What Is ‘Pancake Spaghetti,’ the Viral TikTok Trend? – TODAY

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When Steven Archuleta’s big new idea went viral last week, his family couldn’t believe it — not necessarily that he had an idea that caught on, but that it was something called “pancake spaghetti” that did it.
Archuleta is a retired Army infantryman with a geography degree from the University of New Mexico and a big interest in sustainability. His wife Briana says he is always inventing something or working on 3D printing, and he has a long-term project on a more environmentally friendly solar-powered battery system that he’s hoping will take off. But somehow, his idea to make thin strands of pancake batter is what powered up TikTok.
Archuleta likes to cook with his kids and says his favorite thing to make is breakfast.
“I love sweets,” he told me with a laugh. That morning, he wanted to make the usual pancakes in special shapes, thinking maybe pumpkins, but they were running late. “I made spaghetti the day before, and as I moved the spaghetti, I got an idea!” he explained. He buttered the hot griddle, put the batter in a baggie with a tiny hole and piped long strings. “The first time they came out really crunchy and crispy, like Freddy’s fries. But the kids wanted to be able to twirl it.” He tried again, and got something pliable enough to spin around a fork. He likes to call them “squiggle cakes” — not unlike funnel cake — but the internet seems to have settled on “pancake spaghetti.”
Although it’s Steven who’s the videographer for the business, Briana is a successful wedding and portrait photographer for the Albuquerque area, near their Rio Rancho, New Mexico home. The video she put together to showcase Steven’s genius idea was sizzling in no time. It has racked up over 9 million views since it was posted on Sept. 29.
In their follow-up tutorial, Archuleta suggests powdered sugar, fruit or his usual crepe topping, blueberry compote. Briana prefers savory flavors, and they topped hers with sausage and a little maple syrup. “It was delicious!” she said.
The social media response to the Archuletas’ joint effort is almost universally positive.
“I think my life just changed,” someone commented.
“I wasn’t sure, but once in the bowl… chef’s kiss!” wrote another.
“If he wasn’t already your husband I’d say marry him,” admitted someone else.
Even TikTok’s @chefreactions, a notoriously tough customer, gave it an 8/10. They’re having lots of fun looking at other posters’ efforts, and trying out commenter suggestions. IHOP and Hungry Jack Pancake mix have taken note, too, so who knows how far this could go?
But the Archuletas’ favorite comments? Several people have mentioned being reminded of the movie Elf and Buddy the Elf’s special maple syrup spaghetti, talking about plans to make it with their children on Christmas morning. “We love that,” Briana said. Steven added, “That’s what I love about it — anyone can do it. For me, being a father, it’s fun to see everyone do that for their significant others and their kids.”
So, can anyone really do it? I couldn’t wait to try!
Their tutorial mentions that for piping, your pancake batter needs to be “soupier,” and Steven says he uses more liquid than the directions call for. I used a recipe with about equal amounts of buttermilk and flour. However, as Steven said, “There are many ways to ‘win’ with this style of pancake,” so he encourages changing it up depending on your desired outcome. Whether you want crispy or twirly, though, the batter needs to be lump-free, so whisk carefully. As you can see, it’s about right when it falls from the whisk in a ribbon and takes a few seconds to disappear.
If you have a reusable squirt bottle, you’ll find it easiest to pipe evenly, but in the video above, Archuleta uses a plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off. You can absolutely wash it carefully and dry it inside-out if you’d like to re-use it. Pro-tip: set the bag into a mug in between piping sessions to keep it from spilling out onto your counter.
Using a buttered or oiled nonstick skillet is critical for this recipe, but it doesn’t have to be a long griddle, although that will definitely yield a longer and more evenly cooked result. Just try to keep your lines relatively even, and despite the nickname, thicker than a piece of spaghetti. You’re going more for something like linguine, although they will puff up as they heat. You only cook these on one side, so look for the top surface to develop little bubbles and dry out. 
Getting the technique down takes some practice. I used medium heat, but a lot depends on your specific pan and stove. If they cook too fast, they’ll burn before the top is done; too slowly, and they will dry out before they brown. I had a couple of practice runs before I got the result I wanted. The first ones were too thin and they came out brittle instead of pliable. (They taste great that way, though, and the Archuletas’ son prefers his extra crispy.) My next batch was cooked too hot; the next too cool. Although I thought at first the last few batches were too stiff, once they cooled for a few minutes, they softened up perfectly. When I got the method worked out, I added a little cocoa for variety. 
Don’t add too much cocoa, though, or the change in consistency could ruin your efforts. The Archuletas say they’ve heard from several commenters that at least some protein pancake mixes don’t work, for example. You can’t add things like chocolate chips or blueberries, either, but you can use them as toppings. It would be easy to dismiss this as a novelty thing for kids, but it’s so easy to make it beautiful that it wouldn’t be out of place at a fancy brunch. And that higher butter-to-volume ratio with the skinny strands? Delish!
Once you get it down, take notes! Write down how much liquid you used, the temperature that worked best, and you can even draw the size of the triangle you cut off your plastic bag. These cook in a flash, much faster than big pancakes, and you’ll be out the door in no time.
An unforeseen perk? They travel well, as long as you hold the syrup. “My son doesn’t like syrup, and he put them in a baggie and took them to school!” said Steven. The next day, their daughter followed suit, and when her teacher saw the baggie, she said, “I saw a guy make those on TikTok yesterday!”
“That’s my dad!” their daughter beamed.
Heather Martin is a registered dietitian and candy corn science correspondent. She encourages you to try all kinds of food in moderation, even the weird ones.


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