Classic Homemade Pancakes

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes

Baker Bettie Baking Techniques, Basic Recipes, Breakfast, Pancakes & Waffles, Sweets, Vegan 40 Comments

This is an easy pancake recipe that only takes 5 ingredients to make! These basic pancakes are simple to make and come out light and fluffy any time! Add blueberries, chocolate chips, bananas, or any of your favorite add-ins. 

Easy Pancake Recipe, 5 Ingredients- Baker Bettie

If I had it my way, I would start every morning with something savory. Something warming and salty and usually oozing with egg yolk. If my husband had it his way, we would eat pancakes every morning. And they would absolutely be filled with chocolate chips and oozing with butter and syrup.

His love of pancakes and my love for him have made them a staple in our house. They are one of the handful of things I can whip up without looking at any kind of recipe or measurements. I have become “that” baker with pancakes. The one that just throws together a batch at a moments notice without thinking. And I am here to teach you how you can too!

To make good old fashioned pancakes you really only need 5 ingredients…

Note: If you are looking for a recipe with no baking powder, click here… 

Flour: Obviously this is the structure to your cakes. Choose whatever flour you like or have on hand. All-purpose, Bread flour, Cake Flour, Self-Rising, or Wheat Flour. A gluten free all-purpose mix works too! Different flours will give you slightly different textures with your cakes. The recipe is going to call for 1 cup flour however, if you are going to use cake flour increase the amount to 1 1/4 cups. If you are going to use wheat flour, decrease the amount to 1 cup minus 2 TBSP.  If you use self-rising flour omit the baking powder in the recipe because self-rising flour already has baking powder and salt mixed in. Check out this post for more detail about substituting flours.

Baking Powder: This is what creates all those awesome bubbles when your cakes are cooking. You don’t want to forget this (like I did) because it is what gives you light and fluffy cakes! (Baking soda is not a direct substitute for baking powder. Read this post to learn more about how you can substitute the two.)

Egg: An egg is what binds the batter and also adds moisture. You can easily substitute the egg with flax egg, chia egg, or applesauce for vegan options.

Milk: Buttermilk is preferred but really any milk will do. The milk in this recipe is mostly for moisture and buttermilk will add a bit of a tang and a richer flavor. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make “sour milk” but adding a TBSP of vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit for about 5 minutes. You can do this with non-dairy milk too. If you only have milk and no vinegar, you are still fine. I have made pancakes with plain milk many times.

Liquid Fat: This can be oil, melted butter, melted shortening, melted non-dairy butter. Whatever you have. Just some kind of fat in liquid form.

That’s it! Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What about sugar? Right? That is your call. In my opinion, if I am going to be slathering these things with syrup or fruit I don’t need any sugar. BUT, by all means go ahead and add some if your heart desires. In a pancake recipe, sugar only serves to sweeten the batter so you can really add any sugar or sugar substitute you have on hand. A pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla or cinnamon, some chocolate chips or blueberries would all also be great additions. Again, these things only flavor the batter and are not necessary to make the recipe work. That is what this series is all about. Understanding the science of these baked goods so that baking is more approachable. I hope it is working… 🙂

One year later: Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream and Chocolate Ganache

One year ago: Apple Cinnamon Jicama Porridge

4.5 from 2 reviews

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Pancakes
Serves: About 8 Medium Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or soured milk- see post for details on this)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP oil or melted butter
  • large pinch salt (optional, but recommended)
  • optional ingredients: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp lemon zest or orange zest

  1. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and sugar (if using).
  2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, lightly whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined (batter will be lumpy, do not over mix). Let the batter sit while heating up a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  4. Grease the griddle or skillet and pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Once bubbles are formed on top and along the edges, flip the cake once to finish cooking on the other side.
  5. Serve hot with butter and syrup.

Tools I used for this recipe

OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Pancake Turner (Kitchen)

List Price: $10.99 USD
New From: $9.95 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

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Comments 40

  1. Laura

    I am right there with your hubby, except I only use syrup on waffles or French toast. Plain pancakes (versus, say, lemon blueberry) absolutely must have butter and brown sugar. 🙂 These look fantastic.

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      Laura, that sounds like a brilliant idea! I would have never thought of that, but sounds amazing. My husband will not use syrup on french toast. He will only eat it with butter and powdered sugar.

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  3. Laura Dembowski

    These look like the perfect pancakes. It’s so great how you simplify and explain the recipe. I use almond milk in pancakes all the time with great success and swap out butter for vegetable oil. But my pancakes have to have sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon even with all that syrup. My sweet tooth is huge 😉

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  5. Gail Prince

    If using bread flour I would whisk the dry ingredients and wet separately and then combine with minimal stirring to avoid tough pancakes. Malt powder is fantastic to add a touch of sweetness.

  6. Danielle

    Perfect pancakes. Seriously I’ve tried a lot of recipes and they never turn out right. I didn’t have baking powder so I made my own buttermilk and used baking soda. Awesome!

  7. Aileen

    Fantastic! My 11-year-old gets to choose any breakfast he wants on Saturdays and it is usually pancakes. We have been trying to eat whole foods, nothing pre packaged. It turns out “stir just until combined (batter will be lumpy do not over mix)” was magical advice. These were perfect, light and fluffy.

  8. Zanni

    Can I ask whether Baking Soda can still be used in substitute of Baking Powder as I only have baking soda at home,Thanks:)


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  10. Sarah

    Love your simple QUICK BREAD. It just tastes simply awesome:) The bread tastes so good with some butter and
    jam or honey,the right thing for a superb breakfast!!!!!!!!! I really love making this bread because, it is really simple
    and fun to bake ,but most of all it is really tasty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. ericka

    This is a great basic pancake recipe. For those that said it was bland, add vanilla, almond and any extract of your choosing for flavor. By itself, flour, milk, baking powder, egg and oil dont really have a taste

  12. BakerBettie

    If they are made as only the base recipe it is very plain. That is why the recipe suggests to add your favorite add-ins. Vanilla or almond extract, cinnamon, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, even a pinch of salt! It is a clean slate recipe for you to flavor as you wish!

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  14. Holly Hart Triebsch

    That's a lot of sugar!! I have the same recipe that only calls for 1 tablespoon of sugar. wowzers!

  15. BakerBettie

    1 TBSP of sugar would indeed make pancakes that are really not sweet at all. Which, of course is absolutely fine for pancakes because of the syrup you will likely top them with. But 1/4 cup of sugar is not a lot for this recipe. The pancakes turn out just subtly sweet. They are not overly sweet, I promise you. Remember, 1/4 of a cup is only 4 TBSPs. But the beauty of a recipe is it is just a guideline. You are always welcome to make your own adjustments!

  16. BakerBettie

    1 TBSP of sugar would indeed make pancakes that are really not sweet at all. Which, of course is absolutely fine for pancakes because of the syrup you will likely top them with. But 1/4 cup of sugar is not a lot for this recipe. The pancakes turn out just subtly sweet. They are not overly sweet, I promise you. Remember, 1/4 of a cup is only 4 TBSPs. But the beauty of a recipe is it is just a guideline. You are always welcome to make your own adjustments!

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  18. Andrea

    I have always used a very similar recipe, but use whole wheat flour instead of white. My boys think they are tasteless and bland if I use white flour. I get soft whole wheat pastry flour from Bulk Barn, or Robin Hood Nutri Flour from the grocery store.

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  20. Rick Effland

    We call these Grampa’s Pancakes for no other reason that he liked them but the recipe came from my Grandmother who made them. We do not use oil or sugar without a loss of sweetness. Tend to use fresh bread now and 1/2 quart of low fat buttermilk and about a cup of flour (mixed to balance the texture of the mix).

  21. Kimberly Delaney

    I’m going to attempt to make these for my breakfast tomorrow (Sunday). I’m lactose-intolerant so I use rice milk in place of dairy milk. Is it all right to use rice milk in this pancake recipe?

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  23. linda

    so you think you could come up with a recipe that DOES NOT use baking powder and yeast please that would be awesome!!! thank you for making my Christmas wish come true!!!

    with love,

    1. Post
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