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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Ingredients

  • For the buttermilk pancakes
  • For serving

Directions

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.

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Comments

  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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