3 Fail-Proof Tips for Perfect Pancakes

Stack of Banana Oat Pancakes
Photo: Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Pancakes. They’re loved by everyone, adults and children alike. You can make them savory or sweet, fancy or no-fuss. They’re a versatile staple in virtually every kitchen.

Rumor even has it that ancient cavemen used to eat a flapjack or hotcake-like dish cooked on a hot rock or over an open flame. And did you know that what we now know as “Fat Tuesday” actually used to be called Pancake Day? Yep. It’s true. It was a day set aside for feasting and partying — pancakes were a great way to use up ingredients that were soon-to-be off limits during Lent, such as eggs, milk and butter. (Read more about that here.)

In my own house, pancakes are a weekly and sometimes bi-weekly occurrence. Breakfast or dinner, we don’t discriminate. And they’re an easy way to let my kids help with meal prep (cracking eggs, stirring, scooping ingredients, etc.).

But, in spite of everyone’s love for pancakes, I’ve noticed two big problems with most pancakes …

  1. The first batch always turns out … weird, for lack of a better word. You know what I’m talking about. They’re a different color than the next few batches, maybe a little off shape — but you get the point. The first batch just doesn’t measure up.
  2. They aren’t fluffy enough. I like a good, thick, sink-your-teeth-into-it kind of pancake. I mean, who doesn’t? But most pancakes, especially restaurant pancakes, tend to be super thin and not nearly fluffy enough for my needs.

So, how do we solve this problem? How do you make and serve the world’s greatest pancakes that everyone will love? Regardless of what kind you’re making (traditional, gluten-free, grain-free, pumpkin, blueberry, etc.), these three fail-proof tips will give you perfect pancakes every time.

  1. Make sure your skillet is good and hot. I start mine heating as soon as I start getting ingredients out. This way it has a good 10 to 15 minutes to warm up.
  2. Let your batter rest for 5 to 7 minutes after mixing. This allows the baking powder or baking soda time to react and start to fluff up the batter.
  3. Add an extra 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking powder to any recipe. The little extra rise will make all the difference.

Give those three tips a try and you’ll be on your way to the perfect pancakes, worthy of a Pancake Day celebration, guaranteed! 3 Fail-Proof Tips for Perfect Pancakes -

These Banana Oat Pancakes are a staple in our house! They can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or egg-free if needed.

Banana Oat Pancakes


  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 beaten* eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk*
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons oat bran or ground oats (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored vegan protein powder, optional
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and blend well in a high-powered blender or food processor. Let the batter sit for 5 to 7 minutes while your skillet continues to get hot.
  3. Divide the batter evenly into pancakes on your griddle/skillet. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack.
  4. Top with sliced bananas and all natural peanut butter for that perfect no-sugar-added breakfast.
  5. Enjoy!

*You can substitute a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons water) and almond milk if needed.

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Mary Ellen Phipps
Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, is a dietitian, mom, Type 1 diabetic and owner of Milk & Honey Nutrition, based in Houston. Check out her website for yummy low-sugar, naturally gluten-free recipes! You can also connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.