Everyday pancakes

Pancakes are one of the ultimate American breakfast items. They are endlessly customizable, whether by flavorings on the inside, or by adding toppings. I set out to make a simple recipe that I can easily remember, but also produces a delicious, classic pancake. In this post, I’ve detailed all the ingredients I use, the ones I leave out, and how I make them in one bowl.


Because pancakes are such a well-known breakfast item, there are so many different ways to make them. Below are the ingredients I use, why I choose to include them, and some optional substitutions.


All-purpose vs. whole wheat—Both all-purpose and white whole wheat flours made a classic pancake, although all-purpose is likely the more recognizable of the two. It is finer, and results in a lighter pancake. White whole wheat can be substituted 1-to-1, and makes the pancake slightly heartier and denser, although very similar. I’ve never used 100% whole wheat flour, as it would completely change the texture. However, I’m sure it could be substituted for up to 50% of the flour with good results.

Sorghum—I was looking for a wheat-free, whole grain pancake, and sorghum was the perfect substitute. The taste is very mild, resulting in a very similar ‘classic’ pancake flavor. It is a tiny bit more crumbly, and falls apart a little easier than a typical pancake would. However, it is extremely close in chewing texture and taste, and is the best wheat-free flour for making pancakes I have come across thus far.


Cow’s milk vs. plant/nut milk—I personally don’t use cow’s milk, but it is the standard. Most plant and nut milks will act exactly the same way, although slightly alter the flavor. Either way, they can be used for 100% of the milk with no added changes.

Evaporated milk—I often use this milk when making pancakes for others as it is what I typically have on hand. It comes in a 5.4 oz can and is sweeter than regular milk. Because of this, I combine it with enough water to make the amount of milk I need, which simultaneously thins it out and reduces the sweetness. If I use evaporated milk, I often reduce or eliminate the added sweetener called for in the recipe.

Banana, pumpkin, etc. + milk—When I have ripe bananas or canned pumpkin on hand, I love to add them in my pancakes. To do this, I use 1/2 a medium banana, or approximately 2 Tbsp. of whatever mashed food I am using, per serving. If using bananas, I will mash it before adding the remaining ingredients, in order to get a uniform texture free of lumps. Then, I add enough milk and/or water to reach the desired amount of milk. This works great as a milk substitute, and adds a pleasant, subtle flavor.

Water—If I have no milk or suitable substitutes, I will just use water. It is important to note that water is much thinner that other milk options. Therefore, I find it best to reduce the amount called for to 80%-90%, then add more as I need it. For a single serving, that equates to approximately 2 Tbsp. reduction. Using water still results in a tasty pancake, it is just less rich and slightly less robust.


Originally, I thought oil was unnecessary, and therefore didn’t include it. However, I was curious about its effects. I started including it, I noticed a clear improvement in texture and moisture. The pancake is softer, chewier, and less dry. Now, I consider it an essential ingredient.


I used to never made pancakes with eggs, as I’ve always either omitted them altogether or substituted flax meal. However, sorghum can be quite crumbly without the use of a binding ingredient. Eggs are the perfect way to keep the pancake from falling apart during each bite, so I use 1 egg per serving.

Flax meal

In addition to eggs, I like to use flax meal. It’s not necessary, and a very similar pancake can be made without it. However, I like to add it for the nutritional benefit, as well as the holding properties it has. I don’t bother making a ‘flax egg’ first; instead, I simply mix it in with the dry ingredients and proceed as normal.


Sugar—When making pancakes for others, I often use sugar, since it is a familiar taste. Typically, I like to use brown sugar, as it gives another dimension of flavor than regular white sugar. Either way, most crystalized sugars will suffice, including coconut and turbinado. For regular sugar, I use ~1/2 Tbsp. per serving.

Agave—Agave is something I recently discovered that I enjoy baking with. I like that it requires less for the same level of sweetness as sugar. Not only that, but it feels more natural. Per serving, I use ~1 tsp.


Spices—Although optional, I find spices can elevate pancakes to another level. The particular ones I use are pumpkin pie inspired, but others can be used, as well. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, and overly spiced pancakes can become inedible. A combined 1/4 tsp. is typically a good place to start.

Salt—Salt brings out the flavors of whatever it is mixed with. In pancakes, salt brings out the sweetness, as well as the spices. Therefore, I highly recommend adding it. However, a salty pancakes is no good, so err on the side of not enough then go from there.

Molasses—Personally, I love adding a dab of molasses to pancakes. For one serving, a ‘dab’ means one drop. Too much molasses will be overpowering, but a tiny bit adds a nice subtle flavor.

Vanilla—Vanilla is one of my favorite flavorings, and is a staple in baking. Although not necessary, it does add a delicious undertone that makes an ordinary pancake feel special.

Baking powder

I’ve seen recipes use a combination of baking powder and baking soda, and ones that only use one or the other. I’ve found that baking powder alone is the best and simplest. Because it is double acting, I found it raises better than baking soda alone. Furthermore, I think it does what it needs to do on its on, and for the sake of simplicity, doesn’t need the addition of baking soda.

Ingredients not included

As my tastes have changed, so have the ingredients I include in my pancake recipe. Below are ingredients I either used previously and no longer do, or ones I never included in the first place.

Vinegar—I used to include vinegar, as I thought it helped with the rising process. However, it doesn’t really do much. Since the benefit added is negligible, I no longer add it.

Butter—I don’t use butter in cooking or baking, and therefore I don’t have it on hand. Many recipes call for melted butter, which I’m sure adds moisture and flavor. However, I am perfectly content without it, and substitute avocado oil with good results.

One bowl method

The one bowl method reduces the amount of dirty dishes used to make pancakes. Basically, mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl. Add flour on top, then remaining dry ingredients. Gently combine the dry ingredients on top of flour, then mix everything in with the wet to make a consistent batter. This is similar to using the two bowl method, as the dry and wet are combined separately then mixed together. However, this eliminates the second bowl by simply mixing the dry on top of the wet.


Everyday pancakes

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes

A classic pancake, what else can I say?


Wet ingredients

  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. sweetener
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • dab of molasses

Dry ingredients

  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp. flax meal (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves, and/or nutmeg


  1. Preheat skillet to medium (5) heat while making the batter.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients on top, lightly mixing them together. Whisk dry into wet until just combined.
  3. Lightly grease the skillet, and reduce heat to 4. Pour batter onto skillet to form 2-3 equal pancakes.
  4. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping once large bubbles start to form. Once golden brown on both sides, remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining batter if making multiple servings.


To keep them warm, place in 200°F oven until ready to eat.

If using water instead of milk, reduce amount by 2 Tbsp.

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