Food + Wine

Make Ahead Whole Wheat Pancakes

We love pancakes around here. But I don’t think we’re alone in that. I’ve written before about how we used to have Pancake Saturdays, and you can find our basic recipe on that post. But for my son’s 3rd birthday breakfast I wanted to do something a little different and special. I also selfishly didn’t want to have to make pancake batter at 7:30 in the morning.

A lot of pancake/waffle recipes out there can be made the night before, and the flavor actually improves over night. The key to knowing which ones can be made ahead is whether or not the batter contains baking powder or soda as the leavening agent. If your batter uses baking powder, you can make them the night before, just add a little bit more powder to the recipe since it can lose its potency over time. If your recipe calls for baking soda, then you cannot make them ahead of time because baking soda starts to work the second it touches liquid and therefore loses it’s power fairly quick.

The pancakes I made for my son’s birthday breakfast were really cool. They contained yeast and the best part is that they can be stored for up to 4 days in the fridge. Very cool. If you’re a yeast bread fan like I am, then I highly recommend these. The flavor is very complex and they taste just like warm, soft, bread, but with the consistency of pancakes. Awesome.


pancakes (1)

serves about 6

In a large bowl combine…

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (go 1/2 white if you want a lighter pancake, I also really enjoy using rye flour)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Stir to combine.
-In a microwave safe, glass bowl combine…

  • 2 cups of buttermilk (whole milk only, and the real stuff if you can get it)
  • 4 TB of butter, cut into small pieces

Heat on high until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm.

Stir this into the dry ingredients and add, one at a time, while mixing…

  • 3 eggs,

Whisk until smooth.
-Make sure your bowl is twice as big as the batter itself so there’s room to rise. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and place in the fridge for up to four days*.

…The batter will double in size.

-When you’re ready to make your pancakes, just take out your batter, stir a bit and cook on a well greased, moderately hot, large skillet or griddle as usual…

…when large bubbles form on the surface of the raw side and then pop, you’re ready to flip.  (If you want blueberry or chocolate chips, etc., scatter them on the surface of the raw side before flipping.)

Serve warm however you like ’em.

Drizzled with maple syrup and butter…

or like me.

I like mine naked.


With a side of extra strong coffee.

(*if you store them that long, then stir the batter well and add 2 tsp of sugar after the second day to continue feeding the yeast. And be very sure to cover the batter loosely so the yeast gases can escape.)

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  • Reply Tinky December 9, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    This is great! I've combined the dry ingredients into a mix, but you still have to whisk in stuff that morning. Thanks, Abbey…… yum!

  • Reply My Little Space December 10, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Abbey, thanks for the tips! And happy birthday to your darling baby. I'm sure he'll love whatever you made for him.
    Blessings, Kristy

  • Reply Everyday Champagne December 10, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Thanks ladies!
    Tinky-I used to do the same thing until I figured out this method. I'm all about doing anything I can ahead of time!

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