‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten’s Perfect Pancake Recipe Has 1 ‘Secret Ingredient’ for the Best Flavor

Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten includes one “secret ingredient” in her flavorful pancake recipe that makes them moist and fluffy: sour cream. Garten’s banana sour cream pancakes get rave reviews on the Food Network website, with comments about how “easy and delicious” it is to make this Barefoot Contessa breakfast recipe.

Ina Garten smiles for cameras attending 'Ina Garten in Conversation with Danny Meyer'
Ina Garten | Noam Galai/WireImage

Ina Garten shares her secret ingredient for amazing pancakes

While demonstrating how to make her pancake recipe, Garten explained how much of a difference adding sour cream to the batter makes. “Sour cream is the secret ingredient,” she explained. “It makes them really moist and flavorful.”

The Barefoot Contessa star shared some of her other perfect pancake tricks while demonstrating her lemon ricotta pancakes recipe that can also be applied to her sour cream version.

Garten provided one universal pancake tip about being careful not overmix the batter. Otherwise “you’ll end up with tough pancakes,” she explained.

One of her pro tips is to give the batter five minutes of resting time before you pour it into the pan. “I’m just going to let it sit for five minutes and that allows the gluten in the flour to relax,” Garten explained. “Makes a really tender pancake.”

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How to make Ina Garten’s banana sour cream pancakes

The Barefoot Contessa’s banana sour cream pancakes recipe is highly rated on the Food Network website, with Garten’s fans weighing in about how amazing the recipe is, even if you don’t have bananas on hand.

“The best pancake recipe I’ve found, it’s even delicious without the zest and bananas,” one person commented. “We’ve made this many times and it’s our go-to pancake recipe. I found that other pancake recipes have too much of an egg flavor for me, this one is just right and they come out nice and fluffy. Perfect pancakes.”

Another fan agreed, saying, “These are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made! … The batter will seem thick for pancakes, but trust Ina, she knows what she is doing. Perfect pancakes!!”


  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Unsalted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
  • Pure maple syrup

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until combined, without overmixing the batter.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it melts. Using a measuring cup, pour the batter into the pan. Add bananas to each pancake and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, watching for bubbles to appear on the top. Flip the pancake and cook an additional minute.

Continue cooking the pancakes, adding more butter to the pan for each batch. Serve the pancakes warm with additional sliced bananas and syrup.