Buttermilk Pancakes

Melissa Bahen’s buttermilk pancakes are light, fluffy, and perfect for a family breakfast. Made with only a few ingredients, including eggs, flour, and buttermilk, they’re a cinch to make.

A stack of buttermilk pancakes on a white plate with a pat of butter on top and syrup running down the sides.

I’m about to tell you something that will firmly cement my reputation as a picky eater (which I deny, by the way): I don’t like pancakes that much. In my defense, I have nothing against pancakes. I just wouldn’t ever choose them for breakfast. Ever. I’d choose scrambled eggs or french toast or pretty much anything else before I’d choose pancakes. Once, at the Original Pancake House, I actually ordered a big bowl of yogurt and granola instead of pancakes. Did you notice the subtle irony there?

That being said, my father-in-law makes really delicious buttermilk pancakes. My husband’s family almost always has biscuits and gravy at family gatherings, but what we have just as often is Pop’s Pancakes. They’re a true family favorite, whole-heartedly loved by both young and old. In fact, I’ve actually requested them a time or two—gasp! They are the best buttermilk pancakes I’ve ever had, and everyone who tries them comments on how they’re the best.–Melissa Bahen

*What if I don't have buttermilk for my pancakes?

The best replacement for buttermilk is kefir, which can be substituted 1:1 with no adjustments made. Yogurt (or even sour cream) is pretty close, too—if you thin it out with some milk until it’s about the same consistency as buttermilk. Finally, you can always add a tablespoon of acid (lemon juice or white vinegar) to 1 cup of milk. Kefir and yogurt are closer in taste and texture but acidified milk will do in a pinch. Let it sit for 5 minutes and you’ll be good to go.

Buttermilk Pancakes

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 6 to 8 | Makes 20 to 24 pancakes
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  • For the buttermilk pancakes
  • For serving


Make the buttermilk pancakes

Preheat a large cast-iron or nonstick griddle pan or skillet over medium-low heat.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs and oil together. Add enough buttermilk to make 4 cups (946 ml) and whisk to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until mostly smooth.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter onto the hot griddle. Each scoop of batter will make 1 (5-inch | 13 cm) pancake.

Cook the pancakes, without flipping them, until the popping of bubbles on the surface of the batter slows down and the batter looks slightly drier on top, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the pancake until golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Stack the pancakes on a warm platter next to the stove and continue cooking the remaining batter.

For serving

Pass the platter of hot pancakes along with the butter and syrup and watch them disappear.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Buttermilk pancakes are indeed practically perfect in every way; easy to prepare and delightful to eat. This recipe is a magnet for superlatives! No exotic ingredients here, these pancakes can be prepared by almost anyone. A great recipe for kids learning to help in the kitchen. These are Sunday brunch worthy but could also make a week-night appearance as “breakfast for dinner”. Unlike some buttermilk pancakes which can be dense and heavy, these were delicate, fluffy, and spongy. Like snowflakes they dissolved as soon they touched the tongue. This recipe requires no modifications, it is perfect as is.

As there are only two of us, I used the batter over multiple days. The second day results were as good as the Sunday morning batch. The recipe produced 12 good sized pancakes with plenty of batter to spare.

Announcing “pancakes are ready” creates instant excitement, even in a household full of adults. They have a Pavlovian effect. That pancake-on-the-griddle smell is like no other. I have made many versions of this classic, some sweeter, some thicker – but these buttermilk pancakes were universally declared to be “the one and only” by my family. The pancakes are airy and slightly sweet with a subtle tang from the buttermilk. By following the steps thoughtfully, especially the guideline for when to flip, I had consistent results with each batch of 4. The direction/description in the body of the recipe was spot-on. As long as I could keep my griddle from over-heating (vacillating between medium low and low heat), my pancakes were consistently golden and tender, not too thick or under-done. This is a great first recipe for a beginning cook. Their efforts will be rewarded!

We are a family of 4. This recipe makes a ton of pancakes which was perfect for us. I served the pancakes with butter and maple syrup with a side of bacon, juice, and coffee. All the pancakes were consumed in one sitting except for 4 pancakes. Those 4 were eaten cold from the refrigerator later that day.

This recipe makes perfectly tender and quite delicious buttermilk pancakes. These aren't the thick, fluffy pancakes you get at your neighborhood pancake house but are eggier and more reminiscent of fluffy Swedish pancakes largely due to the ratio of eggs and flour (more eggs and less flour).

I started preheating a nonstick griddle on medium-low heat at the same time I started prepping the batter. I increased the heat to medium for the first batch as the griddle must not have been hot enough and then back to medium-low for the remainder. Each batch took about 5 minutes to cook. The most important indicator of when to flip is the hint listed in the recipe—bubbles have come to the surface and the batter looks slightly dried on top—especially around the edges. Scooping 1/4 cup of batter made perfect 5 inch pancakes.

We enjoyed the pancakes with bourbon syrup and a side of oven-baked thick cut bacon. Leftover pancakes were frozen for another time.

I happened to have some buttermilk in the fridge, so I was excited to give these pancakes a try. Since we didn’t need so many pancakes, I halved the recipe and followed the directions exactly. The instructions were very clear and the batter came together quickly. I used my 1/4 cup measure to scoop the thickish batter and was able to get 2 (5-inch) pancakes on my griddle pan at one time with enough room to flip them easily. I also added fresh blueberries to each pancake once they were on the griddle.

Timings were all accurate as noted, and I ended up with 11 consistently sized pancakes using this half batch of batter. They cooked up very fluffy and tender and had that wonderful home cooked flavor you would expect in a good “from scratch” buttermilk pancake. So much better than the prepackaged pancake mixes. These home cooked buttermilk pancakes were excellent topped with butter, syrup and crispy bacon on the side. I even had enough left over to freeze for another day!

They also cooked to a good golden color. Maple syrup and butter made a tasty combination of topping. The use of the 1/4 cup measuring cup gave a quick and accurate way of getting each pancake the same size and thickness. This resulted in a classic stack of pancakes. I found the texture of the pancakes to be a slightly crispy exterior and a soft fluffy texture.

I was able to make 20 pancakes out of the mixture. I found the mixture a bit lumpy when the wet ingredients were whisked into the dry. I could have perhaps prevented this if I had added the wet ingredients a little more slowly, incorporating each addition before adding more. When they were left to cool the crispiness went out of them and they were then soft. They lasted a couple of days and did not stick together when stacked. I served some with bacon and maple syrup and also had some sweet with chocolate spread and ice-cream. I'd make the recipe again and would recommend that others try it.

Pancakes may be the one thing my daughters and I miss the most from the US. This recipe is amazingly easy to make and the final product is a nice thick yet light and spongy buttermilk pancake that was devoured by all. There were 8 of us eating them and all disappeared, but was enough for all.


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  1. Skip the maple syrup and go for cane syrup or sorghum. There’s a whole world of regional syrups that don’t get the love they’re due.

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