blueberry buttermilk pancakes

A few years ago, when a friend was visiting, I offered to make her chocolate-chip pancakes the morning she’d leave. I am terrible at making pancakes. Of an entire bowl of batter, I think we ended up with two, she and my brother and I standing in the kitchen in our pajamas, wearing glasses and zip-up sweatshirts. The rest of the batch were either burnt and charred or, worse, still goopy inside, wet and uncooked. It’s a good thing there was also cereal around or, frankly, we’d have starved.

I probably don’t have to tell you my problem was timing: Over and over, I’d leave the batter on the skillet too long or, instead, not long enough. I am fairly terrible at timing, and, as the girl who decides her career path after college, I think it’s safe to say this is not just with pancakes.

You probably already know this past Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, was also National Pancake Day. They were even giving away free ones at IHOP to celebrate (How did I miss this?). The origin goes back to England, when people prepared for Lent by clearing out their pantries of all dairy products (butter, eggs, milk) which would be forbidden during the 40 days until Easter.

So just chalk it up to bad timing that I’m posting mine not on National Pancake Day but, instead, six days later later, on the first Monday of March.

blueberry pancakes

Truth is, I’ve been wanting pancakes since I saw a picture of these, piled high and drenched in syrup and butter. Saturday, it was time to try this thing again.

A few initial findings: (1) When you put the batter on the skillet, you really have to leave it there for a few minutes. No nervous peeking beneath to see how it’s coming. (2) If you do things right, small air bubbles with appear in the side of the batter facing you, about three minutes after you put it on there, and that’s how you know when to flip. (3) Because I am just one person, it’s a good idea to cut any pancake recipe in half.

(Of course, cutting things in half in your head, especially while you’re also watching T.V. online, can be problematic. I ended up creating a full batch of the dry ingredients and sectioning off half to use next time, which, maybe, will turn out to be a good thing.)

But here’s what really matters: it worked.

After three minutes on each side on the hot, oiled skillet, the lumpy batter turns smooth and golden brown, with beautifully darkened edges that are just slightly crispy. Buttermilk adds a rich, lightly sour flavor to the dough, complemented by the tartness of the fresh berries, which is especially nice topped with real maple syrup. And the soft texture, creamy and warm as it dissolves on your tongue, at once acidic and also sweet, makes a great start to a morning—any morning, anytime.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from

1 cup flour
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons ( 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Vegetable oil (for the skillet)
Maple syrup (for serving)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add fresh blueberries and gently stir to combine.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk, then the butter. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. It’s OK for the batter to look lumpy.

Heat an electric or stove-top griddle or nonstick skillet to medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil to coat the skillet.

Pour the batter onto the griddle, using a 1/4-cup measure and leaving a little space between them. Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side (without touching!) until some bubbles form on top. Flip the pancakes (the side that had been down will now be golden) and cook the other sides until golden. Serve with warm syrup.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. TJ

    Great looking pancakes. A lot of people change career paths after college. Sometimes it takes actually working in one’s field after internships and stuff to determine if the field is really right for a person.

  2. Lan

    oooh! what a lovely dish to consume on a saturday morning! if i were home today, (like most of the state of MD due to the snow) *this* would be what i’d make. well… without the berries but i have everything in my fridge! :)

    and i don’t think it’s so much as late timing or whatever, but more that you did it at all. as wise Gandolf once said to Frodo: “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to..”

  3. Jessica

    Oh my gosh that looks like heaven. I love pancakes but have only made them successfully once. I would eat these every day though.

  4. Shelly

    These are on the menu for Sunday brunch…I don’t do weekend mornings!

  5. kickpleat

    those look so lovely! i should stack pancakes when i make them and never do. they make such a pretty photo.

  6. Sarah

    Holy moly, these look terrific! Way better than the plain buckwheat I had yesterday. As for the ad, I think of them as necessary evils. It certainly helps when they’re not about cellulite and dieting, but in general, I think they’re smart blogging. Just something you gotta do for a buck or two. Can’t wait to look around your blog more!

  7. Shannalee

    Thanks, TJ – I wish more kids knew that… could have saved me some frustration when things didn’t go how everyone expected!

    Lan, LOL. Do I take that to mean you still had to go to work even with the blizzards? If it’s any consolation, that’s definitely the case here, although not recently as we haven’t had a big snowstorm for a few weeks, knock on wood.

    Jessica, You understand! As someone who’s (now) made them successfully once, let me tell you these are a good bunch to try.

    LOL, Shelly. I haven’t been able to sleep in past 7:30 for such a long time.

    Kickpleat, I know! Love the look of stacked pancakes!

    Sarah, Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m going to try these ads for a little while and see how things go, but it’s so nice to hear from someone who knows. BTW: love your blog!

  8. Gemma

    Ok, now I want pancakes.

    I didn’t make pancakes on pancake day either but we always had them growing up. In the UK they are more like small crepes and the classic pancake day filling is a sprinkle of granulated sugar and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

  9. Shannalee

    Gemma – I read about the UK version, and they look WONDERFUL!

  10. Pingback: Food blogs (or more simply: things I can put in my belly) « The Kite String

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