How To Make Pancakes from Scratch
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How to Make Pancakes from Scratch – The Best Pancake Recipe EVER. Fluffy, moist, diner-style griddle cakes are easy to make at home with our secret ingredient.
The Best Pancakes Recipe Ever: Diner Pancakes!
Why do old-school diner pancakes taste better than those floppy homemade pancake disks you make in your kitchen? We all have secretly wondered this at some point in our lives.
If you’ve just gotta know the mysteries of perfect pancakes, today we’re spilling the beans batter on How to Make Homemade Pancakes from scratch that will make your family swoon.
Diner Griddle Cakes Secrets… Revealed
It is my hope that everyone has had the experience of enjoying a pancake breakfast at a classic all-American diner.
There’s something about “diner pancakes” that makes them special. There are large, ultra fluffy, and have a distinct flavor that is hard to pinpoint. And they almost always taste better than homemade pancakes.
How is this possible?
From the time of malt shops and red leather bar stools, old-school diners have been adding a secret ingredient to pancake batter… Malted Milk Powder.
I’m not exactly sure where or how this started, or even why. Yet I can tell you, malt powder makes all the difference!
This simple grocery item (found in the baking or hot cocoa section of the market) is a great pantry staple to keep on hand to add that little extra something to not only milkshakes…
But pancakes, waffles, cookies, and cakes.
What You Need to Make the Best Pancakes at Home
So now you know my top secret ingredient for homemade pancakes with the best malt shop flavor, Malt Powder.
However, there is one other thing I like to add to griddle cakes to give them a fabulous depth of flavor that perfectly complements maple syrup… Vanilla Bean Paste.
Yes, of course, you can use pure vanilla extract in pancake recipes. Yet the concentrated flavor of vanilla bean paste adds a little WOW factor that regular extract can’t quite achieve.
This pancake power couple, Malted Milk Powder and Vanilla Bean Paste, makes the most tantalizing classic pancake recipe you’ve ever tasted!
Here are the additional ingredients needed:
- All-purpose flour – You can use a gluten-free flour alternative, but note that your griddle cakes might not turn out quite as fluffy.
- Salt, baking powder, and baking soda – Essential for getting the perfect fluffiness.
- Milk – I prefer whole milk, but you can use 2% or any non-dairy milk. (However, you could use buttermilk.)
- Egg – I usually use large eggs.
- Butter – Melted.
How to Make Pancakes from Scratch
Instructions for this pancake mix
- First, heat your griddle or a large skillet to medium-high heat, and grab your 2 separate bowls.
- In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together and set aside (combine flour, malted milk powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda).
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (milk, egg, and vanilla paste) until frothy.
- Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients, and whisk to create a smooth batter with no lumps.
- Finally, whisk in the melted butter. Allow the batter to rest for a few minutes to thicken.
- I always recommend first making one test pancake to make sure the griddle (or skillet) is just the right temperature. Use a 1/4-1/3 cup scoop to ladle/pour the batter onto the buttered heat source.
- Cook for a few minutes on each side. Wait until small bubbles begin to form on the top of the batter before flipping with a spatula. You’ll know they are done when the dome of the ideal pancake bounces back a bit when touched.
Serve immediately these fluffy pancakes with butter and real maple syrup. Also, try this recipe with strawberries/Blueberries, chocolate chips, or homemade peach syrup. Yum!
Get the Full Griddle Cakes – How to Make Pancakes from Scratch Recipe Card Below. Enjoy!
Easy Homemade Pancakes Tips & Tricks
So you want to make your new favorite pancake recipe from scratch at home? Here are a few extra tips!
- Measure Accurately – It’s easy, when you are in a hurry, to rush through the measuring process. However, if you want perfect pancakes, you need to make sure your measurements are perfect. When working with powdered ingredients of any kind: A) stir them in the container to fluff them up, B) scoop or spoon them in the measuring cup, C) then level the top.
- Preheat the Griddle – You need your griddle or skillet to be piping-hot when the batter hits it, to get the perfect crisp-on-the-outside soft-in-the-middle pancake texture.
- Don’t Over Mix the Batter – It’s common, in the effort to remove clumps, to mix pancake (and cake) batter too long. This creates tough pancakes and cakes. Mix the batter just long enough to incorporate all the ingredients, then STOP. If there’s a clump or two, they will work themselves out while baking.
- Let the Batter Rest – Once the batter is mixed give it 5-10 minutes to bubble and thicken, so you have fluffy pores throughout the pancakes.
- Don’t Test Too Often – Another rookie pancake mistake is to keep checking if the underside of the pancake is brown, so that you know when it’s time to flip them. However, this results in uneven browning. Check the “tester pancake” then watch the clock and flip the other pancakes accordingly.
- Serve Immediately – Pancakes are always best when fresh and hot. Don’t let these beauties sit around too long!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Homemade Pancakes Keep Well? Can I Freeze Them?
While pancakes definitely taste the best when they are freshly made, you can keep leftovers in the fridge or freezer and reheat them in the microwave.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Can I Make These Pancakes Paleo?
Because this recipe for diner-style pancakes calls for malt powder, you cannot really make an exact paleo version.
However, I have figured out the secret to making perfect Paleo Pancakes and recommend you give them a try!
How About Keto-Friendly Pancakes?
If you are on a ketogenic diet you’ve got to try these Low Carb Cloud Bread Pancakes, made with cream cheese and cream of tartar!
What is the Difference Between Hotcakes and Pancakes?
These two are not so easily exchangeable, although they can be very similar. A hotcake is usually thicker and stays in the pan longer, taking more time to cook.
Looking for more simply delicious breakfast recipes?
- How to Make French Toast
- Simple Spelt Waffles
- Fluffy 5-Ingredient Omelette Bake
- Easy Sausage Gravy
- Fluffy Southern Cathead Biscuits
- Yogurt Vanilla Bean Waffles
- Double Chocolate Chip Pancakes by Family Fresh Meals
- Fluffiest Blueberry Pancakes by Pinch of Yum
- Oatmeal Griddle Cakes by Men’s Journal
Check the printable recipe card below for nutrition information including calories, carbohydrates, protein, cholesterol, sodium, and fiber percentages.
How To Make Pancakes from Scratch
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup malted milk powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 extra large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Heat the griddle (or non-stick skillet) to medium-high.
- In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla until frothy.
- Add the milk mixture to the dry mix and whisk until smooth. Finally, whisk in the melted butter. Allow the pancake batter to rest for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
- Start by making one pancake as a test-batch to ensure your heat is accurate. Use a 1/4- to 1/3-cup scoop to ladle the batter onto a buttered griddle.
- Cook for 1-3 minutes per side. Flip when small bubbles rise to the top of the batter. The center should dome and bounce back when touched. If the pancake turns dark too quickly, turn the heat down. Continue with the remaining batter.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
These are the best pancakes ever! Had pancakes at a diner in Michigan and I have been trying to figure out the recipe ever since. You nailed it! Thank you so much!
I love the addition of malted milk powder! Such great flavor!
We always do pancakes on the weekends! This is seriously so easy to throw together! Love the added touch of vanilla bean paste!
This was really amazing!! So fluffy and delicious!
These are so simple to make and delicious. Next time I am definitely making a double batch and freezing one!
needed to add milk for sure and on gas burner kept burner under medium or they burned. still having a little trouble getting it exactly right (occasional raw inside) but getting better. end result is worthwhile – like the diner but better because it’s homemade and I know what i’m putting in my kid’s belly! thanks!
if i do buttermilk, is it correct to increase from 1C to 1 1/4C and increase baking soda to 1/2 tsp from 1/4 tsp?
loved the malt powder addition!
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It’s my first time on your site. You appear to have many pancake recipes. Thus I think you are wonderful. Laughing here. AND I have asked myself why restaurant pancakes taste different. Not necessarily better, but consistently delicious and they are firmer. So I am going to give this a whirl.
These were so fluffy. Thanks for sharing the secret.
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Pancakes are good for desserts after a having a heavy lunch specially in hot summers
I am always looking for the perfect pancake recipe. I think I just found it! I have malted milk powder in the house. A great use for it. I will try these and let you know what happens. Thanks for the inspiration.
I thought I was the only one who was thinking this? Thank you for this recipe.
I HAD to try these and I wasn’t disappointed! These were sooo yummy. Great idea- who would’ve thought malted milk would be such a great addition?
Malted milk powder… mmm.
Thanks for sharing this, Sommer! Pancakes are my favorite breakfast food…along with as much bacon as I can stuff into my face…I confess…I’m a pork-o-holic too! I bookmarked this recipe…I can’t wait to try it!
These look wonderful!
I WISH I could join you in Asheville!!! Have it again next year…please!!! :)
We love pancake for dinner! Glad to see other people share in our dirty little secret!
I clicked through – I’m stoked – the special ingredients are going on the shopping list…!
i wish i could make it as well… very nice recipe … i must try to make it thanks for posting…
Pancakes for dinner!! Love the idea and the delightful recipe, Sommer.
seriously, soooooo tempting – am about an 8hr drive . . . GORGEOUS pancakes, btw!!!
I know I’ll be missing out on something BIG, since I can’t make it to Asheville anytime soon. but maybe making these pancakes will be my consolation prize! (and thanks, Spicy, I’ll make the jump to your guest post too.)
I’ve got to know what this secret ingredient is!… heading over right now!
We had pancakes for dinner yesterday too. Those you made look so light and delish!
Pancakes is one of those foods that you could eat anytime, like cereal, oh gosh how I’d love to dig into some pancakes right now.
I thought the same as Maria, dinner pancakes, and I was thinking it’s good that I’m not the only one who serves pancakes for supper! Now I got to see this secret!
At first I thought I read “dinner” pancakes and I got all excited. Well I am still excited anyway. We could eat these beauties any time at all :)
Beautiful fluffy pancakes. Thanks for posting this :)
Oh, your pancakes look spectacular!!! Off to check out the recipe :)
PS…I’m trying figure out if I could get to Asheville that week…I would love to meet some foodie friends. Tough with high school starting that week :(
These are lovely pancakes and the photography is really stunning. Happy to have found your blog through my inbox at Food Buzz! Going to buzz you now!
I just put up a post about pancakes…haha, great minds think alike! I have to say, pancakes are my favorite food ever and this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!
These really do look perfect!
Now that i see strawberries i have to tell you it was hard for me to find some! Your smoothie is my favourite one! And i won’t stop there, i have to make many other recipes of yours!
The festival sounds like so much fun! Wish I could be there.
Your photos are so gorgeous and I can’t wait to purchase some malted powder to try it out!!
Your pancakes are awesome! Love the malted milk powder – who’d have thunk that? Perfect timing with the long holiday weekend coming along. Happy 4th dear! And let me see what I can do about the Asheville trip :)
chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
oh those pancakes do look delicious! And what a nice presentation with the Festival!
I can’t wait to see all our friends down there!
I love pancakes and sure to enjoy dinner’s one much more. I am saving this to give a try :) Thanks for sharing Sommer.
Wow Sommer, what great photographs! Yes, I’m intrigued to know that “secret ingredient”. I am off to BFK to find out.
I love your pictures and the pancake recipe. Keep them coming.
That event sounds like so much fun. I am thrilled to be moving to the East coast this summer….maybe next year I can actually make it to some of these fun galas.
Your pancakes look incredible, Sommer.
Have fun at the festival!
These look amazing! I am going to check it out now! The festival sounds like so much fun!
wow- jst came back from angie’s for the fluffy pancakes and the secret ingredient- gotta try this recipe with malted powder;good one sommers
Plan a Caribbean weekend next, please :)
Heading over to Angie’s site to see your awesome recipe!
Oh I wish I could be there. We will be in Florida on a family vacation. Boo hoo. These pancakes look so yummy. I love breakfast for dinner! Come over and visit us today. We have a wonderful chilled cantaloupe soup and comment on the post and the Fairy Hobmother may pay you a visit.
I wish I could make it to Asheville, have a great time!
These pancakes are a HOME RUN. 5-star all the way. Fluffy, light, and what you would get in a restaurant but way better. I did add 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar and I did need to add a tad bit more milk after the batter sit a few minutes. The batter is extremely resilient because even after I worked in extra milk, the pancakes retained their fluffiness. Excellent recipe. Thank you for sharing!