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How to make perfect pancakes

I make pancakes every weekend, and on an occasional weekday if the kids beg hard. Sometimes I make my own batter, but most of the time I use Aunt Jemima Complete mix – just add water!

I’ve learned a few useful things over the years:

  • Whether you’re using an electric griddle or a pan, let it preheat for a long time. You want the heat evenly distributed across the whole surface, and you don’t want the temperature to change while you’re in the middle of cooking.
  • Don’t mix your batter too much, just enough to get everything incorporated and most of the lumps gone.
  • After mixing, let the batter sit for at least ten minutes. Bubbles should form on the top.
  • Use vegetable oil to grease the pan. Butter will burn, and olive oil will taste funny.
  • Serve the pancakes immediately. You can keep them warm for a short period of time in a 200 degree oven, but they’re best if eaten right away.
  • Take the syrup out as soon as possible so that it can come to room temperature. Don’t warm it up – it gets too runny.

And now, how to make perfect pancakes!

UPDATE: I’ve had a lot of questions over on YouTube about which griddle I was using. Unfortunately, I haven’t had that griddle for a long time and don’t remember! But I do remember that I paid about $25 or $30 for it, probably 20 years ago (2000-ish). So you definitely don’t need an expensive griddle to get great results!!

Prices have gone up a bit, but this electric griddle is affordable and has similar features to my old one, and is a brand I trust. 

I now have this griddle, which is more expensive but also a lot more versatile:  (there’s also a newer version).

But my kids are older now, I’m on Weight Watchers, and I’m no longer making huge pancake breakfasts on weekends. Usually, it’s just my son wanting a few, and that’s hardly worth pulling out the griddle. So, I use a pan. I have this 2-piece set; the larger pan can make a good-sized pancake.

I make sure to keep the temperature right around 400 degrees F using a laser thermometer.

I’ve also used pans like these, and as long as I have my laser thermometer and let them preheat for at least 10 minutes to make sure the temperature is stable, they work great!

Round griddle 

Square griddle

Double-burner griddle 

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Brandon Moore

Saturday 9th of September 2017

Is your batter thin enough to be dispensed out of a dispenser.

Amy Oztan

Sunday 10th of September 2017

It would depend on the dispenser's opening, but I have used it in a squeeze bottle to make shapes. You can have a smaller opening with a squeeze bottle, though, since you're forcing the batter out.

Klara

Thursday 13th of October 2011

it looked so delicious, so i decided to give it a try... but it was not so fine as i expected...maybe i did something wrong... did anyone else made it?

Amy

Thursday 13th of October 2011

@Klara: What batter did you use? What was not good about it - the taste? The texture? The shape?

Sonny

Thursday 13th of October 2011

Nice video. When I make pancakes from scratch I made what I call dutch pancakes without baking powder so then are flat and dense. they are supposed to be small around the size of an eisenhauer dollar coin but I made them as large as I could.

Amy

Thursday 13th of October 2011

@Sonny: Hmmm...Maybe I'm missing something, but why would you want pancakes to be flat and dense?

Elle

Wednesday 12th of October 2011

As I was watching this post, my cats were laying on the bed with me. Once your kitty started bawling in the background, Bailey (who is CONSTANTLY "cleaning" himself) stopped and looked around the room to figure out where it was coming from. I giggled. Thanks. Oh...and I am a crazy pancaker. I add different stuff every time. I like the sprinkles idea. I'm going to have to steal it.

Amy

Thursday 13th of October 2011

@Elle: That's hilarious! She never shuts up when I'm filming something. Steal anything you want - I highly recommend the banana/peanut butter chip/chocolate chip combo.

Craig

Wednesday 12th of October 2011

It's kind of a hinged double griddle - you pour the batter in the bottom - then when it's time to flip, you close the top part of the double griddle thing and turn it over - perfect circles every time - but you can only do one at a time - not very practical for a family - if you google "perfect pancake" they have a site. Anyway - still impressed with your focus ツ

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