Apr 9, 2023 - Food and Drink

Recipe: Ina Pinkney's Heavenly Hots Pancakes

Ina's Heavenly Hots Pancakes served on a white plate with a coffee mug that says "Ina's."

Photo: Courtesy of Steve Hamilton

Chicago's Breakfast Queen, Ina Pinkney, turns 80 years young this year, and the chef community is putting on a shindig on April 26 to celebrate.

  • The birthday bash will raise funds for Green City Market and Pilot Light educational programs.

What's happening: We thought this would be a great time to ask the woman who fed Chicago breakfast at Ina's for 22 years to share a recipe.

Morning meal meditation: "Breakfast is a siren song," Pinkney tells Axios. "Sunny side up eggs fried in excellent olive oil with frizzled edges, a baked frittata with pasta and cheeses, huevos rancheros, fresh bread with soft sweet butter and coffee — dishes that swirl and set off longings."

The recipe: Ina's Heavenly Hots Pancakes, a staple at her legendary erstwhile restaurant.

Backstory: "I saw the recipe in 'The Breakfast Book' by Marion Cunningham, and the first time I made them, it was revelatory!"

  • When Pinkney asked Cunningham if she could tweak the recipe and use the name, "her response was, 'Have at it, my good woman!' Be still, my heart!"
  • Today this good woman shares the recipe for these light and tender pancakes with us. You can find more in her Ina's Kitchen cookbook.

Heavenly Hots Pancakes


  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream (not Daisy Brand, which is delish but too thin)
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 2 tbsp. potato starch
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

The batter: In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.

  • Make the batter the day before, and store in a closed container in the refrigerator.

The cooking: Heat a griddle or fry pan on medium high heat. Coat with a thin film of oil. Carefully "place" a large spoonful of batter in the pan to make a 3-4 inch pancake. When a few bubbles appear, turn them over very carefully, and cook until lightly browned.

Of note: The pancakes want to tear, because they are so delicate, so use the thinnest pancake turner you have. Do a few tests first, and eat them before anyone sees.

To serve: We offered them with peach, raspberry, blueberry compote, but you can use any fruit you have or maple syrup.


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