How to Make Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Pancakes:
- All-purpose flour: measured accurately.
- Baking powder: this reacts in part to the heat of the skillet for fluffy pancakes!
- Baking soda: this helps elevate the pH level for golden brown pancakes, my favorite. If you want to know more about the science of baking soda & powder, click here!
- Salt: just enough to balance out the flavors.
- Brown sugar: the butterscotch flavor in brown sugar gives this recipe a nod to classic chocolate chip cookies.
- Buttermilk: more on this ingredient below!
- Eggs: this is what helps to emulsify the batter and make for rich pancakes.
- Butter: for melting and for frying.
- Chocolate chips: the star ingredient!
Do I Have to Use Buttermilk?
For the best results, yes. I’ve done extensive side-by-side testing on buttermilk vs. buttermilk substitutes or vs. regular milk. You can read about my experiments here: Buttermilk 101.
At the end of the day, I find nothing quite compares to the taste and thick texture of the real thing. So if you can, I’d recommend using real buttermilk. It functions differently on a chemical level than milk or cream, or even a DIY buttermilk swap.
If you absolutely can’t, you can use this substitute: 2 scant cups whole milk + 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar or lemon juice. Just note that you won’t yield quite the same results for flavor and texture.
When to Add Chocolate Chips to Pancakes?
I stand firmly in the camp of adding chocolate chips to the batter as a final step before cooking your pancakes. I think dotting the batter with chocolate chips while it’s cooking leads to burnt chocolate when you go to flip them. You just want to make sure you add the chocolate chips in just before you plan to cook the batter so they don’t sink to the bottom of the bowl.
How to Make FLUFFY Pancakes:
There are two keys to fluffy pancakes. First, make sure your baking powder and baking soda are FRESH. You can learn more about chemical leaveners and how to test if they’re fresh here.
Second, don’t overmix the batter! There must be some lumps and even streaks of flour remaining in the batter. Be gentle here! Even a little bit of overmixing can produce pancakes that are rubbery and tough instead of tender and fluffy.
How to Make Pancakes with Crispy Edges:
The key to those crisp browned edges is to make sure the pan is hot but also that the butter is hot before you pour any batter into the pan. However, you only want the pan or griddle heated to medium heat. This will help you get golden edges with pancakes that are perfectly cooked through in the center.
If the pan is too cold, you’ll get flabby pancakes. If it’s too hot, it’ll scorch on the outside before the insides have cooked through.
Start by heating the pan, preferably nonstick or cast iron, over medium until it feels hot. This will take a few minutes. Place pats of butter on the pan where you will pour out the batter. Don’t cook more than 3 pancakes at once if you’re using a 12-inch pan.
Allow the butter to melt completely and get hot before ladling the batter by the 1/4 cup into the pan. This will make sure you get those golden crispy edges. However, if you don’t like those edges, you may want to cook a little lower and slower.
Allow the pancakes to cook without touching until large bubbles appear all over the surface of the batter, about 3 minutes (less time for a paler or smaller pancake). Using a thin, wide plastic spatula, flip the pancakes with confidence through the wrist and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until done. I find the first one or two pancakes are always the ugliest, and they make great chef’s samples.
Topping Ideas for Chocolate Chip Pancakes:
- Maple syrup (obviously!)
- Whipped cream or coconut whip
- Peanut butter
- Powdered sugar
Can You Make Pancake Batter Ahead of Time?
Pancake batter can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Keep covered in the refrigerator.
How to Keep Pancakes Warm Before Serving:
If you’re making a big batch, keep the oven warm at 200°F and transfer the cooked pancakes to a cooling rack set over a rimmed sheet pan. The cooling rack helps prevent the pancakes from getting soggy. Only keep the pancakes warm for about a half hour using this method.
How to Freeze Pancakes:
Place a sheet of parchment paper between layers of pancakes and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave uncovered for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through.