How to make pancakes in a cast iron skillet

In my opinion, there is nothing better than pancakes made from a cast iron skillet. The crevices in the skillet allow the oil or butter in the pan to soak into the pancakes and creates a nice texture on the surface of the pancakes.

What are the keys to success? Use the tips below to get perfect pancakes every time!

Make sure the heat is evenly distributed.

Although iron cookware retain heat very well, they don’t distribute the heat as evenly. Hot spots can form resulting in a pancake with is overcooked at one part and undercooked at another. Hot spots can be minimized by making sure the heat of your pan is appropriate for pancakes.

Place the cast-iron skillet on the stove top at medium heat or medium-low heat.

Be patient and allow the pan to properly heat up.

Spash a bit of water on the pan, if the pan is the right temperature, it should sizzle away and evaporate.

Don’t use high heat for making pancakes! Save the high heat for getting that perfect sear on your steak.

Make sure your pan has been seasoned properly.

If your pan hasn’t been seasoned, the pancake batter is going to stick to the pan, even if you coat the pan with butter or oil. You can buy a pre-seasoned pan, but I would still recommend you season it yourself after you buy it.

Make sure you coat the pan with butter or oil

cast iron pan coated with oil

Even with a pan properly seasoned, this ain’t no non-stick pan. A little butter or oil on the pan can go a long way. I sometimes love using salted butter since the salt gives the pancakes a nice flavor.

If you are watching your salt content, unsalted butter works fine too. Make sure the butter is cold, since butter’s melting point is fairly low, you don’t want the butter immediately burning when it hits the pan.

Coconut oil works really well since it has a high melting point and adds a nice flavor to the pancakes. Another oil I love using for pancakes is walnut oil. It has a high melting point and adds a nice nutty flavor. Don’t use olive oil. Its melting point is too low and it will burn when you place it on the pan.

How much oil should you use? One half of a teaspoon is usually enough for several pancakes, then add another half of a teaspoon after you have made 3 or 4 pancakes.

Keep the pancakes away from the edges of the pan

Remember, unless you have a unusually large cast iron pan or a rectangular cast iron griddle, you don’t have a lot of real estate on this pan. Keep the pancakes small and pour batter near the center.

For a 10 inch cast iron pan, you are only going to be able to make 2 or 3 pancakes at one time. If you try to make any more than that at one time, when you flip them, they are going to hit the edge or running into a each other.

Tiny pancakes are easier to flip. Use a measuring cup to get the right amount of batter. A 1/4 cup seems to work best in my experience.

Make sure you have a thick batter

Thick pancake batter

If your batter is to runny, the pancakes won’t rise as much and will be much harder to flip. Of course, you don’t want the batter so thick that the pancakes end up to dry

How do I get extra fluffy pancakes?

For the best ways to get nice fluffy pancakes, you need to use the techniques I discussed in my post entitled “The best techniques to get fluffy and delicious pancakes every time”.

First make sure you have the right milk mixture to flour mixture. Next use a sifter to sift the dry ingredients. Use the right amount of leaving agents (baking powder and/or baking soda). Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Whip up the egg whites and stir them in at the very end. Don’t over mix the batter! Let the batter rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. In order to avoid wasting a bunch of time, you can make the batter first before turning on the stove top.

Once you have mixed the batter, turn on the stove top and place your cast iron pan over the burner. 10 to 15 minutes on the burner is usually enough time to get rid of the hot spots on the pan. You kill two birds with one stone, your batter gets to rest it needs and your pan gets heated appropriately. Once you drop the pancake batter on the pan, place a cover over the pan for about 30 seconds or so. Use all of these techniques, and you will have yourself some of the fluffiest pancakes your heart can desire.

How do I know when to flip the pancake?

Wait until bubbles form over the top of the pancake and the edges of the pancake start to curl up. These two signs let you know the bottom of the pancake is sufficiently cooked. Flip the pancake, the side you just flipped should be golden brown.

pancake batter in cast iron pan

What kind of pancakes are best to make in a cast iron pan?

Good old fashioned traditional pancakes are a great option. Blueberry pancakes are also great. Just make sure your pan is seasoned and you add enough oil, since blueberry pancakes will stick to the pan more easily. How do you get that great buttermilk taste? Well, you could just use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, or you want to make non-dairy pancakes, use some vinegar or lemon juice and place it into the your milk of choice. Adding some sour cream the batter can also get you that butter milk taste.

If you are making gluten-free pancakes, low-carb pancakes, or vegan pancakes, make sure your pan is seasoned well and apply a bit extra oil to the pan, since these types of pancakes won’t hold together quite as well as a traditional gluten pancake with eggs.

Another fun option is making one big pancake in the cast-iron pan. Just filled the whole pan with pancake batter. Cover up pain with a lid to help the pancake cook and rise. Once it bubbles up, flip the huge pancake. You can cut the pancakes in equally sized slices and serve at as “pancake pizza”.

One more idea is to use a smaller cast iron pan to make dutch baby pancakes. One thing I love about making pancakes this way is you are using the edges of the pan to help cook the pancake. This results in nice tasty crispy edges to each pancake.

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