How to Make Fluffy Pancakes
Precisely how to tweak your go-to flapjacks so they’re light as air.
By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen
“Hey, I could really go for some dense pancakes this morning,” said no one in the history of breakfast eating. When it comes to pancakes, the word “fluffy” is practically synonymous with the word “great.” But how, precisely, should one make fluffy pancakes?
For starters, fluffiness has a lot to do with leavening agents, or, in other words, the ingredients that cause batter to rise. Most pancake recipes call for a teaspoon of baking powder or a combination of baking powder and baking soda. When you mix these leaveners with wet ingredients, they produce carbon dioxide gas bubbles that aerate the batter, leading to fluffy pancakes.
A simple way to achieve mega fluffy pancakes? Increase the amount of baking powder. Don’t go crazy here; we’d recommend upping the baking powder from about 1 teaspoon (the typical amount in pancake recipes that serve 4 people) to 2 teaspoons. More baking powder means more gas bubbles, yielding fluffier results. It’s as simple as that.
Food Network Kitchen’s Fluffy Pancakes employ another brilliant, powerful leavening agent: whipped egg whites. If you think about it, whipped egg whites are a structure made from hundreds of tiny bubbles. When you fold all of this extra air into pancake batter, you get a lighter texture and extra height.
Here’s how to incorporate whipped egg whites into your go-to pancake recipe. Instead of beating whole eggs into the batter, separate the yolks and whites. Add the yolks to your wet ingredients and whip the whites into stiff peaks with a hand or stand mixer. If your recipe only calls for one egg, add a couple extra egg whites to the mixing bowl — three egg whites are the ideal number to leaven a recipe that makes about 12 pancakes. Next, stir your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and then gently fold in the whipped egg whites, taking care not to overmix.
Whether you’re adding extra baking powder, whipped egg whites or both to your pancake batter, it’s important to get your pancakes on the griddle as soon as you mix the batter. If you let it hang out on the counter for fifteen minutes, all of those bubbles escape and will cause the batter to fall flat. If you’d really like to make the batter ahead, combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and mix the two together right before you’re ready to cook.
Another factor that impacts lightness and fluffiness? The type of sugar you use. Pancake recipes usually call for granulated white sugar. And that’s all well and good. But if you’re aiming for the lightest, fluffiest results imaginable, try literally lightening up your ingredients by using confectioners’ sugar instead.
Finally, to achieve sky-high soufflé-style pancakes, also known as Japanese Pancakes, you can cook pancake batter inside of ring molds coated in non-stick spray. Place the molds directly into a hot skillet and fill each halfway with batter. The ring molds prevent the batter from expanding outwards so the only place for the batter to go is rise up.