Pancakes are breakfast for millions of Americans. Back in the 18th century in the 13 colonies, they were already a hit. Since then, we got hooked – hot, flat, fluffy, and perfect with any topping… who wouldn’t?
Back at the start, pancakes were made of cornmeal and called Johnnycakes. Nobody knows precisely where the name came from, but the settlers learned the recipe with the Native Americans. Easy to cook, until this day Rhode Islanders love these thick, yellowish flat cakes.
Skip forward to the 1950s, and pancake houses pop up across the U.S. to help people eat on the go before work. Unlike Johnnycakes, pancakes are now thin and cooked up in a flash. You can’t go down any highway without seeing a diner cooking pancakes. And in every state, families eat up to start off their day.
Pancakes are as American as apple pie. And we want you to learn how to cook this classic on the griddle – the best appliance for the perfect pancake. Learn the do’s and don’ts, the tools, and techniques. Things that will totally change your pancake game.
Why Griddles Make the Best Pancakes – No Bluff!
You honestly need to put in a lot of effort to cook bad pancakes. They pack all you need (butter, eggs, milk, sugar) to be delicious – and there’s nothing maple syrup can’t fix.
But we want you to make the best pancakes. Why eat up out-of-shape, non-seared pancakes if you can make perfect griddlecakes every time? Ask yourself again – why?
On the griddle, you have all you need to make perfect, golden-brown pancakes. Tender middle, crisp outside, delicious bites. See why:
- Precise heat control: griddles have consistent heat. Turn it on to medium, and it stays on medium. That means the batter cooks up consistently with a uniform crust. You don’t get any undercooked or overcooked parts
- Huge surface: on the skillet you only cook one at a time. And if you’ve got a hungry family to feed that means you’ll be making the rounds at the stove. And don’t even get started about the difficulty to flip them over on a small skillet! Save time and cook up to 9 pancakes at once on the 17” Tabletop Griddle – our smallest model! On the 36” Griddle you can cook up to 28 pancakes!
- Non-stick and seasoned: griddles get seasoned every time you oil them up. After a few cookouts, you get that jet-black glaze on the griddle that’s non-stick and even adds flavor to your pancakes. Don’t ever worry about not using enough oil and getting them spoiled. And we even have a griddle seasoning guide to help you out!
- Infused flavors: On the griddle, you have enough space and control of heat to infuse flavors into your pancakes. You can pour the oil of your choice on the flat top along with your favorite seasonings. Then, place the batter, and it’ll infuse – the flavors join together for a delicious meal! From savory to sweet, on the griddle it’s tastier!
How to Make Pancakes
Making pancakes is easy. It’s possibly one of the easiest breakfast dishes out there – maybe that’s why it’s so popular.
All you need to do is to prep up some batter and pour it on the griddle into a circle – there’s a neat tool from Blackstone to make it even easier!
Then, let it cook until golden-brown. Flip. Make it golden-brown again – and it’s done! Takes less than five minutes.
Want to jazz up your pancakes? Mix up some ingredients in the batter, such as chocolate chips, blueberries, cinnamon, red food coloring, bacon pieces, nuts, diced carrot or even coffee powder! Cooking stays the same, and you add in some flavor to an already great meal!
Do’s and Don’ts of Cooking Pancakes
Now you know the basics for making pancakes. But these griddled flat delights have many secrets – if you want to be a master of the griddle trade put these tricks up your sleeve.
Some of these might seem like they don’t matter. But trust us – they do. If you follow these recommendations, it’ll make all the difference in the flavor of your pancakes!
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients of batter separately, if you’re making your own. That means flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in one bowl. Keep the wet stuff like eggs, butter, water or milk in another
- If you make your own batter, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cooking. If you can wait up to 15 minutes even better
- Mix the egg yolk separately from the whites. This makes pancakes fluffier. Just follow the recipe for batter normally, but just put in the yolks when it asks for eggs. Mix, then only at the end you add in the whites.
- Use egg rings for perfectly round pancakes
- Always cook at medium heat
- Flip only once. It’s flipping time when it bubbles and the edges start to turn golden-brown
- Overmix the batter. The idea is to make the pancakes smooth, with only a few lumpy ingredients, but you shouldn’t spend ages whisking around – this can even make the pancakes rubbery. That means some lumps of flour is fine.
- Press down on the pancake while cooking – it takes out all the air from the batter. Say goodbye to fluffy and hello to thick, boring pancakes!
- Use old baking soda. If it’s over 6 months, chances your pancake won’t rise up into a fluffy masterpiece – instead it’ll get all lumpy
- Flip and fiddle with your pancakes while cooking. Just put the batter and leave it alone. Too much handling will ruin the sear and the fluffiness
- Spread butter on the flat top while it’s heating. Butter burns quick, so if you want to use it to flavor up your pancakes, make the cooking fast. Wait for the griddle to be hot, add the butter, then immediately place your batter
How to Make Batter for Pancakes
Pancakes are all about the batter. Back in ancient times, folks would mix flour with water and heat it up on a rock. Sure it doesn’t pack much flavor but it’s how humanity ate around the world for centuries.
Then with the rise of agriculture, humanity gained access to a bunch of ingredients. They could finally make tasty batter with eggs, milk, sugar, vegetable oil and a leavening agent like yeast – finally, fluffy pancakes!
So, this is how you make the easiest batter for griddle pancakes – and it’s delicious:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsps. sugar
- 2 tsps. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsps. vegetable oil
Just mix the dry ingredients separately from the wet ones. Then, pour the wet mix into the dry – stir until smooth. Now, all you have to do is griddle them up! Makes 4 servings, if you want more simply double or triple the ingredients for up to 12 pancakes!
That’s the simplest of pancakes ever. Like, the easiest of easy. The kind of cooking to start off a lazy day without the compromise. Want to jazz things up? Cook up Buttermilk pancakes for a tangy, delicious breakfast. Or why not make it sweet with Lemon Blueberry pancakes? And nobody can resist the bright colors of Red Velvet Pancakes!
What About Instant Pancake Mix?
Instant Pancake Mix is great to cook up quickly. You can buy it in any supermarket – then all you need to do is add milk or water, mix, and cook on the griddle!
You can also make instant pancake mix at home! Keep it in the fridge and use it throughout the week. Learn below how to make this instant delight:
Homemade Pancake Mix Ingredients
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsps. sugar
- 2 tsps. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
Put these ingredients into a bowl and seal it airtight with plastic wrap. If you store it well, the mix can last safely up to a week!
The amount above makes 4 pancakes, so if you want to stock up on instant mix for more servings, all you need to do is adjust the amount – double the ingredients makes 8 pancakes, triple makes 12, quadruple makes 16…
Essential Pancake Tools
You probably have the tools at home for pancakes. But, are they the best tools? Do you simply make pancakes or do you master the pancakes?
We want your pancakes to be flawless. And the only way to never make a mistake is with high-tier tools. Here are our picks:
Way better than pouring straight from the bowl. You have total control of the size and no mess – one push = one pancake. The dispenser holds enough batter for 4 cups so you can serve breakfast for the family in just one go.
Get it in the Breakfast Kit, which packs a bacon press and a couple of egg rings too!
Can’t make pancakes without them – how the heck would you flip them? The magic of pancakes is all in the flip and timing.
That means your spatula is essential. It has to be sturdy, comfortable and heat-resistant. Nothing can go wrong when it’s time to flip.
Commercial-grade spatulas used by chefs won’t fail you. Made of quality steel and as smooth as can be to get right under the batter and FLIP in a single, swift movement. No more flabby, out-of-shape pancakes!
Get your spatula in the Griddle Accessory Toolkit – comes with two spatulas, dispensers, and a dicer. All the essentials to cook up pancakes and anything else you dream of on the griddle!
You need a bowl for all that mixing. Make it two if you want to make the best pancakes out there – one for dry ingredients another for wet.
The best bowls for pancakes are of stainless steel. They resist wear & tear, are lightweight, and perfect if you want to use a hand mixer!
Whisk or Hand Mixer
Pancakes need to be mixed. And although you could just use a spoon and get at it, how you mix can make or break your pancakes.
That’s why you should get yourself a balloon whisk. These look like a light bulb and are shaped to build up air while mixing. That means your pancakes are guaranteed to be fluffy!
But if you’re not a fan of tiring your arm away with all that mixing, you can use a hand mixer. Make sure you set it to slow speed at first and gradually increase as the batter gets smooth – that means a mixer with several speed levels is better for max control of fluffiness!
Pancake Flipping Tips
Flipping pancakes perfectly needs conviction. More than just technique, you’ve got to be confident in your movement. Be nimble, steady, and determined. Agile wrist turns, no hesitation.
The first thing you should become confident about is the timing – you need to know exactly when to flip. And the only way is to pay attention to bubbles and the edges.
Ready to flip pancakes have a bubbly top and golden-brown edges. The bubbles start to pop – time to FLIP!
Now’s the moment of truth: start by gently edging your spatula under the pancake. Simply crank your wrist from left to right, making way to the center.
When the spatula reaches the center FLIP! Flick your wrist in one go (that’s a 180° turn for the number-crunchers out there). Don’t hesitate – just turn! If you take too long, the pancake will break apart.
Once it lands, wait for the pancake to rise up – that’s the water evaporating and making room for the air to come in – it makes the pancake fluffy.
Take a look at the lower edge of the pancake. If it’s golden-brown it’s done – take it out with the spatula in one go.
Toppings & Mixtures
What would be of pancakes without toppings and mixtures to add in flavor? The best pancakes out there have at least a dollop of butter, some blueberries or even maple syrup.
Those classics are great. But the possibilities are endless. There’s so much food out there you can eat with your pancakes for a rollercoaster of flavor every time. Just imagine from savory to sweet, fruity to nutty – cheese to chocolate. There are a lot of options!
What’s the Difference Between a Topping and a Mixture?
The name already says it – toppings come on top. It’s what you sprinkle, dab or put on your pancakes after cooking. On the other hand, mixtures are placed inside the batter still in the bowl – they become a part of the pancake itself.
Below is a massive list of savory, sweet, and fruity ingredients for you to flavor up your pancakes. Most can be used interchangeably as toppings or mixtures – if they can’t we’ll warn you! Go ahead, and check the list out:
- Chili sauce
- Egg (best as a topping)
- Ground black pepper
- Lettuce (just topping)
- Peanut butter
- Chocolate chips
- Chocolate-hazelnut spread
- Grated chocolate bars
- Ice cream (just topping)
- Maple Syrup
- Mascarpone (best as a topping)
- Whipped cream
- Greek Yoghurt with fruits of your choice (best as a topping)
Want to learn more about sweet pancakes? Check out this griddle desserts article to learn recipes to cater your sweet tooth!
How to Store Leftover Batter?
Made too much batter? Don’t worry, you can keep it in the fridge for up to five days.
Simply pour the batter into a container with an airtight seal – or use the bowl itself with plastic wrap. You can even freeze batter for up to a month!
Pancake Fun & Games
As if pancakes weren’t fun enough, you can play some games to make them entertaining for the whole family – kids love these!
Make Shapes with Pancake Molds
Get yourself some pancake molds to make breakfast time for the kids fun – from movie stars to animals and even Halloween skulls, fun-shaped pancakes are a thrill!
Simply pour the batter into the mold and watch the magic happen. You can find these online – egg rings in fun shapes work too!
Host a Pancake Buffet
Invite a bunch of people to your house and buy as many ingredients as you can for toppings. Sort out each topping in a bowl on a nicely-decorated table and watch your guests be amazed – chocolate, ice cream, lemons, nuts, tomatoes, sauces, and syrups.
Then, cook up pancakes for each guest. Then here comes the fun part – each guest can mix and match the available ingredients to make the pancakes of their dreams! Better than an ice cream parlor, and right at the comfort of your home.
You learned how to cook pancakes, top them off with sweet or savory ingredients, and even how to host a buffet.
Now, for you to finish off as a complete master of the pancake, you’ve got to know its culture – that includes its history and how it’s cooked around the world.
History of Pancakes
Pancakes date back to 30 thousand years ago – the Neolithic times. During this period, prehistoric men finally had enough food to settle down and build villages. And pancakes made out of cattail flour helped out with that.
The prehistoric men would make pancakes as they could: mix up flour with water and throw it on a rock over a fire. Of course the pancakes weren’t flat like today since they would have the shape of the stone – and there were no leavening agents (baking powder) to bring in the fluffiness.
Pancakes became fluffy with delicious toppings thanks to the Greeks. They already had leavening agents – alkali and wine yeast – to make them rise, and they were flat just like today thanks to smooth bronze skillets.
Ancient Greek toppings included Mediterranean ingredients, such as olive oil, honey, sesame seeds, curdled milk, and cheese.
Since the Middle Ages, Europeans celebrate Pancake Day before Lent. Lent is a Christian custom, in which followers give up on luxury foods for 40 days as a sacrifice before Easter. It was a way to confess for sins and to symbolize the sacrifices of Jesus Christ during his desert journeys.
During Medieval Times in Europe, people couldn’t eat eggs, butter, and fat. So, to not make ingredients go to waste, people started to cook up a lot of pancakes to fatten up before their 40 day fasting.
Still today, people celebrate Pancake Day by cooking the delicious flat cakes for family and friends, along with participating in parades. In the UK, people take part in pancake races – the goal is to reach church first while flipping a pancake in a pan!
And in the U.S., people take part in Mardi Gras parades, such as the massive feast in New Orleans. Mardi Gras in French means “Fat Tuesday,” so it was the day to celebrate before fasting with some delicious, fatty treats!
Pancakes Around the World
Chinese street vendors cooking pancakes
Pancakes are cooked up in every continent of the planet – proof of how ancient and simple the recipe is.
Injera cooked in Somalia
In Somalia and Ethiopia pancakes are spongy and called injera. They are made with flour from a local crop called teff and full of holes after cooked. Africans serve them alone or along with stews and salads.
Other countries in the continent learned to cook pancakes with the European settlers and mix up the batter with banana, apples or raisins.
Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancake
This continent is huge, so pancakes change a lot from country to country. Chinese cook up thick, fluffy pancakes with duck meat or scallions. The Indians make thin pancakes similar to crepes called cheelas and top them with lentils, green gram paste, and cheese.
Japanese cook up okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with red beans, cabbage, eggplant, and turnips. And the Indonesians like it savory too – serabi pancakes with cheddar cheese, beef, chicken or sausage. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a sweet tooth though, and cook serabis with sugar, peanuts, bananas, jackfruit or chocolate.
Eastern European Palatschinke
While many European countries like the UK and France make pancakes similar to the US, other nations have totally different way of cooking up this delicious meal.
In Eastern Europe, countries like Slovakia and the Czech Republic eat palatschinke – rolled up pancakes filled with almonds, raisins, and apple jam. They can also be covered with a sauce.
The Polish also roll up their pancakes and make naleśniki filled with sweet ingredients like bilberries and sugar. Or it’s savory with minced meat and spinach.
And The Danish eat Æbleskiver, which are puffed-up pancakes that aren’t flat at all! They are round and filled with raspberry, strawberry or blackberry jam.
Brazilian Chocolate Tapioca
In Brazil, the most popular pancake-like dish is the tapioca. They are more similar to crepes and made with cassava flour. Brazilians love this dish for breakfast or a quick snack from a street vendor – they are savory with cheese, chicken, beef or sweet with bananas, strawberries, chocolate or honey.
Colombians and Venezuelans cook up cachapas, which are corn flour pancakes topped off with cheese and pork rinds.
Bowl of Pikelets
The Aussies and Kiwis make pancakes called pikelets, which are small – roughly 3 inches – and can be topped with jam or whipped cream for tea.
Are you a big fan of pancakes? Comment below a secret recipe or one of your fave pancake tips!
We love to see photos of your cooking! Upload your photos of griddled pancakes to social media with #BlackstoneGriddle and #GriddleNation.