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

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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. Do you think the results would be the same if I omitted the salt or at least cut it down to a 1/4 teaspoon? I’m on a salt restricted diet. I will try it and report back.

      1. Hi Nikki, salt acts as a flavor boosters, so the flavor might be a tiny bit muted. But if you’re on a salt-restricted diet, that comes first. Do let us know what you think.

        1. David,

          I made the pancakes yesterday and they were delicious! I made a few changes though. When recipes call for sugar I like to use honey instead because of its better nutritional profile, I added about a cup of malt powder and I used some buttermilk that I had to use up before it spoiled, I had to use a little bit more of the buttermilk to make up for the extra cup of malt. I did not add any salt since the malt and the buttermilk has enough sodium as it is and the omission of the salt did not affect the flavor because the vanilla and honey gave it a good flavor. I usually use extra virgin coconut oil in place of butter to eliminate the cholesterol but I used the butter for this batch. This is the first time I have ever whipped the egg whites and it really made a difference in the fluffiness of the pancakes so I will be doing that from now on.

    2. These look excellent. I am always looking for a better pancake recipe. I will try these and see how I like them. Normally, even with whipping egg whites and folding them in, my pancakes come out pretty flat. I hope these are really light and fluffy.

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