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Pancakes in a Frying Pan? Hoping For Tips!

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Hi! I want to make pancakes for my mom for her birthday this sunday and I got a nifty recipe, but everywhere I look, it asks for pancakes to be done on a griddle pan. I have neither room nor money to get one of those. I only have a non-stick frying pan. Am I already doomed from the start? can't a frying pan be fine for pancakes?

I would love tips and recipes, too. Nothing with bananas or chocolate though. She's a kidney transplant patient so she can't have those. I just want to make her plain pancakes as those were her favorite. My family wants to make every birthday count for her! Thank you!

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  1. Yes, you can make pancakes in a skillet, you might have to cook 1-2 at a time but it can be done; just keep the temperature at medium to med. low.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      Thank you! Good to know! I've been getting advice that I should brown butter on griddle, others say put melted butter in batter. But a frying pan? What do you find works?

      1. re: yunnieman

        Well, I raised three young adults on my pancakes in a skillet; I had no griddle and still do not have one 20 years later. I put melted butter in the mix but I spray or oil the skillet with non stick coating or canola/veg oil. Personally, I don't let the butter brown, that's just my preference. I'm not sure if you have a basic recipe but here's a simple one:

        Pancakes

        3 eggs
        3 cups milk
        3 tablespoons butter, melted
        2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
        2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
        2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
        3 tablespoons sugar
        1/4 teaspoon salt

        Whisk together the eggs, milk and butter in a large bowl. In a second bowl, measure out the dry ingredients and whisk into the wet 1/3 of the dry at a time until blended.
        Heat a large skillet over medium temperature and spray well with non stick cooking spray.

        Measure out 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake; cook first side until bubbles appear on the surface then flip and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes or until golden. Serves 6

    2. I make pancakes for dinner for my kids frequently. I do use a griddle now (and, yes, storing it is a pain) but used to use a fry pan. If you can use a nonstick, I'd go that route, otherwise try some cooking spray. We go with the Bisquik pancakes, recipe on the box, always fluffy. You will only have room for 1 or 2 at a time, but should work. Enjoy.

      1. Some good advice already. Here's a couple of tips.
        Drop a half teaspoon or so of vegetable oil into the heated skillet and use a suitable tool (I use paper towels or waxed paper) to wipe the oil around the bottom and up the edges of the non-stick pan. Your first pancake will not be a nicely browned but the subsequent cakes will brown more evenly.
        Pour your batter, using a very large spoon or ladle (I suspect you don't have one of those fancy pancake batter dispensers) and allow it to develop its own shape. It's OK to tilt the pan from side to side if you have trouble getting the batter to spread evenly but don't spread the batter too much. You want high and light pancakes, not hockey pucks.
        Leave the cake alone until you see bubbles developing on the top surface. When those bubbles begin to burst, leaving pock marks in the batter, lift the pancake gently with a spatula and turn it gently over. Raising and dropping pancakes back into the pan with a "flop" only serves to deflate them. After a few minutes it's ok to lift the edge of the pancake with the spatula to determine how brown it is - indicating it's ready to serve.
        Remove the pancake to a plate, spread it with fruit and/or anything you favor, roll it up and plate it seam side down.
        I only offer these suggestions because I don't know how experienced you are with the pancake cooking process. Try to avoid "holding" them in the oven. I quit a job some years ago because the management wanted me to make pancakes ahead of time and load them into large pans for a steam table. I make 'em to order or I don't make 'em.

        1. The advantages of a griddle over a frying pan are the low rim, making it easier to slip the spatula under the pancake to turn it, and the (potentially) larger surface area (i.e, more cakes at a time). But my favorite is a steel crepe/omelet pan, which has the low rim, but the surface area isn't that large - matching my largest burner. So it is good for only one large cake at a time - but it cooks it evenly.

          1. If you like pancakes with the crispier edge, use more vegetable oil in the skillet, maybe 2-3 tsp. Also make sure the heat is a little above medium for the crispy edged ones.

            1. You've got your answer above, but the question reminds me of a story that my family has been telling for the better part of a century.

              My great-grandmother made pancakes every Saturday morning. She'd crank them out one after another, using a pair of cast iron skillets. Each cake filled the bottom of a skillet.

              One Saturday my granddad had over a friend whose mom made silver-dollar sized pancakes. When asked how many he usually ate, the friend said "oh, fifteen or twenty." Grandma didn't blink, just put a huge serving in front of him and said "We'll start you with these two. Tell me when to stop."

              So, yes, pancakes can be made in a frying pan.