The best pumpkin pancakes incorporate dense, moist canned pumpkin while keeping the end product fluffy and airy. This recipe manages to do so while packing in tons of Fall flavor in the form of pumpkin spices and pumpkin flesh. The pancakes are warm, delicious, and you’ll want them every weekend of the chilly season!
NO-FAIL PUMPKIN PANCAKES
When the temperature drops, you hear a lot about pumpkin: pumpkin spice coffees, pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, and so on. It’s everywhere. But my favorite of all the pumpkin dishes, pumpkin pancakes, gets less hype than is deserved. Why is that? Maybe because the majority of pumpkin pancake recipes fall into one of two categories: either severely lacking in pumpkin presence, or extremely pumpkin-y, but stodgy and slimy on the inside.
Every once in a while, though, you’ll stumble across a stack of pumpkin pancakes that nail the balance. And once you know the keys to make them yourself, every pumpkin pancake you plate from that point on will be absolutely perfect.
THE FOOL-PROOF KEYS TO SUCCESS
Perfect pumpkin pancakes are easier than they sound. All you have to do is keep a few tips in mind:
- Use both pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices to add plenty of warm seasonal flavor.
- Buttermilk and leavening agents give tang and lift that balance naturally heavy and sweet pumpkin.
- Separate and whip the egg whites to trap air, which creates extra lightness and lift in the pancakes.
- Cook the pancakes longer on a lower temperature to ensure that the pancakes cook through and prevent slimy pumpkin batter.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- The pancakes are soft, thick, and airy
- It packs in plenty of pumpkin flavor
- You can either use real buttermilk or a DIY version with great results
- You can customize them with mix-ins or toppings like chocolate chips or candied pecans for delicious variations
- These pancakes are freezer-friendly. Cook in advance, freeze, and reheat for breakfast-on-the-go whenever the craving strikes!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE
- Flour. No special flour needed, all-purpose flour will form the base of the batter.
- Brown Sugar. Brown sugar includes molasses, which will give the pancakes more depth and warmth.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Using both baking powder and baking soda gives extra lift and prevents the baking soda from neutralizing all of the buttermilk’s tang.
- Salt. Salt balances the sweetness and brings out the natural flavors of the pumpkin.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg. These spices are the main flavors of “pumpkin spice” (and the season in general!) Add them in for warmth, spice, and slight nuttiness.
- Buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk helps with leavening and also gives the pancakes a delicious tang.
- Pumpkin Puree. Too many fall recipes only use pumpkin spice and not actual pumpkin. But canned pumpkin puree will add a deep squash flavor that brings the pancakes to the next level.
- Eggs. Egg yolks add richness while egg whites give lift and structure.
- Vegetable oil. Oil keeps the pancakes moist and also prevents them from sticking or burning on the pan.
CAN I USE FRESH PUMPKIN INSTEAD OF CANNED?
Yes, you can use fresh pumpkin puree if you have pumpkins on hand! To make pumpkin puree, roast chunks of pumpkin flesh at 350°F for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork-tender. Then let it cool, peel off the skin, and pulse in the food processor until smooth.
You can use this immediately, refrigerate to use for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months
I DON'T HAVE BUTTERMILK! WHAT DO I DO?
That's okay, you can make a DIY version. Pour your milk into a measuring cup. Then, for every 1 cup of milk, stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, until the milk is ever-so-slightly curdled. Then you have a great stand-in for tangy buttermilk!
HOW TO MAKE FLUFFY PUMPKIN PANCAKES:
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Do the same with the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk pumpkin, buttermilk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and oil.
- Add the wet to the dry. Mix until combined-- don't worry about slight lumps.
- Beat the egg whites and add 'em in. You want them to be nice and stiff. Be sure to fold them in gently.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes. This allows the flour to absorb the liquid and creates a fluffier pancake.
- Cook the pancakes. On a buttered or oiled griddle, cook the batter until golden on each side.
- Top as desired. Serve with butter, maple syrup, nuts, or whipped cream.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO FLIP PANCAKES
The edges will look dry and set and bubbles will begin to form in the middle of the pancake when it's ready to flip. This should take about 4 minutes per side, but can be faster so keep an eye out!
HOW TO SERVE PUMPKIN PANCAKES
You can serve these pancakes on their own, or with a simple pat of butter and maple syrup, as pancakes are traditionally plated. But for my pancakes? I can't have 'em without some delicious Whipped Pumpkin Butter and a sprinkle of Easy Stovetop Candied Pecans. Trust me on this one.
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- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the skillet
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat griddle or large non-stick skillet to medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, and whisk to combine. The batter should stay slightly lumpy so be sure not to overmix.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Butter or oil the griddle or baking. Pour out ½ cup of batter for each pancake and spread into a circle.
Cook each pancake until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve warm with butter, nuts, and syrup, if desired. *
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins