Pancakes from Scratch in a Pinch

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The other weekend my daughter had a sleepover, and I needed to redeem myself with breakfast, since the dinner I’d served the night before was…well…absolutely horrible. It was leftover Chinese food. Unthinkable, right? So, the kids asked for pancakes, and I said yes before I realized I was out of my usual organic mix. And parents were coming to pick their kids up in about 25 minutes. Crap!

I pulled out The Joy of Cooking and made pancakes from scratch, and it reminded me just how easy they really are…no mix necessary! I have since adapted the recipe slightly (I prefer even numbers) and so, here it is. The whole thing, from beginning to end (end being in the tummy), takes about 30 minutes or less.

Pancakes from Scratch


  • 2 cups organic flour (can be whole wheat, white whole wheat, or white)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¾ cups milk
  • Butter for cooking


1. Throw everything into a bowl, and whisk!

2. Melt butter in a giant cast-iron skillet, or wherever you cook your pancakes.

3. Use a ladle to drop in some pancake batter, and cook, turning over when the pancake is bubbly and golden.

4. Repeat.

5. Serve with REAL organic maple syrup!

Yum. Pancakes go very well with bacon. This recipe serves four fully, and six if bacon is involved. I also love to occasionally have pancakes with jam for afternoon tea! It brings back memories from a sailboat excursion in the British Virgin Islands a very long time ago. Sigh!


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24 Responses to Pancakes from Scratch in a Pinch

  1. Ovenbird February 12, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Substitute buttermilk for milk. Substitute some cornmeal for some of the wheat flour. Add a little vanilla for flavor. They need some melted butter added to batter too.
    Why wait for “in a pinch” to make pancakes. We make them 3 or 4 times a week.

  2. Heather February 12, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    When I moved to Denmark 8 years ago, I learned to cook quite a lot from scratch as they don’t have much of the mixes we have back home. Pancakes were one of the first things I learned and boy, did it go over well! Danish pancakes are basically crepes so when I pulled out these huge fluffy american-style pancakes with maple syrup for weekend guests – I think we went through about 4 dozen that morning amongst 6 people. It’s now a tradition for weekend guests that we have pancake breakfasts – I’ve even learned to make different fruit syrups to go with the maple. And for my son’s 7th birthday party, I did the pancake thing as his danish classmates had never had american pancakes before. It’s amazing how much 10 little boys can eat . . . (and it’s less expensive than pizza!)

  3. Tony February 12, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    If you wish to make pancakes from scratch:

  4. Amanda February 12, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    When I first moved away from friends and family and into my own apartment years ago, I started cooking as a way to fill some of the alone time. I was amazed as how easy many of the foods are that we usually make from a box or a mix. In fact, a whole bunch don’t take much more time to make from scratch than they do from a box. My list of foods I try to make from scratch as often as possible:

    Yellow or chocolate cake
    Mac ‘n cheese
    Chocolate chip cookies

  5. Donna in Delaware February 12, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Nothing takes the place of well made, home made pancakes with organic pure maple syrup. Fruit syrups are also great. Don’t forget a nice pat of butter for the top! Mangia!

  6. Lisa in Indiana February 12, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I started using this recipe from “100 Foods That Could Save Your Life” a couple years ago. We love it! I mix the oats and buttermilk the night before and put it in the ice box. Then the next morning throw in the rest of the ingredients and presto! The kids love them. Especially with homemade berry syrup.
    3/4 c. oat, 2 c. buttermilk and 1/4 c. milk (mix the night before)
    2 eggs
    2 Tablespoons canola oil
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 cups whole wheat flour

  7. Maria (farm country kitchen) February 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Yes but who has buttermilk sitting around? ANd I’ve never seen organic buttermilk!

  8. A Gran February 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I make my own mix using a recipe from King Arthur Flour. I think it is on their website. I vary the flours sometimes using other than white and whole wheat. Because I use whole grain flours which I keep in my freezer, I store the mix in recipe portion freezer bags or containers in the freezer as well. I’ve also added whole egg powder and pure vanilla powder to the mix. All I need to do is dump the mix in a bowl and add water or milk and the pancakes are ready to go before the griddle is even heated up. Homemade from scratch in a few minutes with almost no clean-up.

  9. Carol February 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Try substituting milk with vinalla almond drink. Very good!

  10. Chip February 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    my son’s friends love my pancakes….Aunt Jemima from a box but what really gives it a great flavor is very simple……………..vanilla extract! Plan on making this recipe but I have to add the vanilla extract – you may want to try it yourself!


  11. Beth February 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Nothing beats buttermilk in a pancake recipe-and I never add sugar-never needed, in my opinion. No buttermilk? Add one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to milk and let stand a few minutes.
    One cup flour (I add oatmeal to it), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt in one bowl, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 T olive oil and 2 eggs in another bowl.
    Whisk dry and then whisk wet and then combine them gently. A sizzling and lightly oiled pan-temp is key!

  12. Donna in Delaware February 13, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    I buy buttermilk and freeze it because I never know when I will be in the mood to make a cake or anything else that requires it. I’ve never seen organic buttermilk either.

  13. Deborah February 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Boy, this conversation is making me hungry! My mama was from Alabama, my daddy from Tennessee – I’ve got buttermilk in my veins – it’s ALWAYS in my fridge! It’s a beverage as well as an UNBEATABLE ingredient in so many cooked things. Besides pancakes, biscuits, and cornbread, Southern-fried chicken and gravy at my house means buttermilk in both the chicken AND the gravy. Buttermilk is as much a staple in my house as cornmeal – I’m NEVER without either one. I’ve done the vinegar/lemon juice-in-milk substitution in a pinch, but it’s NOT the same… I prefer substituting yogurt or sour cream, if I have them.

    I make DOZENS of different kinds of pancakes – mixing different grain flours, adding different whole grains and brans (some need to be soaked in the buttermilk or cooked ahead of time), different sweeteners, adding different chopped fruits (fresh & dried), adding sausage or bacon (cooked first), adding cheese, adding vegetables… I make pancakes stove-top on a griddle, also in the oven – and cooking them over a campfire in an iron skillet that’s had bacon cooked in it is SUBLIME!

    Sorry to go on and on and on – I’ll spare you descriptions of all the toppings I make (personally, my favorite is no topping, just a small amount of butter).

    I’m going to go make some pancakes right now!

  14. Patty February 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Way to go, Maria. I like to think outside the mix too!!

  15. boxcaranne February 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    The BEST ever pancakes–in the mountains over campfire, with kids n grandkids around, bacon grease in the iron skillet, eggs, REAL butter–hand made at home to take, ashes flying, coals red hot, wood smoke in the early morning Rockies air–OMG how I want warmer weather so we can go camping (and cooking)!!!

  16. Deborah Wilson March 21, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I tried the pancakes and loved them. I found organic buttermilk at wholefoods. I was glad to find out that I could freeze buttermilk,what a good tip.

  17. vehicles auction October 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

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  18. Tommie Huizar December 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I was looking on line for pancake recipes from scratch,and I found this web site .So now I’m gonna try the pancake recipe that I have been looking for. I’ll be back for other recipes .I like to bake everything from scratch,not from a box.I have some of my mother’s recipes,not all everything she baked was from scratch.Thanks Maria’s farm country kitchen.

  19. Chanel June 27, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    My niece and nephew are over and they wanted pancakes i said sure but i knew what time they woke every day… about 9:30 so i said okay knowing that i did not have any mix so i set an alarm for 9:00. But i slept through it so i just looked up pancake recipes and found this one now they are outside playing with chalk. It was so great thanks to you! (:

    ps. your a real life saver

  20. Sugar October 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I love this all about foods from scratch. I’m 74 so i’ve done alot of it, especially with 6 kids, 15 g-kids, and 18 gg-kids. I found a quick cooking method for bisquits, cake, pancakes and sandwiches. I bought one of those sandwich makers just to make quick ones for the kids, but I found out you can use it to make quick cakes, pancakes and so forth. Just make your batter and cook it on this thing. So quick (no oven or stove to heat up.) Slice open the cornbread ones, dollop of butter, YUM. Slice open up a cake one plop ice cream on it. YUMMY We even eat them plain. Pancake ones good with syrup or fresh fruits. Try it you’ll like its easy-ness.

  21. Nikki Lindqvist April 10, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Gosh, I want to go over to Heather’s in Denmark! It’s the same here in Sweden. They just do crepes. When my husband and I were in the U.S. last autumn, we had breakfast one day at a Denny’s and I ordered the blueberry pancakes. Hadn’t had that for probably 25 years. Imagine they weren’t particularly healthy but oooooooohhh, they were SO GOOD! I don’t remember ever making pancakes before but now that you’re reminding me of the whole thing, I think it’s time to try, don’t you?!? 🙂

  22. Abe November 7, 2014 at 4:58 am #

    Hi Ellie,I well come all questions rearidgng baking. I will try my best to help. :)Using damp cloth to cover proofing dough is to keep the dough moist so that it will rise nicely. If the dough starts to form a dry surface tie will not rice much as the dry crust will give some resistance to the dough as it try to stretch and ‘ grow’ .i usually use cling film just wrap around the rim of the proofing bowl and let the dough rise. It is perfectly fine to open the towel to check on the dough to see how the dough is doing. In the event the dough is overproofed, you may wanna use it as pizza dough instead of making it as loaf, as your bread will not be soft and ligh, as the same time it will not rise very high as a bread loaf should be, on top of that it will turn smelly like beer taste. Hope My explanations are clear and helpful.

  23. Jen April 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Served these over the weekend for my nieces and nephew – they were a huge hit! Thanks for sharing. I second the use of real organic maple syrup – we grew up with the commercial Mrs. Butterworth-type stuff and the real stuff is so much more amazing. (And also not loaded with a bunch of crap.) Have you ever made fruit syrup? I saw Nigella Lawson make blueberry syrup once – organic maple syrup and blueberries. Put them into a pot, bring them to a boil, let ’em bubble for a few minutes, then serve warm. Wonderful complement to your pancakes!

    Thanks again. (I love how everyone seems to come on just to comment exactly what they do differently or instead.)

  24. Cindy November 13, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    My kids made waffles from this recipe-so simple and yummy!
    I wasn’t sure what to substitute to add oil in for the crisp waffle taste so we used 1 1/4 cup of milk and 1/3 cup of oil instead- perfection!!! They were very proud kiddos! These were actually good enough didn’t need much syrup. (One kid used peanut butter and one used berries) Definitely an easy recipe-thank you!

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