Flipping Pancakes

I love to make pancakes as a special treat for Robert’s breakfast on Sunday mornings from time to time. To my mind, the key to a good pancake is cooking it through to a golden brown color, without drying it out.

Best Way to Cook Pancakes on a Griddle

In my cooking classes, I often get two questions about pancakes – how to keep them from sticking to the pan, and when is the best time to flip.

Griddle (and Skillet) Temp for Pancakes and How to Prevent Sticking

There are few key steps to follow in order to make sure your pancakes don’t stick:

  1. Use a nonstick or well-seasoned griddle or skillet. I’ve found that my pancakes don’t stick if cooked on a nonstick surface, or one that’s well seasoned (like cast iron).
  2. Lightly grease before heating. Lightly grease your griddle when it’s cold, before preheating. Use a neutral oil (grapeseed, canola or vegetable). Don’t use butter at this point – it could burn. (Note: if you are using a seasoned cast iron skillet, you can skip this step.)
  3. Preheat. Preheat griddle or skillet to medium-high (375 degrees).
  4. Reduce heat and grease again. Once hot, reduce heat to medium (350 degrees) and lightly grease again. At this point, you can use oil or butter.
  5. Clean between batches. Wipe off the skillet or griddle between batches and lightly oil/butter again before adding batter for the next batch.

When to Flip Pancakes

Now, when is the best time to flip those pancakes over? The pancakes themselves will give you clues!

  1. Bubbles form in the batter – not yet.
    As the pancakes cook, you will see bubbles start to form in the batter – don’t flip yet.
  2. Bubbles pop.
    Once the bubbles have popped and there are holes in the batter, it’s time to flip. For most pancakes, that takes around 4 minutes.
  3. Pancake shouldn’t stick.
    A second way to tell if the pancake is ready to flip is that it shouldn’t stick to the pan. Gently put your spatula under the side of a pancake; if it easily lifts up, it’s ready. If not, cook it a bit longer.
  4. Finish cooking.
    Cook on the second side until it’s a nice golden brown, around 2 to 3 minutes.

How to Flip a Pancake 

Here’s a detailed description on how to flip a pancake:

  • Grab a spatula. Use a flat plastic spatula – plastic is best on nonstick cookware, and also pancakes won’t stick to it.
  • Slide the spatula under the side. Gently pick up the spatula to make sure the pancake is releasing from the pan and not sticking. If it isn’t letting go, let the pancake cook a bit longer and try again.
  • Use your wrist. Once it’s not sticking, slide the spatula completely under the pancake so it’s completely off the pan. Lift the pancakes an inch or two off the pan, then turn your wrist to flip the pancake over.

How Long to Cook Pancakes on Each Side

How long to cook pancakes is a bit dependent on the ingredients. However, always cook them longer on the first side than the second.

Generally, expect to cook pancakes for around 4 minutes on the first side and around 2 to 3 minutes on the second.

So, now go try out your new flipping technique by making our Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes or Banana Yogurt Pancakes.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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  1. Thanks for the tip…I never knew that! My husband makes the pancakes most of the time, but I do occasionally. And now I’ll know! Thanks for sharing this with us at #FoodieFriDIY!