Buttermilk Pancakes

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Whip up a batch of tall, fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes for your next breakfast, brunch, or brinner. These pancakes are epic with just butter or maple syrup, or add whipped cream and your favorite fresh fruit.

A stack of buttermilk pancakes on a plate.


 

Spoilers ahead: The only difference between regular pancakes and buttermilk pancakes is the buttermilk. So how does that impact the plate of pancakes in front of you?

If you have a plate of homemade Buttermilk Pancakes, they should be taller and fluffier than your standard homemade pancakes. Buttermilk reacts with leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda to create carbon dioxide which creates lift in the batter and produces a taller pancake.

Beyond the height, buttermilk adds a sour, tangy flavor to your flapjacks. This is generally a pleasing contrast with your butter and syrup or fruit and whipped cream: sour and sweet go together.

The next time you have a plate of classic buttermilk pancakes in front of you, try to forget everything I said about leavening agents, carbon dioxide, and contrast. Just saw into them and gobble them up!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for buttermilk pancakes.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Baking powder: This chemical leavener generates bubbles in the pancake batter to help make them light and fluffy; just like grandma or your favorite diner made.
  • Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, in a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon lemon juice into 1 ¼ cups of regular milk. Let stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To mix the dry ingredients, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients: buttermilk, egg, and melted butter; mix until smooth (no lumps).
Pancake batter in a bowl.
  1. Heat a griddle, frying pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, greasing if desired (see note 3). Pour or scoop the batter mixture onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake.
Pancake batter in a skillet before flipping.
  1. When bubbles start to form on the first side, carefully flip and brown the second side. Repeat with remaining batter (you should have about 8 pancakes).
A Pancake in a skillet after flipping so cooked side is up.
  1. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup or fresh fruit and whipped cream.
A stack of buttermilk pancakes on a plate.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about four servings, 2 (4-inch) Buttermilk Pancakes each. Feel free to multiply the recipe as desired; it doubles and triples beautifully.
  • Storage: Store leftover pancakes covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a toaster oven or microwave.
  • Freezer: Arrange cooled pancakes in a single layer, not touching, on a small baking sheet or plate. Freeze until the pancakes are frozen individually, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or reheat in the microwave from frozen.
  • Oiling the skillet: If you love crispy edges on your pancakes, you’ll want to lightly grease your skillet with vegetable oil or butter before adding the batter. If using a non-stick skillet, you can skip the fat and cook the flapjacks in a dry skillet for a smooth, brown surface.
  • Keep them warm: To keep pancakes warm while you’re preparing them, or to store them for an imminent brunch, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a rack over a baking sheet and place in the oven, then transfer cooked pancakes to the rack until serving time.
  • Vanilla: A touch of vanilla extract is delicious in this (and most) pancakes batters. Try 1 teaspoon if you’re looking for some natural sweetness.
  • Blueberry Pancakes: These fluffy homemade pancakes are filled heaps of blueberries – fresh or frozen! They remind me of the epic pancakes from the Cracker Barrel restaurant.
  • Chocolate Chip Pancakes: Doubling as breakfast and dessert, these delicious pancakes have plenty of chocolate chips inside. Possibly the most popular pancake with the kids?
  • Classic Homemade PancakesFor standard white-flour pancakes better than anything you’d get at the diner, try my beloved Homemade Pancake Recipe. It’s ready in 20 minutes or less, and they are so good! Definitely a family and reader favorite.
  • Healthy Pancake Recipe: If you’re looking for wholesome breakfast ideas, keep a batch of homemade Healthy Pancake Mix in the pantry. Mix up the batter for as few as 3 to 4 pancakes at a time whenever the mood strikes. It’s ideal for busy school mornings and will keep the kids full until lunchtime.
  • Lemon Ricotta PancakesThese luscious pancakes are lemon-scented, light as air, and make every day a little sunnier. Make them as-is, or add blueberries for the best breakfast ever.
  • Oatmeal Pancakes: These homemade pancakes are easy, hearty, and naturally gluten-free. Make the batter in a blender rolled oats blended right in.
  • Pumpkin Pancakes: These pumpkin-spiced pancakes taste as good as pumpkin muffins, loaves, and lattes.
  • Vegan Pancakes: For a hearty plant-based breakfast, try my Vegan Pancakes made with oat milk, flax seeds, and coconut oil.
A stack of buttermilk pancakes on a plate.
Buttermilk pancakes with fresh blackberries and homemade whipped cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are buttermilk pancakes better?

Buttermilk Pancakes are taller and fluffier than standard pancakes. Buttermilk reacts with leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda to create carbon dioxide which creates bubbles in the batter and produces a taller pancake.

Beyond the height, buttermilk adds a sour, tangy flavor to flapjacks. This is generally a tasty contrast with your butter and syrup or fruit and whipped cream: sour and sweet go together.

Why are my buttermilk pancakes not fluffy?

First, check your ingredients. Is the buttermilk fresh? Is the baking powder expired? Beyond that, be sure you don’t over-mix the batter.

More breakfast ideas

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A stack of buttermilk pancakes on a plate.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Whip up a batch of tall, fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes for your next breakfast, brunch, or brinner. These pancakes are epic with just butter or maple syrup, or add whipped cream and your favorite fresh fruit.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings (2 pancakes each)
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Calories 324
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  • Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat, greasing if desired (see note 3). Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake.
  • When bubbles start to form on the first side, carefully flip and brown the second side. Repeat with remaining batter (you should have about 8 pancakes). Serve hot with butter and maple syrup or fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Notes

  1. Baking powder: This chemical leavener generates bubbles in the pancake batter to help make them light and fluffy; just like grandma or your favorite diner made.
  2. Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, in a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon lemon juice into 1 ¼ cups of milk. Let stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Oiling the skillet: If you love crispy edges on your pancakes, you’ll want to lightly grease your skillet with oil or butter before adding the batter. If using a non-stick skillet, you can skip the fat and cook the flapjacks in a dry skillet for a smooth, brown surface.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about four 2-pancake servings, depending on how big you like them. Feel free to multiply the recipe as desired; it doubles and triples beautifully.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 (4-inch) pancakesCalories: 324kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 9gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 812mgPotassium: 168mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 567IUCalcium: 309mgIron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill

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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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