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Perfect Pancakes for Family Breakfast

delicious light, airy, golden brown pancakes with butter and syrup with fresh fruit on the side
The perfect pancake is one that is light, airy and golden brown, whether you prefer plain and simple or packed full of surprises.


I love a leisurely Saturday breakfast where I have time to make pancakes. Blueberry are my favorite, but really I like all of them.

Pancakes can be plain and simple or packed full of surprises. It’s pretty hard to beat a stack of warm, buttery, sweet and sticky pancakes. So tie on your aprons (they are making a comeback) and let's make pancakes! If you have kids, put them to work. Depending on their age, they can take care of some of the measuring and mixing. The older ones might even take a turn with the spatula.

The perfect pancake is one that is light, airy and golden brown.

Give your pancakes the airy texture of soufflés and meringues by borrowing the technique that gives them their cloudlike consistency, beaten egg whites. You can do this with any pancake recipe.

How do you make pancakes fluffy?

For light, fluffy pancakes, separate the egg whites from the yolks in the recipe. Mix the egg yolks with the rest of the wet ingredients, following your recipe instructions. Combine the dry ingredients to make the batter. Lastly, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold the beaten whites into the batter and cook the pancakes immediately. Waiting will allow the egg whites to fall.

If you want the secret to cooking the perfect pancake, here it is.

First, you must preheat your griddle, heavy bottomed non-stick pan, or well-seasoned cast iron skillet to 375 degrees or until a drop of water dances across the pan. Then lightly coat the hot pan with non-stick cooking spray, vegetable oil or clarified butter. Using regular butter will burn too quickly and give you black pancakes.  

  1. Start by making a test pancake and adjust the temperature up or down, depending upon what your pancake looks like. If your pancake is scorched on the outside and raw on the inside, turn down the heat.
  2. When you're satisfied that you've reached the perfect pan temperature, ladle in as many pools of batter as your pan will comfortably hold. A good tip to perfectly sized pancakes is to use a dry measuring cup or ladle. All pancakes will be the same size and cook at the same time. Leave a little room between pancakes for comfortable flipping.
  3. Knowing when to turn the pancakes is critical to perfect pancakes. A pancake is ready to be turned over when it's dry around the edges and bubbles have formed over the top. If possible, peek to see if the bottom is golden brown before you flip it. When cooking the second side, do not press down the pancake with your spatula. Pressing down will not make it cook any faster, but will delete all the effort you have made to have light, fluffy pancakes.
  4. When your pancakes are done, they are best eaten fresh from the griddle. If you must wait for all the pancakes to be done before serving, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them, uncovered, in a warm oven. Never stack or cover them, the steam escaping from the pancakes will make them soggy.

Although the classic topping for pancakes is butter and syrup, create a condiment bar and let your family choose their own toppings. At my house, blueberries are the choice. Other fresh fruit choices are apple slices, sliced strawberries, bananas and any other fresh fruit you desire.

Remember that pancakes are in the grain group and provide us with valuable vitamins and minerals that we need. Experiment with different flours such as whole wheat, and further increase your fiber intake. 

These homemade Banana pancakes will be ready for the first serving in as little as 15 minutes. With only 195 calories per serving (without margarine and syrup) and 2 grams of fat, they are a nice addition to your daily meal plan. Top with banana slices and sliced strawberries, lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Yummy Banana Pancakes

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce, or vegetable oil
  • 2 small ripe bananas, or 1 large mashed
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together vanilla extract, egg yolks, milk, applesauce/vegetable oil and bananas. Combine with dry ingredients to make the batter, which will be lumpy.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold the beaten whites into the batter.
  4. Heat griddle. Once hot, lightly grease.
  5. Pour or scoop the batter on the griddle using one-fourth cup for each pancake.
  6. Cook until pancakes begin to bubble, turn and cook until golden brown on both sides; serve immediately.