Pancake Tips: 9 Mistakes To Avoid

It's time to get breakfast right.
Syrup pouring on pancakes. Pancakes with blueberries and sweet syrup
Vladislav Nosick / 500px via Getty Images
Syrup pouring on pancakes. Pancakes with blueberries and sweet syrup

Pancakes are one of the best things to ever happen to breakfast, second only to bacon. They’re so light and fluffy, and they masterfully absorb butter and syrup. Or at least that’s the case when you make pancakes right. But not all pancakes are made properly. Actually, a lot of people botch their pancakes. It’s time we put a stop to this.

The principles behind making the perfect pancakes are simple: Just whip up a quick batter and fry them up. But so much can go wrong along the way, risking dense, flat or burned pancakes. If you’ve experienced these pancake tragedies, you’re probably committing at least one, if not all nine, of the common pancake mistakes. Find out what they are and put an end to your pancake misery.

The Mistake: You're Skimping On Ingredients
Flickr: carriedwillard
You may opt for all-purpose flour for convenience's sake, but Alton Brown swears by mixing AP flour with cake flour for the best batter consistency. Who are we to argue with Alton Brown?
The MIstake: You're Estimating The Ingredients
Flickr: Pizza Zona
If you want perfectly fluffy pancakes, you'll have to weigh your ingredients to make sure the ratios are accurate. Sure, it takes a little more work, but it's worth it.
The Mistake: You're Making The Batter In Advance
Flickr: Mel B.
You might be tempted to store pancake batter for those I-need-pancakes-right-this-instant emergencies. You must resist the temptation. You should make the batter only right before you plan on cooking pancakes. If not, the flour will absorb too much liquid and thicken the batter, which will lead to imperfect pancakes.
The Mistake: You're Overbeating The Batter
Flickr: Mel B.
It's your instinct to attempt to rid the batter of all its lumps, but this is an epic mistake. Instead, quickly whisk the batter just until the dry ingredients incorporate with the wet ones. Then stop -- even if you see lumps.
The Mistake: You're Pouring Oil Directly Into The Pan
Flickr: AdamLiangPhotography
Oftentimes, uneven cooking is to blame for those pancake duds. If you pour oil directly into the pan, it may pool in some areas while leaving other parts of the pan dry. (We've all seen this happen.) The uneven cooking will cause the flapjacks to burn in some areas and undercook in others. To avoid this breakfast mess, apply oil to the pan with wadded paper towels.
The Mistake: You're Overheating The Pan
Flickr: dustpanalley
Temperature is key to making perfect pancakes.Yes, the pancake pan should be hot. But not too hot. If temperature is off, the pancakes will scorch or they won't rise. Go for a medium-high heat -- and don't be shy about turning it down if it feels too hot.
The Mistake: You're Impatiently Messing With The Pancakes
Flickr: Ffîon
Once the pancake is cooking on the pan, give it some space. Do your best not to shake the pan or move the batter -- this'll hinder the pancake from rising properly.
The Mistake: You're Overflipping
Flickr: npatterson
Flip the pancake only once. If you need to cheat a little while cooking them to make sure they're not burning, you can gently lift the pancake to take a look underneath. Over-flipping can cause your pancakes to deflate.
The Mistake: You're Flipping Before The Bubbles Burst
Flickr: Mel B.
One of the easiest ways to know when to flip pancakes is to wait for bubbles to form and burst in the center. Have faith that the pancake will let you know when it's ready to flip and you'll be rewarded with perfect pancakes.

Before You Go

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancake Recipes