Dad’s Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

My husband and I are creatures of habit when it comes to breakfast. I usually have Carnation Instant Breakfast and a Diet Coke; he eats hot cereal—oatmeal or Malt-o-Meal or something similar. When I’m in a hurry, I’ll eat granola bars, and sometimes he will have Shredded Wheat or another cold cereal.

But occasionally on a Sunday morning, my husband makes pancakes and bacon. I try not to mix up my instant breakfast until I see if we are having a pancake Sunday, because I wouldn’t want to miss out on my share. He uses a pancake mix—one of a variety that we have been given as gifts or that he has purchased to try out. His favorite is a mix from College of the Ozarks (buy it here), which is fine if you like a whole wheat flour that isn’t too heavy.

My favorite pancakes are not from a mix at all, but are my father’s buttermilk pancakes. On weekend mornings when I was a child, I’d stay in bed until I smelled the bacon cooking. No microwaved bacon then—my father fried it on the stove. One morning when I was about seven or eight, I leaned over the pan, and the grease popped and burned my forehead. I had a small round scar there for years.

After he fried the bacon, he mixed up the pancake batter. There was a variation of the batter for waffles, but I preferred pancakes, so that’s what I hoped for. These pancakes were light enough I could eat eight to ten. They were sweet, but with a little tang of buttermilk. Topped with maple syrup or sometimes raspberry jam. Mmm.

The taste still says childhood and weekend and comfort to me.

When I married and my mother typed up a box of recipes for me to have, the pancake recipe was one I made sure she included. Unfortunately, my husband prefers a heartier pancake to these light as a feather buttermilk ones, so we rarely make them.

And my father made them less often once the children were gone, preferring instead to make omelets to accompany the bacon. But he still fried his bacon on the stove, even after microwaves were available. I know, because when I visited, I had to clean the stove afterward. He never did like to clean.

Here’s the Buttermilk Pancake recipe:

pancake recipe 20150625_185334

It doubles well, if you have lots of people around. Sometimes my father had to make second batches, even after doubling it.

What foods say childhood and comfort to you?

Posted in Family, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , .


  1. I must say, Carnation Instant Breakfast and a Diet Coke is an interesting combination, Theresa. 🙂
    I loved reading this post. I smiled at the strikeouts on the recipe.As for the childhood comfort food…Nestle Toll House Cookies.

    • Jill,
      Well, I never said my breakfast was healthy. But I don’t drink coffee and need the caffeine.
      Yes, Nestle Toll House Cookies! My mother made them from the recipe on the bag of chips. Her only deviation was to use half butter and half shortening, which kept the cookies firmer than butter.
      Thanks for reading, Theresa

  2. My mother typed her recipes (and for a period of time used exactly the same recipe cards as your mother’s). They are as precious to me as handwritten recipes from my dad, grandmother and various friends – the pattern of the letter keys striking the paper is as recognizable to me as anything written in pencil or ink. I don’t even need to actually make the dish they instruct – I feel her reaching down to pat my hand from wherever she now is every time I look at them. Thanks for a lovely post.

  3. I prefer the simple recipes like your dad’s pancakes. Like my recipe for corn on the cob: I ear of corn, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Fudge: cocoa, butter and sugar (no walnuts please). As cook and an eater, I’m a minimalist.

    Diet coke for breakfast?

    • Dane,
      I agree with you — no nuts in the fudge. And Diet Coke makes as much sense for breakfast as coffee, and tastes much better.
      Thanks for reading, Theresa

  4. My mom made pancakes from scratch when we were kids, too, Theresa. We all loved them with uncooked batter in the center and would ask for them that way (yuck?). Mom would tell us every time that she didn’t know how to ensure they’d be raw in the middle but when we got one, we’d be so happy! We’ll have pancakes on occasion now but always from a mix. I’ve received recipe cards from friends over the years. I love seeing their handwriting and any additional notes they’ve added. Thanks for the memories!

  5. My daddy used to make what we called sugar pancakes. They were simply made from flour, sugar and water. I can still remember how good these pancakes tasted. They were very thin and we would eat them with our hands with nothing on them. Thanks for sharing your recipe and story. I may have to try making them sometime.

  6. I liked your mentioning how your Dsd didn’t like cleaning up from grilling up bacon in a pan. I appreciate your sharing the homemade pancake recipe. My Dad made lumpy cream of mushroom soup and lumpy cream of wheat. I still prefer the 2 of these when they are not smooth. He was best at barbecuing meat, especially liked his steak and ribs. My Mom was such a great cook, when she was off in the summers from teaching. Otherwise, she was a tv dinner, simple meals or eating out kind of “gal.” Still is. . . Her freezer is full of microwave dinners. 🙂

  7. And you think you know a person and then your find out their breakfast menu! I still make stuff from scratch. Much better than the box stuff.

    I’ve not been getting your blogs lately. I’ll re up.

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