Pancakes are a blank canvas in the breakfast world. Just a few simple tweaks to most any recipe, and you can make exactly the kind of pancakes you crave — whether that is tall, fluffy pancakes, moist and buttery pancakes, or maybe something else. (Delicate, crêpe-like pancakes? Pancakes packed with whole grains, anyone?)
Today's lesson: It's for the butter-loving bakers out there. We're going to learn how to transform your favorite pancake recipe into a luxurious morning meal.
Learn how to make crave-worthy, buttery pancakes with these five key tips.
Our recipe: Buttermilk Pancakes
Before we jump into the tips, it’s worth taking a minute to remind all you pancake-makers out there to choose your recipe wisely.
I’m using our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe because it’s incredibly versatile. You can use it to make super fluffy pancakes that rise to impressive heights. Or, as you'll soon learn, you can use it to make buttery pancakes that are tender, slightly eggy, and just plain decadent.
You won't go wrong if you give our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe a try. You can also use your tried and tested favorite recipe — your choice.
Bottom line: These five tips will make rich, buttery pancakes out of even the most basic recipe.
1. Double the butter
Since our ultimate goal is to make indulgent, buttery pancakes, it might come as no surprise that the first (and perhaps most crucial) tip is to double the butter in your pancake recipe.
Some pancake recipes offer the option to use either oil or butter. Oil tends to be better suited to waffles because it creates a slightly crispy texture. Since we’re hoping to make pancakes with a soft and moist interior crumb, be sure to use butter instead of oil.
And don’t just use butter — double it! Increasing the amount of fat in the recipe adds extra tenderness, richness and, of course, scrumptious flavor. It’s the right move, trust me.
Be sure to use fresh, grade AA butter when making your pancakes. We recommend using the unsalted variety so you can control the final flavor of your pancakes (though having only salted butter on hand shouldn't stop you from making pancakes). For more details, see Butter for baking: which kind should you use?
2. Add an extra egg yolk
Along with increasing the butter, we’re also going to add extra fat and luxuriousness to our buttery pancakes in the form of egg yolks. Add an additional egg yolk for every 2 cups of liquid called for in your pancake recipe.
The Buttermilk Pancakes recipe call for 2 cups (454g) of buttermilk, so we go ahead and add one extra egg yolk to the liquid ingredients.
Why just the yolk? Well, that’s where most of the good stuff is – that is, the fats that will make your pancakes (or any baked good for that matter) extra tender and melt in your mouth. The extra yolk will also yield pancakes that are more golden in color.
We promise your pancakes are going to look fantastic and cut like soft butter with just the side of your fork.
(Note: Don’t throw away the extra egg white. You can save it and make a half batch of Angel Kisses, a.k.a. meringues, a household favorite of mine.)
3. Use full-fat dairy
Fat-free and low-fat dairy won’t do you any favors if you’re hoping to make moist, buttery pancakes. This is one occasion where using full-fat dairy (like whole milk, full-fat buttermilk, or whole-milk yogurt) will take your pancakes to the next level.
Believe it or not, full-fat buttermilk can be hard to find. Most of the "buttermilk" you find at the grocery store these days is low-fat, cultured milk. The fat content usually hovers around 2%, which is only slightly higher than low-fat milk.
We’re looking for dairy with at least 4% butterfat content here: whole milk and full-fat buttermilk usually meet this standard. Oftentimes you can find full-fat buttermilk at local dairies and food co-ops. But if you can’t find it, that’s OK — we have a substitution you can try.
Instead of full-fat buttermilk, use whole-milk yogurt thinned with whole milk. Read more about the exact substitution ratios in this article: How to substitute for buttermilk.
Whether you reach for full-fat buttermilk or whip up a whole milk and yogurt substitute, your buttery pancakes are going to be richer and more tender because of it.
4. Take time to rest
Once you’ve adjusted the batter to make it extra rich with more butter, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy, it’s time to rest. Letting the batter rest once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together is a simple way to ensure your pancakes are fork-tender.
Why the pause? It allows the flour's gluten to relax. When the batter is initially mixed, proteins in the flour are activated and start to tighten. By adding a short rest period, the gluten can unwind, making your pancakes perfectly soft.
Our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe calls for resting the batter for 15 minutes. If you have the time, extend this rest for up to an hour in the fridge. Be sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge to prevent it from drying out.
Just like you, pancakes that have rested are better off and make breakfast more delightful!
5. Cook your pancakes in more butter
Did you think we were finished with the butter? Not yet!
Most pancake recipes tell you to grease the skillet or griddle lightly before adding the batter. Disregard the “lightly” part of these instructions and slather on the butter!
Spread a few pats of butter on your pan as it warms up over medium heat (about 325°F on an electric griddle). Avoid using high heat as the butter may start to smoke and burn.
Once the butter starts to sizzle gently around the edges of the pan, scoop or pour your batter onto the preheated pan.
The pancakes will cook in a light layer of butter, which will turn golden brown and smell heavenly.
And the best part? They’ll taste even better than they smell — like brown butter pancakes that are moist and decadent. Yum!
Serve your buttery pancakes with style
These buttery pancakes don’t require anything beyond a fork (or maybe just your hands) to be enjoyed. They’re so rich and flavorful, they’re a delight all on their own.
But if you’re trying to make pancakes that truly stand out from the crowd, serve your pancakes while they’re still warm. And if you’re willing to gild the lily, drizzle them with more melted butter!
A few tablespoons of melted butter to pass around the table and pour over your stack of warm, buttery pancakes? Incredible.
It’s a lot of butter, I know. But this post is for butter-lovers, I warned you from the start. If you’re not a self-declared butter-lover, these pancakes just might convince you to become one.
Feel free to skip the melted butter garnish and reach for maple syrup if you wish. You’ll still be in buttery pancake heaven without the extra touch of melted butter.
Master making buttery pancakes
The next time you’re looking to make something extra special and indulgent for breakfast, we hope you’ll make a batch of scrumptious, buttery pancakes.
Use our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe or your own go-to favorite recipe, and remember these five key tips:
- Double the butter
- Add an extra egg yolk
- Use full-fat dairy
- Let the batter rest
- Cook in more butter
These tweaks will take your pancakes to new buttery heights! Mix up a batch and invite over some neighbors or friends who could use a warm morning treat.
How do you like your pancakes? Moist and buttery? Tall and fluffy? Or perhaps something different altogether. Let us know in the comments below so we can continue to help breakfast bakers personalize their pancakes.
Thanks to Jenn Bakos for taking the photographs for this post.