Back To ‘Bake’sics: 5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes

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!

Simple Classic Pancakes

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

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… :)

Other posts from the Bake to ‘Bake’sics series:

4 Ingredient No-Knead Bread

5 Ingredient Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Syrup Pouring on Pancakes

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP oil or melted butter


  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and sugar (if using) in a large bowl.
  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).
  4. Let the batter sit while heating up a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  5. Grease the griddle or skillet and pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake.
  6. Once bubbles are formed on top and along the edges, flip the cake once to finish cooking on the other side.
  7. Serve hot with butter and syrup.



  1. Love this series of posts, it’s so easy to forget the ‘bake’ sics :)

  2. These look great!

  3. 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.

    • Baker Bettie says:

      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.

  4. Terrific post!

  5. I LOVE this post and I LOVE that gif!

    And thanks to you…I now wanna make pancakes with browned butter :D

  6. 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 ;)

  7. Great recipes………will get to work and see if I can do it.

  8. Gail Prince says:

    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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. Uchechi Anyabuike says:

    Hmmmmmm.. Will give it a trial.

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


  13. This will be my first time making them from scratch without using a pancake mix from a box. Well let's see what happens.

  14. Jessica Stevens says:

    Sorry, these were bland and tasteless.

  15. i like to try ,..

  16. 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. I quite like reading through an article
    that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

  18. Don't know how I ended up on your page, but thanks for the recipe. Those look amazing.


  1. […] #5: Five Ingredient Classic Pancakes These pancakes are simple, classic, and just perfect for Saturday morning. I broke down the basics of pancake ingredients to create this fool proof recipe! […]

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