Cynthia Chen McTernan’s Buttermilk Mochi Pancakes

June 18, 2021
26 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

These pancakes will taste richer, more buttermilk-y, and more complete in any side-by-side taste test—all thanks to one little ingredient switcheroo. Despite what you might expect from the mochi in the name, Cynthia Chen McTernan explains, “Interestingly, a bit of sweet rice flour mixed with all-purpose flour results in pancakes that aren’t dense and chewy like pure mochi is,” she writes. “Instead, they’re just the slightest bit softer and more tender, with a faint milkiness I like.” Adapted slightly from A Common Table (Rodale Books, 2018). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Cynthia Chen McTernan’s Buttermilk Mochi Pancakes
  • 1/2 cup (63g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (70g) sweet rice flour, like Mochiko Blue Star
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan and for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the egg yolk, yogurt, milk, and melted butter, and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the egg white until just combined.
  2. Heat a 10-inch or 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the pan. Lightly grease the skillet with butter, then use a measuring cup to drop 1/4 cup batter onto the pan. (Alternatively, if you don’t want to worry as much about burning, you can use a neutral oil like grapeseed or refined coconut oil.) When the edges of the pancake look dry and bubbles begin to pop in the center, 2 to 3 minutes, flip and cook on the second side until lightly golden, 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. If desired, use an ovenproof plate (or a metal rack on a baking sheet) and place the finished pancakes in the oven on its lowest heat setting to keep them warm while you cook the rest. Serve immediately, with butter and maple syrup.
  3. Notes: If you don’t have sweet rice flour, just use 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour, and you’ll still have Cynthia’s very favorite pancakes. We've also found—because the sweet rice flour is primarily there for flavor and subtle texture—that other types of rice flour work well, too. If you'd prefer to use buttermilk, just swap in 1 cup of it for the yogurt and milk.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vanessa Wallace
    Vanessa Wallace
  • smasseff
  • _lotus
  • mywaterdr
  • ifjuly
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

36 Reviews

SJhapamama April 21, 2022
Very tasty! Loved the rice and butter flavors. I increased the amount of butter and made Belgian-style waffles, which my family totally fell in love with. I have already added them to my rotation. Breakfast for dinner? Yes!!
f52recipes February 21, 2022
This rivals my trusted buttermilk pancake recipe. Used Trader Joe’s new Matcha Almond Beverage “milk” and Greek yogurt. I’ll experiment with other flavors next time using extracts, and add more sugar…I like my pancakes sweet so I don’t have to use as much syrup. I did whisk my egg whites to prevent it from coagulating knowing I will refrigerate leftover batter (found out by accident). Thank you for this simple yet awesome recipe.
Vanessa W. May 14, 2021
I made these pancakes before making them for my 8 grandkids they are pancake aficionados and snobs too, never any leftovers. Needless to say they were a big hit and good thing I made a triple batch. Fluffy, crispy outside and tender inside, I did add a wedge of lemon juice and some vanilla to the buttermilk.
smasseff May 12, 2021
I've made these pancakes at least 3 times now within the past month or so (maybe more...) and for good reason. They are heavenly! I am not a big pancake person (more of a crepe/thin pancake person), but with the addition of the rice flour the pancakes *melt* in your mouth. I even brought my bag of sweet rice flour when I visited my parents to make it for them and share the good news...not sure if they appreciated it as much as I did. At any rate, I suggest adding fresh blueberries to the batter to really take it over the top.
As a note, I've tried the recipe with the milk and yogurt as called for and with 1 cup of buttermilk as suggested. I didn't notice a huge difference either way so go with what ya've got!
_lotus October 4, 2020
These pancakes have made it impossible to order pancakes out from anywhere honestly.
mywaterdr September 17, 2020
These pancakes tasted as good as what they looked like in the segment with Kristen. When I made them recently I used buttermilk and yogurt, instead of plain milk. I've tried other recipes and they didn't turn out so well, kind like lead bricks but these are totally different. They are surprisingly light and not at all heavy or clumpy and are bursting with flavor. Will definitely be making these beauties again!
Joanne O. August 2, 2020
Delicious Sunday pandemic treat. Used up oat milk, yogurt, eggs hanging out in the refrig. Doubled the recipe per my mom...she always makes a bigger batch and freezes leftover for busy mornings. Thanks for this keeper recipe.
ifjuly February 2, 2020
This pancake recipe is mysterious and grrrreat--somehow (what sorcery is this?! :) even if you only use per the introduction notes all plain ol' all-purpose flour and omit the rice flour, using only ingredients found in just about every other basic pancake recipe I know of, you wind up with distinctive crispy-outer, sponge-chewy-inner pancakes that indeed remind me of baked treats at asian marts made with rice flour, that particular magical texture that simultaneously feels indulgent, almost fried, _and_ light and airy. Instantly one of my favorites, and I love how easy putting it together is (my other favorite, also from here at Food52, is waaaaaay more complicated, tons of ingredients that need to be fussed with separately first before incorporating together, and heavy on extras like diced pockets of cream cheese, zested lemon, etc...delicious but way too fussy for making all that often first thing in the morning!). Had a delightful lazy weekend couple's brunch of a pot of tea, some bacon, and berries with this, heavenly. Thank you!
Jeff W. January 11, 2020
Wowser! This recipe was followed to a "T", other than one mistake on my part. Pancakes are a regular in our little family, and typically I streamline breakfast by having the dry ingredients prepared the night before, as well as the dairy. For the advance prep, I did not read that the white was to have been whipped separately and then folded into the batter, and I simply beat the whole egg into the Greek Yogurt and cows milk. These were still nothing less than extraordinary, and will be made again....and again, get the idea....again!
Barbara B. August 28, 2019
Hello there Food 52. I made these delicious pancakes
the other day. They were just wonderful! I had the sweet rice flour on hand.
And followed recipe except I did not have any yogurt on hand. So I sub it for sour cream. They came out fantastic, light fluffy and delicious! My hubby sais this one is a keeper. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes, Barbi Bergeron Lakeland, FL.
Louise K. May 11, 2019
Just made these, absolutely delicious! I ground sweet rice in my coffee grinder. I used buttermilk and yogurt, before I saw the comment about buttermilk replacing the yogurt! Will definitely be making again. Thanks
Melissa May 4, 2019
This recipe looks delicious, thank you for sharing it! Do you think it would work in a waffle maker? I read that to convert a pancake recipe to a waffle recipe I should add more fat. Do you think that would work here? Thank you!
Kavita April 28, 2019
One of the best recipes for pancakes. All others had too many steps that are hard to do with a toddler running around. Plus I always have milk and yogurt at home. It was a hit at home. I added some blueberries to some and even better! Thank you for sharing this one.
Rhea March 22, 2019
I just made these. Had to add quite a bit more milk to get correct consistency. But, they are the best pancakes I have ever tasted! Very light with a nice taste. Will definitely be making these again.
Ken March 9, 2019
Just made these on a drizzly Saturday morning in south Florida. I had to add a bit more milk since the batter was initially very stiff, but that seemed to do the trick. Used coconut oil on the grill pan and the pancakes had a nice golden hue. Will definitely be making these again. So easy to make - there is never a need to use boxed mixes!! Thank you for sharing this.
noisette February 28, 2019
I'm sad to say I was disappointed with these pancakes. I was really looking forward to making them, but it just didn't work for me. The crust on the pancakes was quite chewy when they first came out of the pan, and then they got very soft (like curving around my fingertips as I lifted them) after a few minutes out of the pan. They certainly smelled and tasted more of rice than I was expecting - almost savoury, though I did use sweet rice flour.

This isn't a complaint - looking at the recipe, I could have assumed that this would be the result. Just thought I'd share. It kind of felt like a cross between a pancake and a dosa to me, which is not necessarily a bad thing...I think I just prefer a pancake that's more cake-like. I'll probably be sticking to the Fannie Farmer recipe I use, though I may use the egg trick from now on! And who knows, maybe I'll experiment with a bit less rice flour at some point.
noisette March 20, 2019
I was craving a bit of comfort for dinner last night, and decided to try these again (the description made too much of an impression!). I used 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup rice flour, rather than 50/50, and they were perfect. Soft, tender, and almost milky as mentioned, but they kept a crunchy crust coming off the pan, and were decidedly pancakes (ie. didn't remind me of a thick dosa). I'll never look back!
Mariah C. February 26, 2019
I just made these for dinner, and, whoa, are they good! Definitely the best pancakes I've ever made. The sweet rice flour gives the pancakes a slightly chewy texture and then there is the slight twang from the Greek yogurt. I will 100% make these again!
Neels February 24, 2019
Made these pancakes today and loved how they turned out. I doubled the recipe. I used regular rice flour and regular homemade yogurt. Thank you!!!!
Rick February 24, 2019
Family really liked it. Batter was thicker than my usual go-to as it had a higher yogurt-to-milk ratio. I will borrow that & the rice flour & incorporate it back into my main recipe (has 1 more egg & vanilla extract). And I also liked the effect of the unwhipped white at the end— hope this will steal the super fluffy effect.
SandraH February 22, 2019
Just made these this morning and they were really good! A delicate taste on their own and of course, wonderful with maple syrup. Using a 1/4 cup measure as advised, it made 10 pancakes but the last two were a bit smaller, so I guess that means it would make 9 1/2, ha ha! I didn’t have sweet rice flour but I ground basmati rice to make some rice flour (first time grinding my own flour - will sure do that again!) Ground enough rice flour for two more batches as I want to make these again for Pancake Day on Shrove Tuesday.
I’ll watch my pan carefully next time, lift it off the burner between batches and wait for a few seconds before putting it back on the burner and adding more butter and batter as last few were burning almost right away rather than cooking but this was my bad.
Kristen M. February 22, 2019
Thanks, Sandra! It always takes some fine-tuning to get to that sweet spot where the pan is evenly heated but the butter doesn't burn—your note to lift off between batches is a great point. (Also, if you want to not worry about the butter burning at all, a high heat-friendly oil can take the edge off.)
SandraH February 22, 2019
Thanks for the tip, Kristen. I will use a heat-friendly oil for my next batch and you’ve made me think about using combo of oil and butter for another batch. They are yum!