Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipe: Pancakes

If you're looking to ditch the wheat, check out my gluten free pancake recipe.

There are two secrets to perfect cast iron griddle pancakes:  1) keep the heat low, and 2) make sure the griddle surface is shiny with oil every time you pour the batter.

I spent a few winters in Alaska about 60 miles from the nearest grocery store. We ate pancakes for 2-3 meals a day.  They're cheap, tasty, and you can experiment with endless additions and variations. 

This is a straight-up no chaser pancake recipe that very closely parallels most other from-scratch recipes I've seen.  If you're after large pancakes, you can make the batter a little thinner so they spread on the griddle.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (not kosher)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Heat a cast iron griddle (or skillet) on low to medium-low heat.  While the griddle is warming (it will take 7-10 minutes to heat up), mix your dry ingredients together thoroughly in a mixing bowl.  Once they are mixed, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients to hold the wet ones.  Set the dry ingredients aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg, and then add the milk.  Melt the butter in a small dish or saucepan.

Always start your cast iron cooking with a shiny pan.  To make your cast iron griddle shiny, drop 15 or 20 drops of oil onto it, and then wipe the surface with a paper towel to spread the oil evenly.  You'll know when the griddle is hot enough for pancakes when a drop of water tossed on the surface crackles and evaporates immediately.

As the griddle comes up to heat, go ahead and combine your ingredients by first pouring the milk and eggs into the dry ingredients, and then pouring in the melted butter. Mix everything to combine, but don't over-mix.  A few lumps are fine.

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the oiled griddle to make your pancakes.  Give them enough room to they don't stick to each other.  They'll probably cook 2-3 minutes on the first side.  You can always check the undersides for color, and they will usually start to send bubbles to the surface when they are ready to flip.

Flip pancakes, and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the griddle.  Cooking time will depend on thickness.  Re-oil the griddle before each new batch.  If your griddle or skillet gets too hot, pull it off the heat (and also turn down your burner), and give it a few minutes to cool down before proceeding.  Never pour water into hot cast iron... but you can set it outside (if it's cold) to bring the heat down more quickly.

If you're cooking for a crowd, hold the pancakes in the oven at 200 degrees F (or less, if you can).  Place the pancakes directly on the oven rack—not in a dish (or they'll get soggy).  In this case, you can pull them off the griddle a little earlier since the first few rounds will continue to cook some in the oven.

Serve with warm syrup and butter.


  1. c'mon man! ya gotta have a gluten free version... you gotta out-do bob's redmill.
    looks great bytheway.

  2. Yeah, sorry... these were for my kids so I didn't have to do gluten free. I only publish recipes that I've tried, so once I work out any kinks with gluten free pancakes, the recipe will be coming directly!

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

    ; - )


  3. My recipe uses 2 T. oil per cup of flour. I don't oil my cast iron griddles and the pancakes flip easily when they're finished.....those griddles make the best pancakes.

  4. Hey Carl, thanks for the note. I'll have to try adding oil directly to the recipe. Agreed on the cast iron griddle being pancake nirvana!


  5. I just made these this morning, my first time making pancakes from scratch. They turned out great! The skillet was already well seasoned so I didn't need too much oil. These beat the boxed mixes any day. Thanks for the recipe!


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