Start your day with a tall stack of our hotcakes and bring a classic American breakfast right to your kitchen!
⏳ 25 min Preparation
👪 10 Servings
🍎 260 kcal/pc
Have you ever encountered the name "hotcakes" in connection with "American fluffy pancakes"? If you are from Europe like me, you may have not.
As I learnt, "Hotcakes" and "American pancakes" are often used interchangeably and generally refer to the same type of pancake - the thick, fluffy pancake typical in the United States.
The popularity of hotcakes in America can be traced back to the 17th century when European settlers brought their pancake recipes to the New World. Over time, American-style hotcakes developed their own unique characteristics and variations.
However, it's worth noting that the usage of these terms can vary regionally and even among individuals. In some areas, "hotcake" might be the preferred term, while "pancake" is more commonly used in others.
🍰 What are These Hotcakes Like?
American buttermilk pancakes, aka Hotcakes, differ entirely from classic British pancakes in thickness, texture, size, and toppings. They come out of the pan much thicker and fluffier, while British pancakes are thin, like creps.
This recipe produces fluffy pancakes that are soft and light, with a mild tanginess from the buttermilk. They can get extra airy and pillowy, especially if you do not over-mix the batter and cook them at the right temperature.
📃 Recipe Ingredient Overview and Easy Substitutions
- plain flour
- baking powder
- bicarbonate of soda
- caster sugar
- unsalted butter
If you are in the UK, it's ok to use self-raising flour instead of plain flour (all-purpose) and omit the 1 tsp baking powder. Self-raising flour already contains a leavening agent (you still need to use bicarbonate of soda).
Buttermilk gives the hotcakes a slightly tangy flavour and helps achieve an airy, fluffy texture as it reacts with the bicarbonate of soda, creating gas pockets in the batter.
It is possible to replace shop-bought buttermilk with diy buttermilk (made by adding a splash of lemon juice or vinegar into milk). The final pancakes might not be as fluffy, though.
The recipe works best with the suggested ingredients unless you want to adjust it for dietary reasons; see the section 'How to Modify the Recipe'.
⏳ Time Overview
The preparation doesn't take very long; you'll be flipping pancakes in around 20 - 25 minutes.
Overall cooking time depends on the hob temperature and how tall the pancakes are. I recommend setting the hob to medium heat, allowing the batter to cook through properly.
📷 How to Make Hotcakes in Pictures
How to Modify the Recipe
These American hotcakes can be customised with different flavours and toppings. You can add some berries or chocolate chips to the batter as soon as you pour it into the pan. To make perfect blueberry buttermilk pancakes toss in a few fresh blueberries or try an irresistible raspberry and chocolate chip combination.
It's easy to change the recipe to make gluten-free buttermilk pancakes by substituting plain flour with gluten-free flour. I recommend Doves Farm gluten-free plain flour.
It is surprisingly easy to make these pancakes vegan-friendly, and they will be as fluffy as the original version.
Instead of dairy butter, use vegan margarine. To replace buttermilk, use soy yoghurt with a splash of dairy-free milk alternative, and you can skip the egg entirely. For the exact volumes and recipe instructions, go to our recipe for Vegan American Pancakes.
❗ What Can Go Wrong?
Flat or dense pancakes
If your pancakes turn out flat or dense instead of light and fluffy, it could be due to several factors:
- Insufficient leavening or old leavening agents: Make sure you use the correct amount of baking powder and baking soda as stated in the recipe and check their expiration date.
- Overmixing the batter: Overmixing can result in runny batter - less is more in this case. Check the step-by-step pictures above; the pancake batter should look airy and a little bit clumpy but not runny.
- Pancakes cook too quickly: If the bottom side of the pancake browns too quickly, and the batter doesn't set before you want to flip the pancake, you will likely knock some air out while flipping, and as a result, the pancakes won't be as tall and fluffy as they could have been. Flip the pancakes once you see the batter on the top setting, creating many little holes.
Pancakes that stick to the pan
If the pancakes stick to the pan and are difficult to flip, consider these factors:
- Inadequate greasing: Ensure the pan is adequately greased with butter or oil before pouring the batter. This helps prevent sticking.
- Insufficient heat: Before adding the batter, the pan should be preheated to the correct temperature. If the pan is too cool, the pancakes may stick.
Pancakes that are too thin or runny
If the pancake batter is too thin or runny, it may be due to:
- Incorrect measurement: Double-check the measurements of the ingredients, particularly the liquid ingredients, in this case, the buttermilk.
- Also, using homemade buttermilk, made from milk and lemon juice, seems to make the batter wetter.
⚡ Useful Tips
- Beat the egg; it's easier to incorporate it with the dry ingredients.
- Mix dry and wet ingredients by gentle folding; don't get tempted to use an electric whisk. It's OK to see a few small clumps of flour in the batter.
- Find the optimal cooking temperature.
🍽️ How to Serve Hotcakes
For the most authentic experience, serve these hotcakes the traditional American way:
- Stack the pancakes: Cook a batch of fluffy American pancakes until golden brown on both sides and stack them on the plate on top of each other.
- Add a pat of butter: Place a pat of butter on top of the stack of pancakes. The heat from the pancakes will melt the butter, creating a rich buttery topping.
- Drizzle with maple syrup: Generously pour maple syrup over the stack of pancakes. Allow the syrup to cascade down the sides of the pancakes, soaking them with the sweet golden liquid.
Feel free to personalise the toppings based on your preferences; fresh berries, greek-style yoghurt, or whipped cream make a great addition to this fluffy goodness.
Serve the stack of pancakes still warm. You can leave them in the middle of the table and invite your guests to help themselves, separating the pancakes with a fork, or you can prepare a small stack of a few pancakes for every single guest giving them a chance to choose their own topping.
How to Store
If you plan to consume the pancakes within a few hours, you can leave them covered at room temperature. However, if you need to store them for longer, it is safer to refrigerate or freeze them.
By storing pancakes in the refrigerator or freezer, you can extend their shelf life, maintain their texture and flavour, and reduce the risk of foodborne bacteria growth.
In the refrigerator
- Allow the pancakes to cool: After cooking the pancakes, let them cool completely at room temperature. This prevents condensation from forming, which can make the pancakes soggy.
- Stack and separate with parchment paper: Once cooled, stack the pancakes on a plate or in an airtight container, placing a small piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each pancake. This prevents them from sticking together.
- Seal and refrigerate: Cover the plate or container with plastic wrap or place the lid securely. Store the pancakes in the refrigerator for short-term storage, typically up to 2 to 3 days. If you plan to store them for longer, follow the freezing instructions below.
In the Freezer
If you want to store American-style pancakes for longer periods, freezing is a great option:
- Cool and stack: Allow the pancakes to cool completely, as mentioned above, and stack them with parchment paper between each pancake.
- Package for freezing: Place the stack of pancakes in a freezer-safe bag like a zip-lock bag. Make sure to remove any excess air from the bag to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and freeze: Label the package with the date and contents, and place it in the freezer. American-style pancakes can typically be stored in the freezer for up to 2 to 3 months.
Remember to adjust the reheating time based on the quantity and thickness of the pancakes, as well as your preferred level of warmth. Enjoy your delicious pancakes, even on busy mornings or when craving a quick breakfast!
How to Reheat
From the Refrigerator
When ready to enjoy the pancakes, reheat them gently to bring back their freshness and warmth. You can use a microwave, toaster, or oven. For microwave reheating, place a few pancakes on a microwave-safe plate and heat them in short bursts, checking and flipping them occasionally until warmed through.
From the Freezer
Thaw the pancakes in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting on the microwave. Once thawed, reheat them using the same methods mentioned earlier.
Hotcakes, aka American Buttermilk Pancakes
- 320 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder leveled
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda levelled
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 110 g unsalted butter
- 480 ml buttermilk approx 500g
- The buttermilk and egg need to be at room temperature. The butter melted and cooled down.
- Sift and combine the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and sugar.
- Beat the egg.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients (buttermilk, beaten egg and melted butter) into the dry mix, just about combining. Tip: Leaving one or two specks of flour in the mixture is ok. It's better that way than over-mix the batter and losing all the air.
- Heat a pan over medium heat; grease and scoop the batter gently onto the pan. Tip: Try not to disturb the batter in the bowl too much.
- Cook on medium heat until the edges of the pancake start setting, then flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.Tip: If the pancakes are browning too fast, adjust the temperature. Flipping them too early will knock some air bubbles from the batter and make the pancakes less fluffy. It can also result in pancakes being still raw in the middle. Repeat the process using all the pancake batter.
- Serve the pancakes still warm with your preferred topping - butter and maple syrup, nuttela, fresh berries or whipped cream. The choice is all yours.