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Batter Up with Pancakes

Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies. There are recipes for pancakes that appear as far back as the height of the Roman Empire, in the culinary recipe collection “Apicius.” 


A pancake is a flat cake, often thin, and round, prepared from a starch-based batter and cooked on a hot surface such as a griddle or frying pan. There is a rendition of the pancake in almost every culture. The pancake’s shape and structure varies worldwide. In some locales, they’re a breakfast food; in others, a midday snack. Some places feature them as a savory part of dinner; others, as a sweet dessert. In America, they are typically considered to be a breakfast food.


In the United States, the most common type of pancake is the buttermilk pancake. The basic ingredients in buttermilk pancakes include eggs, buttermilk, and flour, as well as the inclusion of baking powder as a raising agent. Additions such as spices, flavorings, fruit, or chocolate chips can be added to a traditional buttermilk pancake recipe to create different flavors.


Common pancake characteristics include a crisp exterior and soft, airy interior. They are made from thinner batter than actual cakes, and a little hot grease sets the outer surface quickly; this allows the inside to remain fluffy and light.


If there’s any crucial tip for cooking perfect pancakes–it’s to use a good pan that conducts heat evenly all the way out to the edges of the cooking surface such as cast iron or nonstick. Another good idea is to put your pancake batter into a jug or pitcher, making for an easy pour into the pan, with even portions and without much of a mess. Then, of course, there’s the art of pancake flipping.

Pancakes can be tricky. Achieving perfect pancakes is not an easy feat; sometimes they’re overdone, sometimes they fall apart, and sometimes it’s downright impossible to make diner-perfect circles. 

How to Master Your Pancakes:

  • For a healthier alternative, replace up to half of the all-purpose flour with another whole grain flour.
  • Measuring ingredients carefully will ensure that your batter reaches the correct consistency. Measure flour by lightly spooning it into the measuring cup, then leveling off with the back of a knife.
  • Use a large whisk to stir together the dry ingredients. The large whisk allows more air to be whipped into the batter resulting in light and fluffy pancakes.
  • The eggs and buttermilk should be at room temperature to blend better.
  • Don’t overbeat the batter. If you have time, refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes before you start cooking the pancakes.
  • Heat the griddle until drops of water dance and evaporate immediately. If your griddle has a temperature control, heat it to 375°F. If the pan is too cool the result is pale, gummy pancakes; if the pan is too hot pan the result is dark and unevenly cooked pancakes.
  • Lightly grease the hot griddle with butter or oil to make sure your pancakes don’t burn. If you’re concerned about adding fat, a nonstick spray is an excellent choice.
  • Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to pour the batter onto the hot griddle. Pour quickly, keeping at least a 2″ space between each pancake.
  • Let the pancakes cook until the edges start to look dry and bubbles form on the uncooked surface. Don’t move the pancakes before this, because they will break apart.
  • Use a long handled spatula and carefully slide it under each pancake. Using your wrist, quickly flip the pancakes. Once! Handle it more and you will overcook and toughen the pancake.
  • Let the pancakes cook for another minute or two. The second side will not brown as evenly or completely as the first.
  • Then serve the pancakes immediately! It’s better if you can stand by the stove and make the pancakes as your family eats them. They can be kept warm in a 200°F oven, but they’re best eaten right out of the pan.
  • Warm the maple syrup, have the butter softened or melted, and offer a nice selection of syrups, jams, jellies, and sugars.
  • Freeze leftover pancakes in a freezer bag. Warm in the microwave, skillet, or toaster.

Enjoy pancakes made from scratch in your home, see the recipe below!



Fluffy Pancakes

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 5 people


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter melted (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, apple spice, pumpkin spice, etc. optional


  • Measure and sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda. and salt in a large bowl. Sift twice.
  • Whisk the egg and melted butter into buttermilk. Add in the vanilla.
  • Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, but do not over mix. Some lumps are fine.
  • Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  • Lightly grease the pan with butter, oil, or nonstick spray.
  • Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet and cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the edges start to look dry.
  • Flip the pancake and cook until browned on the other side.
  • Serve and devour immediately, while they’re still hot.


*If you do not have buttermilk, place one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until milk curdles. Use in place of buttermilk.
Father and daughter pouring pancake batter

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Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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