When Do You Flip Pancakes?

Pancakes are a favorite breakfast staple across the world. They are easy to make and can be altered in endless variations. You can make them plain, with vegetables added, with chocolate chips embedded, or even left-handed!

Making pancakes is a fun way to spend some time before breakfast is served. Many people enjoy making pancakes just as much as they like eating them. How do you like your pancakes? With butter and syrup or jam?

The most difficult part of making pancakes is when to flip them. It can be tricky to determine if they are cooked on both sides, and if you flip them too early or too late, you will have raw pancake batter on your plate.

Today we are going to teach you how to know when your pancakes are ready to be flipped.

Two-eyed monster

when do you flip pancakes

A pancake flip is when you turn a pancake over in its pan. This is usually done once on each side to create a solid, cooked pancake.

Many people believe that you must flip the pancake when the batter runs out of the pan and onto the top of the pancake, creating a two-eyed monster.

This theory comes from how long to wait for the batter to run out as well as how long to cook the other side of the pancake. The problem with this theory is that it does not take into account dripping off the sides or how browned the pancake becomes.

If you wait for the two eyes to appear, then your pancake will be overcooked and burnt on one side!

General tips: When flipping your pancakes, wait until there is little to no batter running off of the pan and onto the top of your pancake.

Fork flip

when do you flip pancakes

A forked flip is when you lift the pancake with a fork and then turn it over. This is typically done after the pancake has been turned over once, or half-way through cooking.

This is done to ensure that the other side of the pancake has texture like the first side, and that it cooks all the way through. You do not want a soft, gummy pancake!

Some cooks do a fork flip at the very beginning, before adding any batter. This helps to set the pan off-balance so that the pancakes automatically turns over as it cooks.

Like with regular flips, you can either wait until there are bubbles on top of the pancake to do your fork flip, or you can do it earlier when there is just batter on top.

Knife flip

when do you flip pancakes

A knife flip is a pancake flipping style that uses a spatula to flip the pancake over. This takes more skill to do than just flipping the pancake in the air.

Many people have seen videos or tried it themselves, but it is harder than it looks. You have to flick the pancake with the edge of the spatula and have perfect timing so it lands perfectly on the other side.

The problem with this style is that you have to keep an eye on the pan and then quickly fling the pancake at the same time. If you are not fast enough, then you will burn your pancake or hit the floor!

This takes practice so do not get too frustrated if you cannot get this down right away. Try practicing at different times so you get better at timing and flinging of the pancake.

The circle route


A less common pancake flipping method is to pour the batter into the pan, let it cook almost all the way through, then pull the pancake off the pan and circle it back onto the pan. This takes a lot of skill and practice!

Once you have mastered this technique, you can try experimenting with how you pull the pancake off the pan and how many times you circle it.

Some people circle twice while others circle three times. The difference is in how browned your pancake gets on the outside. Two circles makes for a lighter brown edge which is nice if you like that flavor profile. Three circles makes for a slightly darker edge which is more typical of what we think of as a pancake.

Either way, both are delicious! Some people also have difficulty pulling the pancake off the pan at just the right time. If you are one of these people, try using a higher heat so that your pancakes cook through more quickly.

When doing a flip, always start with your wrist flat and straight

when do you flip pancakes

Flipping a pancake is a fun way to turn over the pancake layer. Many people start their flipping practice with Eggo waffles, as they are thinner and easier to master.

To flip a pancake, you will need to hold the pan with one hand and use the other hand to lift the pan and then return it down again. To do this, your wrist must be flat and straight.

The key is to not turn your wrist or pull the pan down at an angle. This will lead to the pancake being turned over on its side instead of top to bottom.

Once you have mastered the motion, you can add in spinning the pan slightly before returning it down to land the pancake right side up.

Move your hand in a circle until the time comes to flip the pancake


Now, let’s talk about the most difficult part of making pancakes: when to flip them.

As mentioned before, you want to make sure your pancakes are not burned on the bottom, so taking your time to flip them is important.

Some recipes call for pouring the batter into the pan in a round shape first, then rounding the edges up with a spatula to form the pancake shape. This is nice because you can see if the pancake is browned on the top and bottom already.

Another tip is to give the pancake a little shake before flipping it.

Quick flip

when do you flip pancakes

A quick flip is when you turn your pancake quickly, using a sharp flick of the wrist. This creates a nice, even color on the top surface of the pancake.

As mentioned before, if you wait to turn your pancake until it is fully cooked, it will break down into pieces as you try to flip it. This is not ideal!

The downside to the quick flip is that the bottom side can get quite brown before the other sides are cooked. Once you have flipped it, you need to wait a few seconds for the other sides to cook through.

If you are not a fan of crispy pancakes, then I would recommend not doing a quick flip.

Slow flip

when do you flip pancakes

A slow flip pancake is one that takes more time to flip over. This can be done by holding the pan slightly higher and taking more time to turn the pan.

Paraphrasing comedian Kevin Hart, don’t be afraid to take your time on this one. As he says, it’s not about how hard you hit it, it’s about how hard it hits back.

In this case, it is not about how quickly you flip the pancake, it is about getting a good texture on the inside and out. A soft, fluffy interior with a slightly browned exterior is what we are going for here.

A quick flip may get you there faster, but may also result in a less-cooked pancake. You want to make sure your pan is hot enough so the batter sets quickly after being flipped. Or you can lower the heat slightly.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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