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Perfect Diner Pancakes with Sommer of A Spicy Perspective

By Angie McGowan |

Perfect Diner Pancakes

Today I would like to introduce Sommer from the fabulous food blog, A Spicy Perspective. There’s many reasons I just adore Sommer. She’s sweet, bubbly, super creative and oh so smart. And did I mention she’s a closet pork-oholic? I haven’t met many people who were as addicted to pork as me. Her blog is fantastic. She has a great mix of classic American dishes, healthy recipes and dishes with global flair. Today Sommer is sharing the secret to perfect diner pancakes.

I’m honored to be guest posting here on Babble’s Family Kitchen today! Thanks Angie for the invite. I hope I do you proud.

My family recently spent some time along the Carolina coastline. One thing I noticed while traveling from one little beach town to the next, was that they all seemed to contain three things: a mini golf course, a discount beachwear shop, and pancake houses. While sitting at a diner one morning, in front of a half-eaten stack of golden fluffy pancakes, a question popped in my head. “Why do Diner Pancakes taste so much better than homemade pancakes?’ My mind was a Rubik’s Cube of confusion. “I’m a good cook.” I told myself, “…with a delicate palette. Why can’t I figure out how to make pancakes that taste like this?” After several trips back to the pancake houses to “investigate” this question further… in the name of research, of course, I finally arrived at a conclusion. Malt. Malted Milk Powder, as in, “I’d like to order one large chocolate malt with two straws, please.”



Diners and pancake houses have been using malt powder to flavor and sweeten their pancakes for years. That dark, yet airy, back-note I couldn’t quite put my finger on? Malted milk powder, baby. So now that the century-old mystery of diner pancakes has been revealed, here’s a recipe that addresses the three things that make the difference between good pancakes and GREAT pancakes. Flavor, Texture, and Lift—the fluff factor. The flavor should be understated so that the syrup and toppings can shine. But really, good pancakes need to be tasty enough to stand alone. As mentioned, malt powder gives pancakes an undeniable depth of flavor that vanilla alone, or even buttermilk, can’t touch. The optimal texture is produced by a thick moist batter and the proper cooking temperature. The batter should be thick, but not too thick. You should be able to scoop and pour the batter onto the griddle in a slow ribbon. The griddle should be heated to medium-high so that the pancakes cook quickly, but don’t turn dark.

Leavening affects the fluffiness of your pancakes. You need enough baking powder to create significant lift, but too much will make the pancakes bitter. Once you flip the pancakes, they should immediately pop right up. Addressing these three elements creates perfect diner pancake every time! You can find malted milk powder in the baking isle of most major grocery stores—usually by the condensed milk or non-dairy milks.


Perfect Diner Pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup malted milk powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup milk
1 extra large egg
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract)
3 Tb. melted butter


1. Heat the griddle (or non-stick skillet) to medium-high.

2. In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla until frothy.

4. Add the milk mixture to the dry mix and whisk until smooth. Finally, whisk in the melted butter. Allow the pancake batter to rest for 3-5 minutes to thicken.

5. Start by making one pancake as a test-batch to ensure your heat in accurate.

6. Use a 1/4 -1/3 cup scoop to ladle the batter onto the griddle. Cook for 1-3 minutes per side. Flip when small bubbles rise to the top of the batter.

Tip: If your batter thickens too much, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to thin it just enough to pour.

Makes 8-10 pancakes.

For even more amazing recipes from Sommer (like these delicious zucchini muffins swirled with Nutella), visit her blog, A Spicy Perspective. You can also join her facebook community and follow her on twitter for all her latest and greatest creations.

Try this Classic Pancake Recipe with 10 simple twists!

More on Babble

About Angie McGowan


Angie McGowan

Angie McGowan was a contributing blogger to Babble’s Family Kitchen, a daily food blog with recipes from her kitchen. She currently creates fun recipes for Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and many other companies. You can find more of her recipes on her personal blog, Eclectic Recipes.

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12 thoughts on “Perfect Diner Pancakes with Sommer of A Spicy Perspective

  1. Sylvie says:

    Ah ha! Great detective work.

  2. Rachel says:

    These look great, Sommer! And the malt thing is genius! Will definitely have to try these!

  3. Cécy says:

    I would have never thought about adding malted milk. My personal secret for fluffyness is a specific type of buttermilk found at earthfare. It comes in a glass bottle from a Virginia farm. It’s so thick that it makes pancakes incredible.

  4. Parsley Sage says:

    Thanks for hosting Sommer and her oh-so-delicious pancake recipe! You’ve got an awesome site, very yummy!

  5. Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet says:

    Delicious!! Wonderful guest post Sommer!! :) Now I’m off to go make pancakes.


  6. Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    Malted milk powder? I’m going to have to try that. Great guest post! Sommer, thank you for the introduction to The Family Kitchen.

  7. Liz says:

    Such fabulous pancakes! I’m a huge fan of Sommer and her blog, and so nice that she lead me to yours~

  8. Dmarie says:

    Sommer, this is sheer genius! I’ve been on a malt kick lately, adding it to my chocolate milk (coconut milk) anytime I want something sweet, so I will definitely be making these pancakes on Saturday, my “cheat day.” Pretty sure this is yet another recipe from the kitchen of Spicy Perspective that will be one of this family’s forever favorites!!

  9. Kelly H. says:

    Wow! Now I have to go get some malted milk powder so I can try making these! (My dad loves making malts anyway!) I’ve been trying to figure out why diner pancakes taste so much better than mine. Now if I can just figure out how Waffle House makes their waffles . . . (maybe they put malted milk powder in them, hmmm!)

  10. Fausto says:

    Has anyone made these yet? Can they write and see if it tastes like diner pancakes? Gonna try this, thanks for posting it!

  11. Annarosa says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I think this is simply THE BEST pancake recipe! tops any other pancake I ever made…. Made these a number of times and I have impressed anyone who ate them!

  12. Tina says:

    Please, please….what about those really special & unique “Original Pancake House” Buttermilk Pancakes? NO ONE knows THEIR recipe. It really IS top secret. They admit to a sourdough starter & I think there might be potato starch in them. Is anyone willing to reveal, please? Thank you so much! (LOVE your site!)

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