Basic Pancakes

(recipe, Mark Bittman)

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Fast, easy, and fluffy, these pancakes should make you forswear boxed mix forever.


  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  3. ½ tsp. salt
  4. 1 Tbsp. sugar
  5. 1 or 2 eggs
  6. 1½ to 2 cups milk
  7. 2 Tbsp. melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use oil
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla (optional)


  1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you make the batter.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the egg(s) into 1½ cups of milk, then stir in the 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter and vanilla (if you are using them). Gently stir this into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten the flour; don't worry about a few lumps. If the batter seems thick, add a little more milk.
  3. If your skillet or griddle is nonstick, you can cook the pancakes without any butter. Otherwise, use a teaspoon or two of butter or oil each time you add batter. When the butter foam subsides or the oil shimmers, ladle batter onto the griddle or skillet, making any size pancakes you like. Adjust the heat as necessary; usually, the first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. The idea is to brown the bottom in 2 to 4 minutes, without burning it. Flip when the pancakes are cooked on the bottom; they won't hold together well until they're ready.
  4. Cook until the second side is lightly browned and serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degrees oven for up to 15 minutes.


Culinate editor's note: Adding a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or fresh lemon zest gives these pancakes a punchier flavor.