Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes – Thank you anyway Mom

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes – Thank you anyway Mom

I have thought a lot about my mom recently.  A lot of my blog posts reference her, one way or another, but this past couple of weeks, and the intensity of the time we spent with her in the hospital, has given me an opportunity to pause and reflect about her, what she means to me and the boys, and what I have learned from her.

There is a full blog post (or 10) here about all sorts of things I have learned from her. Many funny, some serious, but all will have had an impact one way or another on me.

One of those things, of course, is how to cook. Little tips, tricks, techniques, principles, and so forth.

One place where my mom, frankly, didn’t shine, was making pancakes. Sorry to say, but those things were tougher than a one of the three-legged dogs from the old neighborhood. She would add oatmeal, wheat germ, wheat bran, and anything else that seemed to be lying around into her batter.

Maybe she was a hippy after all, or really probably wishes she was a part of the “Jesus people” movement where hippies all over the West Coast were being baptized in the ocean in the 1970s…not really sure. Regardless, they were “healthy” and loaded.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Either way, these suckers weren’t just firm, they would make an ultimate frisbee fan jealous. Heavy batter, cooked on a heavy cast iron pan, just doesn’t seem to be the right “recipe” for perfect, fluffy, and lightly tangy pancakes.

I know, I know. You are saying that I should be nicer, or sweeter, or more nostalgic. We have laughed about these often, and in her defense, she was trying to give my sister and I as much nutrition as she could. For that I am grateful.

Now that I am older, however, I have discovered that it really is possible to make fluffy, delicate, and perfectly delicious pancakes for one, two, or a crowd.

My every day recipe (although we probably eat pancakes only 2 or so times a month), is slightly adapted from a recipe I found from Greg Atknison, here in Seattle. Although the famous Joy of Cooking recipe is awesome (separate yolks from egg whites, beat whites, and fold just before the griddle), this one makes everyone happy. Simple and tasty.

To me, pancakes should be golden brown, and uber light. They shouldn’t set inside your belly like rocks, literally or figuratively.

I am sure I will run into other variations of this, but I don’t know that they will ever end up in my little black book.


Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes – Thank you anyway Mom


  • 1 1/4 cups AP Flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup veg/canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • Optional - fresh or frozen berries


  1. Add all ingredients to bowl and stir with a wooden spoon (whisk prob ok too). Do not over mix!
  2. Lightly butter griddle or frying pan (lightly is paramount, too much butter ends up with too much crust) over medium heat.
  3. Use 1/4 cup measuring cup you used for some of the ingredients and drop onto the pan.
  4. When bubbles begin forming around the edge of the pancake, and then lightly popping, you know its time to flip.
  5. Serve with butter, syrup or jam.

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2 thoughts on “Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes – Thank you anyway Mom”

  • Mike

    Where do you buy your AP flour? There has been an A&P supermarket around here for years and years?


  • OMG Mike, why didn’t you ask me for a recipe?!?

    Granddad would serve these pancakes at the Lyon’s Saturday Morning Breakfasts however often they had them, back in Tustin California in the 50’s and 60’s.

    Anyway, Granddad shared his recipe with me, his youngest granddaughter and my cousin Linda.

    My pancakes, (thanks to Granddad) are well known amoung my fam and friends — always light and fluffy. At the neighborhood camping trip, Andrew ate around 20 or so, I believe.

    The secret of course is the spoon. While Linda got the recipe, I got the recipe and the spoon!! Are you ready???

    2 beaten eggs
    8 heaping “Spoons” of flour
    2 “Spoons” of baking powder
    2 heaping “Spoons” of sugar (Actually Granddad used 4 “spoons”, but I use less)
    Add buttermilk to the right consistency
    Then add 3-4 Tablespoons of melted butter (I can’t believe your recipe says oil — barbaric!)

    These cakes bubble even before you get them on the grill. The best ever. Seriously, no one comes close to my pancakes, except Linda of course. But she doesn’t have the spoon!!!!!!

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