Light and Fluffy Pancakes

The secret to these light and fluffy pancakes from Clinton Street Bakery are whipped egg whites–plus plenty of melted butter–folded into the batter. These pancakes, along with our maple-espresso bacon, are your breakfast dream team.

A blue plate topped with three light and fluffy pancakes, maple syrup, and cooked bacon.

We swoon to these ethereally light, slightly sweet, burnished brown hotcakes for many reasons. Among the aforementioned adjectives that make this recipe quite memorable, if you, like us, tend toward a little a.m. laziness, there’s another reason you’re going to want to keep this recipe handy. And it has everything to do with buttermilk–or rather, the lack thereof, which means there’s no need to run to three stores to try to find it. Reserve your energy instead for sizzling up some bacon. Originally published March 7, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

Light and Fluffy Pancakes

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 25 M
  • 35 M
  • Makes 18 to 20 3-inch pancakes
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.



Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Slowly whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture just until combined. The resulting should be slightly lumpy yet still combined.

Whip the egg whites by hand with a whisk or in the bowl of an electric mixer until they reach medium peaks. You can whip them by hand with a whisk or place them in the bowl of an electric mixer. (Peaks are “soft” when you put your finger in the whites and they fall over. Peaks are “medium” when you put your finger in and they drip over a bit and stand up. “Stiff” peaks develop when you whip the whites longer and they stay up.) You don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.

Gently fold half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining whites into the batter. Remember, this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated and should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)

Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat skillet — over medium to medium-low heat. Grease the hot surface with a teaspoon or so of the remaining butter. (A common mistake many cooks make is they don’t heat the griddle enough, which is why the first pancake is usually a dud. Make sure the griddle is very hot, then put the butter on. Use just enough so that the pancake doesn’t stick. Either a teaspoon or a tablespoon is fine.) Drop 1/4 cup of pancake batter on the griddle. Now let it set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crisp at the edges. If it is, flip the pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plate with a spatula.

Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, adding more butter to the griddle as needed and cooking several pancakes at a time. Serve immediately with ample butter and maple syrup.

Print RecipeBuy the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.


    • If desired, you can sprinkle 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen blueberries or a couple slices banana and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts onto the pancakes before turning them. Never add the fruit to the batter; always add the fruit to the pancakes once they’re on the griddle. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar for the blueberry pancakes, cinnamon sugar for the banana-walnut.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    These fluffy pancakes have a very light texture—almost like a regular cake. They’re soft, slightly sweet, and seem to rise a bit more than the common pancake. I didn’t try either of the optional fillings, instead using maple syrup and fresh butter. It was still quite nice! I got closer to thirty 3-inch pancakes, instead of twenty. I’m not sure why only 2 teaspoons butter are called for in the cooking part of the process, as all of the butter disappeared after the first few pancakes. But my griddle itself was seasoned, so sticking wasn’t a problem.

    I don’t know if it’s the 1 tablespoon baking powder or the whipped egg whites (or both), but these are the lightest and fluffiest pancakes I’ve had in a long time. They’re also full of flavor and have a good chew. This is more butter than I typically add to my pancake batter, but as a trade-off, I didn’t need to butter the finished pancakes. I made plain and banana-walnut pancakes, and both were great. I usually keep finished pancakes in the oven to keep them warm until we’re ready to eat, but these are best when eaten right off the griddle. If you can time them this way, I highly recommend it.


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    1. My mother always made pancakes this way, as do I, which is why I rarely order pancakes if eating out for breakfast or brunch. Sometimes I switch out some of the flour for cornmeal, and the pancakes are just as delicious. I’m getting hungry….

    2. My husband has made me promise that I will never try another pancake recipe after making this one. For me it wasn’t just the pancakes but the maple butter (recipe is in same book from Clinton St.) that was the clincher. I can’t remember the last time I shamelessly licked my plate clean, but that maple butter was heaven! =)

    3. My grandmother folded whipped egg whites into everything! Her cakes, pancakes and so on were so light. She even did that with her tapioca and rice puddings, making them much more appealing. I’ve lost her pancake recipe, but I will be happy to give this one a try to see if I can match Grandma’s. 😉

      My mother OTOH loved thick, heavy sourdough flapjacks. LOL! Go figure.

      1. Funny how people—mothers and daughters in particular—are often equally passionate and yet in exactly opposite ways, right, ruthie? I’ve used the whipped egg whites trick for years in pancakes and to me it makes all the difference, so I have to say, I’m squarely in your and your grandmother’s camp. My mom, on the other hand, swoons to thin Dutch baby-like cakes. Go figure!

    4. I made these this morning for brunch and we loved them! Worth the extra effort of whipping the egg whites and foldiing them in. We topped them with maple syrup and a mix of organic blueberries, blackberries, and sliced peaches. Yum! Yum!

    5. I love these pancakes!! They were light, airy, very cakelike!! Honestly I didn’t even want to add maple syrup to mine, they were good on their own. My family liked them as well!! Next time I am going to make these and maybe add some blueberries!! It will be amazing! Yum!

      1. Hera, so glad to hear that you had the same reaction that we did! And swell suggestion on the blueberries—my 11-year-old nephew will love that. Thanks for taking the time to drop us a note about your new tradition….

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