Fluffy Diner Style Pancakes

With a just few simple tricks, you can make the best Fluffy Diner Pancakes Recipe at home. These diner style pancakes are thick and fluffy, made using pantry staples and they’re ready in just 20 minutes!

A stack of diner pancakes on a plate with butter and syrup.

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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 diner pancakes! Add some syrup and butter 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 light and fluffy pancakes below.

What Makes This Diner Pancakes Recipe So Great?

  • Quick and Easy. Ready in just 20 minutes, making it a perfect option for a speedy and delicious breakfast.
  • Simple Ingredients. Uses everyday pantry staples, so you don’t need to hunt for fancy items.
  • Thick and Fluffy Texture. The buttermilk trick creates tall and fluffy pancakes that are a delight to bite into.
  • Versatile Toppings. Enjoy with your favorite toppings like maple syrup, whipped cream, Nutella, or fresh berries.
Ingredients for diner style pancakes.

Ingredients For Diner Pancakes

  • All-purpose flour – I have not tested this diner pancakes recipe with gluten-free or other types of flour.
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil – The oil keeps the pancakes moist and also helps to avoid giving them a yellow-brown color.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt helps to enhance the other flavors.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla adds a light flavor 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!

See the recipe card below for exact quantities.

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 favorite pancake toppings:

  • Maple syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Nutella
  • Chocolate or peanut butter drizzle
  • Butter
  • Fresh berries
A plate of light and fluffy pancakes with butter.

How to Make This Fluffy Diner Pancakes Recipe

Making this diner pancakes recipe is super simple and you can have the first round of pancakes done in just 15 minutes or so.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
Ingredients for fluffy diner style pancakes in a  clear mixing bowl.
Pancake batter in a mixing bowl with a whisk.
  1. 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 2 pancakes at a time but I like to stick to one so I can flip the pancake easier without making a mess.
  2. 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 and serve hot.

Tips

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 2 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 color on the bottom.
  • Always let the batter rest. Letting the batter sit for 10 minutes before beginning to cook is key to these light and fluffy 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.

Storage

Store. 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.

Freeze. 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. Reheat from frozen in the microwave or the toaster and add your favorite toppings. 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!

This recipe makes a tonne of pancakes and is really what I would consider a double batch unless you are cooking for more than one family. You can easily cut this recipe in half and still have left overs to freeze.

My son loves pancakes so I like to make this huge batch so I can freeze them for a quick before school breakfast.

A stack of restaurant style pancakes on a plate with butter and syrup.

Diner Style Pancakes FAQs

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.

How can I make buttermilk at home?

If you forgot to grab a litre of buttermilk (33.8 fluid ounces) at the store, no worries – you can still make these fluffy restaurant-style pancakes. 
Homemade buttermilk can 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 do you keep pancakes warm?

This recipe makes about 24 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.

A breakfast table with a plate of restaurant style pancakes.

More Pancake Recipes:

A stack of diner pancakes on a plate with butter and syrup.

Fluffy Diner Style Pancakes Recipe

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
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!
4.29 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine North Amercian
Servings 24 pancakes
Calories 147 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pancakeCalories: 147kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 299mgPotassium: 79mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 98IUCalcium: 110mgIron: 1mg

Notes

Serve pancakes hot or warm with butter, syrup, whipped cream and or berries.
Storage:
Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container once cooled for up to 3 days in the fridge or freeze for up to 2 months. Before freezing make sure they are completely cooled before storing to prevent them from sticking together or alternatively flash freeze them on a baking sheet and then transfer them to a storage container.
 
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make Restaurant Style Pancakes Story.

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have been looking for the perfect RESTAURANT STYLE BUTTERMILK PANCAKE and this is it! I’m so glad to have finally found it. They are perfectly dense, fluffy and sweet. Ice found my new go-to pancake. recipe

  2. 5 stars
    This worked SO SO well!

    I am “breakfast dad” at our house and I have always made it from a box/bag and felt the urge to try homemade today and found your recipe. didn’t have buttermilk so I followed that Food Network link to make it with vinegar. While it was a very large amount of batter (saving some for tomorrow), the pancakes were OUTSTANDING! Thank you for sharing!

    1. You welcome Waid. I usually freeze the extra pancakes and then pop them in the toaster like waffles for a quick breakfast.

  3. 1 star
    This recipe is awful. No eggs in the recipe but eggs in the picture and descriptions. Very confused. Bland. Bland. Bland.

    1. Hi Jennifer, my apologies and thank you for pointing out my error. In the pictures, the recipe calls for 3 large eggs and I have since corrected the recipe card to reflect this. Without the eggs, this recipe will be bland for sure. I hope you do give them a try again as they are really really delicious!

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