Mum’s perfect pancake recipe

My grandsons requested pancakes for breakfast last weekend, so of course, they got what they wanted because that’s how things roll at Grandma and Granda’s house. I used Mum’s recipe as I have for decades, never having to look at it since I’ve memorized it. Which might not seem like much of an accomplishment since it has only six ingredients, but it’s a pretty big deal to me who can barely remember my zip code.

Mum would have adored these pancake gobblers.

Mum was a connoisseur of pancakes, having strict criteria for the definition of perfection. Her gentle and tolerant disposition turned into Judge Judy on steroids when she ordered pancakes in a restaurant, as they were invariably too thick, too chewy, and as absorbent as a sponge. And the ultimate insult was topping this travesty with gooey, caramel colored liquid impersonating maple syrup.

Mum’s pancake recipe is a winner, and here it is with some pictures since what kind of recipe blog would this be without photos?

Start by pouring about a tablespoon of white vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup mark with milk. Let it set so that the milk will sour.

You can skip this step if you’re lucky enough to have sour milk in the back of the refrigerator.

Dump 1 cup of flour, one scant teaspoon of soda, and one scant teaspoon of salt into a bowl. ‘Scant’ is not quite a teaspoon but more than 3/4. I usually go even scantier on the salt and use about 1/2 teaspoon. More or less.

No need to sift, but mix dry ingredients together with whiskey. If you don’t know what a whiskey is, it’s my nickname for my kitchen whisk. I use my large Tupperware measuring bowl that Mum bought me long ago that’s seen one too many dishwashing cycles on the lower rack, but you can use any bowl you want because it doesn’t matter.

Add an egg and the sour milk to the flour mixture and blend with whiskey until relatively smooth, but don’t worry if there are a few lumps. Try not to get confused and add real whiskey to the mixture, but you could drink some if thinking about my affectionate name for my whisk has prompted a craving.

Throwing in a handful of Maine wild blueberries makes a fantastic addition.

I use a nonstick pan that I’ve preheated on the cooktop until splashes of water sizzle. And since this recipe is so easy, I had to get water from the tap instead of relying on sweat.

Pour batter into the pan, then leave it alone until you see bubbles form on the surface. Which means you can’t leave it alone because you have to watch for bubbles, which I call fish eyes. When they burst and don’t fill in with batter the pancake is ready to flip, which takes about four minutes. The cooking part, not the flipping part, in case that wasn’t clear. Cooking the other side will take about half the time as the fish-eye side. So two minutes. If I’ve done the math right. Which is always a crap shoot.

When it’s ready to flip, it looks a little like the surface of the moon.

Upon removal from pan, spread pancake with butter. Do not violate these delicacies by using margarine or any substance claiming to be butter or better than butter. Food factoid: Nothing is better than butter.

If eating with people who adhere to strict manners, pour some Maine maple syrup in a small bowl and dip each bite exclaiming, “This is the best pancake I’ve ever had.” If eating alone, don a yellow slicker, drench pancake with syrup, and make oinking and smacking sounds. When finished lick your plate, so you don’t waste a single molecule of deliciousness. Then hose down your yellow slicker because it is a sticky mess.

It’s time to eat!

Here is a summary of the recipe:

Mum’s Perfect Pancakes (makes about four)

1 cup flour
Scant teaspoon soda
Scant teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sour milk (add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to milk)

Mix with whiskey and cook. And if you don’t get the whiskey reference then see above, and remember to always read every word of my blog posts because you might miss something that will make you laugh.

Do you have a favorite pancake recipe or more tips on how to make the perfect pancake?

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78 thoughts on “Mum’s perfect pancake recipe

  1. Mighty nice pancake recipe, I hadn’t heard about using vinegar to simulate buttermilk, I have always used lemon. Or when I was more ambitious we made our our buttermilk, that always made some great pancakes. I didn’t have any whisky so I used rum, the kids absolutely loved them, especially with a healthy dose of Irish cream mixed in with the maple syrup.

  2. I can’t make pancakes, no matter how I try! Mind you, in the UK a pancake is a lot thinner in consistency – it’s like the French crepes – filled with lemon juice & sugar is my favourite or with nutella. As another Brit commented on the blog already, I only eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday! We have toss the pancake races at our local school that day too! 😊

    • I like crepes too, but my mother’s pancakes are the perfect consistency – not too thin or too thick. Interesting to eat pancakes made with lemon juice and sugar. The Swedish people in northern Maine make a thinner pancake with sugar, and top with strawberries and whipped cream. Yum! I can imagine Nutella would be delicious on a pancake or anything!

    • What a fabulous idea! I have not tried them that way, but I know they’d be delicious. My mother used to serve them with butter and gravy when she had homemade brown gravy from a pork or beef roast. My mouth is watering. ❤️

  3. Molly, my pancakes have always come out of the Bisquick box, so I probably wouldn’t know a truly good pancake, but I can assure you that I’m going to try this recipe! I love the way you wrote about the adventure of making and eating them. Thanks so much for sharing your Mom’s recipe with us at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’ve pinned and shared!

    • I hope you like Mum’s recipe, Teresa. It is definitely a step up from Bisquick. Haha! This was a fun post to write and it is always great to share at #BloggingGrandothersLinkParty. Thank you for commenting and sharing!

  4. I know my husband would love this recipe Molly and it looks like they are a favourite with your darling grandsons. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty and have a lovely day. xx

  5. I really enjoyed reading your pancake recipe with instructions. Rare to find a recipe that makes you laugh.
    I also like making pancakes and use my mother’s recipe:) , no surprise there. Not much different except there is no whiskey ? involved and no vinegar.
    It is fun to do when you see them disappear with accompanying mmmmm…..sounds.
    miriam

    • Thank you, for enjoying my recipe blog post, Miriam and sharing a laugh with me. Isn’t it great our mothers left us with such great recipes for pancakes? Try the whiskey; I’m sure even if they don’t taste any better, you’ll have more fun when you make them. 😉

  6. Phew! Thank goodness there was no actual whisky in this recipe, Molly. I’m a big fan of pancakes, but not whisky. Now, do I need to wait until Shrove Tuesday next year before my next pancake? I think not. Thanks for sharing your mum’s recipe with us.

    • I hate whiskey, too, but I love my utensil Whiskey. It does get confusing! I didn’t know that pancakes was a thing to eat on Shrove Tuesday, so you’ve taught me something. Which you always do. I’m glad you’ll try the recipe and I hope you like it. Don’t forget to wear a yellow slicker! Always good to have you stop by, Hugh.

      • Yes, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Tuesday in The UK. Just about everyone goes mad for pancakes on that particular day, then we don’t usually see them again until the following year. I remember that whenever I have visited the U.S.A, Pancakes were always on the breakfast menu. So were muffins, which tend to be eaten as a teatime treat here in the UK. If I had to choose a favourite muffin, it would be blueberry.

        • We call Shrove Tuesday, ‘Fat Tuesday’ here in the US and associate it with general gluttony prior to Lent, without any focus on pancakes. I made blueberry muffins over the weekend and they are my favorites too, especially when I have fresh Maine wild blueberries to toss into them. Yum!

  7. I love this!!
    I sometimes add frozen blueberries to my pancakes while they are in the pan. Do you think that’d work with this recipe?

    p.s “Food factoid: Nothing is better than butter.” YES!! I couldn’t agree more!

  8. Thanks for sharing this recipe! My kids love chocolate chip pancakes and I have to confess so do I. It’s like eating a big, hot chocolate chip cookie for breakfast. I know…soooo bad! But being bad once in a while isn’t so terrible…right? 🙂

    • I’ve made this recipe with chocolate chips, too, Lisa. You just can’t put in too many or they will scorch, but they are very delicious. You don’t need to apologize to me for having a chocolate chip cookie pancake for breakfast!

  9. My Oldest Younger Brother Scott (who just celebrated a birthday yesterday) swore by the Birthday Method. You sing “Happy Birthday to You”, one verse only, then flip the pancake. Or maybe this is the Coast Guard Shower Method, described to me by my Nephew Chris. Where you must soap and rinse in the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday. Whichever.

    • Hahaha! Great alternative to setting the timer. But I think I’d have to sing it quite a few times to fill up a four minute time span. I definitely need a shower after I’ve lathered myself up in pancake syrup, so both tips are very helpful, Alice.

  10. This is a delightful post (and recipe) I like recipe posts, but I like them even more when they’re funny and I have to wonder if we’re talking kitchen implements or booze. I know my kiddo will wake up any minute wanting pancakes and I want to make this for him, but we’re out of milk at the moment–for shame–I know. But, I’m going to pin the post, and keep it for next week. This sounds truly gourmet–and I do have a new raincoat. . . .

    • Sounds like you have a perfect plan for trying my pancakes, Angela! I hope you can find some Maine maple syrup so your raincoat will have a proper inauguration in the art of pancake gobbling. Thanks so much for stopping by today. You know I love your blog!

  11. Love your descriptions Molly, dump the flour for example. These sound delicious and so easy. You made me laugh with the whiskey reference – for a minute I was a bit worried where it was going…..

    • I gave my readers quite a start with the whiskey reference I’m afraid! Glad you got a laugh out of it, Debbie. It was a fun post to write, but all those photos took forever! How do the recipe bloggers do it?

  12. Your blog arrived just in time to pair with some fresh blueberries I bought this afternoon. And its filling the total blank I had for what to make for my supper tonight! Our Law family tradition is crepes. My mother was French and visits to my Grandma Gagne’s home in Lewiston meant being served this family favorite of thin batter rounds topped with butter and maple syrup. It’s still my daughter’s favorite breakfast tradition. Can’t wait to try yours.

    • I hope you like them, Amy, and blueberries are a great addition. You just have to be careful not to add too many since they can burn especially when cooking the first side. I like crepes, too, though we didn’t eat them in my family growing up. Butter and maple syrup = heaven! Let me know how you like Mum’s pancakes.

  13. Hey sis, too bad this opportunity to put comments in wasn’t right after your article. I had to hunt kind of hard to find it. Again, you brought Memories Back with Mum’s pancake blog. I’m going to try some up in the North Woods but I’m going to whiskey them with Crown Royal. I’ll let you know how people like it.

    • I don’t know any way to access the comment box without scrolling down to it, so I hope you will do that in the future, because I love to see your comments. I will be anxious to find out how your Crown Royal pancakes turn out. If you remember, that is!

  14. Wonderful column, Molly! And I love that you refer to your kitchen whisk a “whiskey.” Coincidentally, I refer to my spatula as a “Passed out drunk on the hallway floor. Again!” That’s caused some misunderstandings in the family. Hardly anyone comes for Thanksgiving.

    • You always crack me up, Dave. I’m rolling on the floor and not just from the whiskey. I actually hate whiskey, with the exception of my kitchen whisk of course. I’d come to your house for Thanksgiving. What time is dinner?

  15. Oh, and forgive me Susieshy45, but maple syrup is the ONLY acceptable syrup! I ordered pancakes once at a restaurant in southern Alabama and poured what I thought was maple syrup over them. I almost spit out my first (and only) bite onto the table. I thought, what is this hellish substance?!! I still don’t know what it was, but the pancakes and I were appalled by the sticky travesty masquerading as maple syrup.

    • Agreed! I’ve been known to carry a flask in my purse when I know a restaurant doesn’t carry real maple syrup and I want to have French toast for breakfast. I don’t take a chance on ordering pancakes of course.

  16. My pancake recipe: buy a box of Bisquick and follow the instructions. 🙂 Actually, Bisquick makes a pretty good pancake if you like the fluffier type, which I do. Having said that, oh how I wish I were sitting in your kitchen and you were serving up your gorgeous pancakes RIGHT NOW!

    • Come on over, Kate. I’ll brew up a fresh pot of French Roast coffee to go with the pancakes. Yum! I told Mum there had to be a market for fluffy pancakes or else Bisquick would go out of business. She was not convinced and I think she saw a skull and cross bones whenever she saw a box of Bisquick in the supermarket. LOL!

      • On my way with some Ohio Maple Syrup for you to try, Molly! One little town near me even has a maple festival in early March when we line up to eat pancakes and celebrate all things maple.

  17. Of course you would not put whiskey in your grandsons’ pancakes. It goes in their sippy cups. Makes post-breakfast naptime a breeze and Grandma can crawl back under the covers.

  18. i love your recipe and even more your description.
    Honestly I thought you were going to add whiskey to the batter and I was shocked ( a bit) because of the grand children.
    I laughed when I realised whiskey is nickname for the whisk.( Big relief)
    What syrup do you pour over the pancakes – sugar syrup, golden syrup, maple syrup ?
    Susie

    • Maine maple syrup is what I use, Susie. Sometimes my mother would make savory pancakes which meant instead of syrup she served them for supper with gravy. Only homemade gravy made with pan drippings from a pork or beef roast would suffice. Glad you read far enough to get my whiskey joke. 😉

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