Pancakes 101: How to make the Best Homemade Pancakes

Ever wanted to learn how to make homemade pancakes? This Guide to the Best Homemade Pancakes was written for you! Come learn my tips and tricks for how to make fluffy pancakes and the best pancake toppings around, plus 20+ pancake recipes to make at home this coming weekend.

Collage of four images showing different angles of pancakes with the text the best pancake recipes

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Listen, I’m not going to tell you what to do with yourself on the weekends, but our family has made Saturday mornings our pancake morning—and it’s really delightful.

Every family member—including our girls even when they were as little as 2—plays a role in making pancakes.

We switch ‘em up every weekend, too, and have a blast adding different flavors to the breakfast table. We have discovered so many great recipes throughout the years and especially the ones that have a unique twist to them. 

A stack of old fashioned homemade pancakes on a white plate with syrup and butter with a wedge cut out of it

After all, who wouldn’t love celebrating a weekly pancake day with their whole family? Pancakes remain one of our favorite foods, and this tradition has been going strong for us for years.

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    Why I love making pancakes at home

    My sorority sisters and I used to make Chocolate Chip Pancakes every Thursday night before we watched The O.C. (and then Grey’s Anatomy). My love of pancakes has been strong since that time.

    Pancakes are a breakfast classic for a reason. And I’ve learned that making pancakes from scratch at home isn’t much harder than using boxed pancake mix. You’ve just got to have the right ingredients and equipment.

    Homemade pancakes are simply the BEST, tasty and a fun way to involve the entire family in breakfast… or breakfast for dinner. So if you’re wanting to make some delicious pancakes at home, this post is for you. 

    Not only do I have tips and tricks that I’ve learned throughout the years, but I’ve also got 20+ unique pancake recipes here, including our family’s favorite pancake recipes. 

    Some are classics, like fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes and Traditional Pancakes (made with regular milk). Others are more creative pancake ideas, like Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, Red Velvet Pancakes, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and even pancakes with peanut butter!

    There’s a little something for everyone here. And I hope you are inspired to make the perfect pancakes for your people after reading this guide.

    Need breakfast inspiration, but don’t know where to start? Head on over to my Breakfast and Brunch Recipe Index.

    Tools to make Homemade Pancakes

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    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    This list below is a general one and will yield some plain fluffy pancakes—but I’ve got ideas below for recipes to try that have some more fun pancake recipes and also other ingredients.

    Here are a few ingredients:

    • All-purpose flour — we always have unbleached at our house, but the regular kind works perfectly, too! Some pancake recipes call for self-rising flour and others might call for a gluten free blend, oatmeal or even whole wheat flour. Read the recipe closely.
    • Granulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this provides a little sweetness to the batter. Some recipes might call for honey or maple syrup, too, as sweeteners.
    • Leaveners — I like to use a combination of both baking powder and baking soda. Make sure yours are fresh. 
    • Kosher salt — medium-grain kosher salt is my go-to. You could easily use a similarly sized sea salt.
    • Milk — over the years, we’ve made our pancakes with every type of milk available. Recently, we’ve made them with whole milk because we always have that on hand, but many pancake recipes work with any cow’s milk (from whole to skim), as well as almond, cashew and coconut milk.
    • Eggs — these act as a binder, as well as help the pancakes puff up a little. I use large eggs.
    • Vanilla extract — the real deal vanilla extract brings together ALL the ingredients! Don’t skimp here!
    • Flavorless oil — avocado, vegetable or canola oil are perfect here! You can also use unsalted butter if that’s your jam, too.

    Toppings for Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

    How do you make Homemade Pancakes?

    Well, it depends on the recipe. But let me walk you through how I generally make my pancakes, no matter which recipe we use:

    First, measure out the dry ingredients into a large bowl. This normally includes flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk them together.

    In a small bowl or a liquid measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients. This usually means the milk, eggs, vanilla extract (or other extracts) and oil/melted butter.

    • If you’re sweetening your pancakes with honey or maple syrup, you should add that to the wet ingredients.
    • Want your pancakes to be a different color? Add the food coloring to wet ingredients, too.

    If you’re adding eggs to your pancakes, you need to whisk the wet ingredients really well until everything is combined. Because if you don’t give them a good mix, there will be random ribbons of egg in your pancakes, and that’s gross.

    Once the wet ingredients are well combined, pour them directly into the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir them together until just combined.

    If you overmix the pancakes, they will become tougher, so just stir until the flour is incorporated. It’s OK if this homemade batter has lumps.

    Set the homemade pancake batter aside, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. While it rests, heat your griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat and when it’s hot, grease lightly with butter, oil or cooking spray.

    How to cook Homemade Pancakes perfectly

    Use a cookie scoop or a measuring cup to dollop the pancakes onto the hot griddle or a frying pan. I like to make 1.5-tablespoon silver dollar pancakes, but you can make larger ones, too. You could also make small pancakes with a smaller scoop.

    When several bubbles have formed on the surface and the bottoms are golden brown, flip the pancakes, and cook through. (Do NOT press down on them after you flip them! This will deflate them!)

    Repeat until all batter has been made into pancakes.

    Make a stack of pancakes, and serve with your favorite toppings.

    Three plates of pancakes with cream cheese glaze

    How to make Homemade Pancakes for Brunch

    While pancakes are something that I previously thought might be a fussier item to prepare for a brunch at home situation, you can absolutely make them for brunch!

    Brunch pancakes require a little patience, planning and working ahead to get ‘em made before guests arrive.

    Here are a few tips and tricks to transforming these pancakes into a brunch centerpiece:

    • Depending on the amount of people you’re serving, you can double this recipe. You can also half it if you’re not feeding a crowd.
    • Make the pancakes before guests arrive, and keep them warm in the oven. We put ours on baking sheets* (affiliate link) and keep them warm in a 200°F oven.
    • Transform your table into a pancake bar! Offer various toppings, like the vanilla glaze, as well as maple syrup, sweetened whipped cream and sprinkles.

    What can I make homemade pancakes for?

    If you don’t think just because is an answer, here are a few other celebrations you could make these pancakes for…

    • A birthday celebration
    • Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
    • The first day of a vacation, summer/winter break or a staycation
    • Any holiday that deserves a special breakfast

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the secret to making fluffy pancakes?

    In my opinion, to secret to fluffy pancakes is mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately so you don’t overmix the batter once they’re combined. Also, making sure your baking powder and baking soda are both fresh.

    How do you make pancakes crispy from scratch?

    To get a crispy exterior on your pancakes, your griddle needs to be warmed up, as well as have a little fat on it. We like to brush ours with butter between pancakes, but you can also use an unflavored oil if that’s more your speed.

    Why are my pancakes flat and rubbery?

    If your pancakes are flat and rubbery, you probably overmixed them. The more you mix the ingredients together, the more gluten forms, which will change the texture.

    Should pancake batter be thick or runny?

    The batter for the pancake recipes I make is kind of in between super thick and runny. The key is letting it be lumpy and just stirring until all the flour is incorporated so the pancakes will be nice, light and fluffy.

    A cream cheese glaze drizzled onto a stack of red velvet pancakes

    Quick Tips and Tricks for the Best Pancakes

    • Don’t overmix your batter! Just mix the batter until it has just come together. Lumps are OK. If you mix until it’s smooth, the pancakes won’t be as fluffy.
    • When do you know how to flip? When big ‘ol bubbles start to form in the batter. Lift up the edge a little bit with a spatula to confirm the color on the other side before committing… because when you flip them, you won’t flip them again. (Yep. We only need to flip our pancakes once.)
    • Once you’ve flipped your pancakes, don’t press down on them! This will deflate them. Obviously, we want them to puff up and be as light and airy as possible.
    • Leftover pancakes? Freeze ’em! Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and pop them in the freezer for 4-6 hours. When the pancakes are fully frozen, transfer them to a freezer baggie. Reheat in the toaster oven, toaster or the oven until warm.
    Syrup pours onto a stack of pancakes with butter on top with the text how to make pancakes 10+ recipes

    20+ of the Best Homemade Pancake Recipes

    Looking for the best homemade pancake recipes to make? We've got 20+ ideas for you right here!

    Anytime Pancake Recipes

    These recipes are great year-round!

    Seasonal Pancake Recipes

    If you're looking for a pancake recipe that goes with a certain season, we've got a few suggestions below:

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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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