Making pancake batter in a bowl with whisk

Pancakes: the ultimate guide

Learn how to make the perfect pancake with our expert guide, including how to achieve a smooth batter and cooking tips from our experienced cookery team.

When Pancake Day approaches, with it comes the pressure to turn out the perfect pancake with every flip. There are many areas of debate – savoury or sweet, thin or thick, oil or butter – and there are no hard and fast rules. So to make things a little easier on Shrove Tuesday, we’ve gathered together our expert advice to create Good Food’s ultimate pancake guide.

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Best pancake equipment

When it comes to the most important piece of kitchen kit for pancake making, the clue is in the name. A really good, non-stick frying pan is a crucial tool according to Good Food’s cookery team, who insist it’ll make flipping a whole lot easier.

Aside from pans, there’s a whole host of gadgets that can help the process – including a whisk, palette knife and a reliable set of kitchen scales. Read our guide on the best tools for pancake day.

How to make pancake batter

Making pancake batter in bowl with whisk
Traditionalists will insist that a standard Yorkshire pudding batter is a classic, fool-proof necessity and that the finishing touches are all in the filling. However, senior food editor Cassie Best, along with many of our readers, recommends adding spices, citrus zest, vanilla extract or herbs to the batter for an extra layer of flavour. Our top-rated perfect pancakes recipe should work well as a base from which you can start to experiment.

To help you remember the ratios for the basic ingredients, we’ve also put together the perfect pancake formula as a handy image.

Chefs may also use buttermilk as an addition to the batter, or you can even add ricotta or soured cream in place of some of the milk. Many of our readers recommend adding oil or melted butter to your batter as a way to safeguard against sticking. Our cookery team also suggest your choice of flour can make a difference – try using wholemeal for savoury fillings and white flour for sweet.

How to cook pancakes

Flipping a pancake in kitchen

Before you cook your pancakes, you should allow your batter to ‘settle’. 24 hours in the fridge is ample time, but it may have thickened up a little when you take it back out, so just loosen up with a splash of milk.When you come to cook the perfect pancakes, the temperature of your pan is crucial. You can make sure your pan is the right temperature before you start frying by dropping a small spoon of mixture into the pan. If it turns golden on the underside after around 30 seconds, you’re good to go.

Read our guide on how to make the perfect pancakes – then if you’re feeling ambitious, watch our video and learn how to flip a pancake.

Best pancake fillings


The most contentious point on Pancake Day is the filling. Reader feedback suggests sweet rules over savoury, with berries and pie fillings amongst your favourites. There are lots of pancake fillings you can make in minutes – for all our recipes, visit our Pancake Day collection.

Looking for more Pancake Day guides?

Learn how to make crêpes
Unusual pancake fillings and flavours
Top 10 pancake fillings – sweet and savoury
How to make pancakes without eggs, flour or milk

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What are your top tips for making pancakes? Leave a comment below…