When it comes to cooking pancakes, getting the temperature right is crucial. I know only too well, how frustrating it can be when the first batch of pancakes comes out slightly burned or stucked to the frying pan.
I’m always happy when my pancakes come out exactly right – cooked through, but not overdone! Since most of the time, I’m just guessing and hoping that I get the temperature right, I thought I’d do a bit of testing to find out exactly what’s the best temperature for cooking pancakes is.
The ideal temperature is 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius on a griddle or medium to medium-high heat on the hob or a stovetop for traditional buttermilk pancakes. As you will see later the actual pancake cooking temperatures can vary from 350 – 375 Fahrenheit, which is about 175 – 190 Celsius – it slightly depends on what you are using to cook your pancakes with and also what type of pancake batter you have.
A griddle with temperature control is the best tool for cooking pancakes because it allows for precise temperature control, but a non-stick skillet or frying pan will work just fine as long as you keep an eye on the heat.
I prefer to use a non-stick frying pan and still add a small amount of oil or butter to the cooking surface before I cook the first pancake to stop my pancakes from sticking.
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What is the best temperature to cook pancakes?
The ideal temperature for cooking pancakes is medium heat, which is around 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius.
Cooking pancakes at low temperature can result in pancakes that are undercooked and pale, while cooking them at too high a temperature can cause them to burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. Preheating the pan or griddle is also important to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.
While temperature is important, there are other factors to consider when making pancakes, such as the pancake batter consistency and any ingredients you choose to include (such as fresh blueberries or chocolate chips).
What happens if you don’t get the temperature right?
I’m quite impatient, when it comes to making pancakes and often try to hurry them by turning the heat up too much. This means that my pancakes are sometimes way too dark (I never actually burn them, but I’ve been close).
If the temperature is too high, the outside of your pancakes will cook (or burn) too quickly and the inside will stay runny.
If you lower the temperature too much, your pancakes will sort of dry out more than cook themselves and they are also not going to rise as much as the baking powder needs medium to high temperature to get activated.
To make sure that you get the right temperature and your pancakes cook evenly, preheat your griddle or frying pan properly before adding the pancake batter.
Equipment for cooking pancakes
You can cook pancakes on lots of different types of pans from specialist pancake pans, griddles to frying pans and even large saucepans.
Ideally, you want to use non-stick surface, whether it’s frying pan or griddle, but older non-stick surface frying pans will work as well (you just need to be extra careful as the pancake batter might stick).
A stand alone electric griddle with temperature control is great for cooking pancakes because you can set the griddle to the temperature you want, and the flat surface is perfect for getting your pancakes just right. But not everyone is lucky enough to have one (or have a space for them the kitchen), so I’ve included other equipment you can cook your pancakes with:
- Electric Griddle
- Frying Pan
- Pancake Pan
- Large Saucepan or stock pot
- Baking tray
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Choosing the right temperature for different types of cooking equipment
Pancakes electric griddle cooking temperature
For electric griddles, set the temperature to 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius. This is the ideal temperature for cooking pancakes to a golden-brown color.
Pancakes stove top – hob – electrical or gas cooking temperature
For cooking pancakes on a stovetop or a hob, set the heat to medium to medium-high initially and then slightly lower the heat if the pancakes are cooking too quickly (and getting brown too soon).
Pancakes induction hob cooking temperature
I can never quite work out how to cook on induction hob, as the temperature seems to be always too low or too high and I find it difficult to control.
My mum has an induction hob, so I’ve been practising to make the perfect pancakes whilst I was staying with her. The ideal temperature seems to be medium high, which is about 9-10 points (on the 15 points scale) that this particular induction hob has.
I always start with medium high – say 9 points to preheat the frying pan and then lower the temperature slightly down to 7 or 8 points depending on how quickly the pancakes are browning.
Pancakes air fryer cooking temperature
It’s best to preheat your air fryer to 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius for 3-4 minutes before you cook your first pancake, and use the cake barrel or pizza pan inside your air fryer for best results.
Pancakes oven cooking temperature
You can also cook pancake batter in a shallow baking tray and make sheet pancakes.
You can use any kind of pancake recipe and just pour it into a suitable baking tray making the batter level about 1-1,5 cm (1/2 inch) high. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until your pancakes are golden brown. Cut into squares and serve with any topping you like as if these were your regular pancakes.
If you are cooking your pancakes in the oven, you will want to preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit or 175-180 Celsius (similar to most cake cooking temperatures).
Since the cooking time of sheet pancakes is very quick, you want to make sure that the oven is properly pre-heated.
This means that any pre-heat control light should be off and the temperature inside your oven should be 350 F or 180 C before you place your tray in. The tray itself shouldn’t be pre-heated and you should place your baking tray in the middle of your oven for best results.
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How to achieve the correct temperature for cooking or frying your pancakes
Appart from setting the electric griddle to the right temperature or turning the gas or electricity stove or hob to medium high heat, you need to make sure that the frying pan or a griddle reaches the actual temperature you need to cook your pancakes.
It’s no use just to switch the griddle on or put the frying pan on the hob and start cooking, you need to pre-heat your cooking equipment first and wait for it to get hot.
This can take about 5-7 minutes for electric griddle (but please check with your manufacture’s manual), 1 minute for gas hob, 1-2 minutes for induction hob/stove, but probably up to 10 minutes for your oven (depending on your make – my Rangemaster takes a good 10 minutes to reach about 180 Celsius).
Testing the temperature with small amount of pancake batter
If you have the time (and the patience…) you can test the temperature of your griddle or frying pan by cooking one small pancake (or a spoon ful of the pancake batter) before you start cooking the whole batch.
If the pancake takes too long to cook (and doesn’t start forming bubbles inside the pancake batter), the griddle or frying pan is not hot enough. If the pancake cooks too quickly or burns on the sides easily, the griddle or frying pan is too hot.
Lower or add more heat depending on the first test trial pancakes and you are ready to cook the rest of the batch.
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How to test that you have the right temperature for cooking your pancakes using water
If you have a electric griddle with a temperature set control, then your job is easy – just set it to 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius and you are done.
But if you have a frying pan and using a stove or a hob, it’s a little trickier to know exactly when the surface reaches the right temperature.
There is an easy test you can do to check that your frying pan is ready for your first batch of pancakes.
Simply flick a few drops of water on the hot surface. If the water disappears too quickly then the pan is too hot and you need to lower the temperature a little.
If the water drops sizzle and stay on the surface for a bit (don’t evaporate immediately), then your frying pan or griddle is ready.
If you have a digital thermometer (like for checking roasted meat) you can test the heat more precisely.
When I’ve done that, I actually found the 190 Celsius or 375 Fahrenheit was a little too high and I lowered the temperature to about 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit). This was for a thicker type of pancakes when I was using my pancakes pan (with thicker sides).
I also found that pancakes that use wholemeal flours or special flours such as buckwheat, tend to need a slightly lower temperature than classical pancakes made with cake – plain type of flour.
You don’t need to check the temperature with a thermometer every time you cook your pancakes, but it’s a useful thing to do when you are getting used to a new cooker or frying pan, that you’ve not used before. I’m pretty sure that next time you will know what the right temperature should feel like.
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Choosing the right cooking temperature for different types of pancakes
Classical buttermilk pancakes
Classical buttermilk pancakes without any substitutions can be cooked at the regular (higher) recommended temperatures – e.i. 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius on an electric griddle or medium-high on hob or induction stove using frying pan or pancake pan.
Brown sugar pancakes
Any pancakes with dark, brown or natural unrefined sugar (such as coconut or coconut sugar substitutions) will colour the pancake batter as well as add a wonderful flavour.
But I also found that it means that the sugar tend to sticks to the frying pan a little more and the colour makes it slightly more difficult to tell when the pancakes are ready.
I’m little cautious when I cook these and usually start on lower temperature – medium temperature on the hob or 340 Fahrenheit or 170 Celsius on the electric griddle. If you are baking these pancakes in the oven, it doesn’t seems to matter and I’d suggest that you keep the temperature at the usual 350 Fareigheigh or 180 Celsius.
Wholemeal, Buckwheat or heritage flour pancakes
Pancakes that are made with wholemeal, buckwheat or heritage flours tend to be slightly thicker than pancakes made from plain flour.
I found that cooking these at slightly lower temperature (e.g. 340 Fahrenheit or 170 Celsius) at the least for the first batch ensures that I learn how quickly they brown and whether the wholemeal grain has cooked through properly.
I find that filled pancakes (for example with peanut butter or chocolate spread) need to be cooked at a slightly lower temperature. I tend to choose 340 Fahrenheit or 170 Celsius to test the first pancake and only increase the temperature slightly if it’s needed.
Cooking the Pancakes
Now that you know what your griddle or pan temperature should be, it’s time to start cooking the pancakes.
- Use a ladle or measuring cup to pour the batter onto the griddle or pan. This will help you make evenly sized pancakes. If they are too thick, they won’t cook through properly.
- Cook the pancakes until you see bubbles forming on the surface. This usually takes about 1-2 minutes depending on the size of your pancakes.
- Flip the pancakes over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
- Keep the pancakes warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the batch. Place cooked pancakes in a single layer on wire rack set on a baking sheet to stay warm while you cook additional pancakes. You can also cover them, so that they don’t dry too much.
Flip the pancakes only once, when the edges begin to dry and the surface is covered in bubbles. It’s tempting to flip over the pancakes too soon before the sides are starting to turn dry, but this would mean that you end up with undercooked pancake as the pancake batter stays trapped in the middle uncooked.
Remember to adjust the heat as needed to maintain the right temperature. If the pancakes are cooking too quickly or too slowly, adjust the heat accordingly. And don’t forget to grease the griddle or pan between batches to prevent sticking.
This blog post was originally written on 26 March 2023 and last updated on 31 March 2023