No matter which kind of pancakes you prefer—buttermilk pancakes, blueberry pancakes, or chocolate chip-banana pancakes—you always want a stack of light and fluffy pancakes, piled high to the sky. Whipping up a batch of the fluffiest pancakes ever seems like an easy feat to conquer—even if it’s early in the morning and you’re still half asleep. Problem is you don’t always end up with the pillow-like pancakes you dreamt about last night. When everything about pancakes from the ingredients to process is so simple, it’s hard to avoid common pancake mistakes.
Basic pancake ingredients—flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs, milk, and butter—are all pantry staples, so your spontaneous decision to make pancakes this morning can feel like a well thought-out plan. And, cooking pancakes is a breeze once you have a non-stick skillet, a dab of butter (or fat of your choice), and a spatula. You have the right idea: Add a healthy dollop of batter to the hot pan, and cook until bubbles appear and the underside is perfectly golden brown. Flip and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. You’ve reached the end of a seemingly easy, foolproof pancake recipe and somehow you’re left with a stack of thin, sad pancakes that can be easily mistaken for crêpes.
Wondering where you went wrong? Want to know which heinous pancake crimes you’ve committed? And ultimately, you need to know if there’s a way to avoid disappointment so early in the morning. The key to making extremely fluffy pancakes is entirely dependent on the way you handle just one ingredient: the eggs. Instead of incorporating entire eggs into your pancake batter all at once, try separating the yolks and the egg whites. Combine the yolks with the wet ingredients while placing the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whipping them over high speed until soft peaks form. Reserve until you’ve combined all of the other ingredients and then GENTLY fold the whipped whites into the batter using a spatula.
Next, the trick to fluffy pancakes is knowing how to fold egg whites into batter to preserve their airy consistency. Start by adding a dollop of the whipped egg whites on top of the batter. Then, using the blade of the spatula, cut through the center of the mixture, down to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop up one half of the mixture along the curve of the bowl and fold over into the remaining half. Repeat this process, turning the bowl clockwise every time, until all of the whites have been incorporated. It’s slow and tricky—in all honesty, it’ll feel totally unnatural at first—but it’s worth it in the end when you finally dig into the perfect stack of fluffy pancakes.