The Unexpected Boozy Ingredient That Makes The Fluffiest Pancakes

In the world of pancake perfection, fluffy, from-scratch stacks reign supreme, and it's pretty clear why. Besides being the ultimate a.m. comfort food, fluffy pancakes excel at trapping and holding toppings like maple syrup, fruit compote, butter, or whipped cream. In the past, we've turned to time-tested tricks like buttermilk or baking powder to achieve a light and airy flapjack, but there's an unexpected boozy ingredient that promises to take your pancake game to new heights. Yes, you read that right — it's beer.

You might already know that beer is excellent for braising meats like beef, pork, and poultry, and it's also a staple as a flavorful marinade. The hoppy beverage can add depth and complexity to soups and stews, and let's not forget about the magic of beer-battered anything. But beer for breakfast? Not only does adding a little booze to your batter help fluff your pancakes, but it can also lend a unique twist to the flavor profile.

How beer creates fluffy pancakes

The trick is in the carbonation. Chef, food writer, and "Mythical Kitchen" star Josh Scherer once stumbled on the combination during a bout of culinary experimentation.

"I used to have so much light beer lying around in college, so I started to use it when I cooked...I saw someone on the Food Network put seltzer into pancake batter once, and I just thought that Natty Light was so close to seltzer that this could work," Scherer told Thrillist. "The carbonation from the beer is going to act like a leavening agent...and it gives the dish a nice funk that deepens the flavor."

The choice of beer can influence the flavor of your pancakes. Light beers will provide a milder taste, while darker beers can offer a richer and more robust flavor. Keep in mind that the alcohol in the beer will cook off during the cooking process, leaving behind the beer's unique taste. The sugar in the beverage can also aid in browning for perfectly colored pancakes.

Other excuses to use beer as a breakfast ingredient

Although having a drink before noon may be frowned upon in certain places, beer for breakfast wasn't always taboo. In fact, it is thought that monks used to rely on a sudsy breakfast during Lent back in the 17th century.

So why stop at pancake batter? There are plenty of other excuses to use beer as a breakfast ingredient. For example, beer syrup is a thing. Launched in 2014 and based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Beer Syrup Company handcrafts a variety of beer syrups like bourbon barrel stout, chocolate porter, and semi-dry cider. The company also dabbles in craft beer bread, pizza crust mix, and coffee.

Or give some ham and cheese beer bread muffins a go. A delightful twist on traditional muffins, the savory delights are a perfect marriage of rich, smoky ham, sharp cheddar cheese, and the unexpected star of the show: beer. The beer not only lends a unique flavor but also adds a light and airy texture to the muffins, making them delightfully fluffy, just like our dear pancakes.