The proper way to make and serve pancakes can be a point of contention in my house. My husband and I have very different, and very strong opinions on what makes the perfect pancake. But we both agree that these are incredible. From the fluffy texture, slight buttermilk freshness, and the sweet flavor of real maple, I think you’ll love them too. Here are the best pancakes you’ll ever eat: Buttermilk Pancakes from Scratch, with Maple Butter.

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Pancakes are the quintessential breakfast dish. They are comforting, nostalgic, and delicious. There are entire restaurants built just around pancakes filled, rolled, and topped in various ways.

But this is one of those cases where you don’t need all that effort and fanciness. Let these pancakes speak for themselves.

What You Need to Get Started

Let’s Make Fresh Buttermilk Pancakes

To paraphrase Carl Sagan, to make something from scratch, one must first create the universe. We’re not quite going that far, but the one thing that really makes these pancakes shine is the fresh, homemade buttermilk.

It’s super easy to make. You add the heavy cream to your stand mixer, with the whisk attachment. Add on the splash guard and cover the whole thing with a towel. Slowly increase the speed, to reduce splattering, from low all the way to high. Then let your mixer do the work.

After about 7-10 minutes of whipping, the butter solids will completely separate from the liquid buttermilk. You can sometimes hear the motor shift in your mixer, but check back often to be sure.

Once separated, pour off the liquid buttermilk, through a mesh strainer to catch any butter pieces, into a measuring cup. You should have about 1 1/3 cups, but you can always get a little more. Add the solid butter to a nut milk bag or wrap in a tea towel, and squeeze out the liquid into the cup. Set aside the butter solids for now.

Add that buttermilk into a mixing bowl. Sneak a taste first. I think you’ll be a little surprised by the flavor. Whisk it up with the rest of the liquid ingredients: eggs and melted butter.

In a separate large mixing bowl, you can whisk up all the dry ingredients: Flour, sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and salt.

Add the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the flour, and whisk until combined. It shouldn’t be totally smooth. A few small lumps are totally encouraged. However, you do want it to be wet throughout with no big dry spots.

You’ll start to see some bubbles in the batter. Let it rest for a few minutes while you heat up your skillet. The extra air in the batter will make for super fluffy pancakes.

Add some oil to a griddle pan and heat it up. I like cooking pancakes in oil instead of butter. Using butter can add some flavor, but it also browns up too quickly, and can easily burn or create extra crispy edges on your pancakes.

Use a measuring cup to add scoops of batter to the hot pan. I like to use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measure. Make sure they aren’t crowding each other in the pan. Usually you can make three or four at once.

Cook the first side for about two to three minutes. The top should be bubbly, and those bubbles should be just starting to pop when they are ready to flip. Get under the pancake with a solid spatula and flip to cook the other side until golden brown.

If they are underdone at all, you can always give them a little more time, but you can’t unburn, so err on the side of less time. Take the finished pancakes off the heat and set aside on a plate. Then continue cooking in batches until you’ve used all the batter.

How to Make Maple Butter

Remember the butter solids we set aside earlier? Well now it’s time for that butter to shine!

First though, it needs to be rinsed to remove any excess buttermilk. To do this, add the butter to a bowl with ice cold water. Use a silicone spatula to press the butter into the sides and bottom of the bowl, and the water will become cloudy. Strain off the liquid and repeat four or five times until the water is clear.

Split off 1/4 of the butter to use today, and for the rest, use your hands to massage in a little bit of salt. Then store it for spreading on toast or muffins later!

Add the 1/4 of the butter to a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it until softened but not melted. Then you’ll add in the maple syrup, salt, and vanilla, and start whisking until it’s smooth.

This will take a little bit of effort, depending on how soft your butter is, but don’t give up! It will eventually come together and be fairly smooth. Plus, it will soften even more when you spread it on the hot pancakes.

Add a pat of the maple butter on each pancake, and spread it around. Then stack the next pancake on top. Keep building until your have the short or tall stack of your dreams. Be sure to spread even more of the maple butter on the top pancake.

If you want a little extra decadence, add a drizzle of maple syrup on top. However, these pancakes are honestly perfect without anything additional.

These are the best buttermilk pancakes, so delicious and fluffy, served with maple butter!

Homemade vs Store-bought Buttermilk

This recipe uses fresh buttermilk, which is the liquid leftover after you turn cream into butter. However, there are so many substitutions out there for making your own, or you can buy buttermilk in a carton. So what’s the best?

  • Fresh buttermilk is the real deal. Plus, when you make it you also get the benefit of homemade butter.
  • Store-bought buttermilk is actually cultured buttermilk, which is made in a different way. It starts with milk instead of cream. It will act and taste differently, but in most recipes that call for buttermilk, the acidity will help it rise.
  • Quick buttermilk can be made using milk and vinegar or lemon juice. It’s an easy substitute for cultured buttermilk, but doesn’t have the same sweet flavor of fresh.
  • Powdered buttermilk is a solid, dried version of fresh buttermilk. It will add a similar flavor to making it yourself, and is the best alternative if you don’t want to make your own.

How to Serve

Eat these immediately for the best flavor and texture. If you need to, you can store them in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. Store the maple butter in the fridge for up to a week.

Pancakes make an excellent breakfast, and pair well with so many other dishes. For a fun side that plays off the maple, try these sweet corn fritters with bourbon maple syrup. Or for more of a classic, serve alongside vegan lentil-pecan breakfast sausage. A warm mug of chai white hot chocolate will pull it all together.

Make it brunch by adding a cocktail! An amaretto old fashioned would be a wonderful complement. For something sweeter, try dragon fruit and raspberry sangria. Or go all-out decadent with chocolate turtle martinis.

Use Up Leftover Ingredients

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Butter

Fresh homemade buttermilk adds a delicious tang to this classic breakfast favorite. From scratch pancakes are fried to perfection and smothered in a whipped maple butter.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 373kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

Pancakes

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Butter melted, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Vegetable Oil for cooking

Maple Butter

  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Butter & Buttermilk

  • In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, begin stirring the heavy cream on low. Use a splash guard, and cover any openings with a kitchen towel. Increase the speed one step at a time, up to high. Continue mixing for about 8-10 minutes, until the cream separates into butter solids and liquid buttermilk.
  • Pour off the buttermilk through a mesh strainer into a measuring cup. You should get about 1 1/3 cups. If you are short, use a tea towel, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag, to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the solid butter into the measuring cup. You can add a splash of regular milk if absolutely needed. Set aside the butter solids in a medium bowl.

Buttermilk Pancakes

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the fresh buttermilk (see note), eggs, and melted butter (cooled to room temperature). In a larger bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and whisk until combined. It should be fairly smooth, although a few small lumps are okay. Let the batter rest about ten minutes.
  • Add a small amount of vegetable oil to a griddle, or large flat pan and warm over medium heat. Add the batter, about 1/4 cup at a time to the hot pan. Cook pancakes for about 2-3 minutes, until the bubbles on top begin to pop. Flip and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Continue until you have used all the batter, adding more oil to the pan between batches, as needed.

Maple Butter

  • Add about 1/2 cup of cold water to the bowl with the butter solids. Using a spatula, press the butter against the sides and bottom of the bowl until the water becomes cloudy. Strain the liquid off through a mesh strainer.
  • Repeat the rinsing process about 4-5 times, until the liquid poured off is clear. Use the sptaula or your hands to press out any remaining liquid.
  • Separate about 1/4 of the butter into a small microwave-safe bowl. With the remaining 3/4, add 1/4 tsp salt, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week to use as desired.
  • Soften the 1/4 of the butter by microwaving for about 10-15 seconds. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth.
  • Serve a stack of pancakes, with a pat of the maple butter between each, and extra maple butter spread on top. These are best eaten immediately, but you can store the pancakes in the fridge for 1-2 days or freezer for 3 months, and reheat in the microwave or toaster. You can also store the maple butter for in the fridge 1-2 days.

Notes

  • If you don't want to make your own buttermilk, the best substitute is powdered buttermilk. Follow the instructions to mix with water to make 1 1/3 cups. 
  • You can use your fresh butter to melt and add to the pancake batter, but I would suggest saving the extra it instead, since it tastes amazing on toast!

Special Equipment

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19 thoughts on “Buttermilk Pancakes from Scratch with Maple Butter

    1. They are a total classic for a reason. You really just can’t go wrong with pancakes. Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m thinking pancakes may become a bit more common around here too now that I perfected this recipe.

    1. The maple butter is so sweet and creamy. I love putting it between each pancake, like a layer cake! Enjoy!

  1. These look amazing. I have very rarely used buttermilk but I bought it for a scones recipe and have been finding ways to use the leftovers. I actually made a buttermilk ice cream which was delicious! So I’ll have to try these pancakes too. I actually tried making pancakes last week but I was having on off day and forgot I’d added the salt already and did it again… needless to say the whole thing was ruined! So I need a pancakes do-over.

    1. Oh no! It’s the worst when you mess up a recipe and it doesn’t work out. But it does sound like an opportunity to make more pancakes. You can definitely make pancakes with store-bough buttermilk instead of fresh buttermilk in this recipe, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know how it goes!

  2. One of my favorite things about reading your posts is how much you genuinely know about food! I never would’ve been able to distinguish between different kinds of buttermilks, but you gave me all the information I need. And you do such a great job walking through the recipe. It’s wonderful! These sound truly incredible to me, and I’m not even the biggest pancake fan – haha! That maple butter sounds phenomenal!

    1. Thank you! I do a lot of reading about the history and development of food, because it’s so interesting to me. Like how did people discover some of these things? It’s so crazy! I’m so glad to hear that it’s appreciated that I provide a lot of details. I will keep doing that!

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