An Empty Ketchup Bottle Will Change How You Make Pancakes Forever

What better way to start the day than with a pillowy stack of homemade pancakes in the morning? Light and fluffy on the inside and cooked to a golden, buttery-crisp on the outside, flapjacks are a delight in any form. Whether drowned in maple syrup, topped with your favorite fruits, or stuffed with chocolate chips, the possibilities are as indulgent as they are endless. However, for perfectly round pancakes with every pour, try ditching the ladle in favor of an empty ketchup bottle.

Though these condiment containers might seem destined for the recycling bin, they actually serve as excellent pancake batter dispensers. Gone are the days of painstakingly spooning batter onto the griddle, resulting in horribly misshapen blobs. There's also no need to use circular cookie cutters hoping for diner-worthy pancakes. Squeeze bottle pancakes from an empty ketchup container are the only cooking hack you need to upgrade your morning meals. Trust us, you're going to flip over these flapjacks.

Any empty squeeze bottle will do

Repurposing an empty ketchup bottle is a straightforward process. After using up the red condiment, thoroughly clean the container — you probably don't want any tomato essence in your pancakes — and pour the batter into it. (Pro tip: Whisking the batter in a bowl with a spout makes transferring it into the bottle easier and mess-free.) Then, use the bottle to evenly dispense the pancake mixture into the pan, achieving perfect circles with every squeeze.

If you don't have an old ketchup bottle, don't worry. Any squeeze container, such as a salad dressing bottle, will work. Whether it's an empty mayonnaise or barbecue sauce bottle, the best part of this pancake hack is its ability to easily create fun and unique shapes, ranging from stars and hearts to numbers and even Mickey Mouse ears. Just remember not to squeeze the bottle too hard, which can cause the batter to splatter.

Other tips for making perfect pancakes

It turns out there are numerous helpful tips to ensure your flapjacks are cooked to perfection. For starters, avoid over-whisking the batter. While you might be tempted to stir until it's silky and smooth, over-mixing can actually cause gluten to develop, leading to tough and chewy pancakes. A few lumps in the batter are okay. Additionally, don't forget to let the batter rest before pouring. Not doing so is a common mistake that kills fluffy pancakes. Ideally, let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes in order to allow the baking powder time to activate; otherwise, you might end up with thin, flat stacks.

Also, be cautious not to use too much oil or butter in the pan (unless you prefer your pancakes on the greasy side), and ensure your skillet is pre-heated for that delicious golden brown result. Last but not least: Don't overflip your pancakes. They should only be flipped once, so wait until you see bubbles forming in the batter before giving them a toss.