I want you to know that these took me a while—like 24 test batches, and also years of making subpar pancakes and wondering if there was something wrong with me or if I should give in to a lifetime of Bisquick.
How difficult could pancakes from scratch possibly be? Well, not difficult at all, it turns out. I just had to stop nitpicking and get out of my own damn way. Very good, very easy Buttermilk Pancakes happen when I stop nitpicking and get out of my own damn way.These Buttermilk Pancakes are on the thick and fluffy side of things—perfect for piling high with butter and maple syrup. They are so soft and tender that I can’t get enough, which is a very good thing considering that I have 24 batches-worth triple-wrapped in plastic and stacked into columns in my freezer. I’d invite you all over for pancakes and Sahadi coffee if inviting blog friends over to eat reheated leftovers weren’t extra weird. Also, the whole pandemic thing.Anyway…I didn’t reinvent the wheel here. Flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, salt, buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla—those are the ingredients you’ll find in most buttermilk pancakes, including mine. You’ll notice that the volume of wet ingredients far surpasses the dry, so these are fluffy but not heavy or rubbery.I don’t have any magical tips for you except to rest the batter for a few minutes (it will change dramatically as the gluten develops), make sure your surface isn’t too hot, and don’t cook your batter in too much fat. That last bit of advice seems to be the secret to evenly-browned pancakes, at least when it comes to this recipe. I brush the pan with oil and then wipe out any excess with a paper towel before pouring batter.These are buttermilk pancakes, so I tested them primarily with full- and low-fat buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use a vinegar/lemon juice + milk substitute. Your pancakes will be a little thinner than mine, but they will still be delicious. I also had pancake success with a mixture of 1 cup sour cream and 1 cup milk. Yogurt and milk would probably work just fine, too. We’re making pancakes, not doing rocket science–work with what you have.
Oh, and don’t worry about whisking out every last lump in your batter. In fact, you absolutely shouldn’t do that. Normally we’d want those bits of unincorporated flour and leaveners gone, but here they keep the gluten from overdeveloping and the baking powder and soda from all reacting at once. All of that is a very long way of saying that a few lumps keep our pancakes tender and fluffy instead of tough and chewy.You may think this batter is particularly thick, or at least I do (maybe from my lifetime of Bisquick?), but it’s still pourable. I find that rotating my wrist/the measuring cup 90 degrees while pouring batter onto the pan helps to develop a good round shape…not that I’ve ever discriminated against a pancake based on its shape. Pancake positivity all the way.As for when to make and eat Buttermilk Pancakes, I know the weekend is traditional, but days are just days now, and there’s never really a bad time for pancakes, now is there? Maybe, just this once, be like me–Stop nitpicking and get out of your own damn way. Very good, very easy pancakes happen when you stop nitpicking and get out of your own damn way.
makes about 18 pancakes
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature*
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, cold or room temperature (both work)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola or vegetable oil, for cooking
pats of butter
Preheat oven to 200F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until no streaks of flour remain—there will still be some lumps. Let batter rest 5-10 minutes.
Heat your griddle or pan (I used anodized non-stick and cast iron) over medium heat for a few minutes, until heated through. Brush with oil (or grease lightly), then wipe excess out with a folded paper towel or dish towel.
Stir rested batter one or two strokes. Pour 1/4 cup increments of batter on greased pan. Let cook 2-3 minutes, until bubbles are forming and they are turning golden. Flip with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes, or until the bottom is turning golden. Remove to prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until serving.
Continue making pancakes with remaining batter, greasing the pan only as necessary.
Serve immediately with pats of butter and maple syrup.
Leftover pancakes may be stacked in threes, triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for a couple of months. Discard plastic and microwave 2.5 to 3 minutes before serving.
I take the chill off my buttermilk by microwaving it for 35-45 seconds and giving it a stir with a fork before using.