Light and fluffy, My Grandma’s Famous Pancakes will have everyone wanting more, and no one will even know they’re gluten free!
My mom told me that when she was young and my grandma worked at a hospital, she would invite her nursing friends over for these pancakes. Apparently everyone loved them so much, their house would be absolutely full of people every Sunday morning, just there for the pancakes. I don’t remember my mom ever making these for us when we were kids. But then again, we were always too busy to grab anything more than a Poptart. After all, there were 3 of us girls and if I can remember right, it was chaotic every morning, especially when the teen years hit. Having gone through teen years with only one daughter, I can only imagine how hard those days must’ve been for my parents (sorry, mom and dad)!
Anyway, back to these wonderful pancakes. My mom says I get my love of baking from my grandma (unfortunately, by the time I came around my grandma was wheelchair bound and didn’t bake anymore). I would have loved to have been able to bake with her, but I feel in some ways that she’s in the kitchen with me now. So far, I’ve been able to recreate some of her well-loved recipes into gluten free versions, and I plan to do as many as I can. That is, if my mom can either remember them or find the recipes, haha!
The Ingredients You’ll Need
- Gluten free flour blend — I use my own blend (Kim’s Gluten Free Flour Blend). Feel free to use whatever blend you have on hand. Some gf pancake recipes call for xanthan-gum free flour blend, but I find a blend with XG produces a fluffy, thicker pancake.
- Eggs — eggs are used for binding, as well as lift.
- Buttermilk — I would suggest using REAL whole-fat buttermilk, not a substitute. It really makes a difference in flavor and texture. My grandma called it “thick buttermilk.”
- Sugar — a very small amount of sugar is added for sweetness and browning.
- Baking powder — baking powder is needed for leavening.
- Salt — salt is used for flavoring, but also reacts with the baking powder for leavening.
- Butter — butter adds flavor, but also when it melts it helps create the outer crust.
Tips for Making These Pancakes
- Before beginning, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. If you put the very soft butter into cold buttermilk, you won’t be able to mix it in well.
- My grandma said to sift together the dry ingredients, but I simply whisk them together. That’s my lazy way of sifting.
- Add the very soft (not melted) butter into the batter and combine throughout. Not all the butter will incorporate. Little pieces of softened butter will remain. When they hit the heat, they’ll sizzle and make the pancake crispy at that edge. So good!
- I use a large ladle or cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the pan. It’s a very thick batter and I find the scoop or ladle to be perfect for getting even-sized pancakes.
- Because these pancakes are pretty fluffy and tall, they do well with lower heat and more time. Cook them on medium low to medium for as long as 3-5 minutes per side.
- My grandma’s original recipe said to whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter. Everyone knows whipped egg whites incorporate air and that’s definitely what we’re going for here. A couple of years ago I read this article on NOT whipping egg whites separately and obtaining the exact same results. Taking this GENIUS shortcut is one of my most favorite finds in cooking/baking. The only thing I do different is whisk them just until frothy so they’ll incorporate better into the batter. I tried both ways and it really does work not having to whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Anything I can do to save time when making breakfast in the morning works for me!
Grandma’s Famous Pancakes FAQs
You can certainly make these pancakes thinner if you’d like. They get a little lacy and delicate and still taste amazing! Either use a lower fat buttermilk or increase the amount of buttermilk by 1/2 cup (120 ml) or more until a thinner batter is obtained.
Yes! I always double the recipe because I like to keep extra in the freezer.
Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and flash freeze them for about an hour. Then store them in a gallon-sized ziptop bag and pull out as many as you need at a time. They’ll keep in the freezer for 1-2 months. To reheat, pop them in a toaster for a few minutes, or microwave for about 30 seconds at a time, until they reach the desired temperature.
My favorite topping for pancakes has and will always be butter and peanut butter!! I know it sounds crazy, but I spread the pancakes first with softened butter and then add the peanut butter while everything is still nice and hot. The peanut butter and butter get super melty together, almost saucy, and it is so good! If you’ve never tried pancakes and peanut butter, you gotta try it.
My Grandma’s Gluten Free Pancakes
- 2¼ cups (562 ml) buttermilk, whole fat, at room temperature (Real whole-fat buttermilk is very thick. If you don't use this, your batter will be thin, as will your pancakes. You can reduce the amount of buttermilk to 1¾ cup to compensate for this)
- 3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 1½ cups (210 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (a store bought blend containing xanthan gum should also work, but hasn't been tested)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp very soft butter (not melted)
- In a small bowl, sift or whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with buttermilk. Add dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add very soft butter and whisk.
- Whisk egg whites until frothy and add them to the batter. Fold in to incorporate. Don't overmix. Batter should be thick (if you use whole-fat buttermilk).
- Heat large nonstick skillet over medium low to medium heat. Greasing the pan is not necessary.
- When skillet is heated, using a ladle or large cookie scoop or spoon, scoop batter onto skillet, 3-4 pancakes at a time. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes on the first side before flipping over. Cook about 3 minutes on the second side before flipping over again to make sure inside of pancakes are completely cooked before removing from skillet.
- Serve hot with softened butter and syrup or toppings of choice. Butter and peanut butter are my favorite!