Cook the ultimate pancakes with the help of these 7 expert tips

Whether it’s a stack of American pancakes or classic crepes you’re after this Pancake Day, here are the 7 essential tips you need to make pancakes like a pro


1. Get the pan hot… but not scorching

Lots of people say that for perfect pancakes, you need a really hot pan – but if it's blistering hot, your batter will burn. Heat your pan over a medium to low heat, coat the base lightly with vegetable or sunflower oil, then test the temperature by dropping a small amount of batter on to the pan. It should sizzle but not smoke. If not, increase the heat, wait a bit (be patient!) and try again.


2. Don’t fry with butter

We all love butter: butter on crumpets, butter on toast, butter all by itself. But butter in pancake-making can be your nemesis – it burns in a hot pan and can ruin the pancake taste. Use a flavourless sunflower or vegetable oil for frying and stir 1 tbsp melted butter into your batter instead, so you don’t miss out on the flavour. Carefully reapply a light coating of oil with kitchen roll every three pancakes or so, waiting for it to heat up again each time. 


3. Mix your batter gently

Lumpy gravy = bad. Lumpy pancake batter = good. It might seem sacriligious, but over-mixing batter can make pancakes tough and rubbery. Unleash your sloppy side and don’t aim to get the mixture super smooth. A few lumps are actually a good thing.


4. Let the batter rest

We all need a rest every now and again, so let your batter sit in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. This allows gluten in the flour to relax and makes those pancakes soft and supple, and it also smoothes out little lumps in the mixture without over-beating. 


5. Don’t flip too quick

We know, we know. It’s so hard to be patient around pancakes. But, before you flip, you must wait until you see bubbles on the surface and the edges of the pancake are beginning to crisp up and come away from the pan. Otherwise, you could be facing a crepe-astrophe. 


6. Keep them warm

You've slaved over the stove for hours (well, at least 20 minutes) and then all you have to show for it is a pile of cold pancakes. Keep them hot by preheating your oven to 80°C, then pop each pancake in there as they come out the pan, stacked with a piece of baking paper between them. Cover with a clean tea towel to keep them from drying out.


7. Forget your first pancake

Don’t be hard on yourself. The first one’s always a flop – though on the flip side, it’ll still taste pretty good with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of sugar.