• Caramelised banana pancakes (Donal's Kitchen Hero)Source: Donal's Kitchen Hero
Get a head start on this glorious stack of fluffy golden pancakes.
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22 Apr 2020 - 11:13 AM  UPDATED 22 Apr 2020 - 11:13 AM

You want fluffy golden pancakes on your plate, dripping with sticky syrup, as soon as possible after you get out of bed?

Overnight fridge batter is the answer.

Pancakes aren’t hard to make, but many recipes for light, fluffy pancakes require you to rest the batter after mixing or to whisk egg whites and carefully fold them into your batter. Both will give you a satisfying stack – we love these blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and bacon (a stand-the-batter version) or Adriano Zumbo’s indulgent pancakes with banana-caramel cream (an eggwhite style).

But for getting a great pancake made FAST, turn the resting time to your advantage. Make the batter the night before, and then you’re all set to go in the morning.

That resting time helps give you that lovely fluffy texture.

“With any pancake batter, you don't want to overwork the mixture. The more you beat that flour through, the more the gluten starts to work, and you need to allow it to relax afterwards,” says Irish cook Donal Skehan. The best thing to do, he says, is leave it for at least an hour, or overnight, in the fridge.

Of course, if you’ve got the time to rest the batter on the morning you make them (or evening – pancakes for dessert are a winner too), you can use the time to cook up an indulgent topping. Skehan likes to serve his American-style pancakes with caramelised bananas and a sticky sauce made with golden syrup and butter.

Caramelised banana pancakes

“Sweet and sticky caramelised banana pancakes are guaranteed to go down well,” he says of the version he shares in Donal’s Kitchen Hero (get the recipe here).

“Pancakes like this, they go beautifully with a bit of bacon if you like your savoury-style pancakes, but like this, it's a really sweet treat and it's perfect for a weekend brunch.”

While we're talking sweet syrups, here are a few more of our favourite toppings: maple butter, which you can keep in the fridge for up to a month, ready to pull out when the pancake urge strikes; Poh Ling Yeow's orange, cinnamon and star anise syrup; and the saffron-cardamom syrup included in the recipe for these Indian pancakes (the batter for these needs to rest for four hours, so it's another you could easily turn into an overnight pancake). 

Getting ahead with fridge batter is also the secret to another of our favourite pancakes, gut-friendly fermented Indian dosa. These rice and dhal pancakes can serve as a vehicle for any filling you like, and they are great for those looking for a gluten-free wrap. The fermented batter will last for days in the fridge; if you can, let the batter stand out of the fridge for a bit before using it.

How to have gut-friendly fermented pancakes all week long
A batch of batter will last for days - great whether you're looking for a gluten-free alternative to bread or just want a healthy meal.

Another savoury fridge-batter favourite: In this Food Safari recipe for banh xeo – crisp Vietnamese pancakes – the batter can sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.

Vietnamese has been described as "one of the healthiest alternatives to fast food".

Whether you lean to sweet or savoury, an overnight pancake batter can make your breakfast satisfaction just that bit quicker!

For hundreds of other sweet and savoury pancake recipes see our pancake collection

See Donal Skehan make his banana pancakes and many more delicious dishes in Donal's Kitchen Hero, currently airing weeknights 5.30pm on SBS Food and then on SBS On Demand. Those indulgent pancakes are a star of season 3 of Kitchen Hero; season 3 starts on Friday 23 April and sees Donal on the road in a vintage van, cooking at festivals and gatherings around Ireland. 

More perfect pancakes
Pancakes with blueberry, banana and honey

Stack these fruity pancakes high for your next brunch, made with oat flour and chia for a wheat-free go-to.

Easy buckwheat pancakes

You can never have too many pancake recipes, and having a buckwheat one up your sleeve is essential. Buckwheat flour has a nutty, earthy, aromatic flavour – and it's naturally gluten-free friendly. 

Millet idli or dosa

This Indian fermented batter can be used to make either steamed cakes (idli), or crispy pancakes (dosa).

Don’t flip out! Here’s how to nail the perfect pancake
Could you survive the Michael Mosley pancake challenge? Maybe with these expert tips!
Currant, honey and walnut pancakes (tiganites)

Some Greeks believe the popular breakfast dish tiganites was the first documented pancake in the world. True or not, with 2,500 years of culinary history, you can be sure they’re delicious.

Chocolate pancakes (three in the pan)

Three in the pan is a traditional mini pancake cooked, as the name suggests, by putting three dollops of batter in one pan. Traditionally, they're filled with raisins, currants and apple, but glace ginger, mint or orange zest will work too.