How to Make Excellent Pancakes from Scratch Without Buttermilk

Having buttermilk in the fridge requires planning, but pancakes are often spur-of-the-moment, so here’s an easy substitute: milk and lemon juice. I always have lemons, and they last a month in the fruit crisper.  In fact, I think milk curdled with lemon juice tastes better than buttermilk in pancakes.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Melt the butter.  20 seconds at low power in the microwave works.
  2. Blend or sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in small mixing bowl.
  3. Put lemon juice into a measuring cup, and add milk until it makes 1 full cup.  Stir it very lightly so that it all curdles.
  4. Pour milk into the flour mix, then crack the egg on top of it all.  Mix everything, but don’t overmix.  Do not mix egg in first, or you’ll get tiny chunks of pasta.
  5. Lightly mix in the melted butter.

Put a few drops of water into a non-stick skillet, and heat on medium heat. When the water droplets begin to boil, turn heat to medium-high.

  1. Add a pat of butter to hot pan, and swirl it around with a spatula.  Pour in batter with a 1/3 cup measuring cup, or eyeball it.  A big pan can hold 3 pancakes.
  2. Cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on the top.  Lift up a cake to see if it’s properly cooked, and flip them when they are.  Flip them so the outside edge now cooks on the center of the pan.
  3. Cook for 1 ½  minutes more on the other side.
  4. Remove pancakes from pan, turn off heat.
  5. Pour maple syrup in pan, with a pat of butter, and let residual heat from pan warm up the syrup.

Notes: You can use buttermilk (1 cup) if you wish.  Buttermilk used to be thicker than milk, but modern buttermilk is just regular milk with lactic acid cultures added to it, so it’s the same consistency as lemon/milk.

Recommended:  pure maple syrup, even if you buy the store brand.  The national brands of pancake syrup made with corn syrup taste like candy.