Cynthia Chen McTernan’s Buttermilk Mochi Pancakes

February 19, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Serves: 2
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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.

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Reviews (22) Questions (1)

22 Reviews

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!
neelu 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!
Corinne February 21, 2019
If I want to make this for more people does the recipe scale up easily?
Kristen M. February 21, 2019
Yes, I've doubled it and it should be fine in bigger batches (within reason). If you want to go much bigger, it would be good to do a test run, as the leaveners might start to get off track at bigger scale.
Corinne February 22, 2019
Thank you. I was thinking 4 people, but if I try to serve more people I'll make a test run.
Kristen M. February 22, 2019
That should be just fine!
Bella95 February 21, 2019
Don't think l'll be able to source sweet rice flour here but l know l can get plain rice flour. Will l need to adjust the sugar please?
tia February 21, 2019
Ve answers this below, but just to be clear sweet rice flour isn't all that sweet. It's more of a textural element, not a sweetener. It's glutinous rice flour, which means it gets chewier than normal rice (there's no actual gluten of the kind gluten-sensitive people worry about). Because this wasn't complicated enough in English, it's not the same kind of glutinous rice as the Thai glutinous rice you might know from sticky rice with mango. Look for Japanese sweet rice flour/mochi flour/glutinous rice flour. If you've got any Asian markets near you, they probably carry it. My normal grocery store does, sometimes, even. Good luck!
Kristen M. February 21, 2019
Thank you, tia!
Bella95 February 22, 2019
Brilliant. Thanks Tia.
tastysweet February 20, 2019
Have to try this. Hopefully I can find the sweet rice flour.
Just a side note, when the pancakes get flipped, add a small pat of butter to the top and when it melts, you know their done.
James February 20, 2019
These pancakes sound yummy! Will try them out on my friend Dave when he vists soon!
Ve February 20, 2019
Can I use just rice flour? I've not come across sweet rice flour.
Ve February 20, 2019
Ok never mind. I've just googled to find out that sweet rice flour is also glutinous rice flour which is familiar to me. Will give it a go!
Kristen M. February 20, 2019
Yes, that's right! But if you can't find sweet/glutinous rice flour, I've found that regular rice flour or brown rice flour will similarly amp up the flavor.