Faux Buttermilk Pancakes


Buttermilk is a key ingredient in some of the best pancakes. It’s also something I really don’t keep on hand, because while it’s an ingredient in a lot of what I make, I don’t make those things frequently enough to use up a whole carton of buttermilk, and I hate letting it go bad.

This is a pancake recipe that I’ve perfected over the years. It’s as close to buttermilk pancakes as you can get without having real buttermilk, because you make a buttermilk substitute along the way. I use it a lot, and it works pretty well.

The pancakes themselves are super simple. Mixing the dry ingredients together, adding the wet ingredients to make a batter, it’s all standard. If you’ve ever made pancakes before, even from a box, there’s nothing unusual here.

This is also a small-batch recipe. It only makes about 5-6 pancakes, each about six inches across. Fortunately, it’s easy to double up if you need to feed a gaggle of hungry kids, or just have a larger appetite yourself.

I always highly recommend additions to pancakes, too. I love strawberries fresh or in a compote (which is why they’re in the pictures) and I usually put miniature chocolate chips in too, but the recipe goes great with any fruit you want, or even just dusted with some powdered sugar or drizzled with your syrup of choice. Make them as simple or as complex as you like!

Faux Buttermilk Pancakes

The closest you can get to buttermilk pancakes without having buttermilk on hand. Simple and delicious!
Servings 5 6″ Pancakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • Griddle
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Whisk
  • Measuring Cups


  • ¾ Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 2 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Butter Melted
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon Optional; alternatively, try pie spice.


Make the Faux Buttermilk

  • In a small bowl or 2c measuring cup, add the milk and lemon juice. Stir it together and let it sit while you mix up everything else. It will "sour" the milk into a buttermilk substitute.

Make the Pancakes

  • In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
  • In another bowl, melt the butter. After about five minutes have passed from starting the buttermilk, add the butter and egg to the buttermilk mix, stirring to combine.
  • Whisk the milk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until mostly combined. A few lumps here and there are okay.
  • Heat your griddle to medium. Alternatively, use a skillet if you don't have a griddle; any hot surface works, after all.
  • Add some butter to the cooking surface to avoid sticking. Pour about ¼-⅓ cup of batter in for each pancake.
  • (Optional) Drizzle your chopped fruit, chocolate chips, or other mix-ins over the batter as soon as you put it on the griddle.
  • Cook each pancake for around 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn golden.
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Berry, Buttermilk, Cinnamon, Pancakes

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