This Surprising Ingredient Will Help You Get Fluffier Pancakes

For many breakfast items, cooking variations run the gamut. Some like their eggs over easy, while others like them scrambled, and many prefer crispy bacon over thick and chewy bacon. As for pancakes, however, preferences are few and far between. Everybody likes a fluffy pancake.

It's easy to get fluffy pancakes if you're using a pre-made mix, or if you order them off the menu at IHOP, but when you make them from scratch it can be hit or miss. Baking powder and baking soda are the leavening ingredients responsible for making pancakes light and airy, but add too much and they'll make your pancakes taste chalky, and add too little and you'll risk your pancakes turning out limp (via Bon Appetit). Considering how finicky baking powder and baking soda can be, Taste of Home recommends balancing out their properties with another ingredient: mayonnaise. Mayonnaise hardly screams breakfast, but according to Taste of Home, the combination of its components — the vinegar, eggs, and oil — takes your pancakes to the next level.

Why does mayonnaise make pancakes fluffy?

By adding just two or three tablespoons of mayonnaise into your pancake batter, you're essentially adding another leavening agent, but without the added chalkiness that comes from too much baking powder or baking soda. As Taste of Home explains, mayonnaise contains vinegar, an acid that when combined with baking soda activates carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide allows the batter to rise when the pancakes cook, and the acidity breaks down the protein in the flour. While you could easily add vinegar on its own to your pancake batter, mayonnaise is a better option altogether because it also contains egg whites that trap air bubbles, and egg yolks and oil that incorporate more fat. More fat means a less dense pancake because the formation of extra gluten in your flour is prevented by the lipids in the oil, Taste of Home explains. By adding only one extra ingredient to your pancakes, you get the benefit of mayonnaise's acidity and fat to produce extra fluffy results every time.