Buttermilk Pancakes from Scratch

Pancakes are one of the true American breakfasts that people here in Germany just don’t seem to get. They do appreciate crepes, especially around Christmas, and fill them with all sorts of delicious things. But they are far from real pancakes.

On the very few occasions that we have seen “pancakes” on the breakfast menu of a restaurant here, they ended up being crepes. And I don’t think they even served them with butter or syrup. Now if you have lived here, you know a traditional breakfast for Germans involves fresh baked rolls (like Kaiser rolls or mini-baguettes or delicious, hearty full flavor rolls with sunflower or pumpkin seeds on top), sliced cheese and sliced meats. Kinda like what Americans might serve up as a sandwich bar for lunch — but with butter on the rolls instead of mayo, mustard or ketchup.

At any rate, I have seen pancake mix here in Germany, in one of those “just add water” containers which just require you to shake and pour. But honestly, those things cannot really be considered pancakes in my book. So having a good pancake recipe from scratch is essential for the survival of families in Germany, especially if they enjoy a good brunch — or pancakes for dinner!

I would venture to say that we are connoisseurs at this point, having tried many a pancake recipe over the years. But this is by far our favorite. It produces light, fluffy delicious pancakes that practically melt in your mouth. Now we just need for Lidl to have their cheap-o griddles on sale again so we can start having this on a bi-weekly basis again. Oh so good! Although I grew up making quite a few pancakes in my life, Stefan is the pancake master in our house now. In fact, he’s the breakfast master in general…but I’m a darn good sous chef!

A few tips about this pancake recipe

  • In case you’re not prone to keeping buttermilk at home, an easy buttermilk substitute is 1 cup of milk with a teaspoon of white vinegar added. Just mix the two together and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. You should notice a thickening of the milk when it’s ready.
  • Make preparation super quick by mixing this up with a hand-mixer or your KitchenAid. The pancakes may be even fluffier when you use the whisk!
  • A word on done-ness: If you’re a pancake novice, once the uncooked side pancake is full of bubbles and edges are no longer gooey, your pancake is ready to flip.
  • Cook pancakes on a griddle or in a pan with the lowest sides possible to keep from burning yourself while flipping
  • Make your own flavored syrup to go with your pancakes: Just pour about 1/4 cup syrup (for 2 people) plus a few spoonfuls of strawberry or other jam/jelly. Microwave it for about 30 seconds, stir and microwave again for another 30 seconds. Not only does this taste great and add variety to your pancakes, but it’s also a great way to use up jellies and jams you might not use otherwise.
  • Melt just a bit of butter (1-2 tablespoons) to spread on our pancakes, which keeps you from chomping down on a hunk of unmelted butter — and I think you end up using a bit less butter this way too.
  • For a special treat, top your pancakes with your favorite fresh berries or other fruit, and whipped cream!

pancake recipe from scratch

Buttermilk Pancakes

Serves 2 1/2 (very big portions)


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk and vegetable oil.
  2. Stir flour mixture into milk mixture and mix well.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.


  1. Oh how Markus and I have battled over what is truly a pancake…he claims those crepe things are, but alas, we all know he is wrong. 😉 This is similar to the recipe I use…and I think I’ll make these tomorrow for dinner! YUM!

  2. you are a charm! (or maybe a hero in my house after I make these….

  3. Heh, I’m impressed that you convinced your German that American-style pancakes are tasty :) After 15 years, mine still complains that such things are too sweet and “dry” (whatever that means). I gave up!

    • Tiffany says:

      Whaaaaa? Oh no, that’s just terrible! So you never get to eat pancakes? Or only in private? lol
      My German actually spent his teens and early twenties in the US, so he’s practically American too. But it is always interesting how pallets differ around the world as far as food goes. His parents who also lived in the US a very long time (and still have a place in Florida) also adore pancakes. I guess it’s an acquired taste. :)

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