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Breakfast & Brunch | July 8, 2017

Southern Buttermilk Pancakes

Nothing tastes quite like a made-from-scratch, homemade Southern Buttermilk Pancake! Pancakes are one of the easiest recipes to learn how to make. You won’t believe how simple it is to whip these up for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Southern Buttermilk Pancakes

Box vs homemade

I’ve been making buttermilk pancakes for over 25 years. When we were first married (and for several years after we had kids) I bought packaged mixes. I grew up on pre-made pancake mixes and didn’t know anything better existed. Then, one day I saw a recipe in our local newspaper for Buttermilk Pancakes…

I had some buttermilk in my fridge and decided to give the recipe a try. The only question after making pancakes from scratch was WHY? Why did I wait so long to make homemade pancakes??  

how to make buttermilk pancakes

Southern Buttermilk Pancakes are a simple, pantry-friendly recipe that will make a chef out of even the most inexperienced cook!

Want to become the Master of Pancakes? Over the years, I have learned a few tricks for making amazing pancakes. Anyone who has made pancakes with me knows I’m a little over the top about following the “Pancake Rules”. 

If you want to know how to make the best pancakes from scratch, you have come to the right place! Here are my top tips…

Buttermilk pancakes

Do not use a mixer! 

Do not ever use a mixer while making pancakes. All you need is a bowl and a whisk or fork. Southern Buttermilk Pancakes, or any pancake for that matter, are meant to be mixed by hand. Use a wire whisk, or a fork if you don’t have a whisk.

Gently turn the batter until the floury lumps disappear. A few small lumps of flour are okay, you don’t want big patches of flour in the bottom of the mixing bowl. Using a mixer will result in pancakes that are chewy and not as light and airy as pancakes mixed by hand.

When to flip pancakes

The batter forms little air bubbles when the ingredients are combined. The air bubbles form air pockets in pancakes, which make them light and fluffy! Also, over-mixing the batter will form gluten which you want in bread, but not in pancakes! Mixers are for cakes, but not for pancakes.

Why buttermilk?

I highly recommend purchasing buttermilk from the dairy section in the grocery store. Buttermilk makes all the difference in this recipe. You can use a dry buttermilk mix, but I’m partial to the good old-fashioned refrigerated liquid type. See the recipe notes for excellent substitutes if buttermilk is not available!  If you wonder what to do with leftover buttermilk, I have lots of recipes to solve that problem! Enter “buttermilk” in the search bar on the homepage of ABK.

Buttermilk pancakes

Butter for best flavor and appearance in pancakes

Butter the griddle. Butter will give your pancakes a beautiful golden finish on the outside and also a bit of delicious butter flavor. Get the griddle hot first, I turn it to 350 and then butter. Immediately place the pancake batter on the hot griddle. I use a 1/4  measuring cup. If your griddle cooks a little on the hot side, turn it down to 325 degrees. You may also use a skillet on the stove, with the heat turned to medium high.  I recommend a non-stick surface for either the griddle or a skillet. A good, old fashioned cast iron pan is also recommended.

Golden buttermilk pancakes

How do you know when to turn a pancake over?

Wait until the pancakes are golden on the bottom, the air bubbles begin to rise and a few bubbles start to pop. Then, and only then,  are they ready to turn. Quickly slide the spatula under the pancake and flip. No need to butter the griddle again. If you are adding fresh berries, add the fruit after the batter is poured onto the griddle, but before the pancake is flipped! Also, see notes on the recipe for using fruit. 

Southern Buttermilk Pancakes

Should I turn a pancake more than once?

DO NOT turn the pancake more than once. When the bubbles begin to pop, turn the pancake. If you watch the batter carefully, it will rise. That’s what you want,  the batter/pancake to rise up. Turning the pancake and overhanding will result in pancakes that are not light and fluffy.

Southern Buttermilk Pancakes

Should I pat down a pancake after flipping?

Never, under any condition, even if the person watching you tells you to do this (personal experience many times), nevereverever pat a pancake down. Promise me. Patting down, is smashing down. All of the air will disappear and you will have a heavy disk, instead of a light, airy pancake.

Think about it. It makes sense. Testing  to make sure your pancake is done is simple. After flipping, wait for about a minute, or two and quickly poke the center of the pancake with the corner of the spatula.  The center  of the pancake should spring back quickly after poked. If the griddle is set to 350 degrees, it usually takes about 2-3 minutes per side to cook. The more you practice this, the easier it is to know when the pancake is done. 

Homemade Buttermilk Syrup

Syrup anyone?

Nothing tops a pancake like homemade syrup. Most syrups are made in minutes, while your pancakes are cooking, the syrup can be boiling away on the stovetop. Here are three of our favorites: Kristen’s Special Caramel Syrup, Fresh Strawberry Syrup, and Buttermilk Syrup (perfect for using up buttermilk!)

Buttermilk Pancakes with whipped cream and fresh berries

Southern Buttermilk Pancakes
5 from 15 votes

Buttermilk Pancakes

Once you learn how to make fluffy, delicous buttermilk pancakes from scratch, you will never go back to using a mix!

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword breakfast, buttermilk, pancakes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 15 pancakes
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk * shaken well
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk or water to thin batter
  • OR if you have less buttermilk on hand use this variation
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup water plus more if needed


  1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Add buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and mix just until wet and dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Add milk (or water), a little at a time until batter is still thick, but pourable.
  4. Heat griddle to 350 degrees.
  5. Melt a little butter onto the griddle.
  6. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter and place on hot griddle. Cook pancakes until bubbles appear and begin to pop, then flip once.
  7. Do not pat down pancakes. Do not flip more than once.
  8. Serve immediately!
  9. serves 4

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe includes a second set of ingredients. Both are recipes I have used for years, the amounts vary slightly, one recipe uses more buttermilk than the other. They are very similar in yield and final product.
  • If you do not have access to buttermilk, you can make a substitute using the following: Measure 1-2 tablespoon of lemon juice into a 1 cup measure. Fill the cup with milk and let stand on counter for 5 minutes. OR Mix 1/2 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of milk to yield 1 cup of buttermilk substitute. 
  • When using fruit, such as  when making blueberries pancakes, smaller berries are better. Larger berries tend to be more difficult to cook evenly. 

30 thoughts on “Southern Buttermilk Pancakes

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Recipe Rating

  1. Definitely going to try your delicious looking recipe! I like using my cast iron pan for pancakes but want to invest in a griddle. Which one do you recommend? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mary,
      I have a built in griddle on my stovetop. I have used a few different types of electric griddles and like this one that may be purchased in stores or online through Amazon You will love this recipe!
      Thanks for reading ABK

  2. I have been buttering my pan when making pancakes, and the first batch are nice and golden. But the rest are darker and the butter burns. Any tips to avoid this? I read today that oil should be used instead of butter. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jodi,

      I usually do re-butter the pan every time I place more batter in the pan. The butter is what creates the nice color on the top side of the pancake!I never use oil, the butter has a much better flavor 🙂
      thanks for reading ABK,

  3. 5 stars
    Been making these melt in your mouth pancakes for years now! And can’t go back to any box brand! Homemade, buttermilk, and ABK does it right!

    1. I agree, Laura, they’re so simple to make and perfect for the whole fam! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  4. 5 stars
    Just made these for my family this morning. Absolutely the best pancakes I’ve ever made…and surprisingly easy. Paired them with my sweet Mom’s homemade blueberry syrup and so, so perfect! Thanks for this wonderful recipe and all your other beautiful recipes. Love reading ABK!

    1. Oh that blueberry syrup sounds delicious and I’m sure it paired so well with these pancakes! Thanks for sharing, Tonya.

  5. 5 stars
    We use this recipe almost weekly! It is absolutely divine and easy enough to make while my two year old twins are pulling me different directions. Life changing recipe right here!

    1. Thank you Cheryl, it’s always my go-to breakfast on busy weekends, especially when I have the kids around!

  6. 5 stars
    My family and I love these pancakes! They are light, fluffy and sooo delicious. I did make just a slight change, instead of 2 cups of buttermilk I only add 1 1/2 cups and use milk instead of water. Never, ever going back to store bought pancake mix again. So happy I found your recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    These pancakes are unreal. Best pancakes we’ve ever had! I’ve been making them for a couple years now and haven’t touched a box mix since!!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe makes you realize why homemade is always better than box. These pancakes were so fluffy and delicious. The key was following your technique and they turned out perfect. Can’t wait to make again!

  9. 5 stars
    I usually make wheat blender pancakes for my kids, but one day I wanted to do something special and tried out this recipe. What a hit!! The pancakes turned out so fluffy and delicious! I like to make these on a weekend when we have time to savor the cooking and eating of these yummy pancakes. One hack I used was trying dried buttermilk in place of liquid buttermilk. I followed the proportions on the container and it worked like a charm! Definitely a cost-effective option for keeping buttermilk on hand in the fridge that doesn’t expire as quickly.

  10. 5 stars
    This is my favorite tried & true recipe of yours that I use at least every week & I send good thoughts back into the universe to you. We love pancakes & I always just used bisquick until I discovered how easy & more delicious to make with your recipe. Thank you.

  11. I’m a beginner in the kitchen and this recipe was sooo easy to follow. Pancakes were delicious! I added chocolate chips to them as well!

    1. Thank you Sherrod! Glad you loved this recipe. I have not found a recipe for pancakes I love more than this one! One of my kids loves cc pancakes as well!