Your Pancake Fluff Factor Will Skyrocket With One Simple Key Ingredient

Pancakes are a morning staple for many people, and it's not hard to understand why — they're delicious, they require just a few common ingredients to whip up, and you can customize them however you like. From lemon zest and blueberry-packed pancakes during the summer months to pumpkin spice variations in the fall and much more, you can easily create whatever flavor combination strikes your fancy.

However, the fact that you can make small changes to your favorite recipe (if you're still seeking a template to flex your creativity on, consider this basic homemade pancake recipe) doesn't mean that they're completely foolproof. There are several common pancake mistakes that home cooks frequently make. For example, you might not be measuring your ingredients correctly, you could be using the wrong size pan or the wrong fat to grease it with, or you might be handling them too much or flipping them needlessly rather than allowing them to gently brown in the hot pan.

Whatever the reason, one of the biggest pancake let-downs is when you end up with super-flat, lifeless pancakes that are thin as sheets of paper — especially when you're dreaming of sinking your fork into a fluffy stack drizzled with your favorite syrup. If you've ended up with flat pancakes way too many times, there's a simple ingredient you'll want to start incorporating into your recipe of choice in order to amp up that fluff factor.

The secret ingredient to fluffy pancakes

To craft enviously fluffy pancakes, put down that measuring cup of water and instead pour some seltzer into the mix. The carbonated liquid may seem like a strange choice, but those bubbles are the secret to mouth-watering pancakes that won't end up flat.

Chef John Koutsouris shared this tip with Epicurious, and revealed that the simple swap of seltzer in place of water in his go-to recipe (which includes adding a handful of ingredients to a packaged pancake mix) was a total game changer. That's right — you can use this tip to level up your pancakes, even if your preferred pancake recipe is the one on the side of a box.

The ingredient works because the bubbles in the seltzer are mixed throughout the batter (although you definitely want to avoid overmixing) and then expand when the pancakes are cooking in your pan or on the griddle, creating a perfect texture. In order to make your pancakes as fluffy as they can possibly be, you also want to ensure that your seltzer is chilled — as RealSimple explains, the carbon dioxide in the seltzer dissolves in cold temperatures, creating more bubbles.

Water Exotic does note that seltzer will typically go flat about two to three days after you open it, so if you're only making pancakes once a week, you might have to pop open a fresh seltzer each time. Try using the leftovers in batters such as tempura or smoothies, as per Kitchn's suggestion.