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Original Joy of Cooking Pancake Recipe

Learn to make the fluffiest, tastiest pancakes with this Joy of Cooking pancake recipe!

Making pancakes from scratch isn’t as difficult as you think.

Sure, we can always rely on pancake mix to make breakfast.

But there’s a different level of fulfillment you get when making pancakes from scratch.

Joy of Cooking Pancake with honey, butter and fruits
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And if you’re looking for a super easy way to pull this off, you can count on the Joy of Cooking pancake recipe.

Use it to make fluffy pancakes from scratch, and you’ll be rewarded with a most scrumptious breakfast!

Joy of Cooking Pancakes

Derived from the 1930s cookbook of the same name, this pancake recipe has been passed on from generation to generation.

It worked beautifully back in the day, and it continues to do so until now.

So, if you want a pancake recipe that’s tried and true, nothing beats this one.

Stick to this recipe, along with all the tips I have for you below.

You’ll master making light and fluffy pancakes in no time!

Pancake Ingredients

Ingredients for Pancakes

Flour – It forms the base of the batter. No need for fancy flour here, just all-purpose flour will do. 

Sugar – To add a little sweetness to the pancakes. I use granulated white sugar, but brown sugar, coconut sugar, and raw sugar will work, too.

Salt – It enhances the richness and sweetness of the pancakes. I use regular table salt here, but Kosher and sea salt are fine, too.

Milk – It moistens the dry ingredients, creating a thick batter. For the richest pancakes, use whole milk or 2%.

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Butter – For an extra dose of richness. I use unsalted butter here, but salted is fine, too. Just skip or don’t add as much salt to the batter.

Eggs – They bind the ingredients together, giving the pancakes structure. They also add flavor and height. Use large, room-temperature eggs for best results.

Vanilla – For that extra oomph of flavor. 

Joy of Cooking Pancake Close Up

How to Make the Fluffiest Pancakes

Follow these simple steps to get the fluffiest homemade pancakes! You’ll be surprised at how quick and easy it is.

1. Combine the wet and dry ingredients separately.

This is the secret to perfectly fluffy pancakes! Combining all the ingredients together at once will cause you to over-mix.

This will make flat and rubbery pancakes.

2. Combine the dry and wet ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it. 

Then, carefully whisk the ingredients using a fork and stop as soon as you no longer see streaks and large clumps of flour. Small lumps are fine!

3. Pan-fry the pancakes.

Preheat your pan or griddle and grease it with oil and butter.

Pour a scoop of batter and cook the pancake until golden brown on both sides.

Get ready to flip when you see bubbles forming around the edges. Once these bubbles burst, turn the pancake over!

It’s okay if the first few pancakes don’t turn out pretty! They’ll still be perfectly edible.

Keep the cooked pancakes warm in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit as you cook the rest. 

4. Serve them with your favorite toppings.


Pouring honey over pancakes

Tips and Tricks for the Best Pancakes

  • Use room temperature ingredients, particularly, the dairy. Room temperature dairy = fluffy pancakes! Also, cold eggs and milk won’t combine well with dry ingredients, making your batter lumpy.
  • Use melted butter, but allow it to cool slightly first before adding it to the mix. Hot butter will cook your eggs.
  • Use fresh baking powder. Check the box for its expiration date. If it’s not in the box anymore, perform a simple freshness test. Drop a teaspoon of baking powder in some hot water. It should fizz immediately upon contact. If not, throw it out.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Once they’re well combined, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix ever so carefully.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter!  An over-mixed batter will yield flat pancakes. Be careful when mixing and stop as soon as the mixture is well combined.
  • Let the batter rest a bit. Give it 5 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to soak up the liquids well. It’ll also help relax the gluten, resulting in softer pancakes.
  • Lower the heat after cooking a few pancakes. Your pan or griddle will get hotter as you cook. If it gets too hot, your pancakes will burn on the outside, and will stay undercooked on the inside.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use oil or butter to grease the pan?

Oil has a higher smoke point, but butter is more flavorful.

You can’t use butter alone, because it’ll burn your pancakes.

Using oil alone is okay, but adding some butter will make your pancakes more flavorful.

That said, I like to use a combination of both!

For best results, use a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point such as peanut, canola, safflower, and sunflower.

Pro-tip: Don’t over-grease the pan or griddle. Grease only to keep the pancakes from sticking to the pan – just a little bit will do.

Can I use buttermilk instead of milk?

Sure. Buttermilk pancakes are awesome, too!

You can use the same recipe below, but use buttermilk instead of milk. Also, use baking soda instead of baking powder. The same measurements apply.

If you don’t have buttermilk, make your own! Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk. Let the mixture rest for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it curdles.

When should I flip the pancakes?

Here are the indicators that your pancake is ready for flipping.

1. Bubbles start to form around the edges. Don’t flip them at this point, yet! Wait for the bubbles to pop.

2. The batter has risen. 

3. Take a peek at the bottom side. It should be golden brown.

Pro-tip: Once you’ve flipped the pancake, don’t flip it again! Also, don’t press down on it in an attempt to cook it faster. Otherwise, your pancake will deflate.

Pancake Batter on a whisk

What’s the secret to fluffy pancakes?

Mix the wet and ingredients separately first before combining them. This will allow you to mix the ingredients well without overdoing it.

If you combine all the ingredients at once, chances are, you’ll over-mix them, resulting in flat and rubbery pancakes.

Can I Make Pancakes Ahead of Time?

Definitely. While pancakes are best served fresh from the griddle, you can also cook them in advance.

If you plan on serving them within a few hours after cooking, keep them warm in a 200-degree-Fahrenheit oven.

For longer storage, store the pancakes in the fridge in an air-tight container. They’ll keep well for up to a week.

Can You Freeze Pancakes?

Absolutely! If you’re used to throwing out leftover pancakes, stop that habit now.

Frozen pancakes will keep well for up to 3 months. So if I were you, I’d double this recipe.

That way, you can take out frozen leftovers and reheat them for breakfast.

Here’s how:

1. Allow the pancakes to cool completely.

2. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Be sure the pancakes don’t touch or overlap.

3. Freeze the pancakes until they’re rock-solid, about 30 minutes to an hour. Place the completely frozen pancakes in freezer-safe bags.

Reheat frozen pancakes in the toaster oven or in the microwave for 20 seconds. 

Use the oven if you plan to reheat multiple pancakes at a time. Warm them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Pancake Toppings

Toppings & Add-Ins

This recipe makes scrumptious pancakes, let’s be honest. Pancakes aren’t pancakes without the toppings and add-ins!

They’re what jazzes up the simple breakfast staple.

Whether you like to stick to the classics or experiment with creative combinations, you can’t go wrong. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Butter and Maple Syrup – These traditional toppings never disappoint.
  • Whipped Cream – This creamy topping puts the “cake” to pancakes! 
  • Chocolate or Caramel Sauce – Something sweet & sticky to moisten and flavor the pancakes.
  • Fresh Berries – A little bit of tartness gives a nice contrast to the sweet cakes.
  • Fresh Fruit SlicesMango, peach, bananas – take your pick.
  • Fruit Jam – If you can’t get a hold of fresh fruit or berries, this sweet condiment makes a fantastic alternative.
  • Chocolate Chips and Nuts – They’ll give the soft, fluffy pancakes a nice textural contrast.
  • Bacon – Add some crunch and saltiness to your sweet breakfast with strips or crumbles of pork!

Looking for more inspiration? Here are more pancake toppings to choose from.

Original Joy of Cooking Pancake Recipe



Prep time


Cooking time





The original Joy of Cooking pancake recipe is as good as it gets! Give it a try today for the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes you’ve ever had.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled to room temperature

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. To it, pour the milk mixture and whisk gently just until well combined. Small lumps are okay.
  • Preheat the skillet over medium-low heat. Grease it with oil & butter or non-stick spray.
  • Pour a scoop of the pancake batter onto the skillet. Cook ut over medium-low heat until bubbles start to form around the edges. Flip the pancake over and cook the other side until golden brown. Place the cooked pancake on a serving plate. Repeat this step to cook the remaining batter.
  • Serve the pancakes with your desired toppings. Enjoy!
Joy of Cooking Pancake Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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