Clearly seltzer adds refreshing fizz to cranberry juice or sangría. But its colorless, odorless, tasteless bubbliness also makes it the ideal secret ingredient to lighten up foods. Think batters and soups. (Thanks, air pockets!) Seltzer and club soda can be used interchangeably, but steer clear of sparkling water, which doesn’t have enough carbonation to leaven. And be sure to use a bottle that’s fresh from the store; over time seltzer goes flat.
The Lightest Pancakes
Here’s a trick for extra fluffy, lightweight pancakes: add a dash of seltzer. When the batter heats up and cooks, the air bubbles expand and cause the pancakes to rise.
Stir 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a bowl. Whisk together ½ cup milk and 2 eggs in a separate bowl; stir in ¾ cup seltzer. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Gently stir in 3 tablespoons melted butter; let stand 5 minutes. Pour ¼ cupful per pancake on a hot nonstick griddle and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with maple syrup. Serves 4.
Stirring a couple cups of cold seltzer into this soup right before serving instantly chills it and thins the pureed veggies to a just-right consistency.
In a food processor or blender, in batches, puree 2 pounds roughly chopped tomatoes, 1 peeled and chopped English cucumber, 1 seeded and chopped jalapeño, 1 cup chopped watermelon, ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt until smooth with some chunks. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in 2 cups cold seltzer. Serves 6.