Mother’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Servings 16 pancakes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
I don’t care what anyone says, there is a distinct difference between pancakes made from scratch and those made from a mix.  Treat yourself and your family to these and watch them disappear.  You won’t need a nap after these…they’re so light and just right! To make morning preparations easier, mix up the dry ingredients and wet ingredients the night before. Keep them separate until morning, though, or some of the leavening agents will get activated and batter will lose some of its rising power.
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Mother’s Buttermilk Pancakes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour While some people like their pancakes thick and rib-sticking, I like my pancakes thin and light so they won’t sit in my stomach l like a lump. But everyone’s got an opinion, Try cooking up two pancakes and see how you like them. If you want yours a little thicker, stir in ½ cup to 1 cup more flour.
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil or clarified butter for brushing griddle or pan


  • Preheat oven to 200°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs.
  • Slowly pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients while gently stirring and mix just until combined.  (Don’t over mix or you will activate the gluten in the flour and the pancakes will be chewy, like bread, instead of fluffy). The mixture will be a little lumpy (and that’s okay. If you have pockets of flour bigger than a dime, smash them against the side of the bowl to break them apart without having to stir the batter more).Pour in the melted butter and gently mix just until incorporated. (Sometimes melted butter solidifies when added to cold ingredients. Adding it now helps it disperse evenly in the batter and smooth out some of the lumps).
  • Place a griddle or wide (preferably 14-inch) sauté pan over medium heat for several minutes. If using an electric griddle, set the heat to 350 °F.
    Love Note: Old-fashioned ovens often had griddles (a flat cooking surface) built right in to the cook top. That’s not a common feature in ranges these days. Luckily there are many different griddles you can buy to put on your stove, from heavy cast iron to lightweight nonstick aluminum. Some sit on just one burner, some are elongated to stretch across two, or there are electric models that plug in, sit on the countertop, and allow you to set a precise temperature.
  • Sprinkle griddle with a few drops of water; they should bounce around before evaporating. If they sizzle away quickly, the heat is too high. If they just sit there and slowly steam, the heat is too low. When the griddle is properly heated, brush with clarified butter or oil, then wipe with a paper towel so it’s evenly greased. (Big spots of oil or butter will promote uneven browning and your pancakes will have dark and light spots. Even if you have a non-stick griddle I wouldn’t skip this step.)
  • Use a 4-ounce ladle to pour several 5- or 6-inch pools of batter onto the griddle, about an inch or two apart.
    Love Note: Ladles come in all sorts of standard sizes, from1-ounce to 12-ounce, which helps measure as you serve. At Mother’s we use a6-ounce ladle, which holds about ¾ cup of batter. That makes a big, plate-sized pancake, but it’s likely too big to be practical at home. Instead use a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ladle, which makes 6-inch pancakes.  To find out how many ounces your ladle is, fill it with water, pour water into a measuring cup, and read the results. If you don’t have a ladle that’s the right size, use a dry measuring cup to scoop the batter.
  • Cook until bubbles begin to pop on the surface of the pancakes, the edges look a little dry, and the underside is golden, about 2 minutes (try not to flip before they’re ready, because the more you flip the cakes back and forth the less fluffy they will be).  Flip them over and continue cooking until pancakes are cooked through, about 1 minute more. (If the undersides of the pancakes are browning or burning before the surface of pancakes get a chance to form bubbles and dry out, the heat is too high. If it’s taking much longer than 2 or 3 minutes for the bubbles to form, the heat is too low).
  • Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep pancakes warm on a heat-safe platter or baking sheet in the oven. 
  • Serve topped with softened or whipped butter and maple syrup.


With a little addition and subtraction, you can completely change the flavor of your flapjacks. Add-ins like nuts and berries are usually added to each pancake after you spoon the batter on the griddle. Wait until the batter has begun to set but is still wet. Sprinkle the ingredients evenly over the surface, then flip.

Lemon Poppy Seed:

Add 1/3 cup poppy seeds, 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 3 lemons) and 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
Love Note: When grating the zest from any citrus, be sure to only grate the flavorful skin, not the white pith underneath, which is bitter. Rasp-style graters (also called “microplanes”) are the most effective at removing just the top layer of the peel. If you don’t have one, use a vegetable peeler and finely mince the skin, or use a box grater. I like to zest my fruit over a piece of wax paper, parchment, or plastic, making it easier to transfer to whatever it is I’m cooking.

Orange Hazelnut:

Before making the batter, simmer 1 cup of orange juice in a saucepan until reduced to ¼ cup (to concentrate the flavor. Let it cool before using). Add the reduced juice and 3 tablespoons orange zest (from about 2 oranges) to the batter before adding the butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts (Love Note 2, page xxx, Poached Pear, Rogue River Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad) on each pancake before flipping.

Coconut Macadamia Nut:

Toast 1 ½ cups coconut (Love Note x, page xxx, Mother’s Coconut Cream Pie) and roast 1 ½ cups macadamia nuts (Love Note 3, page xxx, Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes) separately (they cook at different rates).  Once cooled, stir together coconut and macadamia nuts in a small mixing bowl.  Replace 2 cups of the buttermilk with 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk in the recipe.  Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the macadamia nut/coconut mixture on each pancake before flipping.

Banana Pecan:

Add 5 to 6 slices banana (about a third of an average banana) and 1 ½  tablespoons chopped toasted pecans (Love Note 3, page xxx, Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes) to each pancake before flipping.


Add 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen blueberries to each pancake before flipping.

Buttermilk waffles

This pancake batter makes excellent waffles both on Belgian waffle iron and a traditional waffle iron. You can use the batter as-is, or add 2 more tablespoons of melted butter to thin out the batter a little and make the waffles crispier. If the batter still seems too thick and doesn't spread out well in the waffle iron, add another 1/4 cup of buttermilk. The batter will yield about 22 waffles using a 1/2 cup measure.