How To Make Pancakes from Scratch
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.
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.
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
- 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.