With a just few simple tricks, you can make the best Fluffy Restaurant Style Pancakes at home. This buttermilk pancake recipe makes thick, fluffy pancakes using pantry staples and they’re ready in just 20 minutes!
We’re huge pancake fans in this house. While I’m all about trying new variations, there’s nothing quite like a big stack of thick, fluffy restaurant-style pancakes! Add some syrup and whipped cream for some total breakfast comfort food that makes the whole family happy.
The secret to fluffy restaurant-style pancakes? Buttermilk! The acid in the buttermilk reacts to the leavening agents in the pancake batter, creating air bubbles that make the pancakes tall and fluffy. It’s a simple switch that makes all the difference. I’ve also included a few of my other tips for the best pancakes below.
Are Pancakes the Same as Flapjacks?
The answer to this question depends on where you’re from! In the US and Canada, pancakes and flapjacks are the same – but in the UK they’re two different foods! Here in Canada, though, the words are used interchangeably but pancake is the most commonly used. “Pan-cake”. Because really a pancake is just a flat cake that we eat for breakfast.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- All-purpose flour – I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free or other types of flour.
- Vegetable oil – The oil keeps the pancakes moist and also helps to avoid giving them a yellow-brown colour.
- Salt – A pinch of salt helps to enhance the other flavours.
- Vanilla – Vanilla adds a light flavour to the pancakes.
- Eggs – Eggs help give the pancakes form.
- Baking powder & baking soda – Both of these leavening agents work together to help create the softest, fluffiest buttermilk pancakes.
- Buttermilk – The secret to restaurant-style pancakes is that they’re made with buttermilk. If you don’t have any on hand, see below for a trick to make your own in a pinch!
How to Make Homemade Buttermilk in a Pinch
If you forgot to grab a litre of buttermilk at the store, no worries – you can still make these fluffy restaurant-style pancakes.
Homemade buttermilk can actually be made using regular milk and either vinegar or lemon juice. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar will react in the same way that traditional buttermilk would in a recipe, despite not being cultured. And you can make this in just 10 minutes! For full directions, check out this post on Food Network.
How to Make Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
Making this fluffy buttermilk pancake recipe is super simple and you can have the first round of pancakes done in just 15 minutes or so.
Start by whisking all of the ingredients together. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes to give the baking soda and powder time to activate and release gas. This is an important step that you don’t want to skip, as it gives them their fluffy texture and lift!
Once the batter has rested, add a little vegetable oil or butter to a large non-stick pan over medium heat. In my opinion, vegetable oil is the better option because it doesn’t burn or make the pancakes dark.
Add 1/3 cup of the batter to the pan and let cook until the bubbles start to pop up on the surface of the pancake. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to cook 3 or 4 pancakes at a time.
Once the bubbles start to pop, use a spatula to carefully flip each pancake. Let cook on the other side for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.
How to Keep Pancakes Warm
This recipe makes about 15 pancakes so you’ll definitely need to cook them in batches! To keep the cooked ones warm while you work on the others, you can either place them on a plate and cover them with a clean tea towel or place the plate in a slightly heated oven.
Preheating the oven to the lowest temperature it goes to (usually about 250°F) usually works perfectly.
Tips for Making the Perfect Pancakes
Here are a few things I’ve learned with trial and error in making these pancakes.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, I’d recommend cooking no more than 4 pancakes at a time. You want them to be able to spread out and become perfectly round. Plus it makes them easier to flip as well!
- Use oil, not butter. While technically you can cook the pancakes in butter, I much prefer to use vegetable oil. I’ve found it’s the best way to get perfectly golden pancakes and avoid an icky brown colour on the bottom.
- Always let the batter rest. Letting the batter sit for 10 minutes before beginning to cook is key to these restaurant-style pancakes. It allows the leavening agents to work their fluffy magic.
- Don’t overmix the batter. Once the batter is mixed and resting, leave it alone. Don’t mix it again or you risk releasing the air in the batter and ending up with flat pancakes.
Pancake Toppings & Serving Ideas
There are so many ways to serve these homemade buttermilk pancakes! You can serve them as part of a bigger breakfast, brunch, or breakfast for dinner spread with sausage or bacon, eggs, and other breakfast foods or enjoy a tall stack as the main dish.
And, of course, don’t forget the toppings! Here are a few of my favourite pancake toppings:
- Maple syrup
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate or peanut butter drizzle
- Fresh berries
How to Store Leftover Pancakes
While these pancakes are always best fresh, you can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just keep them covered in plastic wrap. To reheat, you can pop them in the microwave, in the toaster, or quickly reheat them on the stovetop.
Can I Freeze Buttermilk Pancakes?
Yes! These homemade buttermilk pancakes freeze super well. Just allow them to cool then transfer them to a plastic freezer bag for up to 2 months. To prevent any sticking, you can also flash freeze them on a baking sheet first.
Reheat from frozen in the microwave or the toaster and add your favourite toppings.
I almost always make a double batch so that I can freeze some. Frozen and reheated, they make a great quick breakfast for the kids on school mornings.
I find that 25 seconds in the microwave followed by a few minutes in the toaster to crisp the outside edges again is the sweet spot!
More Pancake Recipes:
- Cinnamon French Toast Pancakes
- Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Pancakes
- Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes
- Easy Scallion Pancakes
- Aunt Lillian’s Polish Potato Pancakes
Fluffy Restaurant Style Pancakes
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil plus a littl more for frying
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 33 oz buttermilk (1 litre)
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat a large non-stick pan to medium heat and add in a little vegetable oil or butter.
- Add a 1/3 cup to the pan. Let cook until bubbles start to pop on the surface of the pancake. Use a spatula to carefully flip and let the other side cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate. Serve warm.
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For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make Restuarant Style Pancakes Story.