Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

7/31/2018 08:18:00 AM

Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

Sandra was in New York for work for a month last year, and whilst there, she became enamoured with diners. And in particular, the pancakes they served. Big, fluffy discs, slathered in butter and syrup, and served with bottomless filter coffee! Delicious. After she got back, I just had to try and replicate them at home! Much cheaper than a return airfare.

These are quite different from my usual pancake/waffle recipes, which tend to be slightly hearty, with a bit of interest and heft from oats or other whole-grain flours. (My go-to is my recipe for cottage cheese and oat waffles, but I also love cottage cheese and oat pancakes, or Megan Gordon's deeply fabulous whole-grain buttermilk waffles). These diner-style pancakes, on the other hand, are super light and fluffy, based on plain white flour.

The fluffy lightness is enhanced by the usual raising agents (baking powder and bicarb), and by the inclusion of buttermilk and cold soda water in the batter. The acid in the buttermilk makes the pancakes extra tender (and the tangy flavour can't be beat!), and the bubbly soda water aids in the lightness.

I found this recipe on Epicurious, and it turned out fabulously! In the adapted recipe below, I've halved quantities to serve two (verrrry generously), and also used a hybrid of weights / volume / cup measurements to make the recipe more practical for my kitchen. In Australia we tend to use a mixture of cups and weights, and for instance, I find it easier to measure a cup of flour than weighing out 125 grams. (Of course, weighing ingredients is more accurate than volume measurements, but this is a simple recipe, not precise scientific sugar work. A cup measure is more than fine). Similarly, you need 4.5 teaspoons (approx 22.5 grams) melted butter for the batter, but you also need extra to grease the frying pan and to brush onto the cooked pancakes. So for this, I suggest melting a larger amount of butter (guesstimate 30-40 grams), measuring out your 4.5 teaspoons for the batter, and using the rest for the frying.

Back to the pancakes! These are bigger than my usual pancakes, using a half-cup measure (125 millilitres) for each pancake. Even though they're quite big, I found them easy to flip - just make sure that the pancake has started to bubble up (as per the picture below), and check to see that the bottom is golden brown and sealed before attempting to flip.

Pancake ready for flipping

Aaah... such loveliness.


I also love that these are super buttery - you've got butter in the pancakes, on the frying pan, and brushed onto the pancakes after they come out of the pan. I served my pancakes with extra butter too because WHY NOT.

Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

The pancakes got the thumbs up from Sandra, hooray! She said they tasted just right. However, she also said that the pancakes in America were much bigger - "they'd cover the plate and then some". Ahem. If you've got a big enough frying pan and are a confident flipper, give it a go!

Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

Serve with a strong pot of coffee, butter and lots of maple syrup. Enjoy!

Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

30-40 grams unsalted butter (see note in first line of the method, below)
1 cup plain flour
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon + a pinch baking powder
1/2 teaspoon + a pinch bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon + a pinch salt
207 millilitres buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup cold soda water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter and set aside. You need 4.5 teaspoons (22.5 grams) for the pancake batter, and extra for greasing the pan and brushing the pancakes. I suggest melting 30-40 grams of butter at once, and measuring out 4.5 teaspoons for the batter.
Whisk together the plain flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a mixing bowl.
Measure the buttermilk into a measuring jug. Add the egg, soda water and vanilla extract, and 4.5 teaspoons of melted butter. Whisk to combine.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk gently until the batter has come together. There will be some small lumps, and this is fine.
Heat a non-stick frying pan or skillet over a low-medium heat. Brush with melted butter. Scoop 1/2 cup of batter onto the pan. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and the underside is golden, then flip and cook for a further minute or two, or until golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a serving plate and brush the top with melted butter. Tent with foil to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
Serve with maple syrup and more butter (if you dare).
Serves 2 generously

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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  1. I love diners too! They're always so friendly and I love sitting in a booth. These look great! :D



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