The Best Oil for Pancakes (and Other Pancake Tips)

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When it comes to pancakes, I have learned many tips and tricks over the years. Why?  Well, we just happen to love pancakes!  I am a creature of habit, and start every morning with pancakes.  For the kids, we make them in various shapes and sizes.  Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for the best pancakes, and things I have learned over the years.

Best Oil for Pancakes

Pancake recipes do not vary too much, and even if you are using pancake mix, oil is always a critical ingredient.  People always ask what oil do you use for pancakes?

Generally speaking, the best oil for pancakes is something that does not have a strong flavor, unless you are looking for a very specific flavor for your pancakes.

By far the best oil to cook pancakes is canola oil.  It does not taste like much of anything, and is cost effective.  Better yet, it is also allergy friendly.  I buy it by the gallon to have it on hand for pancakes and baking.

There are a couple of other oils for pancakes to think about as well.

I also use olive oil for nearly everything, and pancakes are no exception.  Adding olive oil to pancakes can give them a much richer and deeper flavor, and make them more savory.

Olive oil can be the best oil for pancakes if you are looking for this type of flavor profile.  I put olive oil in pancakes every once in a while to change things up.

Another good oil for pancakes is coconut oil.  Coconut oil has a great flavor, and if you cook with it on a regular basis, you are probably already used to the flavor profile, which means you it will taste great with your pancakes.

If you don’t use a lot of coconut oil, it may be worth trying for pancakes anyway, since it really has so many other uses and is good to have on hand, especially for dairy free baking.

Besides oil, there are only a few more simple ingredients you need for pancakes, and you may even have everything you need to make them from scratch right now.  Be sure to take a look atwhat you need to make pancakes.

Should I Use Butter or Oil for Pancakes?

Most pancakes use oil in their recipe, but feel free to use melted butter if you prefer.

Oil and melted butter have many of the same properties when it comes to cooking, and in baking you can swap them out without issue in just about every recipe.

It all comes down to personal preference and what you have on hand!

Do You Put Oil on the Pan for Pancakes?

It depends on the pan you are using.

Try cooking a single pancake to see if it sticks on your pan.  Remember, wait until you see lots of bubbles before you even try to flip it.

If it does stick, add a tiny bit of oil to your pancake pan.  Don’t pour it in, you barely need to oil the pan.

I usually just put oil on a paper towel, and rub it on the pancake pan.

You may also notice that when you first get a brand new pancake pan, things are fine and you don’t need to worry about sticking, but over time, things start to stick.

Even the best non-stick coatings can sometimes wear from use.

Just rub a tiny bit of oil on the surface or look for a new pancake pan.

How to Stop Pancakes Sticking

Pancakes sticking to your pancake pan or griddle are a drag.  Don’t worry, I have a couple tips for preventing them from sticking.

First and foremost, make sure you are using a non stick pan or griddle.  Be sure to take a look at my favorite ones!

If you need a fix for your sticky pancakes right now, have no fear, I can help.  To stop pancakes from sticking you can do two things:

  • Wipe your pan with a very very thin layer of canola oil or whatever oil you are using for your pancakes.
  • Make sure your pancake is fully cooked on one side before trying to flip it.

Undercooked food in general is often the culprit of things sticking to nonstick pans!

Best Temperature to Cook Pancakes

People often ask me the best temperature to cook pancakes.  Unless you have an infrared temperature sensor to check the temperature of your pan, this can be tricky.

If you want one of those awesome infrared thermometer guns, check out the Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun.  You can run around your house scanning everything in addition to your pancake pans.

First, to see if my pancake pan is ready, I simply sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan.  You want the water to hiss and steam!

I cook pancakes on low-medium heat on a larger burner.  This gives pancakes enough time to cook thoroughly and develop that nice golden brown color.

If you really want to learn about the proper cooking temperature for pancakes, I dedicated a whole guide to the best temperature for cooking pancakes.

Which brings us to our next question…

How Long to Cook Pancakes

How long to cook pancakes depends on your pan and the temperature you are cooking at.  With my stove and pan, I cook my pancakes for about three minutes a side.

You can tell your pancakes are ready to turn when the side facing up is nice and bubbly, and does not look like wet batter.

The Secret to Fluffy Pancakes

Some people really love their fluffy pancakes!  There are a couple of secrets to getting fluffy pancakes, and it means deviating from your recipe or pancake mix instructions.

Here are my favorite tips for fluffy pancakes:

  • Make sure your milk is cold.  This is especially important if you are making non-dairy pancakes with shelf stable non-dairy milk.
  • Use less milk or liquid than the recipe calls for (this will take some trial and error for you to find your perfect pancake fluffiness.
  • If you are using a home made recipe, you can also use extra flour instead of less milk.  Again, this will take trial and error.
  • Put the batter in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to chill it a little.

Pancakes do not fluff up if they spread out too fast.  A nice cold thick batter is your best bet for fluffy pancakes.

Want to really learn more behind the science of fluffy pancakes?  Check out my guide to making fluffy pancakes from any mix, even a box!

Best Milk for Pancakes

The best milk for pancakes is whatever you have on hand – really!  Pancakes are one of those very forgiving foods – you can swap in whatever milk you need to and they will turn out great!

Cow’s milk?  Sure.  Soy milk?  Why not.  Personally, I use coconut milk because that is what I always have on hand due to my dairy allergy.

The main tip if you are using non-dairy milk ties back to our fluffy pancake tips.  If you are using shelf stable dairy free milk for your pancakes, make sure to put it in the refrigerator the night before!  Warm milk leads to flat pancakes.

The Secret to Making Good Pancakes

The secret to making good pancakes is well, there is not one!  Like anything, practice makes perfect and making pancakes is no exception.

The more pancakes you make, the better they will be!  You will find the perfect balance of fluffiness and golden brown deliciousness as you make pancakes.  Plus, everyone has different pancake preferences.

You can also try different oils, mix things like chocolate chips into your pancakes, and generally experiment with them.  They are a very forgiving food, and great for experimentation.

Stay tuned for more pancake tips as I discover them!

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