Have you ever wondered why pancakes from a restaurant turn out so well—golden brown, light, and fluffy—while your homemade versions don’t quite match up? The answer is simple: Make pancakes on a griddle.
In this guide, we’ll give you the full rundown on how to make pancakes on the Traeger Flatrock Flat Top Grill, from preparing the batter to preheating the griddle, cooking the pancakes, and customizing your pancakes with the perfect range of toppings.
But before we get into the cooking details, there’s a question we have to answer: Why make pancakes on the griddle in the first place, rather than just using a pan?
To get those picture-perfect pancakes of your dreams, you absolutely must have even heating.
That’s why a griddle is the superior cooking tool for pancakes—its thick metal plates do a better job of storing and retaining heat and then transferring that heat evenly to your pancakes. Thinner pans just can’t do the same job and will lead to undercooked or unevenly cooked cakes.
Additionally, the completely flat surface of a griddle makes it easy to flip and maneuver your pancakes. Try that in a cast iron pan, and you’ll more than likely end up splashing oil around or mis-flipping your pancakes.
If that wasn’t enough, you can use the griddling space on our new Flat Top Grill to cook up an entire breakfast, with heat-controlled zones that allow for perfectly cooked eggs, bacon, pancakes, and more.
Follow this step-by-step process, and you’ll end up with perfectly golden brown and fluffy pancakes every time. Once you’re comfortable with the recipe and tools involved, it should only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, making it a quick and delicious breakfast option.
For this article, we’re going to be using our Traeger recipe for Flat Top Buttermilk Pancakes. It’s been tested by expert chefs to maximize flavor while minimizing prep time and effort.
Why this recipe? Two reasons.
One, it’s made specifically for cooking with our Traeger grills and griddles. And two, its combination of buttermilk, baking powder, and baking soda leads to fluffy and golden brown pancakes every time.
On the left-hand side of that recipe, you’ll see a slider above the ingredient list. That will let you choose how many people you’re cooking for, and automatically adjust the ingredient quantities to match. Pretty handy.
Once your pancake batter is ready, you’ll need to gather your cooking tools: A sturdy spatula, and a ⅓ cup measure.
Our long-handled Traeger BBQ Grilling Spatula will do the job nicely here, giving you plenty of flipping surface to work with and a comfortable teak wood handle.
And for the ⅓ cup measure, use a glass cup if you have one available. That way you won’t have to worry about a plastic measuring cup accidentally coming in contact with the grill. If you don’t have one handy, you can also use a small coffee mug or teacup.
“Medium” is the right griddle temperature for cooking pancakes. If the heat is too low, they won’t brown and fluff up well; if it’s too high, they’ll be overcooked on the outsides but still wet in the middle.
Once your griddle is at medium heat, add about a two-tablespoon pat of butter. Spread it around with the same spatula that you’ll be using to flip the pancakes. Once it’s evenly distributed, you’re ready to add your batter.
When your griddle is oiled and preheated, it’s time to add the pancake batter.
Use the ⅓ cup measure that you gathered earlier, and quickly dollop out pancakes with it, one at a time.
Cook each pancake until bubbles start to form around the edges, which should take 2 to 3 minutes. Then flip them with your trusty spatula, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer each pancake to a serving platter or plate, and cover to keep them warm.
If you’re cooking for a larger group, then for each successive round of pancakes, add another pat of butter on the cooktop. You always want there to be a thin layer of butter before you start cooking another batch.
Is there anything more classic than pancakes with maple syrup? Do your best to find 100 percent pure maple syrup rather than a blend that uses high fructose corn syrup. The texture and flavor of the genuine article are leaps and bounds better than the artificial stuff. If you want an extra wood-fired flavor, try out our smoked simple syrup recipe and replace simple syrup with genuine maple syrup.
Whichever butter you choose, be sure to take it out of the fridge before you start cooking your pancakes. That way it will be soft and spreadable when it’s time to serve.
Blueberries, strawberries, bananas, peaches—there’s hardly a fruit that doesn’t pair well with pancakes. Slice them up prior to serving, or simply serve them in a bowl on the side of your pancake spread.
Store-bought whipped cream will do the trick if you’re short on time, but handmade whipped cream is less difficult to make than you might imagine. Our recipe for smoked whipped cream is particularly special, if you’re looking to liven up your breakfast spread.
Simple to add and easy to eat, chocolate chips are great to have on hand for your pancake breakfasts. Look for the smallest chips you can find, as they melt easier.
A sprinkling of chopped or crushed nuts can be an elegant finishing touch on perfectly cooked pancakes. Softer nuts like walnuts and pecans work particularly well here; for harder nuts like almonds or pistachios, crush them well before sprinkling over the top of your pancakes. For a little extra work, but a lot of gain, you can even candy your own nuts and smoke them by following these steps.
Use a whole cinnamon stick and a microplane grater, and you’ll be able to perfume your pancakes with exotic spices. A light dusting of cinnamon is a perfect complement to rich maple syrup.
Good quality honey from a local beekeeper can take a pancake from good to great. Honey is an especially nice topping when combined with yogurt or cinnamon, but it’s delicious on its own as well.
A dollop of a thick, Greek-style yogurt is an interesting foil to light, fluffy pancakes, without being quite as sweet as whipped cream. It pairs perfectly with any type of fruit you might want to add; blueberries are always a crowd-pleaser.
For the ultimate guilty pleasure, try topping your pancakes with candied bacon. Mix a quarter cup of brown sugar with a tablespoon of maple syrup, spread this paste over eight slices of bacon, then bake it in foil for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. It will come out crispy, glossy, sweet, salty, and downright delicious, too.
Rather than cooking your pancakes separately and then adding toppings, you can also consider using different base recipes for your pancakes. Here, we’ve collected four of our favorites from the Traeger kitchen.
All the sweet deliciousness of cinnamon rolls, wrapped up in pancake batter: That’s the magic behind this recipe. It uses a different batter base than our buttermilk pancakes, to better pair with the cinnamon filling and cream cheese glaze. And while it takes a few more kitchen tools (like an icing bag) to create, this is a recipe sure to wow your family.
Taking a flavor pairing from Elvis’s favorite sandwich, this recipe combines sweet bananas and salty, smoky bacon to create an unforgettable flavor sensation. A small addition of cornmeal in the batter adds more texture here, while the buttermilk base ensures that each pancake cooks up fluffy and golden brown.
Taking banana’s tropical and fruity flavor in a different direction, this recipe pairs it with the caramelized flavor of English toffee chips. While it looks and sounds quite fancy, this recipe is actually very easy to make. It should only take about 20 minutes from prep time to serving if you’re making it on the Flatrock.
Pancakes don’t necessarily need to be the star of the show or the main course—they can also play a supporting role, as when they’re used as the buns in this Smoked Sausage Pancake Sandwich. This recipe is awesome for more than just breakfast, since it’s hearty enough to make a great meal out of any time of day.
Classic crab cakes are perfect for cooking outside on your flat top. They’re delicious paired with lightly dressed greens as a first course or paired with heartier sides as a main dish. While fresh crab is always a treat, canned crab works well, too.
Chef JRob describes his sweet brunch dish as a cross between French toast and cheesecake. Yet the cream cheese and blueberry filling could not be easier to make, and the large surface area of the flat top lets you cook all the brioche at once so everyone can eat at the same time.
We’re taking the classic smashed burger up a notch with porcini powder and a special sauce. The dried mushroom powder, sometimes called dust, gives the meat an even deeper savory flavor. If your supermarket carries dried porcinis but not powder, simply grind the whole dried mushrooms in a spice grinder. Spreading a little mayo on the buns before toasting them makes them nicely browned and crisped.
Diva Q makes this fantastical, many-layered cake for her kids, who request it often for breakfast (and just about any other time of day). Once you try it, you will know why. For best results, let the crepe batter rest for at least a couple of hours but preferably overnight.
This quick and tasty appetizer is gluten free if you use tamari in place of the soy sauce. For fewer bowls needed at the grill, consider combining the garlic, ginger, scallions, and the red pepper flakes, if using, into one bowl.
Though this batter is exceptionally thick, it yields light and fluffy pancakes, thanks to the egg yolks and whites getting separated and added to the batter at different times. Bonus: You don’t even have to whip the whites first.
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great choice for cooking on the griddle. As convenient and quick cooking as chicken breast, they have a deeper flavor and are more forgiving so they’re almost guaranteed to stay juicy after cooking. We like the heat the jalapeño ribs provide. If that’s not your thing, cut the seeds ribs out of the slices. Depending on how filled you like your fajitas, you may have extra vegetables; if so, save them to use in omelets or on pizza.
Cooking fajitas on a flat top griddle makes the process so easy because you can sear the steak, cook the vegetables, and toast the tortillas in three different heat zones at the same time. If you like spicy food, leave the ribs in the jalapeños.
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