How-To Guides

December 6, 2022

What's the perfect griddle temperature for making pancakes?

Whether you use an electric griddle or the stove, the right temperature and cook time are essential for cooking perfect pancakes. Follow these tips, tricks, and techniques to avoid raw or overcooked pancakes and make perfect flapjacks every time!

I've never met someone that doesn't love a good stack of pancakes.

They're easy to make, a great choice for meal prep, and a deliciously comforting breakfast with endless flavor combinations.

(My husband will tell you they're always the best choice for breakfast!)

But with all the different ways to cook pancakes and all the different recipes on the internet, it's hard to get an evenly cooked pancake every single time.

Lucky for you, there's one key step in the cooking process that will give you the best pancakes (not just good pancakes) every single time, no matter what appliance or recipe you use.

That key step is setting your griddle to the optimum temperature.

Today's blog post explains the perfect griddle (or stovetop) temperature for making pancakes, as well as 8 of my best tips for making perfect pancakes, yummy pancake toppings, how to make any pancake recipe healthier, and my favorite pancake recipes.

A stack of golden pancakes with butter, berries, and syrup on top

The science of pancakes

Pancakes are a popular breakfast food made from a simple batter of flour, eggs, and milk. They're technically a form of quick bread because they rely on baking powder to rise, not yeast.

Pancakes can have a variety of mix ins and toppings, and can also be adaptable for gluten free, dairy free, or vegan diets.

In some countries like England and New Zealand, pancakes are considered more of a dessert than breakfast, but the common toppings and mix ins remain the same.

Pancakes vs waffles - what's the difference?

Pancakes and waffles can be made with the same boxed mix or key ingredients, but there are a few things that make each breakfast unique:

  1. Pancakes are made on a variety of surfaces, while waffles require a waffle iron
  2. Pancakes are soft and fluffy, while waffles are crispy and chewy
  3. Pancakes use more liquid, while waffles use more fat (and sometimes sugar)
  4. Both pancakes and waffles can be made sweet or savory
  5. Both pancakes and waffles have a variety of mix ins and toppings, including fruit, chocolate, and whipped cream

A plate of waffles with bananas and syrup on top
Waffles require a waffle iron and have a crispy texture, while pancakes can be made with various appliances and are soft and fluffy.

The ideal temperature for cooking pancakes

There's nothing worse than cutting into a pancake, only to find the middle of the pancake is raw and gooey.

Or worse yet, cutting into a stack of tough pancakes because you forgot to take them off the griddle.

Either way, it's obvious that delicious pancakes require an ideal griddle temperature (and a little bit of patience) to get that nice, fluffy texture.

Simply put: the best temperature for cooking pancakes is 375°F on a griddle or medium to medium high heat on the stove.

Why can't I cook pancakes on a low temperature?

It's best to avoid a lower temperature when making pancakes because pancakes rely on baking powder to rise. Baking powder, unlike baking soda, is activated with heat, and if there's not enough heat right from the start, the pancakes won't rise.

"Low temperature" or "low heat" means anything lower than 350°F or medium heat on the stove.

Why can't I cook pancakes on a high temperature?

If you try to cook your pancakes at a higher temperature, two things will happen: the leavening will activate too quickly and the middles won't cook.

This means your pancakes will rise before they're ready and the bottom will burn before the middle is actually cooked enough to flip.

If you're not sure if you have the right temperature for your hot griddle, use the first batch of pancakes as a "test batch" and see how they turn out. (Keep reading for more information about this technique!)

A stack of golden pancakes with butter on top

Pancake cooking tips

Different appliances for making pancakes

Griddle vs stove - what's better for cooking pancakes?

Both the electric griddle (pancake griddle) and the stove are great methods for making pancakes, but there are pros and cons to both and it really comes down to personal preference.

The griddle allows you to heat the surface exactly to the perfect temperature setting of 375 degrees F and cook multiple pancakes at once, but it takes up more space in your kitchen and requires an extra investment.

On the other hand, a large skillet or non-stick pan on the stove keeps things simple and uses hardware you already have on hand, but you can only cook one pancake at a time and the temperature control is less exact.

Overall, the best tool for making great pancakes every time is a pancake griddle.

A scale and measuring cups for making pancakes

Measuring the ingredients

If you live in America, you most likely use measuring cups and measuring spoons for all your cooking and baking.

Luckily, pancakes are quite forgiving, so this isn't a big deal.

However, for the best results for pancakes (or any of your baking, really!), I recommend investing in a kitchen scale.

This way you don't have to dirty multiple measuring cups, bowls, or utensils, and your nutrition facts are always accurate.

But most importantly, you don't run the risk of using too much flour because you're measuring by weight, not volume.

Believe me when I say using a kitchen scale is so much easier. This is the one I use and I love it because it's small and affordable.

How to know when the pan is ready

If you're using a pancake griddle or electric skillet, simply turn the dial to 375° and wait for the indicator to turn green.

If you're using a nonstick skillet or stainless steel pan, splash a few drops of water on the pan. If the droplets of water sizzle and dance around the pan, the pan is ready!

Pancake batter on a pancake griddle

How to grease your pan

No matter when appliance you use, it's important to grease the entire surface of the pan with some type of fat before cooking your pancakes.

This helps prevent the pancakes from sticking to the surface of the griddle and also gives them that nice golden brown color we all love.

Some common fats to use for cooking pancakes are melted butter, cooking spray, or a vegetable oil like canola oil. If you want healthier options, I recommend using olive oil cooking spray, coconut oil, or vegan butter.

Make sure to grease your cooking surface each time you add pancake batter to the skillet. You only need a thin layer of oil!

Note: even if you have a "nonstick surface" you should still grease your pan!

Use a "test pancake"

Oftentimes, the first 1/2 cup of batter or so is a little more runny because the less-dense liquids will separate from the batter and slowly rise to the top, so I like to do one "test pancake" before cooking the rest of the batter.

This first pancake might be a little thinner and less fluffy, but it will also help you gauge how well your appliance is heated and greased.

Once you get this first pancake cooked, the rest of your pancakes should turn out perfect!

Chocolate chip pancakes with bubbles on top

When to flip pancakes

There are a few ways to know the right time to flip your pancake:

  1. The edges of the pancake start to firm up and they'll appear more rounded.
  2. Small bubbles appear all over the pancake batter, especially in the middle.
  3. The pancake batter has risen straight up. Some recipes will rise more than others, but the pancake should always rise!
  4. The surface of the pancakes is not longer runny if you try to move the pancake.
  5. The underside of the pancake has a nice golden brown color.

The secret to fluffy pancakes

When you think of fluffy pancakes, you're probably thinking of buttermilk pancakes!

But, buttermilk or not, it's quite easy to make fluffy pancakes.

Here are my top tips for making the fluffiest pancakes with any recipe or pancake mix:

  1. Add at least one egg to the batter. This adds extra fat and moisture, which will yield a richer, softer, and more structured pancake. If you can't eat eggs, you can use an egg replacement like a flax egg, applesauce, greek yogurt, or pumpkin puree.
  2. If you're making a large batch of pancakes and using eggs, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Mix the egg yolks in with the rest of the wet ingredients. Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks in a separate bowl, then gently fold into the pancake batter until just combined. Your batter will deflate quickly, so be sure to cook right away.
  3. Choose milk instead of water, especially if you're using store-bought pancake mix. Milk is thicker and more rich than water, so your pancakes will be thicker and fluffier if you use milk.
  4. Use a large mixing bowl to give yourself enough room to completely mix the pancake batter until smooth, scraping down the sides as you go.
  5. Let the pancake batter rest for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
  6. Heat your griddle or pan to the optimal temperature of 375°F or medium heat. If you're using a stove, make sure you're using the right pan for the specific size of burner. For example, if you're using a large skillet, don't use the smallest burner! This means your pancakes won't get enough heat or won't heat evenly and therefore won't cook evenly.
  7. Cook your pancakes until the edges have set and bubbles appear throughout the batter.

Golden pancakes on a griddle

What to do with remaining batter

If you don't have time to finish all the pancake batter you made, don't worry!

Pancake batter will last 2-3 days in the fridge if covered well or stored in an airtight container.

When you're ready to make more pancakes, let the batter sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, then heat your pan and get cooking!

How to cook pancakes in the oven

Pour your pancake batter into a large baking sheet with tall rimmed edges or a jelly roll pan. Bake in a 425 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes until completely cooked and golden brown on top.

(P.S. there's actually a type of pancake called a dutch baby that's made in the oven! This dutch baby recipe is a reader favorite!)

A stack of golden pancakes with butter, berries, and syrup on top

How to make pancakes

Step 1: mix the wet ingredients

For most recipes, this includes the fat, the eggs, and the milk. Some recipes add vanilla extract here, too. Whisk in a large bowl until well combined.

Step 2: stir in the dry ingredients

Add the flour, baking powder, and any spices to the wet ingredients, then stir to combine.

Pro tip: if you want the smoothest pancake batter, mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then sift the dry ingredients into the wet!

Since pancakes aren't as technical as other quick breads, you don't have to worry about folding until just combined! Just make sure the pancake batter is smooth and there aren't any lumps.

Step 3: rest the pancake batter

This is one of the best tips I can give you for making perfect pancakes every single time! This is an important step because pancakes rely on baking powder to rise.

Baking powder is a double-acting leavening agent, which means it first reacts when added to the wet ingredients, then again when heat is introduced.

Giving the batter enough time to rest allows the baking powder to complete its first "rise" and the pancake mix to thicken.

Don't worry though, you don't have to wait more than 5 minutes.

My trick? Don't start heating your griddle or pan until after the batter is completely mixed. This way, your appliance doubles as the timer and you don't feel like you have to stare at the clock!

Step 4: cook the pancakes

Once your appliance is heated and your batter has rested, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion out the pancake batter onto the pan or griddle.

Add the pancakes in a single layer with space in between each one so they don't all become one big pancake.

Let the pancake batter cook for 2-3 minutes, flip, then cook the second side for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove and let cool on a plate or wire rack before serving.

Top your golden pancakes with your favorite toppings and enjoy your delicious breakfast!

A plate of various toppings for pancakes

Best toppings for pancakes

  • Fresh fruit
  • Chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Vanilla greek yogurt
  • Maple syrup
  • Chopped nuts
  • Creamy nut butters
  • Sunny side-up egg (for a savory option!)

How to store leftover pancakes

Let the pancakes cool to room temperature on a plate or paper towel, then store in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to one week in the fridge.

To freeze, lay your pancakes in an even layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 15-30 minutes, then add them to a ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, pop them in the toaster until the pancakes are warmed through.

A stack of pancakes with strawberry syrup on top

How to make pancakes healthier

  1. Use whole grain flours: 100% whole wheat flour or gluten free flours like oat flour and almond flour are more nutrient dense, less inflammatory, and don't cause as much of a spike in blood sugar as regular all purpose flour.
  2. Add a source of protein: this helps reduce a blood sugar spike and keep you fuller longer. Try greek yogurt, protein powder, or swap some of the milk for liquid egg whites.
  3. Use dairy free butter: even if you don't follow a dairy free diet, vegan butters made from olive oil or avocado oil have high amounts of omega-3 fats that will help balance your hormones and promote a healthy heart. You can also use equal amounts of coconut oil.
  4. Skip the sugar: you really don't need it, especially if you're adding maple syrup on top! If you really want sweet pancakes, opt for a natural sweetener like maple syrup or a zero-calorie sweetener like Monkfruit or Stevia.
  5. Serve with fruit: whether you choose to mix diced fruit into the pancake batter or top your stack of flapjacks with fresh fruit, adding fruit is a great way to get a boost of antioxidants and vitamins with your breakfast.

My favorite pancake recipes

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes

Fluffy Chocolate Chip Pancakes (in the blender!)

Healthy Apple Pie German Pancakes

The Best Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

A stack of fluffy, golden pancakes with butter and maple syrup on top


So, what's the best temperature for cooking pancakes? After lots of testing and years of making pancakes, I believe the best way to make pancakes is with an electric griddle at 375°F or medium to medium-high heat on the stovetop.

Any tips you'd add for making the best pancakes? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Whether you use an electric griddle or the stove, the right temperature and cook time are essential for cooking perfect pancakes. Follow these tips, tricks, and techniques to avoid raw or overcooked pancakes and make perfect flapjacks every time!


Brooke Harmer








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