How To Make The Perfect Pancake

Jul 9, 2015

A good pancake is easy to make — and there’s no need to buy boxed mix, which is essentially flour, baking powder and salt. It’s almost as fast to mix your own from scratch! It's healthier, cheaper and the kids will love it too!

Jump to my recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes With Smashed Blackberries

Make a Healthier, Cheaper Pancake Mix

Mix up your own pancake mix to keep in the cupboard:

  • Stir your choice of flours and grains together at a ratio of 1 cup flour to 1 tsp. baking powder with a pinch of salt.
  • Add 1 tbsp. sugar if you want them on the sweet side (the added sugar will also help the pancakes brown in the pan).

I like to use regular and whole wheat flour combined with barley flour, which has about four times as much fibre as whole wheat flour, plus some oat flour — the grainy flours lend a nuttiness that works well in a pancake, while boosting nutrients and fibre.

Use your homemade mix:

  • Whisk one cup of milk, an egg and a tablespoon of oil into each cup of mix. (One, one, one and one. Easy, right?)
  • Don’t overmix your batter — a few lumps will work themselves out in the pan.

Simply double or triple if you’re feeding a crowd. 

Golden Pancakes, Every Time

Cast iron skillets are ideal for pancakes — they retain an even heat and provide a non-stick surface without an artificial coating:

  • Heat your skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and wipe it around the pan with a paper towel.
  • Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into the pan using a ladle or measuring cup.
  • If you want to add berries, place them on the batter right in the pan, which will guarantee they’re evenly distributed and keep batter from turning blue-green. Banana slices work well here, too.
  • Wait until bubbles begin to break on the surface of the pancake and the edge turns from shiny to matte — then it’s time to flip, using a thin spatula. Don’t wait for the surface of the pancake to be covered with bubbles that have broken.
  • By now, the bottom of the pancake should be nicely golden. Cook for another minute on the other side and serve right away.

You can also keep pancakes warm until everyone is ready to eat. Slide pancakes onto a plate or wire rack on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200˚F.

Maple Syrup Secret

As you wait for your pancakes to cook, warm maple syrup in a small saucepan so the fridge-cold syrup doesn’t cool down your pancakes. You can also add a handful of berries to the maple syrup. They’ll release their juices into the syrup as they warm through.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Smashed Blackberries Recipe

For a special treat, lemon zest and juice and ricotta cheese make for ethereal pancakes, especially when topped with ripe blackberries. These are a great way to use up some ricotta—or even cottage cheese—that’s leftover in your fridge and a beautiful way to make use of an enthusiastic blackberry crop.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • grated zest and juice of a lemon (or half a lemon)
  • canola oil and butter
  • 1/2-1 pint fresh blackberries or raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • maple syrup (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs, milk, lemon juice and zest. Add to the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  3. Preheat a heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) or griddle and brush with oil and/or butter. Turn heat down to medium-low and ladle on some pancake batter (about 1/3 cup).
  4. Cook until golden on the bottom and bubbly on the top, with some bubbles breaking through. Flip with a thin spatula and cook until golden on the other side.
  5. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200˚F oven.
  6. Meanwhile, roughly mash berries with 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. As soon as the sugar dissolves, it’s ready to serve. If you want a runnier sauce, add pure maple syrup for a pourable blackberry sauce.

Serves 4-6.


Article Author Julie Van Rosendaal
Julie Van Rosendaal

Read more from Julie here.

Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of six best-selling cookbooks (with a seventh due out this fall), the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One. She is a recipe developer, TV personality, food stylist and writes about food for local, national and international publications. She is perhaps best known as the voice behind her popular food blog, Dinner with Julie, where she documents real life at home in Calgary with her husband and nine-year-old son. Connect on twitter @dinnerwithjulie.


Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.