Recipes

tall, fluffy buttermilk pancakes

About a year ago, over a series of weekends I was up too early anyway, I went on a buttermilk pancake-making bender. I tried, well, not all, but several of the recipes I always read about, the loftys and the fluffys and the best-evers. I used, in turn, cornstarch and vinegar and unseemly amounts of butter, I separated egg whites, I rested batters, and every single one of these pancakes was consumed by happy children but not a-one of them stayed as tall as they left the pan for more than a few minutes and I was gravely disappointed. It was very possibly user error; all pancakes were made before 8:30 a.m. on weekends, pre-coffee. Regardless, I tabled it and moved on.

a one-egg batch, hereone bowldolloped in, not pouredtall tall taller

Recently, in an attempt to extract myself from the 1008-page book I began in the fall and needed to accept I was probably never going to cross the halfway point of, I read Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. I honestly didn’t know the narrator was a food writer going into it but this made it even more delightful.* (I promise, I’m getting somewhere with this.) In some passage that I now cannot find, she essentially says that there are very few truly new recipes, that most things have been made well before, and this led me to send my kid to take down the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook and look up her pancake recipe. “It’s not in here.” “Yes, it is. Look in the index.” [I think library science lessons are a small price to pay for pancakes, don’t you?] “I did, there are no pancakes.” But I knew there were pancakes in there and grabbed the book from him and hrm, he was totally right, there were no “pancakes,” but there were many recipes for “griddle cakes.”


tall fluffy buttermilk pancakes

And so we made the buttermilk pancakes griddle cakes and guess what? They were tall and fluffy and stayed that way indefinitely; they were good an hour later from a warm oven, the leftovers were good microwaved on a school morning, and they were good cold schmeared with a little jam. They’re thick enough that you could add blueberries or other chunks of fruit or chocolate chips to them and they won’t fall to mush. There’s no cornstarch in there, no vinegar, only a moderate amount of butter and, here’s the best part, no separated eggs. Nobody should ever have to separate eggs before 9 a.m. on a weekend.

tall fluffy buttermilk pancakes

If you’ve thus far been enamored, understandably, with oatmeal or strawberry-cornmeal or lemon-ricotta or old-school cottage cheese pancakes, I do not expect these to replace them in your life. But if you’re looking for a classic, tall, fluffy, no-nonsense, one-bowl weekend pancake, do know that these are so simple, you can make them half-asleep; I know because I usually do.

tall fluffy buttermilk pancakes

* especially tangents like this sidebar about “serious food people” and their gushing over how creative cooking is:

[This] also misses the whole point of cooking, which is that is totally mindless. What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure.

Previously

One year ago: Failproof Crepes + A Crepe Party and Crispy Tortellini with Peas and Proscuitto
Two years ago: Not Derby Pie Bars and Liege Waffles
Three years ago: Blue Sky Bran Muffins and Fresh Spinach Pasta
Four years ago: Essential Raised Waffles
Five years ago: Bacon, Egg, and Leek Risotto
Six years ago: Ribboned Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Creme Brulee French Toasts
Seven years ago: Creamed Chard and Spring Onions and Avocado Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
Eight years ago: Ranch Rugelach and Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels
Nine years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and Cauliflower Bean and Feta Salad
Ten years ago: Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Apple Strudel and Root Vegetable Gratin
1.5 Years Ago: Chocolate Peanut and Pretzel Brittle and Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
2.5 Years Ago: Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar and Smoked Whitefish Dip with Horseradish
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach and Egg Pizzettes and Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
4.5 Years Ago: Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones and Apple Cider Caramels

Tall Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe makes 14 quite-tiny (2 to 3-inch) pancakes. You should absolutely double it; I’m only not doing it preemptively because this amount works well for us (we adults usually try to eat more fruit than pancakes, heh). I find small pancakes easier to flip and the portions seem more fitting for small kids who still want a “stack.” I usually make this with buttermilk but if you only have yogurt, for a thick, plain one, use 1/2 cup and thin it with 3 tablespoons of milk.

Because buttermilk varies a lot in thickness, I give a range here for the correct amount. The one I use is very thick and I almost always need the full amount. Look for a batter thick enough that you have to push it off the spoon with your finger, or that doesn’t puddle out much when it hits the pan.

  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 225 degrees F and place a large baking sheet inside.

Melt butter halfway in the bottom of a large bowl then whisk in sugar. This should leave the mixture lukewarm, not piping hot, but if it still is, let it cool slightly before adding the egg. Whisk in egg and vanilla, then 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk. Whisk in salt and baking soda until fully combined, scrape down bowl, then stir in flour until it just disappears. You’re looking for a thick mixture, more like a very soft cookie dough than a pourable batter, but if it’s very stiff, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of the remaining buttermilk and stir until combined.

Heat griddle or frying pan over medium. Once hot, add a good pat of butter (please don’t skimp; butter makes crispy edges) and dollop in small mounds of pancake batter — I find a #40 or 1.5 tablespoon scoop to make this even easier and neater. Try to resist the urge to press the mounds into flat puddles; a little nudge is okay but we’d much rather keep the height here. Once bubbles form on top, lift a corner of each pancake and check for it to be lightly browned before flipping it.

At this point, I like to reduce the heat to medium-low for the remainder of the cooking time. I’d rather the pancakes take a minute longer than singe dark as soon as they hit the pan, but your stove will vary.

Once pancakes are golden brown on the second side, and do not worry if the tall sides look raw, this is completely expected, just transfer them to heated oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Tall, thick pancakes like this almost always hide pockets of uncooked batter; 5 minutes in the oven will fix this. You can leave them in the oven for much longer, however, if you now wish to rinse berries and make coffee (which of course you do).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

203 comments on tall, fluffy buttermilk pancakes

    1. deb

      I haven’t made this specific recipe with whole wheat because it turns out I have no aspirations toward my or anyone else’s healthfulness before 9am on weekends. However, I usually start with a 50% swap and might go up to 2/3 if using white whole wheat flour.

    2. Bridgit

      I had to read this article before going to bed last night, and my husband says, “nut I really like the whole wheat flour recipe from Cook’s illustrated.” Sure enough, the ratios are VERY similar. In a triple batch we use 2 1/2c white wwf and 1/2 c almond meal. The recipe has a little higher milk ratio. Makes a great pancake, not as fluffy as Deb’s, but still very good.

    3. Jess.

      My favorite buttermilk pancake recipe (haven’t tried these yet) uses 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 cake flour, and they are dreamy. xox

    1. Wife To An Amazing Cook

      Thank you so much for those links. I had not heard of the HACP until now and I can’t wait to explore the website (after I look at the Fanny Farmer pdf, of course!).

      1. Susie

        Enjoy! There’s lots there, including classic housekeeping manuals and domestic medicine books as well as cookbooks.

    2. Thanks! I love the very idea of an Historic American Cookbook Project and the fact that the books are page replicates makes it all the better. I’ll dive in this weekend after a breakfast of tall buttermilk griddlecakes.

    3. I have the 1912 edition; it was passed down from my grandma through my mom. The description of a formal 12-course dinner is mind boggling!

      1. Jess.

        Have you watched “Fannie’s Last Supper” on Netflix? They recreated the 12-course meal from the 1896 cookbook, wood stove in a Boston brownstone and everything. Fascinating.

    4. Sue

      That is fascinating. I love on page 72 (image 103) someone’s hand-written changes to the Twin Mountain Muffins recipe.

  1. Kevin Kelsey

    It took me 30 years to read a book once. Similar topic to yours, very depressing but I stuck with it. One of my proudest achievements so far.

    1. deb

      I thought they were delicious. I was really bent on making them with yogurt, tbh, and did test them with it. I know most people keep yogurt around in the year 2017 and not buttermilk. But I couldn’t avoid the truth: they were much more delicious with buttermilk, just in flavor. So, if you’ve got good buttermilk, promise to use all the butter and salt, I think you’ll like them too.

  2. heatherlhr

    Deb, I need a recipe for a single pancake. My 4 year old loves pancakes but isn’t a big eater and I HATE them. His father is ambivalent. I’ve been working on some Frankenstein recipe with baking mix and oil instead of eggs. Some days it goes ok but the last few times I made them, they were vile and I was ashamed that I gave them to my kid. Can you please help? I just need something easy and toddler approved. I appreciate the care you take with your recipes. Thank you for working so hard!

    1. Jas

      I don’t know about this particular recipe, but I usually make more pancakes than needed and freeze the leftovers. They’re good for a couple of weeks, at least. I reheat either in a microwave or a 350 degrees oven.

      1. Jilly

        Same! We always make extra and freeze the leftovers for school lunches or very lazy mornings. If you remember to thaw them the night before, they reheat very well in the toaster (um, unplug if before you fish it out, if it’s too small to grab when it pops up).

    2. Chelsea

      Stick the leftovers in the freezer, take them out one by one and microwave for 15-30 seconds. I find these taste just as good, and are so, so much less work.

    3. Lisanne

      The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook (1997, edited by Michael Bauer and Fran Irwin) https://www.amazon.com/San-Francisco-Chronicle-Cookbook/dp/0811814459 has recipes for baking mixes developed by Sharon Cadwallader. You can make the mixes then follow the recipes for a much smaller batch. It would be hard to develop a recipe for a “single” pancake because you’d be talking about such miniscule amounts of baking powder! You may be a able to find recipes for baking mixes online too. You can store the mix then make a very small fresh batch whenever you want.

    4. Virginia

      You can make a full batch and simply freeze the leftover pancakes in singles between wax paper. Toast or microwave to thaw. Easy peasy on a busy weekday morning.

  3. Aarthi

    Would a half whole wheat sub work here with the extra buttermilk? I have stuck by your original pancake recipe subbing whole wheat flour for half or all of the flour . it gets flat and falls apart and is a pain to flip but I love your recipes so It has to be me:)

      1. Aarthi

        Thanks Deb, I tried a 2/3 swap with white whole wheat and while they were wheaty tasting of course they were much easier to flip. My husband loved these as well and it was much faster to make as they were itty bitty and I could fit in more in a pan.

    1. Em

      White flour is more glutinous than whole wheat, hence the difficulty flipping with WW flour. Pancakes with gluten free flour are also a pain! With WW flour I’d recommend mixing it well and making sure it’s cooked almost all the way through before you flip it.

    2. Bridgit

      Below is the comment above, but didn’t mention the fact that we really whisk the batter: it would be over whisking with AP flour, but no prob w/ whole wheat.
      I had to read this article before going to bed last night, and my husband says, “but I really like the whole wheat flour recipe from Cook’s illustrated.” Sure enough, the ratios are VERY similar. In a triple batch we use 2 1/2c white wwf and 1/2 c almond meal. The recipe has a little higher milk ratio. Makes a great pancake, not as fluffy as Deb’s, but still very good.

      1. Aarthi

        Thank you! That is a similar ratio I used but failed, so I will try whisking really well. I do up the buttermilk slightly as whole wheat tends to absorb more liquid.

  4. Loving the look of these griddle/pan cakes! Does the FF Cookbook ever fail anyone? I remember you asking for pancake recipe recs a while back (maybe a year; maybe a few months – IDK, time flies so fast!) – did you end up trying Cook’s Illustrated’s Light & Fluffy version in your newest pancake quest? They’re as straightforward as this recipe (no egg separating, no fussy ingredients) but I also add a few quick grates of lemon zest which puts them over the top, especially with blueberries packed inside. Regardless, since I’m no pancake snob, I’m definitely looking forward to trying this recipe out this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

    1. deb

      I don’t remember! Ugh, I tried so many and with each, I just found myself more annoyed. They all tasted good but the ones that achieved height didn’t keep it. And ugh, so much egg separation. I don’t think that pancakes must be tall or anything, but I think they should be if they say they are.

      1. Julia

        I also really love the CI “Light and Fluffy Pancakes” recipe. It does actually stipulate that you separate the eggs BUT you don’t whip the egg whites so in practice it is no big deal. You stir the yolks in with the melted butter, and the whites into the rest of the liquid (you can directly separate the eggs into these mixes). I think pre-mixing the yolks with the butter is what may give these pancakes a really wonderful texture, moist and light with a bit of chew that is in no way tough. As Bridgit noted, they aren’t quite as tall as yours, Deb, probably due to the higher liquid:flour ratio, but they still have some loft to them.

  5. Agustin

    “What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure.” I love how this idea also made its way into “Julie & Julia.”

  6. washi

    This is essentially the recipe I have used for years with the addition of half as much baking powder along with the baking soda. And since I have big hulking teens, my version is quadrupled. We love it with all the varations, especially with an apple slice cored and sliced into rings placed on the griddle first.

    You’ve not mentioned the most critical hint for lofty pancakes, and that is to NOT stir the batter after mixing. It is hard to resist giving the waiting bowl a quick stir, and you’ll need to defend the batter from helpful hands. Scooping up the batter with the bubbles formed from the interaction of buttermilk and baking soda intact, and transfer that lightness to the griddle. Your pancakes will thank you.

    1. sparkgrrl658

      i love the apple idea!

      my go-to recipe also involves baking powder and leaving the batter alone. lumps are fine, bubbles are necessary :)

  7. osugirl

    I absolutely love the “tallness” of these griddle cakes! If I’m awake early enough on a weekend to bang out a batch of pancakes, fluffy is what I’m after. Would these still be “fluffy” if I used a gluten-free flour?

    1. rhimi

      My rule of thumb is a third less flour when using gf flour as it absorbs more liquid. I’ve done do dozens and dozens of times with the standard fanny farmer griddle cake, a pinch of xantham gum if you have it also helps with replicating the gluten versions texture. If you substitute the same volume you’re asking for gritty lumpen things.

    2. jeanne marie

      my boyfriend made these for us with gluten free flour and they came out wonderful as is! although i think he might have swapped baking powder for baking soda so maybe i should not be using our experience as an example…

  8. Mariana

    Maybe, just maybe, this will end the craze in my house with my 6 and 9 year old boys proclaiming they don’t like my pancakes because they are not “Sash’s grandma’s pancakes.” (Which they tried once when they were 4 and 7 years old, 1500 miles away from home, and hold to highest gold standard of any food item they have consumed in their entire lives). I can cook a mean meal. Just not “Sash’s grandma’s pancakes”, I guess. Thanks for the inspiration to never giving up!

  9. SallyT

    These look great – I’ll try them this week. We always makes the Cooks’ Illustrated Light and Fluffy pancakes, which are somewhat similar to these. THANKS!

  10. JP

    Fortuitous! I just finished listening to “Heartburn” yesterday (long commute = audio books) and am so in love with it that I vow to make these pancakes as soon as I can, given that story helped inspire you towards old school recipes.

  11. This recipe seems so normal; I was expecting some secret ingredient to get such awesomely tall pancakes. Is it the smaller size?
    I am one of those weirdos who actually likes those pockets of uncooked batter.

  12. Wendy

    Did you try the Marion Cunningham Breakfast Book buttermilk pancakes in your series of experiments? I myself have tried many, many recipes for buttermilk pancakes — maybe even some of the ones you tried, and I may well try yours, too — but I always return to Marion.

  13. oh! So many things to love about this post! I was braced for a complicated tricksy pancake recipe, but thank you: this is very similar to what I have made every Saturday morning for YEARS. I always use some combo of cornmeal, ww flour, and white.

    This morning I made a sourdough oven pancake that was surprisingly good. Going to blog that one sometime. Sort of a cross between a Dutch baby and regular griddle cakes – and fluffy.

    Also, Nora Ephron is such a treat to read! And I listened to her read one of her books on tape – I think it was I Feel Funny About My Neck and that was funny, poignant, and straight-shooting.

  14. Marla

    My recently deceased husband was crowned King of Pancakes by grandchildren, church families and friends. Everyone was concerned about the future of pancakes after he was gone. Unbeknowns to all, he tweaked MY recipe and I knew his secret! Double the eggs, add vanilla, and sour cream instead of buttermilk. I made them recently and got rave reviews.

  15. Lizzie

    So, these look awesome and I’m sure I will make them this weekend or next. But, I’m here to bug you for being such a tease about your next cookbook! I keep checking back here anxiously awaiting some kind of announcement about it. So, consider this a request for some kind of update which I know is probably in the works, I’m just very eager & impatient :)

    1. deb

      I’m sorry for being such a tease; everything is really taking that long. But the wait is almost up — I hope to have more to share next week! (Eee!)

    1. deb

      Those are my previous go-to and they’re really delicious. They’re not usually tall. I think most people (from the comments) find them more difficult because there’s so much liquid, they spill out at lot and are harder to flip. I grew up making pancakes that way (we used the Joy of Cooking recipe) so it doesn’t bother me. So, if that’s your favorite, stick with them. For these, I was interested in achieving the tall/lofty promise I hadn’t found in other recipes.

  16. Elizabeth

    BRB crying over how much I f-ing love Nora Ephron. She was married to Bernstein (of Woodward and) and used to tell people who Deep Throat was as party gossip. What a broad.

    1. deb

      It does two things: ensures you don’t have to overcook the top and bottom to get the center to set, always a problem with thicker pancakes, and it gives you a totally relaxed schedule so the first ones aren’t cold before the last ones are done. Plus, I mean, I don’t usually set the table and make the coffee and then make pancakes; I usually make them and then scramble to do everything else. Perhaps others think ahead better, but I’m happy to have them hanging out in the oven until I’m ready to sit down.

      1. That does make sense. For me, whenever I’m making pancakes, my kids run to the table before the first round is even out of the pan or stand next to me at the counter asking if they’re ready yet. Now, assuming I could distract them in another room and want to make a double batch, could they be stacked a little in the oven, or would they not finish baking properly that way?

        1. sparkgrrl658

          as someone who makes a similar recipe and puts mine in the oven (because it’s just me & my partner), layering them a bit won’t hurt them – i put mine on a foiled half sheet pan – but it will erase the crisp outside layer so i try not to. (and if i do, those are the ones that get put in the fridge as leftovers.)

            1. deb

              I want to hear about this! My janky oven definitely does not. But it sounds just fine for this — do you know what temperature it keeps?

  17. Leanne

    These look like the pikelets my Nana made. I’ll have to check the recipe although I am fairly sure there’s no buttermilk in them. She made them for “tea”, and they were served cold and we added butter and jam.

  18. JP

    Have you ever tried using dry shelf stable buttermilk in a recipe like this? It usually works, but sometimes the water portion needs to be cut back. Just wondering because it is onerous to try to keep fresh buttermilk on hand at my house. The fluffiest recipe for pancakes (and tiny ones too) that I have ever tried was Chris Kimball’s cloud cakes. They use a lot of sour cream. Really tasty, but I would happily try yours next. Pancakes are so simple but so yummy. I love a recipe that comes straight from my cupboards, no crazy grocery store rush for the ingredients. Thanks!

    1. deb

      I have and I agree about the water. The stuff I have from Bob’s Red Mill has a delightful buttery flavor I like but it is, to me, quite a bit less tangy. I suppose no harm in adding 1/2 teaspoon vinegar.

    2. Rachel Klein

      I was going to ask this same question. Wondering if you’ve tried it yet, Deb or JP? I have the Bob’s Red Mill at home also. Pancakes in my house are an impulse treat so I can’t be counted on to have buttermilk in the house. Then again, Deb, any thoughts on freezing buttermilk?

  19. Kathe Warden

    I absolutely love Fannin Farmer, she is always my go to cook book for traditional baking and cooking and have never been let down.

  20. Trish

    Totally delicious! Wonderful recipe, easy to make and so little of each ingredient. You’re right about doubling the quantity but I’m glad I didn’t otherwise my husband would have eaten the lot in one go!
    I wonder if this recipe would be good in a waffle iron? Mmm, might try that next.

  21. The pinched nerve in my neck made even the simplest dinner seem almost beyond reach today, and while sitting and trying to work up the energy to make *something* I was reading your site and lo and behold, there was the answer! What is easy to make before 8:30am is also easy to make when you can barely turn your head, so thank you so much for that. It kind of pains me to admit that these weren’t my favorite pancake, though. It’s not a criticism of your recipe because it was perfectly lovely–I just thought they were kind of lean. I also found that because of the thickness, they got kind of tough on the outside by the time they were fully cooked inside. They are so easy to make, though, that I have no doubt I’ll be experimenting to see if I can make them a little more to our tastes. But seriously, thank you for giving me an easy out for dinner tonight!

  22. Beth

    Deb, this is amazing. I grew up with the Fanny Farmer Boston Cooking school cookbook from 1939-ish. When my mother’s copy disintegrated about 20 years ago, I found two more copies on eBay – same edition. There are several recipes in there hat are just…perfect. These pancakes, the regular pancakes, several of the sauces, popovers, Yorkshire pudding, and the BREAD PUDDING. Try the bread pudding. It’s sublime.

  23. kathy w

    Deb: You should give up on that book; life is too short. I clicked on the Amazon link and read this review:

    ByJayon May 11, 2017
    Tried reading the actual book. Dry, dry, reading. Like an encyclopedia or worse. Then downloaded the Audible book to see if that might be better. Even worse. The narrator is incredibly bland and boring. Got only about 25% through before I couldn’t take anymore of why Hitler was the way he was. Sacve yourself and don’t bother with this book.

  24. martina

    These look delicious! One small school morning trick that I’ve figured out this year with a kindergartner: microwave the frozen pancakes for 30-40 seconds and then stick them straight into the toaster! They seriously taste so close to freshly made without, you know, being freshly made. It even works with french toast and waffles (although you need to watch those to prevent burning).

  25. Rena

    This has been my favorite recipe for years. (its the best thing in the Fanny Farmer Cookbook). They reheat nicely in a cast iron skillet and are also great with a 1/4 cup of oatmeal swapped for some of the flour.

  26. HI Deb, long time reader of your inspiring blog, first time to comment.

    First the nerdiest of questions: what exactly is it about this recipe that makes them so tall and fluffy and remain that way? Is it the ratio of flour to liquid? This recipe uses one cup flour and half a cup liquid, but your previous recipe (blueberry pancakes from Martha) 2 cups flour and 3 cups buttermilk….so I guess a thicker batter, but the pancakes themselves don’t look dense.

    I’ve made all your pancake recipes, most recently last weekend using 50% spelt flour purely for taste and not some erroneous health reason, with bananas and then a second batch with coconut milk because we ran out of pancakes and hence buttermilk! Too delicious they were! I have found to date that only whipping up the egg whites produces tall fluffiness. I will try these this weekend. My kids love pancakes but my 2yr old daughter insists on having ketchup with hers. She doesn’t appreciate the pleasure that is Maple Syrup!

    1. deb

      Thank you. My hunch: a slightly higher proportion of flour. However, not unlike what I think of as the muffin “problem” — thicker batters have taller, more gorgeous domes but are more dry — I’d expected it to be a problem here too but instead, I find them fluffy and moist inside, and not very eggy, either. [P.S. My son is a ketchup junkie. I totally had this coming, of course.]

  27. Lucia Pelayo

    Excellent recipe. I especially appreciated the tip on using yogurt as my buttermilk stash was quite low. I did have enough buttermilk to thin out the yogurt (rather than use the milk). Pancakes were fluffy and delicious. Thank you!

  28. Robin Fordham

    My no fail buttermilk pancake recipe (pretty similar) when you *don’t have buttermilk on hand* (which I usually don’t) is Joy of Cooking, using whole milk and one teaspoon of white vinegar to “clabber” the milk (make sure you warm the milk up a tad, as it speeds the “clabber-ing” process). When I’m well stocked and feeling virtuous, I use whole wheat pastry flour and flax meal, and the pancakes are just as fluffy as ever. White flour and real buttermilk makes them even butter, but it’s great to have a non-buttermilk version to go to in a pinch (a nod to Molly Katzen for the faux-buttermilk hint). I’d love to know the food science behind this – something to do with the proteins I’m sure.

  29. sparkgrrl658

    hi deb, back when you were still searching i think i recommended the kitchn’s “lofty buttermilk pancakes” for you to try – i don’t expect you to remember or to have tried it*, just wondering that if that was one of the recipes you tested, how did it compare to this one? what about this one do you like better?

    i do a half recipe with no butter in the batter (one less step and really not necessary since i cook them in butter and then we put more butter on at the table). a cup of plain yogurt thinned with a little milk is our favorite but buttermilk (or sour cream!) is very good too. the thicker the batter the thicker the pancake. you do have to separate an egg, but i just put the egg white in the already dirty 1/4 cup measure and you simply stir it in at the end, no need to be beating egg whites or anything. very similar – 1T sugar, 1 large egg, 1c buttermilk (or 1/2c yogurt or sour cream + milk), 1/2t salt, 1/2t baking soda, 1/2t baking powder, 1 1/4 c flour. the notable difference is the baking powder, i think.

    (*not a “i’m mortally offended by this” comment, just a “reasonable human being” comment ;))

    1. deb

      In fact, sadly, that’s the one that set me off. They were very fluffy from the pan and totally collapsed by the time they were on a plate. It’s totally possible it was my own error. I did like that the egg at least didn’t need to be whipped. I made a few other that came highly recommended after that and found this problem a lot. Then I made these. Anyway, I love all these suggestions so please, keep them coming.

      1. sparkgrrl658

        thanks for replying, deb! (i’m still getting the hang of this “remember to check wordpress notifications again” thing, haha.)

        i am going to try yours this weekend and see how they compare to my edit of the kitchn’s recipe. yours look beautiful and i’ll take any extra streamlining i can get, no matter how small :)

  30. leighbelleking

    Gosh. I’ve been making my mother’s crumpets for years. That’s what we call them here in South Africa. The recipe is almost identical (except that it is already doubled). Only difference is that hers uses milk not buttermilk and baking powder not baking soda (quite a bit more). Next time I feel the urge, I’ll make your variation. We eat ‘healthier’ breakfasts generally, and these are a tea time treat. Great on a cold weekend afternoon (yes, it does get cold in Africa). Go Deb. Love your recipes.

    1. leighbelleking

      PS the recipe I have is probably 100 years old. And I cook them on what looks like a 100 year old cast iron griddle plate which I treasure.

    1. deb

      Absolutely. Someone above recommended defrosting them in the microwave, then putting them in the toaster to restore crisp, which sounds pretty great to me.

  31. Kate

    My grandkids will love these! Thank you for researching and for always bringing great food to the table and internet.

  32. Sarah Cruz

    I made these this morning and my husband and i loved them! Super fluffy and delicious! I cannot have dairy so made this with coconut milk (can only find powdered here in Ecuador) and added vinegar. I was worried because it was very runny but the batter ended up being thick like described and it worked perfectly. Will definitely make these again. Thanks Deb!

  33. Ellen

    Hi Deb,

    I’ll try these. You have a couple of typos in the text and recipe header:

    ‘led me to send my kid to take down the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook with and look up her pancake recipe.’ (‘with’ seems unnecessary.)

    ‘In find small pancakes easier to flip and the portions seem more fitting for small kids’ (Assume ‘In’ is meant to be ‘I’)

    Thanks

  34. pdub

    I saw just the title of this post and thought, I don’t want tall fluffy pancakes, that is just silly, maybe other people want tall fluffy pancakes but they are just not my thing. But by the end of reading the whole post I was convinced (as usual) that I must try them right away…

  35. walkirianubes

    Help! I don’t like yogurt and buttermilk is not that readily accessible here. If I do my own buttermilk with milk and lemon, would it work?

    1. deb

      Not sure where you are but other tangy dairy products (sour cream, creme fraiche, etc.) will work here too, just need a tiny bit of thinning with milk.

      1. walkirianubes

        I’m in the UK, I know you’ll think I’m being silly, but it’s a rural town where only old retired people live. So I have to travel a bit to find more “diverse” products (grumble). Wow sour cream? I wouldn’t have expected that something so savoury would work. I’m Mexican, so for me for cream belongs in the savoury category :P

  36. shloob

    This is such a good recipe!! I was trying to make a nice weekend breakfast for myself without making a trip to the grocery store and I made these pancakes work with a couple little swaps. I wouldn’t recommend my version over yours but it did work and save me some money and time! I used a combo of plain full fat greek yogurt and sour cream (trying to use up the sour cream) instead of buttermilk. The batter was a little too thick but it worked. Also I was out of eggs so I used a ground flaxseed sub. Lastly I cut the sugar to 1/2 tablespoon just out of personal aversion to added sugars. I’m only mentioning my changes so other people in my same position will know that they can make substitutions too! I served my pancakes with roasted strawberries and a blueberry lime compote! So perfect! I can’t wait to try these with actual buttermilk and egg!

  37. Sanda

    Hi Deb,

    Thanks as ever for your great recipes. This is my first time commenting but I have been a long-time follower. Is it possible to turn these pancakes into lemon ricotta pancakes by just adding the ricotta and lemon zest? Or would it destroy their fluffiness? Would it be best to do the lemon ricotta recipe instead? I’m trying to avoid the egg separating, fussiness, etc… but still enjoy the lemon ricotta part. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Ooh, good question. Replacing at least 1/2 cup of the buttermilk with ricotta and mixing lemon zest into the granulated sugar (rubbing it in bruises it, causes much better flavor release, I find; plus your hands smell fantastic) would definitely be how I do it. For the last 2 to 4 tablespoons liquid, buttermilk if you have it, milk if you do not. Let me know how it goes?

  38. Mel

    I cannot wait to make these this weekend. Also can I just say how much I love that your daughter has a tiny glass and a real plate and a real fork? It’s so refreshing!!!! (I dislike the whole kid+ plastic thing honestly).

    Thank you for your blog! I am always excited to see a new post and can’t tell you how many of your recipes I’ve made!!!

  39. Kacie

    I saw these on Instagram the other day and immediately wondered if the recipe would be similar to the one from Fannie Farmer (which I use any time I’m making small-batch), and lo, and behold! These are so versatile and delicious. My husband loves them so much he often doesn’t use syrup.

  40. Kathi

    I wanted to love these, but found them heavy and dry. I followed recipe exactly, used the extra buttermilk and put in oven for 5 minutes. They looked pretty but that was best I could say. Not a keeper for my family.

    1. Jess

      Same here. My husband made for Mother’s Day and they were more like biscuits. I could only eat two. He thought maybe they needed more buttermilk. The kids liked them, but adults thought they were too heavy and dense (the pancakes, not the kids!) for an adult palate. Oh well. I’m still and always a SK fan!

      1. Judy C

        I agree although must confess to loving the raw batter! I guess we just prefer a thinner pancake. The first thing I have ever made from this site that we did not love so we are still way ahead of the game… Thanks!

        1. deb

          It basically tastes like growing up to me, to be honest. But I don’t think readers here would let me get away with a recipe for raw-centered pancakes :)

        2. Natasha Walsh

          Same here! A bit dense but the flavor was amazing! I might try to find a way to thin them out-maybe more buttermilk?

  41. Judy

    Deb, I’ve followed you forever. I love your writing style, your observations of life & your recipes. You ROCK! Cheers & wild standing applause to ya!❤️
    Judy

  42. Linda O.

    It’s a rainy day in the NY tri-state area – the ideal morning to try these pancakes : ) I can attest that making the cakes with buttermilk powder (I used Saco brand) works just fine for those of us who don’t use a heck of a lot of fresh buttermilk. When combining the buttermilk powder and water I decreased the amount of water a bit, and I also took Deb’s advice to add vinegar (I tossed in 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar.) The result was a perfect buttermilk! Popping the finished pancakes in the oven helped set them and they were fully cooked in the middle. I’ve tried from-scratch buttermilk pancakes several times over the years and was always disappointed with the results. THIS IS A WINNER!

  43. Aimee

    These were delicious! Classic and yummy in every way. I had with some yummy salted butter and sliced bananas and it was great! (Not a syrup fan). Thanks for bringing back an oldie but goody!

  44. Sydney

    I made these for my fiancé and myself this morning and his first question was “how’d they get so fluffy?” Definitely a successful recipe (after many failed ones). Thanks!

  45. Kay

    I so love all your recipes……& this looks to be no exception. Have printed out….breakfast/brunch tomorrow! Can’t wait …….& of course being Mother’s Day look forward to that evening’s dinner!
    May I make a request…..? was going through some of your recipes & noticed your crepe recipe. We always have crepes for Mardi Gras…………but I love the savory ones….made w/ sarrasin (buckwheat) which are really called galettes in France. Would you please…..at your leisure bien sur!…..divulge a great recipe for them as well???
    Would soooo appreciate it! Merci!

  46. Made these this morning, and they were delicious, but cooked very unevenly in my cast iron skillet and were more biscuit-y than fluffy. Barely mixed the flour in to the batter… use a ton of butter in the skillet. Maybe next time I’ll try a bit more buttermilk. I have been following your blog for a while now & really enjoy it! Thank you so much.

  47. Isn’t Heartburn the most wonderful novel? One of the reasons I love your blog so much is that your writing reminds me of Nora’s, so thank you.

  48. Rose

    I made them this morning and indeed they turned out high and fluffy and didn’t take badly to bring left alone in the oven for a while. One question though: I wasn’t totally happy with the baking soda taste. Could I use baking powder instead do you think? Thanks! And double thanks for your blog — makes me smile with every post!

    1. deb

      The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons (yes really) baking powder and (non-butter) milk. The buttermilk variation calls for buttermilk instead and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. I actually made it both ways with buttermilk (I misread the first time) and both worked almost exactly the same. But I stuck with her baking soda recommendation when I wrote this. Long story short: try 2 teaspoons baking powder.

      1. Karen K

        The original recipe probably calls for baking powder rather than the double acting baking powder that is common now days.

  49. Sara

    Oh my, this is gorgeous. I made these pancakes today for my husband’s birthday and my goodness! I didn’t know what to expect, especially because the consistency felt a little firmer than usual pancake batter. I also was nervous about the height of the pancakes and the raw sides, but I let them cook in the butter and then popped them in the oven to finish cooking. They came out a little darker, I think my stove gets too hot, but still very delicious. The final consistency was more fluffy moist cake+biscuit less pancake, it’s hard to explain, but so so good. Thank you Deb! All your recipes are just fool-proof, I never comment but I’ve made dozens from your site and your book, and always fantastic, thank you!

  50. David

    We made these this morning with a yogurt and almond milk substitution as outlined in the notes. Thanks so much for putting in substitution suggestions like that! The pancakes turned out delicious, and I was impressed that a few minutes in the oven really did make sure they came out cooked all the way through. We served them with strawberries, powdered sugar, and maple syrup, and will definitely make them again whenever the day calls for pancakes!

  51. Chad

    One can never skip another recipe for griddle cakes. I’ve been hooked on sourdough so long that I am always glad to vary my morning.

  52. This is a fabulous, quick, easy recipe. I forgot the vanilla the first time and they still tasted delicious. I had to use lemon juice to make my buttermilk, but I think I’m gonna start keeping some on hand! ☺️

  53. Judy

    Just made these for breakfast this morning. Light and fluffy and just the right size! Leftovers are in the freezer for another time. This will be my recipe of choice from now on for pancakes. Sadly, I found some blueberries in the fridge when I was cleaning up….what a treat they would have been in these heavenly little cakes. Thanks, Deb, for another winner!

  54. I made these this morning with no eggs (I didn’t realize we had run out until it was too late), and they were still good! My husband, who’s father was a pastry chef in Sicily, said these came out very similar to Italian sweets that his father used to make. I added chopped almonds and sugar to the uncooked tops, which toasted nicely when flipped onto the cast iron skillet. Sunflower oil is a good substitute for butter in the pan.🙂❤ Thanks for the tip on that cookbook, I’m going to try out other recipes of hers, too!🤗

  55. Lynn

    I made these for dinner with bacon the other night, good, substantial and with added fruit and a little maple syrup…quite yummy.
    I used a cast iron pan to cook them in and I needed quickly to learn medium to low heat ( unless you like charred edges) finished in the oven.

  56. MK Sizemore

    My sister taught me always to double the eggs in pancakes. You really can’t taste any difference but it’s a way to tuck a little extra protein in — important especially for little ones at the boa constrictor stage of eating (one good meal every two or three days).

  57. Anna

    I’m laughing that some thought these were heavy… I doubled the recipe and in a house with two hungry boys (one teen and one pre-teen) they (plus a pound of bacon) were gone in an instant. Declared better than standard Mark Bittman recipe. thanks Deb!!

  58. Julia

    An unspiced version of the sour cream pancakes from your cookbook as become my go-to basic pancake recipe. I’ve also subbed out the sour cream for a lesser volume of buttermilk successfully. How does the texture and flavour of these compare? Would they stand up to the upside-down cake treatment?

    1. deb

      I love those too! They’re less tall than these but they have a decent thickness. I usually make them with fruit though so cannot make an exact comparison.

  59. Sophie

    These tasted really good though did not rise as much as in Deb’s picture. My buttermilk was from Trader Joe’s so not that thick. And taking a tip from one of the reviewers, I added an extra egg, and from another reviewer, added blueberries. Using the #40 scoop, I got 10 pancakes, which was perfect for 2 people. Because the pancakes weren’t that thick, they cooked through on the skillet; I kept them warm in the oven while I made more. For the 2nd batch, I added another pat of butter to the skillet. But what I liked best about this recipe was the one-bowl mixing method – so easy, so good.

  60. Michelle

    These were delicious! I switched the flour to plain gluten free flour and added a little extra butter milk. At least I think I added a little extra buttermilk as I’m in the UK and have to translate cups into English currency so quantities were not exactly precise. They looked just like the picture and tasted great with blueberries added to the mixture.

  61. Rachel A

    My husband made these for me and my 21-month-old for Mother’s Day last weekend, and they were delicious! They may have ruined us. I don’t know if I want to go back to “regular” pancakes now. Thanks, Deb!

  62. Karen K

    These were my brother’s choice while we were growing up. We called them “Puffy Pancakes”. My choice were the Cottage Cheese Pancakes, which might not be in the 1896 _Fannie Farmer Cook Book_ or the 1912 _A New Book of Cookery_, but are in the 1941 _The Boston Cooking School Cook Book_. The Cottage Cheese Pancakes are better with Large Curd Cottage Cheese which my grocery stores don’t seem to stock anymore.

    Cottage Cheese Pancakes
    3 eggs well beaten
    1 c. cottage cheese
    2 Tbsp. butter, melted
    1/4 c. flour
    1/4 tsp salt

    Put everything into a bowl and stir together. Cook.

    We served with real maple syrup and butter. Original instructions say to put cheese through sieve and serve spread with jelly and rolled up sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. The original instructions also say to sift the flour. I often will substitute spelt flour for the AP for the slightly nutty flavor the spelt flour adds.

  63. Sarah in NF, CT

    Did a quick side of apples cinnamon and sugar plus water and cooked to a syrup. Was a great side, but needed a little acid. Pancakes were great. My husband is having leftovers tomorrow for second breakfast, no he’s not a hobbit, he just starts loading trucks at 5:00 am which means second breakfast when he gets home at 10:00

  64. Charlie K

    I rarely comments on blogs although i’m an avid reader of your very comforting blog, but today i felt i just had to comment because this recipe looks just – Perfect.
    Keep up the great work , and congratulations on your new book!

  65. Kylie

    I used the yogurt/milk sub since I never have buttermilk on hand. They were perfection! I cooked the whole batch at once, then put the leftovers in the fridge. Popped them in the toaster the next morning and enjoyed perfectly warm inside/crunchy outside, all over again!

  66. lizzy

    We made these for dinner tonight for a quick dinner. Husband had a batch cooking in the cast iron skillet already when I decided to use another skillet to make some bacon. Then there was that lovely bacon fat. And, well, as it turns out, these are incredibly good cooked in left over bacon fat. There. I said it. Bacon fat pancakes. You’re welcome.

  67. Fantastic! First buttermilk pancakes recipe that doesn’t flatten and does what it says it will! She been searching for a while. The gal serves is perfect for two adults without waste. Thanks – very happy hubby this Saturday!

  68. Anne

    I don’t know about this recipe. As written it didn’t quite work for us. I couldn’t leave the pancakes any longer in the skillet because they were beginning to brown too much. But I could tell the dough was still raw so I put it in the oven for at least 10 or 15 minutes – still some pockets of raw dough but the rest was quite dried out from I presume the stint in the oven. I may tweak it and if I do report back.

    1. deb

      It might help to get less color in the pan; you’re looking for a golden color, not as dark as you can get it without it going over. If it’s dry, it might need the full amount of buttermilk — did you use it? I often do with thick stuff, not usually with thinner.

  69. Carol

    THESE ARE AMAZING! I made the recipe as written, adding about a cup of fresh blueberries to the batter after mixing. They were super easy, cooked up quickly, beautifully and were very flavorful. I am definitely an-eggs-and-bacon in the morning person and only very occasionally make waffles as a concession to my boyfriend, but this recipe has made me a convert to pancakes. Thank you as always for finding and perfecting the recipes I need in my life! Can’t wait for the new cookbook!

    1. sparkgrrl658

      don’t know if you have tried this, but i find the best way to add fruit (or chocolate :)) to pancakes is to sprinkle it on the batter once you’ve put the batter in the pan. each cake gets just the right amount.

  70. Victoria (aka zEmfIrKa)

    I absolutely loved these. My favorite go-to pancakes from now on! I made them with greek yogurt, and another time with sour cream as I had no buttermilk or regular yogurt on hand. Came out great both times! Even my LO loved them (and he doesn’t eat pancakes as a general rule). :)

  71. Jamie

    These look glorious! When you put your pancakes in the oven, do you place them on a wire rack, a baking tray, or something else entirely?

      1. Jamie

        Oops! Missed that somehow… Thanks! Must be my sleep-deprived brain (thanks to my 11 month old ;). Made this this morning and will be making them again and again.

  72. El

    I tried them.
    Gummy, thick, pasty, and tasteless.
    I might try again with half white whole wheat….but I might just stick to the CI recipe from decade or so ago…
    Too bad about the texture and flavour, they looked beautiful.

  73. Rebecca

    Made these today – ran out of white flour so did half white, half whole wheat and they turned out great! Did some with blueberries – also great! Light and fluffy for the win :-)

  74. JoAnn Hoff

    My new fave! With blueberries…yum. My great-grandmothers Fanny Farmer (Boston Cooking-School Cookbook from 18??- calls them ‘Sweet Milk Griddle-cakes). But it is basically the same recipe.

  75. sparkgrrl658

    so, i have made this recipe three or four times now. deb is right – they do hold up better in fluffiness (and crisp outer shell-ness) than my previous go to, the kitchn’s fluffy buttermilk pancakes. the first time, i did not double the recipe because it’s just my partner and i, and since it was basically the same amount of batter i usually make but just thicker pancakes, i figured it would be fine. i was plenty full, but he asked for more! so, the next time i doubled. usually leaves us with a few leftover but that’s fine. i use a 1/4c scoop, the cakes come out a bit larger than adult palm-sized.

    i have taken one major shortcut (wait! please! hear me out!) – vanilla yogurt. this is because i made a fatal error at the grocery store a few weeks ago and bought a massive tub of the stuff thinking it was plain. i don’t eat vanilla yogurt & needed to use it up. so in these pancakes? it works awesomely. i leave the butter out from the batter (as i do with all pancake recipes since i cook them in butter and serve with more butter…) and the yogurt takes the place of the buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar. i then thin with buttermilk instead of milk so i’m still getting some of that buttermilk goodness. i know it sounds like i drastically altered the recipe but i really did not. it’s like using mayo instead of oil and eggs. six of one…

    one note – on one attempt i was in a haze, and just started following the recipe, adding in the sugar and vanilla. i would have started over but of course it was my last two eggs! i thought they might be overpoweringly sweet with the vanilla yogurt on top of all that, but they weren’t. so flavor wise, very forgiving. however, they were not nearly as tender, and the ones i had microwaved a couple days later were quite tough. so i blame the extra sugar, but maybe the universe was just cranky that day, i don’t know.

    glob i've been sick all week and last night i stayed up coughing until six in the morning it was a real exciting friday night i tell you what bobby. then i woke up at 2pm with this feeling like my ears were going to be sucked inside of my skull before the whole thing just imploded. also my lungs are itchy and on fire. i honestly don't even understand what's happening in my body at all it's so weird. so i basically stared at a wall thinking 'i guess this is forever now' until i made pancakes for dinner. good times, good times. but actually these pancakes are a good time because a few weeks ago i bought a big ol' container of organic vanilla yogurt thinking it was plain? and as it turns out i really don't like vanilla yogurt. so this recipe has been a weekend breakfast staple because i can use it in place of buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar and it works awesomely. so there's that. 🥞🥞🥞🥞🥞✨ #pancakes #pancakesfordinner #breakfastfordinner #lazydinner #buttermilkpancakes #fluffybuttermilkpancakes #fluffypancakes #homemadepancakes #yogurtpancakes #vanillayogurtpancakes #breakfast #syrup #maplesyrup #syrupdrip #pancakesandsyrup #pancakeswithsyrup #smittenkitchen #smittenkitchenrecipe #tallfluffybuttermilkpancakes #latergram #jerkkitchen

    A post shared by a jerk. formerly sparkgrrl. (@jerk_nugget) on

  76. Omg, these are amazing. I made it using buttermilk and they came out fluffy and light. I just ate them as is without any toppings and they are delicious. Next time I will try using yogurt and hope it comes out just as good. This recipe will be my new go to recipe, thank you Deb.

  77. Ellen

    A fluffy buttermilk pancake slathered with butter and drizzled with maple syrup is one of life’s simple pleasures. Thanks for developing the perfect recipe.

  78. Liz

    These were delicious! They are absolutely the tallest pancakes I have made to date and their little size made it easy to put away six for breakfast and not feel like taking a nap afterwards. I had half of them with syrup and butter and the other half with lingonberry jam and I don’t know which one I preferred. Thank you for sharing!

  79. Ankita

    Thank you for this recipe! The pancakes came out great – not as tall as the ones in your pictures, but I think I was heating my pan too early because the first few came out really brown… the taste was really good though, I added just a bit of cinnamon to them. They really are so fluffy and didn’t get soggy at all! Definitely going to be my default pancake recipe from now on!

    I didn’t really need the oven except just to keep them warm, so that was helpful – great suggestion!

  80. Debby

    Finally got around to making these this morning, and they were fabulous. Halfway through cooking them I realized I needed to double the batch! Fortunately I hadn’t put anything away. Had planned to make them from buttermilk left over from making emergency butter earlier in the week, but after reading your comments about thick buttermilk, I used regular store-bought buttermilk….which I realized I bought to make these a few weeks back!

  81. Melissa

    These are a life changer. I had searched forever for a tall fluffy pancake…and they always fell flat. So we became a waffle family and rarely made pancakes.
    We’ve made this probably 6 times since you posted the recipe. We all love them.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH :)

  82. Conny

    Just finished breakfast featuring these pancakes. Easy, straightforward instructions and spectacularly yummy – as always. Thank you for never letting me down, Deb! Especially important for me was that you described the desired batter consistency, because I always need to make slight adjustments for not using US ingredients.
    I only used 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of (typically quite thin) German buttermilk to get the batter consistency you described. With a #40 scoop the batter yielded 12 pancakes – the perfect amount for two hungry adults :)

  83. Alex

    This recipe is superb! I made it 3x now, as is and doubling the recipe, and it was perfect each time, better than the many other pancake recipes I have tried over the years. Thank you so much!

  84. Tamara

    I made these pancakes with chickpea flour and added in some ground flaxseed – delicious! I love your blog, I’m always coming here for recipes and ideas. xo

  85. I’ve made this three times now, and these are quickly becoming a weekend tradition. I’ve made them as is, but a bit of cinnamon and some frozen blueberries adds in without changing the texture. They also reheat like a dream for weekday breakfast treats.