You just woke up and you are hungry. Wouldn’t a giant stack of warm, fluffy pancakes be the perfect breakfast? It definitely sounds amazing to me!
Yet making tall, fluffy pancakes can be tricky. Many pancake recipes fall flat, giving you more dense, heavy pancakes than you may like. I can help you get the fluffy pancakes that you want!
There are a few reasons why pancakes may not fluff and a few tricks that you can try to make your pancakes light and airy. Keep reading to find out how that dream breakfast can easily come to fruition.
Who Invented Pancakes?
Have you ever wondered who invented pancakes? How did this delicious breakfast tradition begin? You may be surprised to find out that pancakes have been around since the Stone Age. In fact, researchers have found evidence of pancakes from 5,300 years ago. Pretty incredible!
Pancakes really took off in ancient Greece and Rome where they were made using wheat flour, honey, olive oil and curdled milk. But the pancakes we know and love today really became a breakfast staple in the early 19th century.
Thomas Jefferson loved pancakes so much that he brought his home town recipe to the White House where the official chef made them frequently.
As you can see, pancakes have been around pretty much forever. There is even an official Pancake Day! Almost every country in the world has their own version of this delicious food but what you probably want to know is how to make your standard, amazing, tasty, breakfast pancakes nice and fluffy.
So let’s dive into that!
Pancake Recipe Ingredients
Most breakfast pancakes have the same main ingredients. While there may be an extra dash of cinnamon or a splash of vanilla extract in certain recipes, most pancake recipes are made using:
- Baking powder
- Butter or oil
The quantities of these ingredients will vary depending on your specific pancake recipe. The ingredients may also be slightly different depending on the recipe that you are using. For example, sugar may be replaced with honey, maple syrup or not used at all!
Milk may be in the form of almond milk, whole milk or, in really rich recipes, you might use heavy cream in place of milk. Flour in pancake recipes could be whole wheat flour, almond flour or just regular white flour.
You may even make your breakfast pancakes using premade pancake mix, making it even easier to whip up a delicious morning meal.
However, no matter your recipe, the essential ingredients used to make pancakes pretty much stay the same.
How to Make Pancakes
There are two main methods that pancake recipes use. The first method of making pancakes is simply to mix the wet ingredients together and then mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
The two are then whisked together into a smooth batter which is poured into a hot skillet to cook. This way of making pancakes is simple and easy for sure!
The second method that is often used to make pancakes involves whipping the egg whites in a separate bowl to stiff peaks. The remaining wet and dry ingredients are whisked together and then the fluffy egg whites are folded into the pancake batter.
The batter is then scooped into the hot skillet and cooked into beautiful pancakes. Now, can you guess which method makes pancakes that are more light and fluffy? I bet you can…
How to Make Fluffy Pancakes
There are a few main ways to ensure that your pancakes come out super light and fluffy. Take a look at all the tricks and see which method will work best with your specific recipe.
You should be able to tweak your favorite pancake recipe to make the pancakes light and fluffy with very little effort!
1 – Separate The Eggs
One of the best ways to make very light and fluffy pancakes is to separate your eggs and whip the egg whites to stiff peaks before folding them back into the pancake batter. Whipping the egg whites adds a lot of air to the batter and, the lighter the batter, the lighter the pancakes.
When you pour the fluffy, whipped egg batter into the hot saute pan, the eggs will rise up even more as the air trapped inside the batter expands. Making pancakes using this method will give you some of the tallest, fluffiest pancake you have ever seen! They may even be too fluffy…
You can adapt any pancake recipe to use this whipped egg method. Simply separate the eggs and mi the yolks in with the wet ingredients. Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until they are stiff.
Very gently fold the whipped whites into the batter and then cook as directed. You will be very happy with the results!
2 – Do Not Overmix
Mixing your batter too much is one of the main reasons why pancakes become dense and rubbery rather than light and fluffy. The reason for this is gluten! Gluten is found in flour which, as you know, is one of the main ingredients in pancakes.
The more you mix, the more the gluten develops which equates to a sticky, hard batter. The key is to not let the gluten form and get so strong!
Mix your pancake batter until there are just a few small lumps. Don’t go crazy trying to eliminate all the lumps- there will always be a few! And overmixing in order to make the batter perfectly smooth will just cause the pancakes to be dense.
Mix the batter well, but stop once it is fairly smooth.
3 – Let the Batter Sit
Lots of pancake recipes say to let your batter sit and “rest” after it has been thoroughly mixed. The reason for this is to give the flour time to absorb the wet ingredients.
When the flour has time to sit and soak up moisture, it will get softer, giving your pancakes a beautiful texture. That means a lighter pancake for you!
Once you are done mixing the batter, let it sit for at least 10 minutes. You can even make the pancake batter the night before, cover it and store it in the fridge until the next morning.
Not only will you have perfect pancake batter ready to go, but you will also have a batter that will make soft and fluffy pancakes! It is a win win.
4 – Wait for the Bubbles
You likely want your pancakes to be a perfect golden brown but how can you make sure your pancakes are that beautiful color when you can’t see what is going on in the pan?
Who knows what the bottom of the pancake looks like as it is cooking! The trick is to wait for the bubbles to form in the pancake batter.
After you pour the batter into the hot skillet, don’t touch the pancake at all, just let it cook. After about 2 minutes bubbles will start to appear in the wet batter. These bubbles indicate that the pancake is cooking and that it is firm enough to be flipped.
Flip your pancake too early and you will lose those air bubbles which make the pancake fluffy. Flip the pancake too late and you may have a burned breakfast on your hands. Once you see bubbles all over the pancake, flip it!
5 – Flip and Stop
Once you have flipped your pancake once, you do not want to flip it again. Flipping the pancake multiple times will push out trapped air inside the pancake, causing it to fall flat.
When you flip the pancake just once, the air will stay inside and make sure that your pancake is light and fluffy.
So, once again, when you see air bubbles forming in your pancake batter, flip the pancake and wait a few more minutes before mixing it to the plate. The more pancakes you make, the better you will get at knowing exactly when to make that first flip!
6 – Measure your Leaveners
Whether your pancake recipe calls for baking soda or baking powder, you want to be sure to measure it correctly, giving your batter the chemical boost it needs.
Both baking powder and baking soda will be the main leaveners in your pancake batter and what pushes the batter upwards as it cooks. You want to make sure you have enough leavener in your batter to make nice, fluffy pancakes so use exactly what is called for in your recipe.
Keep in mind that baking powder and baking soda are different with baking soda being three times stronger than baking powder. However, you don’t want to just mix in more leavener in order to make your pancakes even fluffier.
Adding too much baking powder or baking soda will make your pancakes not so tasty. Only add what you need and just be sure to measure it correctly!
Follow these tips and tricks and you are sure to get the light, fluffy, delicious pancakes that you want. There is no better breakfast to have in the morning and, when you master the fluffy pancake, you will be excited to wake up every morning and start your day! It really is the best dessert.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.