basic pancakes

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Basic Pancakes

From the book How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) by
Serves 4 to 6
Total Time 20 minutes


Fast, easy, and fluffy, these pancakes should make you forswear boxed mix forever.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 or 2 eggs
1½ to 2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use oil
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)


  1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you make the batter.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the egg(s) into 1½ cups of milk, then stir in the 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter and vanilla (if you are using them). Gently stir this into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten the flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. If the batter seems thick, add a little more milk.
  3. If your skillet or griddle is nonstick, you can cook the pancakes without any butter. Otherwise, use a teaspoon or two of butter or oil each time you add batter. When the butter foam subsides or the oil shimmers, ladle batter onto the griddle or skillet, making any size pancakes you like. Adjust the heat as necessary; usually, the first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. The idea is to brown the bottom in 2 to 4 minutes, without burning it. Flip when the pancakes are cooked on the bottom; they won’t hold together well until they’re ready.
  4. Cook until the second side is lightly browned and serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degrees oven for up to 15 minutes.


Culinate editor’s note: Adding a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or fresh lemon zest gives these pancakes a punchier flavor.

This content is from the book How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) by Mark Bittman.

There are 6 comments on this item
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83% recommend this recipe
1. by christine on Oct 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM PDT

I just tried this a little while ago. I added a bit more sugar and vanilla because the pancake originally have very little flavor. It’s good, but not great.

2. by Gourmet Secrets on Jun 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM PDT

Yummy! Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day because it’s the first one. Nice recipe.

3. by chat chileno on Aug 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM PDT

muchas gracias por la receta la pondre en practica

4. by Adina on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:42 AM PDT

Loved the texture and fluffiness, it just needs more flavor. I didn’t have butter, so that would have helped, but I probably would have added more vanilla and sugar....or something.

5. by hotshot101 on Oct 16, 2012 at 2:49 PM PDT

i put in lemon extract instead of vanilla and put in a little sugar, which gave them more flavor. The pancakes from this recipe are very cakey, which can be good or bad, and really stick to even a well-oiled pan.

6. by anonymous on Mar 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM PDT

This recipe was terrible. Way too thick... almost glue-like batter. We tried it twice, and the consistency did not improve.

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