Breakfast has always been my favorite meal. I remember waking up on weekends and breaking out the griddle with my sister so we could make pancakes for whomever was around to eat them. It was a low stress environment where it didn’t matter if I burned a pancake or created a huge sticky mess, so I let myself experiment until I figured it out. Years later when I went vegan, I thought my days of perfect pancakes were over. Not so!

I know a lot of people who refuse to make pancakes. “They’re too fussy,” they say. Or, “They always burn/undercook/stick!” I’ve had my share of bad pancakes, and really, it’s part of the territory. There are some things you can do to increase the chances of obtaining a perfect pancake.

1. The first ones will suck. They will. You can not, under any circumstances, let your Pancake Ego be damaged by this. The first pancakes belong to you for snacking, to the dog at your feet, or to the trash. They will be crappy. They will help you find the perfect heat level so you can attain perfection, so don’t sweat it; it’s all part of the process.

2. Learn when to flip. You want to flip when they’re bubbly, yes, but if you turn it as soon as you see bubbles, you have a really undercooked pancake that splashes batter all over when you flip. If you see the pancake is already brown as soon as it starts to bubble, your heat is way too high. You want to see bubbles and dry, almost translucent edges. Peek under the edge. If you have bubbles and dry edges, but it’s not brown enough, your heat is too low. When you get the right heat, remember where your dial is for the next time you make pancakes. Mine is between the I and the U in the word “medium” that’s written on my knob.

3. Use a non-stick pan! I don’t really like non-sticks, and as such, I only own one. I use it for pancakes and crepes, and it’s so worth it. I find that using oil can actually work against you when you’re vying for that perfectly even brown pancake. You end up getting something that looks like that light “throw away” one above in #1 – uneven brown splotchies. Use a non-stick pan, and you don’t need oil. This is not only healthier, but you’re rewarded with pretty pancakes!

4. Poke them. A moment after you flip the pancake, poke it. It’s not so hot you can’t touch it as long as you’re careful. Does it feel squishy, like a water bed? If it does, leave it on a few more moments. Don’t take it off the heat until it’s firm and spongy.

5. Keep your pancakes warm in a 200º oven as you make them. This really works. And while you’re at it, put all the plates you’ll use for breakfast in there too (as long as they are oven safe). You and your guests will enjoy warm pancakes and get to eat at the same time, instead of you standing in the kitchen, desperately trying to keep up with the conversation in the dining room, as one person eats one pancake and everyone else watches. No good.

Once you get your groove on, making pancakes is fun. Everyone will envy you and you’ll be the talk of the town. You’ll get all green lights all day, and find a $20 bill in your jeans.

Well, maybe not, but you’ll have a kick butt breakfast, and that’s not too bad, is it?


  1. Anonymous

    non-stick pans cause cancer. CANCER. don’t you listen to NPR?
    (This is Sandy. I am still without google.)

  2. Lolo (VeganYumYum)

    Sandy! You frighten me so! Will they give me cancer if I solely use them for pancakes? Surely awesome pancakes will combat the cancer. Or what if I make blueberry pancakes? Blueberries fight cancer…

  3. Lolo (VeganYumYum)

    Julie – I used the recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance. I think I linked to the book somewhere in the post… It’s a great recipe! I use a little more soy milk than she calls for but otherwise it’s perfect.

  4. stringy

    Just found your site via Metafilter, and wow! You’ve got some great recipes here.

    As for the first pancakes never being good, around here we call those ones the Sacrifice to the Pancake Gods. You have to make the sacrifice, otherwise the rest will go wrong :)

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