Most people enjoy their pancakes drenched in syrup and soaked in butter. That’s because plain pancakes are pretty... plain. But they don’t have to be, and the solution is brown butter. You already know how easy it is to make brown butter. The Maillard reaction, a.k.a. browning, is what makes brown butter taste so nuanced. At its simplest, the Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between a reducing sugar and an amino acid. The Maillard reaction is responsible for many tasty culinary delights, from the grill marks on your ribeye to the golden sheen on a fresh-baked brioche and golden brown pancakes.
Brown butter blows the already great taste of butter out of the park. When you brown butter, you’re not browning the butter as a whole, only the milk solids. As you brown, the milk solids break down into smaller, tastier molecules that vary in flavor from toasty, nutty, sweet, floral, and butterscotchy. The smell alone is intoxicating and worth making this recipe for. While it takes good timing to not burn the butter, it’s a pretty simple step in this straightforward recipe.
Brown Butter Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, browned
How to Make It
Brown your butter: In a small pot over medium heat, cook the butter until it starts to foam and smell toasty. Looks for the visual cues of the milk solids turning a golden brown. Pour into a small bowl off the heat.
Mix dry ingredients together.
Mix buttermilk, eggs, and browned butter together.
Fold the dry into the wet. Don’t over-beat the batter; some lumps are OK.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium/low heat for a few minutes. Add a one tablespoon of butter or neutral oil. Ladle in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pancake batter. Let cook for a minute or two. Flip when you see air bubbles rise to the surface. It should be golden brown on the bottom. Cook on the other side until brown.
Stack cooked pancakes and douse in maple syrup and butter, and enjoy!