How to make American style pancakes... tips from an expert at Moak pancakes

13 Feb 2024



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Wondering how to make American style pancakes this Pancake Day?

Here in the Europe, its often the thinner crepe that takes centre stage, but there's something *so* satisfying about a fat, bouncy pancake stack when you're feeling particularly ravenous.

But how to fry American pancakes? How thick should an American pancake be and what actually makes pancakes fluffy? You might be wondering how to make this kinda pancake without milk or eggs, or whether you can refrigerate the batter.

Sometimes only a fluffy American pancake will do (Credit: Getty)

They might have started in the States, but American style pancakes are everywhere, now. To answer all your burning queries, we've enlisted expert and friend of Twisted, Sten van den Bedem – founder of Moak Pancakes in the Netherlands.

Moak is an American pancake lover's dream, and Sten knows everything there is to know about making the fluffiest, spongiest pancake towers you ever did see...(don't even get us started on the toppings he throws on his!).

Keep reading and you'll be nailing American-style pancakes in no time.

What makes pancakes fluffy?

American pancakes are meant to be thick and spongy (Credit: Moak Pancakes)

"We use baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk to make pancakes fluffy," says Sten.

It's the combination of buttermilk (which is milk and vinegar) and these leaveners which essentially creates air bubbles and results in light, spongy pancakes.

"We have our own secret recipe," says Sten. "That combination makes them rise and gets them fluffy," Sten adds. "That's the way we like them – they fill you up for the day, and that way, you can stack them properly, too.

"But the best tip I can give is to not put too much or too little of the [leaveners].

"You need to experiment! If you put too much soda you're gonna taste it, and if you don't put enough in then it's not gonna rise as much as you as you would like."

What flour is used in American pancakes?

Every ingredient matters if you want the perfect snack (Credit: Getty)

"[The trick to the perfect pancake is] really top notch flour," explains Sten.

Yep, the quality of the flour you use makes a big difference to your end result. As for exactly what flour you use, there's a little more flex.

Traditionally, all-purpose flour is used in your classic American pancake.

"Plain flour is good as it doesn't have much taste so acts as a vessel for whatever you're going to top yours with," says Spencer, Twisted's senior food producer. But it's really up to you!

"At Moak, we use a wholewheat flour that's a little bit more more healthy and fills you up for the whole day," Sten adds.

Flour and raising agents are needed for the perfect rise (Credit: Getty)

"Taste wise, there's a big difference depending what flour you use, so it's nice to play around a little bit.

"At home, I've made them with buckwheat and almond flour, and if you're into sport you can mix those with protein powder."

Can I use self raising flour for pancakes?

“Self raising flour works great as an alternative to plain flour and baking powder”, says Twisted's Spencer.

"If you're out of any sort of raising agent but happen to have self raising flour you can just use that in place of any other flour.

"You can't control it as much as if you're using raising agents, so you might not be able to affect the fluffiness as much, but in a pinch it does the job!"

How to fry American pancakes

"If you're frying American pancakes at home, add a little bit of butter to the pan [so it doesn't stick]," Sten suggests.

"Also, stay near your pan and check them regularly. The batter should bubble a little bit when they're ready to be flipped."

It should take two to three minutes for the first side of the pancake, when on a medium heat, and when you flip, the second side will take about a minute less time.

"You can also always make like a really small cut in the top of the pancake," Sten advises. "If there's a lot of batter still on your knife then it's not ready, but if it doesn't stick then it's time to flip."

There's an art to flipping your pancake, too (Credit: Getty)

How to flip a pancake

Now for the best bit!

"The fun part when you're making pancakes at home is flipping the pan," Sten says. "The main thing to remember is that you need a quick movement.

"Just make sure you are making enough better so you can redo it whenever it falls on the ground (or the ceiling!)"

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Make sure your pancake is loosened from the pan before flipping
  • Shake your pancake towards the edge of the pan first so it has less far to travel
  • Aim to flick at an 180 degree angle
  • Confidence is key - a nervous pancake flip likely won't have enough power behind it

How to make pancakes without milk and egg - can you make them vegan?

You don't need those eggs to make a pancake, either (Credit: Getty)

American pancakes can definitely be veganised!

Switching out to use non dairy milk is an easy solution, for one.

"We make ours vegan with almond milk," says Sten, but different recipes also suggest oat and soya.

As for eggs, these typically act as a binder in your standard pancake batter recipe. However, American pancakes are particularly easy to make without the egg, as they already have other components to make them fluffy and preserve their structural integrity, like the leaveners.

Vegan pancakes also (naturally) lack the buttermilk you'd see in a standard American pancake recipe.

But Mia, who heads up Twisted Green, tells us you can make a vegan buttermilk without any speciality ingredients, just the addition of some acidity.

"For vegan buttermilk, you'll just need a protein dense plant milk like soy or almond, and an acid like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice," they explain.

"You need the mixture to curdle and thicken to get the right results. Sometimes I'll even add a dollop of vegan yoghurt to my batter for an even dreamier texture!"

How long does pancake batter last?

You can keep your batter for later, too (Credit: Getty)

"You can keep pancake batter in the fridge," Sten advises. "It will last overnight, but it might be less fluffy as a result, so don't leave it too long."

A couple of days is the absolute max you should refrigerate, and expect your end result to be slightly less impressive.

"The fridge is a good option if you have some leftover to avoid waste, but it's obviously better to use it immediately," the expert suggests.

You can actually freeze pancake batter, too, and this allows you to leave them for longer – around 1-2 months.

Like when you refrigerate, they definitely won't be as airy when you reheat them, but if you thaw the liquid properly you'll still get decent pancakes out of them when a little tight for time or fresh ingredients!

Can you reheat pancakes?

Don't tip your leftovers in the bin (Credit: Getty)

"You can reheat pancakes but I wouldn't recommend it," Sten says.

If you make a big stack and don't get through them then don't fear, though – it's better to reheat than chuck 'em away.

"You can pop them in microwave for a minute and they'll be okay to eat again," the Moak founder says. "They won't taste as good but it will work."

Better an average pancake than a pancake in the bin, we say!

What to serve with American-style pancakes

"American pancakes are great as you can put so many different toppings on them, and they work with both sweet and savoury flavours," Sten tells us.

Here are some of the classics he recommends:

Bacon and maple syrup

"Bacon and maple syrup work really well together on top of pancakes. It's sweet and salty," says Sten.

It might sound unusual but it's an American fave for a reason!

Moak add cheese and grilled onions into the mix, too. Don't knock it 'til ya try it.

Humous and maple syrup

"Humous and maple syrup is also really good even though it sounds like a ridiculous combination," Sten says.

"Just like the bacon and maple syrup the flavours just [compliment each other]."

All the fruit

Fruit is always a winner (Credit: Moak Pancakes)

"Typical American pancakes come with blueberries on top," says Sten, but don't stop there!

"We cover ours with banana, strawberries and blueberries, alongside Canadian maple syrup."

Shredded chicken and BBQ sauce

Rich, saucy meat works well on an American pancake, too, as the thicker batter balances the intensity of your topping.

Moak does a pancake with barbecued chicken, avo and creme fraiche. Ooooft.

Greek yoghurt and granola

The crunch of granola works really well on a fluffy pancake too - it's all about texture!

Sten pairs his pancakes with yog, granola, "strawberries, cinnamon and honey."

The combo is fresh, sweet and takes your brekky up a notch.

Smoked salmon and creme fraiche

Smoked salmon and creme fraiche is another winner (Credit: Moak Pancakes)

"One of the pancakes we do comes with salmon, fresh avocado, black pepper, dill and olive oil," Sten says.

"It's really light, smooth and [luxurious], especially on a fluffy pancake."

That should be enough to get ya started - happy Pancake Day one and all!

Featured image: Moak Pancakes/ Getty


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