pancakes and strawberries on plate

Calling pancakes "old fashioned" is perhaps redundant, as the basic recipe has been around for ages. A timeline from Betty Crocker suggests that they may date back to ancient Greece, but were more or less in the form we know them today by the 19th century. In fact, the most recent game-changing pancake the company notes was the baked pancake, introduced to mainstream U.S. cookery in the 1960s. This particular pancake recipe isn’t nearly as new-fangled as that mid-century marvel. In fact, it uses a very classic ingredient: buttermilk, which recipe developer Kate Shungu says gives "these old fashioned pancakes a bit of tanginess." She also notes that the ingredient complements the sweetness of maple syrup, should you drizzle any on top (and you should).

If you’re not much of a buttermilk user, no need to go out and buy the stuff. Shungu points out that it’s easy to whip up a DIY buttermilk substitute: just put a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a 1-cup measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way with milk.

Assemble the old fashioned pancake ingredients

pancake ingredients plus syrup

One thing we appreciate about these pancakes (and pancakes in general) is that, as Shingu says, they can be "made with pantry and refrigerator staples." The fridge staples in question here are an egg, some butter, and buttermilk (or the aforementioned substitute). From the pantry, you’ll need flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

Mix the batter

pancake batter in bowl

Start off your pancake batter by combining all of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda). Then add in the egg, buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Whisk until everything is mixed together. Don’t over-stir, though. As Shungu says, "A few lumps are fine; they will prevent the pancake from getting too flat."

Cook the pancakes

four pancakes on greased griddle

Heat up a frying pan or a griddle over medium heat. Brush the surface with a bit of the leftover butter, then measure ¼ cup of the pancake mixture. Pour it in a circular shape (or try your hand at a little pancake art by adding Mickey Mouse ears or spelling out your initials).

Cook your pancake for 1 to 2 minutes, until it looks golden brown on the bottom (you’ll have to pull up the edge to sneak a peek). Flip it and cook it for 1 or 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, then repeat the butter-and-batter sequence until you’ve used up the latter and all the pancakes are cooked. If you have a griddle, you can cook multiple pancakes at once. With a frying pan, it’s probably best to stick to one at a time.

Top and serve

pancakes and strawberries on plate

Shungu suggests you serve these pancakes with butter and syrup — a tried and true combo. If maple syrup is not really your thing, though, syrup made with cane sugar makes a still-tasty alternative. Fruit syrups are also great on pancakes, or you can ditch the syrup entirely in favor of jelly, compote, or fresh fruit and whipped cream. Additionally, pancakes go nicely with chocolate, butterscotch, honey, or even just a sprinkling of sugar (plain or powdered).

  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • Butter, for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving
  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the egg, buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons melted butter to the dry ingredients.
  3. Whisk the batter until it’s just combined.
  4. Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat.
  5. Brush the pan with some of the remaining melted butter.
  6. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the pan in a circular shape.
  7. Cook the pancake for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Flip the pancake and cook it for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to plate.
  9. Repeat the process until all of the batter is used up, buttering the griddle before adding new batter.
  10. Serve the pancakes with butter and syrup if desired.