Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

If you want the BEST, fluffiest, most perfect buttermilk pancakes made from scratch, this recipe is it! Only one bowl and a few minutes to prepare makes it an easy weekend breakfast staple (and I’ve actually made them many weekday mornings, as well!).

A stack of buttermilk pancakes with berries and a cup of coffee and syrup in the background.

My quest for a fabulous pancake recipe has followed a very similar path as my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Until I found “the one“, I searched high and low. If a recipe claimed to be the best, I tried it. And I kept trying until that fateful day when it was clear that I never had to try another chocolate chip recipe again. And so it has been for pancakes.

Years and years ago, I set out on a quest to ditch the box mix (which I had relied on since college) and instead go all homemade, all the time. I wanted a pancake recipe I could make from scratch that didn’t take too long, and turned out perfectly fluffy and flavorful every single time.

I had a previous version here that I relied on for years, but after stumbling upon a slight alteration last year, it’s the only way I’ve made them since and they are, hands down, pancake perfection.

Pouring buttermilk into a bowl of dry ingredients to make pancakes.

How to Make Pancakes

What is the key to fluffy pancakes? A little leavening, buttermilk to give it a boost, being sure not to overmix, letting it sit and bubble before cooking, and giving the pancakes plenty of time to firm up and fluff before you flip them. Let’s talk this through!

  • Baking Soda PLUS Baking Powder – We use a one-two leavening punch in these pancakes to give them nice lift. The baking soda reacts with the buttermilk, and baking powder gives it a bit more of a pop to ensure that these really are supremely light and fluffy pancakes.
  • Buttermilk – A pancake staple! Not only does buttermilk react with the baking soda to give the pancakes extra height, but it also helps to break down the gluten for pancakes that turn out nice and tender, not tough or rubbery.
  • Gentle Mixing – When whisking the pancake batter together, be sure to do so gently and for only as long as it takes to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Lumps are okay, you don’t want a completely smooth batter!
  • Be a Patient Flipper! –  Don’t rush flipping the pancakes; you want to give them plenty of time on the griddle (or pan) to really bubble up. This helps to set the height and ensure they are fluffy and not squashed-down, flat little sad pancakes. Most recipes call for flipping when you see bubbles, but I actually wait until the outer edges of the pancake begin to look set, and THEN I flip.

Take a look at all of those lumps and bubbles – THAT is what makes super light and fluffy pancakes :)

Pancake batter mixed together and resting.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe Notes

A few quick tips and reminders to make sure you churn out the most perfect pancakes each and every time:

  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make it using a combination of regular milk and either lemon juice or white vinegar (this is referred to as “clabbered milk”); here’s how to do it: For this pancake recipe, add 2½ tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to a 4-cup measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 2½ cups. Stir together, then use as directed in the recipe. (You only need 2¼ cups for this recipe; you can discard the leftover buttermilk.)
  • Sometimes I only have a pint (2 cups) of buttermilk in the refrigerator and will use whole milk for the remaining ¼ cup and have never had an issue.
  • Be sure not to overmix the batter; lumps are okay!
  • Once the batter is mixed together, it can be refrigerated for up to 1 hour before cooking.
  • You can make smaller or larger pancakes if you’d like.
  • If you want to use add-ins like blueberries or chocolate chips (YUM!), I recommend sprinkling them on the individual pancakes right before you flip them over.
  • I prefer my pancakes with butter and maple syrup, but fruit and fresh whipped cream is also delicious!
  • Wanting more for breakfast? Make a batch of oven baked bacon to have on the side!
  • Any leftover pancakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a microwave or toaster oven. You can also freeze the cooled pancakes in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • My recommendations for a cast iron skillet and electric griddle (I LOVE my griddle!).

Syrup being poured onto a stack of pancakes with berries on top.

We only eat pancakes a couple of times a month here, but this classic recipe has never disappointed. I always have the ingredients on hand, and it can be mixed together and cooked up in only about 30 minutes. Perfect for weekend mornings or special occasions during the week (hello birthday breakfast!).

If you’ve also been on a search for THE PERFECT PANCAKE RECIPE, give these a try – you will not be disappointed!

I’d love to know how you prefer to eat your pancakes – are you a butter/syrup person? Fruit and whipped cream? Something else? Share in the comments below!

If You Like This Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake Recipe, Try These:

An overhead shot of a plate of half-eaten pancakes with a cup of coffee behind the plate.

One year ago: Welcome Our New (Furry) Family Member
Five years ago: Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese
Six years ago: How to Make Rye Sour Starter
Ten years ago: Ham and Split Pea Soup
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Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
Watch How to Make Them!

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Servings 16 pancakes
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 35 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle
If you want the BEST buttermilk pancake recipe made from scratch, this is it! Only one bowl and a few minutes to prepare, an easy weekend breakfast staple.

Ingredients:

  • 2
    cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 3
    tablespoons
    granulated sugar
  • teaspoons
    baking powder
  • teaspoons
    baking soda
  • teaspoon
    salt
  • cups
    buttermilk
  • 2
    eggs
  • 3
    tablespoons
    unsalted butter
    (melted and cooled slightly)
  • ½
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • 1
    tablespoon
    vegetable oil
    (for greasing the pan)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the buttermilk into the well, then add the eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Beginning in the center, whisk everything together, moving towards the outside of the bowl, until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix - lumps are okay! (At this point, the batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 hour.) Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes while you preheat your pan or griddle.
  3. Heat a large nonstick griddle or skillet (cast iron is best!) over low heat for 5 minutes. (If you are using an electric griddle, preheat it to 350 degrees F.) Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then increase the heat to medium-low. Using 1/3 cup measure, ladle the batter onto the pan or griddle. Do not crowd the surface, even if this means only being able to cook a couple at a time.

  4. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and there are bubbles on the surface, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove the pancakes to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, and keep in the preheated oven until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter until all pancakes are cooked.

Recipe Notes:

  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make it using a combination of regular milk and either lemon juice or white vinegar (this is referred to as “clabbered milk”); here’s how to do it: For this pancake recipe, add 2½ tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to a 4-cup measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 2½ cups. Stir together, then use as directed in the recipe. (You only need 2¼ cups for this recipe; you can discard the leftover buttermilk.)
  • Sometimes I only have a pint (2 cups) of buttermilk in the refrigerator and will use whole milk for the remaining ¼ cup and have never had an issue.
  • Be sure not to overmix the batter; lumps are okay!
  • Once the batter is mixed together, it can be refrigerated for up to 1 hour before cooking.
  • You can make smaller or larger pancakes if you'd like. 
  • If you want to use add-ins like blueberries or chocolate chips (YUM!), I recommend sprinkling them on the individual pancakes right before you flip them over.
  • I prefer my pancakes with butter and maple syrup, but fruit and fresh whipped cream is also delicious!
  • Wanting more for breakfast? Make a batch of oven baked bacon to have on the side!
  • Any leftover pancakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a microwave or toaster oven. You can also freeze the cooled pancakes in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • My recommendations for a cast iron skillet and electric griddle (I LOVE my griddle!).
(Recipe slightly adapted from The New York Times)

Nutrition:

Calories: 121kcal
Fat: 4g
Saturated fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 29mg
Sodium: 292mg
Potassium: 107mg
Carbohydrates: 16g
Sugar: 3g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin A: 150%
Calcium: 61%
Iron: 0.8%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in February 2011. Updated in February 2019 with a revised recipe, new photos, and a video.]

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]