Buttermilk Pancakes

5 from 2 votes

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These buttermilk pancakes are pillowy soft with golden brown tops and crisp edges! They’re light, fluffy, and easy to make ahead and freeze for later.

a stack of pancakes with fruit on top.


 

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Breakfast food makes my heart sing. Eggs, waffles, muffins, sausage, I love it all, but nothing compares to a sky-high stack of pancakes.

I have lofty standards for homemade buttermilk pancakes, and this recipe checks all the boxes!

  • Delicate and soft yet sturdy, with golden brown tops and crispy edges
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Freeze and thaw for busy mornings

Ditch the box mix because buttermilk pancakes from scratch are easy-to-master and worlds better! If your mornings feel too hectic for a hot breakfast, I totally get it.

Make these pancakes on a weekend, then freeze and toast them in a toaster.

Key Ingredient Notes:

Pancake ingredients.
  • Sour cream – Sour cream isn’t for tang, but texture. The sour cream creates a light and fluffy pancake that’s not dense or gummy!
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk is milk cultured with bacteria, giving it a thick consistency and tangy flavor. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to create a light and tender texture. If you don’t have buttermilk, swap with 1.5 cups of sour cream mixed with 1/2 cup of water.
  • All-purpose flour – All-purpose flour has enough protein to keep the pancakes sturdy but soft. I don’t recommend swapping whole wheat flour for this one.
  • Sugar – Two tablespoons is plenty! The pancakes should be lightly sweet and the maple syrup will do the rest.
  • Baking powder – Baking powder is a crucial ingredient for pancakes in general. If you haven’t used your baking powder in ages, test it to make sure it’s active. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to hot water and look for fizzy bubbles. If there’s no reaction, throw it out and buy a new container.
  • Baking soda – Its main purpose in this recipe is to promote that beautiful golden color on the pancakes.
  • Unsalted butter – Butter keeps the pancakes tender and moist. If you don’t have it, you can simply omit the butter.

How to make this recipe:

1. Make the batter

  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, and buttermilk. Whisking the wet ingredients beforehand makes it easier to incorporate the dry ingredients without overmixing.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix until barely combined.
  • Stir in the melted butter. Don’t over-mix or the pancakes won’t come out as light. Ideally, the batter should be quite lumpy.
how to make pancake batter, pancakes in a skillet

Tip

The secret to the fluffy tall pancakes is not to over-mix the batter. Your pancake batter should be lumpy!!

2. To cook the pancakes

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop a 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet per pancake. I can fit four pancakes at once in a 12-inch skillet.
  • Cook the pancakes until you see bubbles popping on the surface, about 3 minutes. Use a thin set spatula to flip the pancakes, then cook until golden brown, about 3 more minutes.
  • Repeat until all the leftover batter is gone.

Tip

I use a large cookie scoop for measuring the batter. It’s so easy to make uniform pancakes and it’s super efficient too!

pancakes on a wire rack

Tips for Success:

  • If the pancakes brown too quickly, turn down the heat. You don’t want to flip them too early, or the insides won’t cook all the way through.
  • Don’t overmix the pancake batter. Doing so produces gluten and gluten gives you a chewy, dense texture instead of light and airy.
  • Lumps in your batter are a good thing! It means you haven’t overmixed your batter. The pancakes won’t be lumpy, I promise!
  • Use a large portion scoop for easy scooping. Measuring cups are bulky and messy to use!
  • Let the pancake batter sit for 10 minutes while you heat up the pan. Baking powder activates as soon as it mixes with a liquid. If you let the batter sit, the pancakes come out fluffier!

Toppings & Mix-ins:

  • Blueberry pancakes: Only use fresh blueberries! Frozen blueberries release more liquid than fresh and weigh down the batter. Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the pancake batter after you drop it into the skillet.
  • Chocolate chip pancakes: Don’t stir them into the batter ahead of time. Instead drop the batter into the skillet, then carefully press the chocolate chips into the pancake. If they aren’t covered with batter, add a tiny bit more to cover them. This prevents the chocolate chips from touching the pan & burning.
  • Toppings: Buttermilk pancakes are even better with toppings. Try butter, whipped cream, maple syrup, strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, fresh fruit, caramelized peaches, Nutella, sliced bananas, peanut butter, or shredded coconut!
a stack of pancakes cut in half with fruit on top

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Homemade buttermilk pancakes are an easy make-ahead breakfast! I like to make this pancake recipe on the weekend, then freeze half of the pancakes for busy school mornings.
  • Just pop the pancakes into a freezer bag and freeze. Microwave one at a time in 20-second increments until warmed through. Don’t overheat or the pancakes can get greasy.

Storing Tips:

  • Let the pancakes cool completely before you store them.
  • Carefully place the pancakes into a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave in 20-second increments until warmed through. Don’t overheat them.

FAQs:

Should you let buttermilk pancake batter rest?

It’s always a good idea! Baking powder activates as soon as it’s mixed with a liquid. When you let the batter rest for 10 minutes, the pancakes come out even lighter! It also gives a chance for the lumps to moisten.

What if I don’t have buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk, use this simple swap: 1 1/2 cups of sour cream mixed with 1/2 cup of water. If you don’t have more sour cream, you can use milk and an acid like lemon juice. But keep in mind, homemade buttermilk with whole milk won’t be as thick and you may need less to achieve the right consistency for your pancake batter.

Why does buttermilk make pancakes better?

The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide bubbles. The bubbles aerate the batter and cause it to rise, which gives you light, airy, and lofty pancakes.

a stack of pancakes with fruit on top
5 from 2 votes

Buttermilk Pancakes

These buttermilk pancakes are pillowy soft with golden brown tops and crisp edges! They're light, fluffy, and easy to make ahead and freeze for later.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 24 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (60g) sour cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk Note 1
  • 2 cups (285g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Equipment

  • mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • large nonstick skillet
  • thin set spatula

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, and buttermilk.
  • Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix it until just combined.
  • Stir in melted butter. Don’t mix it until smooth, the batter should be lumpy.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  • Working in batches, drop ¼ cup of batter per pancake. (I use a large cookie scoop for this step. It's super efficient!)  I usually cook 4 pancakes at a time on a 12-inch skillet.
  • Cook the pancakes until you see bubbles on the surface, about 3 minutes.
  • Using a spatula, flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, another 3 minutes or so. Transfer the pancakes onto a wire rack, and repeat with remaining batter.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: Buttermilk substitute: Mix 1.5 cups sour cream with ½ cup of water.
Storing Tips: 
– Let the pancakes cool completely before you store them.
– Carefully place the pancakes into a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
– Reheat in the microwave in 20-second increments until warmed through. Don’t overheat them.
*I learned this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. And it’s been our family’s go-to pancake recipe for years.

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 116mg, Potassium: 36mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 111IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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1 Comment

  1. Can you send me your best recipe for pancakes without using sour cream? I really don’t like sour cream. When a recipe calls for it what is the best substitute to use? Thank you