Perfect Pancakes

November 18, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: I love pancakes. I have tried many different recipes but I always come back to the one my mother made for me as a child. She altered the fruit with the season: blueberries in the summer, apples in the fall and winter. You can skip the fruit altogether and the pancakes will still be perfect. I use a cast iron pan, which requires extra butter for cooking the pancakes, rather than non-stick cookware. Don't forget the bacon.sweet enough

Food52 Review: A pancake shouldn’t always depend on syrup, and here’s a terrific example of one that does not. You begin by browning a couple of tart apples first in butter, second in maple syrup. Then you fold these right into the batter, creating a delicious one-stop-shopping pancake. All you need is a slick of good salted butter. Sweet enough uses a handy technique for the batter, beating it in a mixer until it’s as frothy as an ice cream soda – whether it’s imaginary or real, the bubbles seem to lift the cakes to ethereal heights. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 4


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons melted butter (plus more for the pan)
  • 2-3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
In This Recipe


  1. melt the two tablespoons of butter in a pan. when the butter just starts to bubble, add the apples. cook over a medium heat until they start to release their liquid. add the maple syrup and cook until the apples start to caramelize. remove from heat and set aside.
  2. sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. put the eggs, vanilla extract and milk in a mixing bowl and beat at a high speed with an electric mixer or whisk for a few minutes until the liquid looks frothy. add the flour and mix on the lowest speed until the large lumps disappear. gently blend in the melted butter and apples. do not over mix.
  3. melt a tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over a medium high heat. the pan needs to be hot. test it by putting a drop of batter in the pan. if it sizzles, it's hot enough. using a soup ladle, add as many pancakes to the pan as it will hold without crowding. when you start to see bubbles forming and the edges starting to harden, flip the pancakes over and cook for a few minutes on the other side. serve with warm maple syrup.

More Great Recipes:
Pancake|American|Grains|Maple Syrup|Milk/Cream|Serves a Crowd|Christmas|Fall|Winter|Vegetarian|Breakfast

Reviews (29) Questions (0)

29 Reviews

Nal January 26, 2018
These are the best pancakes I've ever made. Really great for taking on the road!
Shv August 20, 2017
What is the 1/4 cup of butter for? The recipe never says...
Martin February 12, 2017
These are the best pancakes I have encountered so far, after trying many other "gloriously high" or "stack above the rest" pancakes. The addition of the apples is super welcome, and I love the fact that it doesn't use buttermilk as I don't have that where I live and have always had to squeeze lemon. I'm going to try making them without as much baking powder, though, as I found it left a bit of an aftertaste.
LULULAND January 15, 2017
No tweeking necessary! Just made these, light, fluffy and kind of like an apple Danish. Any spice like cinnamon would over power the mellow flavor of the apples. Love, love, love!!!
Julia B. January 1, 2016
Best pancakes I have made in years.
bejugo July 11, 2015
I made these a few days ago with two wonderful nieces, everybody taking on a role. They were SOOOOO good! Light, fluffy, delicious.... and we had fun cooking together! The kids (3.5 to 11 yrs old) all loved them, and so did the adults.<br /><br />Thanks for a great recipe. <br /><br />Ceege, yes, each pancake had apples in them.
caroberts77 September 27, 2014
I didn't have any apples, so I put frozen raspberries, dark chocolate chips, and toasted almonds in them. They were absolutely fantastic, I think this is my new go-to recipe for pancakes. I used WW pastry flour and they were still very light & fluffy. :-)
Alison September 7, 2014
Super recipe!
Simone H. June 14, 2014
Like to try this for my kid, can I use oil instead of butter and how is the relation between butter and oil? Thanks
DIDEMHOSGEL May 20, 2014
This is the one of the best pancake recipe ever!
Malena August 10, 2013
these were AMAZING! so fluffy, but not airy.. so delicious and i really wish i had bacon right now!
beccaoco April 19, 2013
I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour-perfect combo to add some depth to these delicious pancakes! I only had one granny apple on hand and it added a bit of flavor and texture without over powering the pancake. I also added a few more splashes of milk (half being 2% and the other skim) so the batter wasn't so thick. Very fluffy and tasty and I consider myself a pancake snob!
Trena H. April 4, 2013
This is a really tasty pancake recipe. I've made it with and without the apples depending on what I have on hand and it's great despite my tweaking.
Ceege March 12, 2013
This recipe brings back childhood memories. My Mom made what she called "apple fritters". The only difference was she would dip apple slices into batter, place on griddle, then add a bit more batter to completely cover the apple. With this recipe I am wondering if "each" pancake ends up with some apples in them.
Mianna December 30, 2012
Very good, I only had 1% and fuji apples, it still worked. I also mixed 50/50 whole wheat/ap flour. Thank you!
Sofia B. October 21, 2012
Glad to have found this recipe. I have a couple "go to" pancake recipes, however, my husband didn't seem to love them .. until now. He loved these pancakes. Like the previous reviewer, I used skimmed milk and omitted the apples. They were easy to whip up, fluffy and light. They tasted great with raspberry jam and drizzled maple syrup. I will definitely try them again with the apples. Thank you for sharing.
Sofia B. October 21, 2012
Glad to have found this recipe. I have a couple "go to" pancake recipes, however, my husband didn't seem to love them .. until now. He loved these pancakes. Like the previous reviewer, I used skimmed milk and omitted the apples. They were easy to whip up, fluffy and light. They tasted great with raspberry jam and drizzled maple syrup. I will definitely try them again with the apples. Thank you for sharing.
Suzy S. February 22, 2012
I made this recipe tonight with the following changes: 1) subbed almond extract for vanilla to get a nuttier flavor, 2) used skim milk instead of whole for lower fat content and 3) omitted the apples. It was still delicious! Next time, I'll try with fruit!
PCusack February 4, 2012
Perfect pancakes were a hit this morning. Can't wait to try then with different seasonal fruits.
durun99 December 3, 2011
I made these with my daughter for dinner last night. She loves using the all-in-one peeling, slicing, coring machine we have so this was a good fit. These were probably the best pancakes I've ever had. More importantly, my whole family loved them, including the two boys who don't usually like anything but chocolate chips in their pancakes. By the way, we made extra apples that we put on top of the pancakes as well as inside, and that worked out well.
Rivka November 20, 2011
Made these this morning, and they were delish. They were a bit heavier than I expected, though. I think it's important to let the apples cool completely before adding them to the batter; we added them while still warm, and I think that activated the baking powder too quickly. The batter was really bubbling up by the time the first ladle went in the pan, and I think that diminished its power to keep the pancakes light. Flavor was fantastic though - will definitely be making them again soon.
gingerroot April 27, 2011
I made these tonight with my two children for dinner...they are amazing! I love how they are so light and fluffy with the caramelized apples inside. YUM! These are a winner in our book, thanks for a great recipe that we are sure to make again and again.
juliya April 24, 2011
i just made some. they were delicious. these pancakes win!
emilyv January 23, 2011
These look great! <br />I really enjoy making hearty pancakes to freeze and take for lunch, but usually without fruit. Any thoughts on how these would hold up given the standard office toaster oven/micro combo?
richard C. November 30, 2009
I also made them for dinner. light but satisfying. great recipe.
April November 30, 2009
I made these for my 2-year old daughter this morning and they were wonderful. I pre-made the batter last night and decided to leave the apple mixture for a topping rather than an add-in to the batter and they still turned out great. Light, fluffy, and with this wonderful diner-style flavor I have been trying to replicate for years.
Noma November 28, 2009
Really delectable and 1-2-3 to make. I love a cast iron pan, too.
Nina C. November 27, 2009
i love this recipe. totally easy and yummy.
Rob November 27, 2009
i'm a total novice when it comes to pancakes. they seem so simple, but somehow i always screw them up. not so with "perfect pancakes." i've now found the perfect recipe to make morning pancakes a delightful and delicious experience.