Buttermilk Pancakes

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Buttermilk pancakes are the fluffy, moist pancake you’re craving! This easy recipe is ready in minutes for the best breakfast ever.

Every time my kids have extra days off school, they clamor for pancakes. 

Whether it’s pumpkin pancakes, mascarpone pancakes, or banana bread pancakes, my kids are voracious eaters when it comes to stacks of flapjacks.

That means I make a LOT of pancakes, so trust me when I say that buttermilk pancakes are my family’s absolute favorite. You can’t beat how fluffy they are!

plate of buttermilk pancakes

This easy pancake recipe is the ideal candidate for freezing leftover pancakes too, so you can enjoy the best buttermilk pancakes throughout the week.

What does buttermilk do to pancakes?

Unlike regular milk, the acidity of buttermilk reacts with leaveners like baking soda and baking powder, creating a wonderfully light texture in your pancakes. 

It also breaks down the gluten in the flour, giving the pancake a more tender crumb than in pancakes made from regular milk.

Buttermilk helps lift the pancakes and transform them from flat to the tall, fluffy pancakes everyone loves!

Adding buttermilk also give the pancakes a very subtle tangy flavor, but it is offset with the addition of vanilla extract, and maple syrup on top.

maple syrup being poured onto buttermilk pancakes

How to make buttermilk substitute

I tend to always have buttermilk on hand these days for making buttermilk cornbread or buttermilk herb rolls, but it’s easy to make a substitute if you don’t have any.

Buttermilk is simply soured, fermented milk. 

To create a substitute, you’ll need milk and either distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. 

Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then, fill the cup to the 1 cup/8 ounce line with milk.

Stir, and let rest for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the milk will look a little thick and curdled.

Now it’s ready to use!

How to make pancakes from scratch

Buttermilk pancakes are a great recipe to make for both novice and experienced cooks. In fact, pancakes were a part of my middle school home economics class!

You’ll need a large bowl and medium bowl, as well as a whisk. For cooking, I use an electric griddle, but you can use a stovetop pan or even an outdoor griddle like a Blackstone.

In the large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk together until just blended — you don’t want it completely smooth. Lumps are fine!

If your batter seems too thick, add ¼ cup buttermilk. The batter should be easily pourable, but not runny.

I let my pancake batter sit while I heat the griddle. This helps the gluten relax more and create the perfect fluffy pancakes.

Heat the griddle to medium heat, about 325°F to 350°F. Test to see if it is ready by flicking water onto the surface. If the droplets sizzle and scatter across the pan, it’s ready.

Stir the melted butter into the batter until just blended. Then, scoop the batter using a ¼ or 1/3 cup onto the hot griddle.

Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles are forming on the top, then flip and cook the other side until golden.

If the pancakes are browning too quickly, reduce heat slightly to ensure the interior is fully cooked.

I keep my pancakes warm on a plate in the microwave until the whole batch is ready. Or, serve as they are hot off the griddle!

buttermilk pancakes with butter and maple syrup

Substitutions and additions

Fluffy pancakes are always such a hit in our house because they can be customized in so many ways.

Flours: Try swapping part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or oat flour.

Sugar: Use brown sugar or maple syrup in place of granulated sugar. If using maple syrup, add it to the wet ingredients instead of the dry.

Flavorings: Swap the vanilla for almond extract, orange extract, or lemon extract. Almond extract can be strong, so add only a small amount at first.

Spices: Add ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the dry ingredients. You can also try orange zest or lemon zest.

Mix-ins: Add chocolate chips, blueberries, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or mashed banana. 

fork with pieces of buttermilk pancakes

Really, anything goes when it comes to making fluffy, perfect pancakes!

maple syrup being poured onto buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes are the fluffy, moist pancake you’re craving! This easy recipe is ready in minutes for the best breakfast ever.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 436 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just blended; a few lumps is OK. Let batter rest while you preheat the griddle to medium/350°F.
  • Once the griddle is hot, stir the melted butter into the batter. Pour batter onto griddle using a small measuring cup. Cook until bubbles start to form on top and edges look dry, then flip and cook the other side until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

Notes

  • If batter is too thick, stir in an additional ¼ cup buttermilk.
  • If pancakes are browning too quickly, turn heat down to 325°F.

Nutrition

Serving: 3 pancakesCalories: 436 kcalCarbohydrates: 60 gProtein: 13 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 9 gCholesterol: 128 mgSodium: 865 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 12 g
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