Small Batch Buttermilk Lemon Ricotta Cheese Pancake

This is one fluffy and soft Lemon Ricotta Cheese Pancake that you wouldn’t regret having for breakfast, you might end up asking for more. Pancake for breakfast is one of the easy breakfast item that you can prepare even on a weekday, done is less than 30 minutes.

This was not supposed to be a post, but an evening pancake craving turned out to be so amazing that I decided to this recipe is worth sharing. Most probably you have tried making pancakes before and you probably have your own favorite pancake recipe. I ask you to give this a chance, because I am so excited how good it taste, and how soft and fluffy it is that I want you to share my excitement and happiness about this pancake. I cannot stress how soft and fluffy this is, but let me tell you why.

What is Buttermilk

Buttermilk or Sour Milk is a fermented dairy milk. It was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream. If you have tried making homemade butter before, this is the liquid that separates as soon as the whipping cream starts to form into a butter.

Small Batch Pancake

Substitute for Buttermilk

Here in Canada, buttermilk is something that is not sold in small portion. The smallest is is 1L which is quite a lot. I only bought buttermilk maybe once or twice but I stopped buying it because I always ended up with so much left that I cannot consume. Homemade buttermilk is easy to make. As mentioned above, buttermilk is just sour milk. Homemade buttermilk is not going to be as thick as store-bought buttermilk but it does the work of producing a light, airy and fluffy texture for bake products or no bake products like pancake. Here are 2 substitute options for recipe that calls for buttermilk. I always go for the first option as this is what I mostly have available.

  • Milk + Lemon Juice: To make your own buttermilk simply mix regular milk with lemon juice or plain white vinegar. Something acidic which will make the milk curdle.
    • Mix 1 cup Milk + 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until it curdle. if making a small batch, simply adjust the amount of lemon juice.
  • Yogurt or Sour Cream thinned with milk or plain water will also do the trick. This is because Yogurt is already fermented milk, thicker than buttermilk but the acidity in the Sour cream will react to baking powder or baking soda, or any acidic ingredients.
Buttermilk Lemon Ricotta Pancake

Why Use Buttermilk in a Pancake?

Pancake that uses buttermilk tends to have a softer fluffier texture and this is because how the buttermilk reacts with the acidic ingredients like baking soda, cheese, cocoa powder, banana, etc. For example, the acid in the buttermilk kick starts the baking soda into action for extra height. If you pay close attention, you would notice that the batter will starts to form bubbles, and these bubbles are what makes the pancake fluffy and airy. Buttermilk also helps to break down strands of gluten, leading to a fine and tender crumb.

Pancake for Two

Can I Make this Pancake Using Regular Milk?

Yes you can, but the texture will not be as soft and fluffy as when using buttermilk.

Tips for a Soft and Fluffy Pancakes

  1. Measure the ingredients properly – You will only be using few ingredients for pancake, and one of the main ingredients is flour. Since pancake are almost like instant cake that doesn’t require whipping and creaming, it is important to have the right amount of flour. Too much flour can make the cake tough, and too little can make it runny. So measure properly and use the spoon level technique. This means scooping the flour using the measuring cup, and then using the handle of the spoon or fork or anything flat to level the flour. Don’t just tap it to get it level, little amount matter in making this pancake.
  2. Do NOT Over Mix the Batter – You’ve probably read this time and time again because it is an important thing to remember in making cake, muffins or quick breads. The more you mix, the more gluten develops which will result to a tough dense pancakes, you don’t want that. Stop as soon as the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated, there will still be small lumps but those are fine. Don’t try to make the batter smooth.
  3. Allow the Batter to Rest – Let the batter sit for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. All that gluten that was activated when you mix the batter will relax, and the starch in the flour will absorb the liquid in the batter, making it thicker. Keep it chilled in the fridge.
  4. Don’t Flip Too Soon – Are we not all excited when its time to flip the pancakes? That’s my favorite part, but flipping soon could end up with a distorted torn pancakes. So how do you know when it’s time to flip? When the top of the pancakes starts to have large burst bubbles and the top is slightly getting cook and dry, the side should also be browned and stable so that it could hold the pancake when you flipped it. A soft uncooked edge will break the pancake you flip it.
  5. Hot Pan but Not Too Hot – Excited to cook the pancake and eat it? Don’t bump up the heat, and be patient. High heat can cause uneven cooking resulting to burnt outside and uncooked inside. You want a medium steady heat so that the pancake is cook evenly inside and out.
  6. Greasing the pan – Don’t go pouring oil into the pan please. Brush butter on the pan or use paper towel to brush it with oil. You want it nicely greased, but not swimming with oil. Pouring the oil directly to the pan can cause uneven cooking as some part will absorb too much oil, not to mention you will end up with a greasy pancakes.
  7. Don’t try to make the consistency smooth – This is one instance in making “cake” that lumps are ok. You will definitely have a thick batter with lumps in it, expect that to happen and don’t panic. You are on the right track. As long as the wet and dry ingredients are mix well and no trace of raw flour in the batter, that should work.
  8. Do a test run – Although optional, it’s always good to cook 1 piece first before cooking a bigger batch. This will give you chance to adjust the heat and practice on your “flipping”. Once you get used in making pancakes, you wouldn’t even have to do it. Adjust the heat as needed for the succeeding pieces.

There you go, 8 simple tips to have a soft and fluffy homemade pancakes. Let’s put it to use, and let me know how it goes for you when you try it.

You can serve it with ice cream on the side (remember, it’s a dessert), a whipped cream on top, fresh fruits on the side, or Chocolate Ganache sauce. Whichever you choose, I’m sure you will be satisfied. Let’s get started!

Small Batch Lemon Ricotta Pancake


Serving For Two (Makes 4 medium pancakes)

  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt (I used fine salt)
  • 1/4 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk ( Make Your Own: 1/2 cup Milk + 1/2 tabelspoon Lemon Juice)
  • 1 Egg – room temperature (egg yolk and egg white separated)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Butter melted and cooled
  • Zest of 1 Lemon


  1. Dry Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Wet Ingredients: Combine the milk and beaten egg yolk together.
  3. Dry + Wet Ingredients: Add the wet ingredients mixture and ricotta cheese to the dry ingredients mixture, gently stir until just combined and no flour traces of raw flour. Lumps are ok, do not try to make the batter smooth as it will make the pancake tough and flat.
  4. Add Butter: Gently stir in the melted butter and vanilla extract.Whisk Egg White: In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites for about 1-2 minutes or until white and fluffy. Gently fold in the pancake batter until just combined. Do not over mix to avoid deflating the air.
    • Alternatively, you can also use the entire egg and add the whole egg in step 2. The whisking of the egg white aims to give a fluffier and softer pancake, although using a whole egg also produces soft and fluffy pancakes. In this recipe, I whisked the egg whites.
  5.  Cook: Heat your frying pan or griddle to medium heat. Dab a paper towel with oil or melted butter and wipe the pan/griddle with it. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter and use a spoon to slightly spread it. Let the pancake cook until bubbles on the top start to pop and the sides are browned and stable, about 4 minutes. Flip to cook the other side, about 2-3 minutes. Wipe your pan off after every two batches or so, and grease with butter and oil as needed.

Makes 4 pancakes (1/3 cup measurement)

Small Batch Lemon Pancake

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