The Single Ingredient You Need For The Ultimate Fluffy Pancakes

Pancakes are as universal as it gets. No matter where you travel, there is likely some version of it — from the crempogs in Wales, the panqueques con dulce de leche in Argentina, or the glorious pannekoek in South Africa. We all love pancakes not only as a delicious treat but also as a fun cooking tradition. It doesn't get much better than flipping these little (or big) oozy patties on a lazy Sunday and of course drowning them in butter and maple syrup. Despite the simplicity, we strive to find little tweaks with the ingredients or even our spatula-flipping techniques, all in our quest to achieve the perfect pancake.

While taste is obviously an important feature, the texture and appearance of a pancake are just as critical. We Americans often judge a pancake's worth by its fluffiness, frequently poking it with a fork or finger to gauge its buoyancy. But not all are lovers of a little bounce as seen with the thinner style of the French crepe.

Fortunately, there is a unique ingredient we can use in our next pancake mix to provide a truly awe-inspiring fluff and delectable flavor.

A super grain for super fluff

Fonio is a super-grain from West Africa that is sort of a mix between quinoa and couscous. While it has been a popular ingredient in African cuisine for thousands of years, it is still relatively unknown in the U.S. The savory toasted, nutty flavor, along with it being gluten-free, give it a lot of potential as an ingredient or side dish in various meals.

Fonio can be mixed into any traditional pancake batter, which typically includes vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and butter. Cook the fonio beforehand, add a little coconut oil, and toast it in a pan for a minute. Then, add a cup of water and bring to a boil. For an even more desirable consistency, prepare the night before and store in the fridge. For breakfast in the morning, just mix the cooked fonio into your batter and get flipping. Of course, it would be remiss not to mention serving it with some maple syrup and butter.

In addition to the fluff, the fonio can give pancakes a crumblier crust, which adds to the pleasure of the feathery-soft bites. With the help of the protein-rich fonio, these pancakes will keep you fueled for the day ahead. While it's still not quite a mainstream item, you can usually find fonio on Amazon, Walmart or other large grocers.

With fonio, your pancakes can reach glorious new heights but don't be surprised if you never go back to your traditional pancake mix.