined.
- You don’t want to overmix the wet ingredients at this point, because you could pop the air bubbles that are fluffing up the egg whites.
- 5Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Use a spoon or your fist to make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the center of the well. Use the rubber spatula to fold the wet and dry ingredients together.XResearch source
- Stop when everything is just combined. Some small lumps in the batter is perfectly acceptable.
- Overmixing the batter will develop the gluten, and this will result in pancakes that are chewy and tough, rather than light and airy.XResearch source
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Cooking the Pancakes Download Article
- 1Heat the griddle. As soon as the batter is ready, place a griddle over medium heat. As it preheats, use the pastry brush to brush the surface with just enough oil to coat the pan with a thin layer of oil.
- Drop a pea-sized dollop of batter into the oil. When it starts to sizzle and cook in three or four minutes, the pan is ready for the pancakes.
- If you don’t have a griddle, you can use a wide, heavy-bottomed pan instead. This will prevent the pancakes from burning, and make them easier to flip.XResearch source
- Don’t cook your pancakes in butter, because the smoke point of butter is too low, meaning it will burn when you're cooking pancakes over medium heat.
- 2Pour some batter. When the pan is hot and ready, use the ¼ measuring cup to scoop a cupful of batter.XResearch source Pour the batter into the griddle. As the batter hits the griddle, it will expand into a round pancake shape.
- Depending on the size of your griddle, you may be able to cook between two and four pancakes at a time.
- 3Cook the pancakes. Once you pour the batter, do not touch the pancakes until it’s time to flip. Watch the pancakes as they cook, and wait for bubbles to start forming on the surface of the batter. When those bubbles start to pop and make holes in the batter after about two minutes, the pancakes are ready to be flipped.XResearch source
- Flip the pancakes and cook them for another two minutes.
- When the first batch of pancakes is ready, remove them from the griddle and pour more pancakes. The batter must be used immediately, and if you wait to cook the pancakes, they will be dense instead of fluffy.XResearch source
- Although you cannot store the batter for later use, you can refrigerate cooked pancakes for a couple days if you have leftovers.
- 4Keep cooked pancakes warm. Because you can't make all the pancakes at once, you can keep the cooked ones warm while you cook the rest by placing them in a warm oven. This way, you can still serve all the pancakes at the same time.
- Transfer the cooked pancakes to a foil-lined baking sheet or an oven-safe dish. Cover them loosely with foil to keep them from drying out.
- Transfer the dish to a 200 F (93 C) oven to keep the cooked pancakes warm while you finish cooking the remaining batches.XResearch source
- 5Serve the pancakes with your favorite toppings. Everybody likes pancakes served a different way, and there's no right or wrong way to dress and eat a stack of pancakes! Some of the more popular ways include any mixture of the following:XResearch source
- Spread a small dollop of butter onto each pancake
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the stack
- Smother the pancakes with maple syrup, corn syrup, honey, or another liquid sweetener
- Sprinkle nuts or berries on top
- Add a swirl of whipped cream to the top of the stack
Did you make this recipe?
- QuestionI don't have sour cream. Can I just use milk?Community AnswerMilk is fine, you will still have fluffy pancakes with or without sour cream.
Things You'll Need
- Two large bowls, a medium bowl, and one small bowl
- Jar (if you make a double batch of dry mix)
- Rubber spatula
- Silicone pastry brush
- ¼ measuring cup
About This Article
To make fluffy pancakes, start by whisking flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl, which will get rid of any clumps so the pancakes are fluffier. Then, combine egg yolks, buttermilk, sour cream, and whisked egg whites in a bowl. Avoid overmixing the wet ingredients or you could pop the air bubbles that make the pancakes fluffy. Next, combine the wet and dry ingredients and lightly stir them together. Finally, pour some of the batter into a pan to make 1 pancake at a time and cook each pancake for 2 minutes on each side. If you want to learn what toppings you can add onto your pancakes when they're finished, keep reading the article!