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20-Minute Brown Sugar Pancakes

on February 21, 2023
last updated April 16, 2023
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5 from 1 vote
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These fluffy homemade pancakes use brown sugar to add extra flavor and give you that perfectly golden-brown caramelized exterior every single time.
Stack of brown sugar pancakes with dripping syrup on pink plates

Searching for the perfect foolproof homemade pancake recipe that comes together quickly? These 20-Minute Brown Sugar Pancakes are easy to whip up, perfectly sweet, and have the best light and fluffy texture.

In this recipe, you will learn how to whip up a quick at-home buttermilk mixture to yield the fluffiest pancakes, how to know when the pancakes are ready to flip, and why brown sugar is the best sugar for your homemade pancake batter.

Plus, you’ll be left with your new favorite fluffy homemade pancake recipe, that comes together in less than 30 minutes and uses one simple secret ingredient to add notes of caramel and to give you the perfect golden-brown exterior (hint: it’s in the name!)

Stack of pancakes with maple syrup with bite cut out

As an environmental scientist, I try hard to source ingredients for all of my meals in a responsible and sustainable way. Making things from scratch rather than buying pre-made or mixes allows you to have more control over the ingredients.

Green tip: Organic farms rely on biodiversity to generate rich soil, avoiding the use of pesticides and fertilizers, which means no toxic runoff. Consider organic ingredients for this recipe if you can.

Brown Sugar Pancakes Ingredients

Here’s everything you need:

  • Milk & White distilled vinegar. Adding the vinegar to the milk will turn it to a thick buttermilk and makes for the fluffiest pancakes.
  • All-purpose flour. The base of your pancake batter.
  • Baking powder. So that your pancakes rise in the pan and get extra fluffy.
  • Brown sugar. For delicious caramelization on the outside of the pancakes.
  • Salt. To boost the other flavors.
  • Egg. To bind your batter together.
  • Vanilla extract. For extra flavor.
  • Butter for frying. To get perfectly golden-brown pancakes.
  • Maple syrup for serving. This is optional but recommended for extra moisture and that classic pancake and syrup combo!
All ingredients for Brown Sugar Pancakes including butter, salt, dark brown sugar, white distilled vinegar, milk, egg, baking powder, vanilla extract, and all-purpose flour

Pancakes with Brown Sugar Tips and Tricks

How to Make Buttermilk for Fluffy Pancakes

This recipe calls for acidified buttermilk, which will give you a thicker pancake batter and thus, fluffier Brown Sugar Pancakes. Acidified buttermilk can be made quickly and easily at home and can be made with any type of milk (dairy or not!).

I often choose to whip up this quick version of buttermilk rather than buy storebought buttermilk for my recipes because I rarely have buttermilk on hand (if ever), and I don’t want to buy a whole carton just to make the occasional batch of homemade pancakes.

To make your buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar (or lemon juice) to 1 cup of your milk of choice and set it aside. I usually just make mine in my measuring cup.

In a matter of minutes, the milk will slightly curdle and thicken to form buttermilk. Don’t worry, it’s safe to consume!

Adding white distilled vinegar to milk to make buttermilk

Whisk Your Dry Ingredients Together

Once you’ve set your homemade buttermilk aside, grab a large mixing bowl to make your pancake batter in.

Add your all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Pre-whisking your dry ingredients will just ensure you don’t end up with any lumps in your batter.

Adding brown sugar to dry ingredients

Add the Wet Ingredients to Your Pancake Batter

Next, add your wet ingredients to the whisked together dry ingredients. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and buttermilk mixture and whisk again until smooth.

It’s always best practice to crack eggs into a separate bowl, instead of cracking it directly into any batter. It gives you the opportunity to remove any eggshells that fall into your bowl, so it doesn’t end up in your batter.

It also means that if in the small chance you got a bloody or rotten egg, you won’t have to waste the rest of your ingredients that are already in the bowl.

Adding homemade buttermilk to pancake batter

Get the Butter Hot in the Pan

Before you add your batter to the frying pan or griddle, get it nice and hot on the stove with about 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.

The butter should be completely melted, and the pan should be nice and hot before you add any pancake batter. This will get you that perfect golden-brown crispy exterior and make it so that your pancakes don’t spread too much and turn out too flat.

Getting butter hot in a pan to fry pancakes

Fry Your Pancakes in the Pan

Once your butter is hot in the pan, you’re ready to fry your homemade pancakes with brown sugar! If you’re using a mixing bowl that doesn’t have a spout, you may want to transfer the batter back into the measuring cup or into a container with a spout.

This just makes pouring your batter into the pan much easier and will make less of a mess.

Make sure to leave at least an inch or two of space in between each pancake so you have enough room to work with your spatula and flip them. I typically make just 2 homemade pancakes at a time, and definitely no more than 3 in an 11-inch pan.

Pouring brown sugar pancake batter into pan with melted butter

How to Know When Pancakes are Ready to Flip

Each pancake will take about 3-5 minutes on each side over medium heat. You’ll know they are ready to flip when you see little air bubbles form in the pancake batter (as pictured below).

Pro tip: For thicker, perfectly round pancakes, use these pancake molds!

Fry the pancakes until they are golden brown on each side, making sure to add more butter as needed. There should always be a thin layer of butter in your pan. You may not need all 3 tablespoons of butter.

Frying two pancakes in a pan over medium heat

Serving Your Brown Sugar Pancakes

These homemade pancakes with brown sugar are delicious on their own or with just a drizzle of maple syrup or even honey! I like to serve them up with these Vegan Breakfast Sausage Patties and/or Over Hard Eggs or Soft Scrambled Eggs for a complete breakfast!

These fluffy pancakes are also a great vessel for a variety of fun toppings. Here are some of my favorite topping ideas:

  • A pat of butter (dairy or plant-based, preferably unsalted).
  • Whipped cream (dairy, coconut or almond milk based)
  • Blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries
  • Sliced bananas, peaches, or pears
  • Chopped apple
  • Cinnamon or cinnamon sugar
  • Dark chocolate chips or chocolate syrup
  • Candied walnuts
Pouring syrup over stack of pancakes with brown sugar

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Homemade Pancakes with Brown Sugar

These Fluffy Brown Sugar Pancakes will last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze these pancakes for up to 3 months.

There are two great ways to reheat your pancakes. You can either refry them in a pan (no extra butter needed!) or reheat them in the oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes (or until heated thoroughly).

Of course, in a pinch, you can microwave the leftover pancakes on high for 10-15 seconds (per pancake). Just know that microwaving may make them a little bit rubbery (especially if you overdo it).

It’s also best to not stack the pancakes while microwaving them for more even heating.

If you do freeze your pancakes, it’s best to allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating them using one of the methods listed above. Or you can simply add extra time to your re-heating.

If you have leftover batter, you can keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just store it away and fry up the pancakes within the next couple of days.

Green tip: Of the billions of tons of food wasted annually, 50% of food waste happens at home. Reduce your contribution to food waste by properly storing, reheating, and consuming leftovers.

Brown Sugar Pancakes Frequently Asked Questions

Can you substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar in pancakes?

In most cooking and baking recipes, it’s easy to substitute brown sugar for white granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio. However, it will have subtle differences in taste and sometimes texture.

This recipe for Brown Sugar Pancakes is designed to be made with brown sugar only.

Is it better to cook pancakes with butter or oil?

Pancakes can be made in either butter or oil. However, I much prefer butter because it adds tons of flavor to your pancakes.

If I’m not using butter, I will typically use coconut oil.

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Why You Should Make these 20-Minute Brown Sugar Pancakes

  • The flavor! Using brown sugar in this pancake batter lends a delicious caramel flavor and gives you the best golden-brown exterior.
  • They’re quick. Less than 30 minutes start to finish!
  • They’re easy. This recipe uses less than 10 simple pantry ingredients and requires just one bowl, a measuring cup, a frying pan, and a whisk.

If you’re loving these Brown Sugar Pancakes and want more delicious brunch-worthy syrup soakers, check out this Captain Crunch French Toast and these Dairy-Free Waffles.

Stack of brown sugar pancakes with dripping syrup on pink plates

20-Minute Brown Sugar Pancakes

5 from 1 vote
Marley Goldin
These fluffy homemade pancakes use brown sugar to add extra flavor and give you that perfectly golden-brown caramelized exterior every single time.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 pancakes


  • 1 cup milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter for frying (dairy or plant-based)


  • In a measuring cup or small bowl, add the vinegar to the milk, stir, and set aside to slightly curdle to make buttermilk.
    Adding white distilled vinegar to milk to make buttermilk
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt.
    Whisking together dry ingredients for brown sugar pancake batter
  • Add the egg, vanilla extract, and your buttermilk mixture, and whisk until smooth, careful not to overbeat.
    Brown sugar pancakes batter ready to fry up pancakes
  • Add butter to your griddle or frying pan and allow it to heat up on medium-high until the butter is melted.
    Butter melting in a pan to get ready for frying pancakes in
  • For the thickest, most perfectly round pancakes, use pancake molds. Pour batter into your molds or freeform circles onto the pan and cook over medium heat until little air pockets form.
    Two pancakes frying in a pan ready to flip
  • When you see the little air pockets on your pancakes, it’s time to flip them! Make sure there is always enough butter in your pan to fry the pancakes and to avoid them sticking (you may not need all 3 tablespoons). Just continue to add it as necessary.
  • Serve warm with maple syrup. Try them with these Vegan Breakfast Sausage Patties!

Pro Tips

  • You can easily make this recipe vegan by using flax egg in the batter and frying the pancakes in non-dairy butter.
  • You can use cooking spray instead of butter for a lighter version, but these pancakes taste really good with a little crisp on the outside. Please note, you may have to leave them on your pan or griddle a bit longer to get them golden-brown if you’re using the spray.
  • If you’re like me and love starting your day with pancakes, you’re gonna need to check out the collection of my best pancake recipes!
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Breakfast, Brown Sugar Pancakes, Brunch, Pancakes
Did you make this recipe?Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @marleysmenu on Instagram.


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