Eli5: What creates the typical pancake pattern that you see on American pancakes after they are cooked?


I make pancakes quite often and yesterday when I made a batch I looked at the one on the top and asked myself how this typical pancake pattern of a darker center and a darker edge comes about. Is it uneven heat distribution on the burner or is it the pan I cook them in ? Or something else entirely?

In: 0

Pretty sure it’s the pan. Make sure the bottom of it is clean/shiny as it can be.. Unless it’s a cast iron.

Heat distribution, try cooking at a lower temperature for longer before buying triclad pans, might be all you need.

In addition to the other comments, make sure the pan’s up to temperature first – otherwise the inside could have been at temperature but the outside could have still been warming up, leading to the uneven cooking.

It’s about the temperature of the pan. You plop down the batter on a hot pan, and the first bit to touch the pan gets the majority of the heat (the center of the pancake). This center bit initially sticks in place, and the top cooler bits of the batter flow down and around onto the now cooler pan surface. Once the pancake batter stops flowing, at the outer perimeter edges the batter is at its thinnest depth. This thinness of the cool batter allows that portion of the pan heat up faster than the portions of the pan where the rest of the pancake batter is, enabling this outer edge to receive more heat and also become darker. These two phenomenon pair together to make the very center, and the outer edges, the most well cooked.

The dark color is a result of the maillard reaction, which is the chemical reaction in cooking food that gives bread crust and the delicious outer bits of cooked meat. It is a caramelization of the proteins and carbohydrates on the exterior where the heat levels are the highest