How to make decadent and buttery pancakes: Personalized pancakes part 2

Pancakes are a blank canvas in the breakfast world. Just a few simple tweaks to most any recipe, and you can make exactly the kind of pancakes you crave — whether that is tall, fluffy pancakes, moist and buttery pancakes, or maybe something else. (Delicate, crêpe-like pancakes? Pancakes packed with whole grains, anyone?)

Today’s lesson: It’s for the butter-loving bakers out there. We’re going to learn how to transform your favorite pancake recipe into a luxurious morning meal.

Learn how to make crave-worthy, buttery pancakes with these five key tips. Click To Tweet

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Our recipe: Buttermilk Pancakes

Before we jump into the tips, it’s worth taking a minute to remind all you pancake-makers out there to choose your recipe wisely.

I’m using our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe because it’s incredibly versatile. You can use it to make super fluffy pancakes that rise to impressive heights. Or, as you’ll soon learn, you can use it to make buttery pancakes that are tender, slightly eggy, and just plain decadent.

You won’t go wrong if you give our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe a try. You can also use your tried and tested favorite recipe — your choice.

Bottom line: These five tips will make rich, buttery pancakes out of even the most basic recipe.

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

1. Double the butter

Since our ultimate goal is to make indulgent, buttery pancakes, it might come as no surprise that the first (and perhaps most crucial) tip is to double the butter in your pancake recipe.

Some pancake recipes offer the option to use either oil or butter. Oil tends to be better suited to waffles because it creates a slightly crispy texture. Since we’re hoping to make pancakes with a soft and moist interior crumb, be sure to use butter instead of oil.

And don’t just use butter — double it! Increasing the amount of fat in the recipe adds extra tenderness, richness and, of course, scrumptious flavor. It’s the right move, trust me.

Be sure to use fresh, grade AA butter when making your pancakes. We recommend using the unsalted variety so you can control the final flavor of your pancakes (though having only salted butter on hand shouldn’t stop you from making pancakes). For more details, see Butter for baking: which kind should you use?

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

2. Add an extra egg yolk

Along with increasing the butter, we’re also going to add extra fat and luxuriousness to our buttery pancakes in the form of egg yolks. Add an additional egg yolk for every 2 cups of liquid called for in your pancake recipe.

The Buttermilk Pancakes recipe call for 2 cups (454g) of buttermilk, so we go ahead and add one extra egg yolk to the liquid ingredients.

Why just the yolk? Well, that’s where most of the good stuff is – that is, the fats that will make your pancakes (or any baked good for that matter) extra tender and melt in your mouth. The extra yolk will also yield pancakes that are more golden in color.

We promise your pancakes are going to look fantastic and cut like soft butter with just the side of your fork.

(Note: Don’t throw away the extra egg white. You can save it and make a half batch of Angel Kisses, a.k.a. meringues, a household favorite of mine.)

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

3. Use full-fat dairy

Fat-free and low-fat dairy won’t do you any favors if you’re hoping to make moist, buttery pancakes. This is one occasion where using full-fat dairy (like whole milk, full-fat buttermilk, or whole-milk yogurt) will take your pancakes to the next level.

Believe it or not, full-fat buttermilk can be hard to find. Most of the “buttermilk” you find at the grocery store these days is low-fat, cultured milk. The fat content usually hovers around 2%, which is only slightly higher than low-fat milk.

We’re looking for dairy with at least 4% butterfat content here: whole milk and full-fat buttermilk usually meet this standard. Oftentimes you can find full-fat buttermilk at local dairies and food co-ops. But if you can’t find it, that’s OK — we have a substitution you can try.

Instead of full-fat buttermilk, use whole-milk yogurt thinned with whole milk. Read more about the exact substitution ratios in this article: How to substitute for buttermilk.

Whether you reach for full-fat buttermilk or whip up a whole milk and yogurt substitute, your buttery pancakes are going to be richer and more tender because of it.

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

4. Take time to rest

Once you’ve adjusted the batter to make it extra rich with more butter, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy, it’s time to rest. Letting the batter rest once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together is a simple way to ensure your pancakes are fork-tender.

Why the pause? It allows the flour’s gluten to relax. When the batter is initially mixed, proteins in the flour are activated and start to tighten. By adding a short rest period, the gluten can unwind, making your pancakes perfectly soft.

Our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe calls for resting the batter for 15 minutes. If you have the time, extend this rest for up to an hour in the fridge. Be sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge to prevent it from drying out.

Just like you, pancakes that have rested are better off and make breakfast more delightful!

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

5. Cook your pancakes in more butter

Did you think we were finished with the butter? Not yet!

Most pancake recipes tell you to grease the skillet or griddle lightly before adding the batter. Disregard the “lightly” part of these instructions and slather on the butter!

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

A scone and muffin scoop is the perfect tool for portioning out evenly sized pancakes.

Spread a few pats of butter on your pan as it warms up over medium heat (about 325°F on an electric griddle). Avoid using high heat as the butter may start to smoke and burn.

Once the butter starts to sizzle gently around the edges of the pan, scoop or pour your batter onto the preheated pan.

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

The pancakes will cook in a light layer of butter, which will turn golden brown and smell heavenly.

And the best part? They’ll taste even better than they smell — like brown butter pancakes that are moist and decadent. Yum!

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Serve your buttery pancakes with style

These buttery pancakes don’t require anything beyond a fork (or maybe just your hands) to be enjoyed. They’re so rich and flavorful, they’re a delight all on their own.

But if you’re trying to make pancakes that truly stand out from the crowd, serve your pancakes while they’re still warm. And if you’re willing to gild the lily, drizzle them with more melted butter!

A few tablespoons of melted butter to pass around the table and pour over your stack of warm, buttery pancakes? Incredible.

It’s a lot of butter, I know. But this post is for butter-lovers, I warned you from the start. If you’re not a self-declared butter-lover, these pancakes just might convince you to become one.

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Feel free to skip the melted butter garnish and reach for maple syrup if you wish. You’ll still be in buttery pancake heaven without the extra touch of melted butter.

Master making buttery pancakes

The next time you’re looking to make something extra special and indulgent for breakfast, we hope you’ll make a batch of scrumptious, buttery pancakes.

How to make decadent and buttery pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Use our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe or your own go-to favorite recipe, and remember these five key tips:

  1. Double the butter
  2. Add an extra egg yolk
  3. Use full-fat dairy
  4. Let the batter rest
  5. Cook in more butter

These tweaks will take your pancakes to new buttery heights! Mix up a batch and invite over some neighbors or friends who could use a warm morning treat.

How do you like your pancakes? Moist and buttery? Tall and fluffy? Or perhaps something different altogether. Let us know in the comments below so we can continue to help breakfast bakers personalize their pancakes.

Thanks to Jenn Bakos for taking the photographs for this post.

Kye Ameden

Kye Ameden grew up in Fairlee, Vermont and has always had a love of food, farms, and family. After graduating from St. Lawrence University, she became an employee-owner at King Arthur Flour and is a proud member of the Digital Marketing Team.


  1. Elliott

    Kye, A great recipe that finally has me closer to pancakes that have flavor themselves, rather than just as a conduit for maple syrup. Thank you for this public service!! A few tweaks that have worked for me: though you recommend full-fat buttermilk, I am finding these satisfying with the extra butter and non-fat buttermilk. (I realize, some of this is personal preference.) Also, a now-closed favorite restaurant in Plainfield, VT (the River Run) made great pancakes using brown sugar, so I have been using a pourable brown sugar made by Domino’s and find your recommended amount is generous and just right. Finally, 2 tablespoons of fine ground corn meal, added to the dry ingredients add some additional flavor. Just a few thoughts. Thanks again. Hoping to move onto the diner style next.

  2. Peggy

    Do you think it would work adding powdered Ovaltine? Just thinking it might add a little extra nutrition.

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      We’re glad you asked, Peggy, and you must be somewhat of a mind reader! We’re getting geared up to dive into dessert pancakes next, exploring how to most effectively add ingredients like cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and perhaps even Ovaltine to pancake batter if you’re looking to boost the vitamins and minerals in your breakfast. For now, you’re welcome to experiment by replacing up to 25% of the flour with an equal amount of Ovaltine. For our Buttermilk Pancakes recipe, that would mean using 1 1/2 cups (180g) of flour and about 1/2 cup of Ovaltine. You might be able to use as much as 2x the amount of Ovaltine if you’re looking for a more noticeable Ovaltine flavor. If you decide to give this a go, we hope you’ll report back and share your results with us. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. Lisa

    Hen do make browned butter I usually make extra and freeze it for other dishes. Then when melting butter for something like pancakes I add some browned butter or use all browned butter if I have enough. Or o just make some especially for the pancakes. Try it—I bet you will have no regrets.

  4. Char

    I loved the pancakes my dad made when I was a kid. I don’t remember him using buttermilk though, just whole milk. They were fried in bacon fat and not fluffy. Rven now I don’t use as much baking powder or sugar as the recipe I use calls for. And I always cook them in more oi so the dges will be nice and crispy. Alton Brown says that makes them donuts, lol.

  5. Jeanne

    A favorite restaurant serves ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and strawberries Have tried to duplicate pancakes to no avail. Suggestions?

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      That sounds simply lovely, Jeanne! Ricotta is one of my favorite foods in the entire world – sweet or savory, I’m there! We have a pancake recipe that you might want to try: Lemon Pancakes. This calls for ricotta in the batter for extra texture, richness, and luxuriousness. There’s also a hint of lemon oil in the batter to create a lovely citrus scent and flavor. Don’t skip the vanilla-ricotta sauce if you’re really looking to serve up something special. It’s the icing on the (pan)cake! Kye@KAF

  6. Linda G.

    This recipe is just what I’ve been looking for! Since I have it on hand, could I substitute the buttermilk with full-fat half and half and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup?

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      Interesting thought, Linda. If you decide to go this route, you’ll be introducing quite a bit more fat than if you use (even full-fat) buttermilk. A little extra fat certainly is a good thing when you’re trying to make buttery and decadent pancakes; the is going to be super tender! However, you might want to skip doubling the butter and adding the extra egg yolk since the overall richness will be boosted from the half & half. Follow original Buttermilk Pancakes recipe, using 2 cups (454g) half & half plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in place of the buttermilk in the recipe. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  7. Julie

    The only store I can seem to find full fat buttermilk is Whole Foods. I don’t get there too often but always buy a jug when I do get there. It makes the best pancakes. Every grandmother should have a couple recipes to wow their grandchildren and make their self memorable to them. One of mine is pancakes!!

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      Your grandchildren sure are lucky to have a dedicated baker like yourself who is committed to making excellent, homemade baked goods and dishes for their delight. If you have any “secret” tips (aside from using full-fat buttermilk from Whole Foods) that you’re willing to share, we hope you’ll do so. We’d love to hear what makes your pancakes wow the crowd! Kye@KAF

    2. Demi

      WalMart sells full fat buttermilk in Houston. I use full fat buttermilk in all of my homemade from scratch cakes.

    3. Dennis

      Make it yourself….very easy……..

      1 gall whole milk….at 72 degrees (approx)
      Add 1/2 cup buttermilk ….cover…( mix thoroughly )
      Leave at room temp 18-24hours
      It will firm up ….
      Whisk it up to break curds (gently)
      Add salt….1 tsp ….more or less….
      Put in fridge
      Use it to make next batch

  8. Michelle

    I grew up eating grandma’s pancakes cooked with bacon fat in the pan instead of butter. It adds a unique flavor and a nice crispy edge to the pancakes. Unfortunately I never got grandma’s recipe for “hotcakes.” They were thin almost like a crepe and the only ingredients were flour, eggs, buttermilk and baking soda.

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      You must have read our minds, Michelle, because that’s precisely what’s coming next. We’re going to venture into the thin/delicate pancake territory next, so stay tuned! We love those melt-in-your-mouth pancakes that grandma always seemed to be best at making on weekend mornings. We’re excited to dive in! Kye@KAF

  9. Chris

    My family likes chocolate pancakes, with 1/4 cup cocoa powder added to the recipe, plus an extra Tablespoon milk. For your buttery special cakes, would I still add the same amounts of additional butter?
    Also, does changing butter & milk type change amount of blueberries we could add after turning cakes?

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      Chocolate pancakes? You’re our kind of people, Chris! We love the idea of bringing even more whimsy and flavor to the morning meal. Cocoa powder does have a considerable amount of fat in it, so you may want to try using 1.5x the amount of melted butter called for (rather than doubling it). Go ahead and use an additional egg yolk, cook them in a generous amount of butter, and feel free to serve them with melted butter too. Your buttery chocolate pancakes just might be the most decadent ones we’ve come across yet. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

    2. Paula

      I once asked my grandson his request for breakfast. Immediately he replied “chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup.” Of course I indulged him. They were amazing! 🙂

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