Easy Basic Pancakes


This simple recipe will become your go-to for making fluffy pancakes from scratch.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

Picture it: a golden, fluffy stack of homemade pancakes, lightly crisped around the edges and tender through the center. This surprisingly quick and easy recipe has been our most popular for years—and with good reason. These simple from-scratch pancakes use ingredients you likely have on hand—like all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, and egg—and it tastes so much better than boxed mix versions.

Start with our basic recipe, or try one of our variations using buttermilk or yogurt. Either way, you'll have a fluffy stack of pancakes ready to eat in less than half an hour.

To keep pancakes warm while you cook, place them on a baking sheet or oven-safe platter in a 200 degree oven until you're ready to serve—it makes all the difference.

easy basic pancakes recipe
Diana Chistruga

How to Make Fluffy Homemade Pancakes Every Time

  • Use fresh ingredients. Check your flour and baking powder to make sure they haven't expired or gone rancid.
  • Don't over-stir. When combining your wet and dry ingredients, stir only until you no longer see any dry spots of flour. Over-stirring will make pancakes tougher (since gluten develops in the flour) and less fluffy (which happens when leaveners release bubbles).
  • Let batter rest. Resting about 10 minutes allows the leaveners to continue to work their magic, creating and expanding into thousands of tiny pockets of carbon dioxide. The fluffier the batter, the fluffier the pancakes.
  • Start with a hot surface. Allow your skillet or griddle to fully heat up before you add batter. 
  • Make a test pancake. This is your practice run to gauge and adjust the temperature and cook time. Peek frequently at the underside to check if the pancake is browning at the right pace. 
  • Don't press the pancakes. It's tempting to press down on the pancakes with a spatula after flipping, but this will result in a dense, gummy pancake.

What to Serve With Pancakes

Butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and fresh fruit are all delicious toppings for homemade pancakes. If you're feeling creative, try Mixed Berry Compote, Banana-Caramel Sauce, Lemon Curd, or Orange Spiced Syrup.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • Assorted toppings, such as butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, or chocolate syrup


  1. Gather ingredients and preheat oven:

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven.

    ingredients for easy basic pancakes recipe

    Diana Chistruga

  2. Mix dry ingredients:

    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

    easy basic pancakes whisking flour

    Diana Chistruga

  3. Mix wet ingredients:

    In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg.

    easy basic pancakes recipe mixing ingredients
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients:

    Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened. (Do not overmix; a few small lumps are fine.)

    pancake batter for easy basic pancakes

    Diana Chistruga

  5. Heat and oil skillet or griddle:

    Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium. Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.

    greasing the pan for easy basic pancakes recipe

    Diana Chistruga

  6. Spoon batter onto skillet or griddle:

    For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).

    cooking first pancake for easy basic pancakes recipe

    Diana Chistruga

  7. Cook first side:

    Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes.

    pancakes ready to flip for easy basic pancakes recipe

    Diana Chistruga

    The underside should reach a gorgeous shade of gold just as the uncooked batter on top loses its wet sheen—indicating that it's time to flip.

  8. Flip pancakes:

    Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more.

    cooked pancakes for easy basic pancakes recipe

    Diana Chistruga

    Choose a thin, broad spatula (the same width as the pancakes, if possible) and turn each one over as gently and quickly as possible. The second side should take less time than the first, so keep an eye on them.

  9. Serve immediately, or keep warm in oven:

    Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You'll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with desired toppings.

    easy basic pancakes recipe
    Diana Chistruga

Pancake Variations


In step 1, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to dry mixture. In step 2, replace the milk with low-fat buttermilk.


In step 1, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to dry mixture. In step 2, replace the milk with 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt and 1/3 cup milk.

Wholegrain With Yogurt

In step 1, replace the all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup each cornmeal and wheat germ, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. In step 2, replace the milk with 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt and 1/3 cup milk.

Storing and Reheating Pancakes

How to Store Leftover Pancakes and Batter

  • To store pancake batter: If you have leftover pancake batter that you will use within one day, keep the batter in the mixing bowl or measuring cup you mixed it in, cover it with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator. If you won't be using the batter within a day, cook the rest of the pancakes and store them to reheat another time.
  • To store leftover pancakes: Leftover pancakes freeze well. Be sure to let them cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. We recommend storing leftover pancakes in the refrigerator if you will eat them within a few days. For longer storage, freeze them. Whether you are refrigerating or freezing, keep them in a zip-top freezer bag, separating them with wax or parchment paper so they don't stick. Make sure all the air is removed from the freezer bag.

How to Reheat Leftover Pancakes

There are several ways to reheat leftover pancakes, but we recommend using the oven method if you have a number of pancakes to reheat. If you're reheating just a few, use your toaster. Avoid the microwave; pancakes tend to cool and dry out more quickly with this method.

  • Reheating in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place pancakes on a rimmed sheet pan and warm through. This will take between 6 and 10 minutes if you are starting with frozen pancakes; leftover pancakes from the refrigerator need less time.
  • Reheating in the toaster: Place one pancake in each slot of the toaster and set it to a medium toast level. If the pancakes aren't warmed sufficiently, toast them again at a lower setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make pancakes ahead of time?

Yes, you can make pancakes ahead of time. We don't recommend making them ahead of a more formal weekend brunch, since they taste best when hot off the griddle. Prepping a batch for quick weekday breakfasts, however, is a good idea; reheat as many as you need each morning.

Can I omit the sugar?

Most pancake recipes use only a small amount of sugar (our recipe has 2 tablespoons of sugar for four servings). Even this small amount plays an important role in the batter. You can omit sweeteners, but your pancakes will be rubbery in texture. 

Can I use water or dairy-free milk instead?

Alternative or dairy-free milks can replace dairy milks in pancake recipes. Choose an unsweetened option; replace the exact amount of dairy milk called for with your favorite alternative milk. You can use water, but the resulting pancakes will be less rich and flavorful.

Can I use gluten-free flour or whole-wheat flour instead?

Our Easy Basic Pancakes recipe was written and tested using all-purpose flour. If you use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour mix, you'll get a good result; these flour blends are a direct substitute for all-purpose flour. 

Whole-wheat flour is different. Substituting whole-wheat flour for all-purpose flour in our Easy Basic Pancakes recipe will result in a thinner batter; pancakes will also spread more in the pan. This flour also produces a different pancake color and taste—you may detect the whole wheat, while pancakes made with all-purpose flour are neutral in flavor. Once you slather them in butter and maple syrup, however, no one will notice a difference. (You can also make the pancakes with half all-purpose and half whole-wheat flour—a ratio that offers the best of both types.)

Try Our Other Favorite Pancake Recipes

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