Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

Top with butter and maple syrup for a breakfast blowout

Looking to feed a breakfast crowd on Thanksgiving morning? Or maybe the day after? We’ve got you covered.

Canned pumpkin purée provides the base flavor for these Pumpkin Pancakes. Then we add pumpkin-pie spices for extra zest. It all makes for an exceptionally tasty treat.

So maybe prepare an extra big batch? Because these will go like, well, hotcakes.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes

This recipe is similar to our Basic Pancake Recipe, although with added pumpkin and spices. We use canned pumpkin in this recipe, but your own winter squash purée would work equally well.

We like to use an electric nonstick griddle for making pancakes. If you don’t have one, an ordinary griddle or skillet works fine.

Prep time for this recipe is 5 to 7 minutes. Cooking time adds another 10 to 15 minutes.

This recipe yields 8 to 10 pancakes. It’s easy to double (or triple) if you’re serving a crowd.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (very optional; see Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (double-acting; see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste; see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ~½ cup pumpkin purée (i.e., canned pumpkin or cooked winter squash; see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ~1 tablespoon fat (if needed) to grease the griddle or skillet (butter, lard, or bacon grease are our favorites)
  • garnish of butter and maple syrup (jam is also nice)

Procedure

  1. If you’re using an electric griddle (preferably one that’s nonstick), turn it on to 350F degrees. If you’re using a regular griddle or skillet, warm it over low stovetop heat as you prepare the pancake batter.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices). Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the egg and beat it. Add the milk and pumpkin purée to the egg, then whisk to combine (it may be easier to use a rubber spatula). Add the melted butter and whisk it in.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and fold everything together. Stir just enough to combine the ingredients, but don’t overmix. It’s OK if the batter is somewhat lumpy.
  5. You should have a thick batter that is pourable. Too thick? Add a bit more milk (but see Notes). BTW, if your batter sits for a bit, it’ll thicken up, and you’ll probably want to beat in more milk.
  6. If you’re using an electric griddle, it should be hot enough by now. If you’re using a regular griddle or skillet, turn the heat up to medium and wait a minute (a drop of water will skip across the surface when it’s hot enough). Add a little fat to grease the griddle or skillet (this is usually not necessary for a nonstick one). Then, using a ¼ cup measure or a large spoon (see Notes), ladle some batter onto the hot griddle. Repeat until you’ve covered the cooking surface with pancake-sized dollops of batter.
  7. Cook until the edges of the pancakes seem firm and done, with bubbles forming in the middle of the pancakes (about 3 minutes, maybe a bit less). Turn the pancakes over, then cook another 2 minutes (or a bit less) until they’re cooked through.
  8. Plate each round of pancakes and let them rest while you cook the remaining batter (they hold well in a 250F degree oven for 30 minutes or so).
  9. Serve the pancakes with butter, maple syrup, jam, or whatever you like.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Notes

  • An electric griddle is great for making pancakes because it provides steady heat. The griddle’s low sides also make it easier to turn the pancakes. But a regular griddle or skillet works well, too. 
  • We use canned pumpkin in this recipe because it’s convenient and we like the flavor (use pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling). If you want to use fresh pumpkin, it’s easy enough to cook your own pumpkin purée if you wish. Or use any other winter squash you fancy (we suggest butternut or acorn in particular).
  • BTW, in most of North America, “pumpkin” refers to a specific variety of orange-fleshed winter squash (the kind used for making Jack O’Lanterns – though we prefer to use the smaller “pie” pumpkin for cooking). Throughout much of the world, pumpkin just means any winter squash.
  • Sugar is optional in pancakes. It adds a touch of sweetness, but its main function is to help the pancakes brown. If you skip it, we doubt if you’ll notice much difference.
  • We use double-acting baking powder (which is the most common type you’ll find in your supermarket). It’s called double acting because you get two reactions from it: First when you mix the powder with wet ingredients (creating the bubbles you’ll see in the batter, which help the pancakes rise) and a second reaction when the batter hits the heat of the griddle.
  • Baking powder contains two active ingredients, baking soda and an acidic ingredient (which reacts with the baking soda to produce leavening). There’s generally a third, inactive ingredient (typically corn starch) to provide bulk.
  • Baking powder weakens over time (check the expiration date on the container). We generally replace ours once a year – usually when the time changes in the fall (so we remember to do it).
  • Don’t overmix pancake batter. If you do, the gluten in the flour begins to develop, which can lead to chewy pancakes.
  • If the pancake batter is too thick for your liking, you can add a bit more milk. But remember that thinner batter will produce flatter, less fluffy pancakes.
  • How large to make the pancakes? Any size you like, really, from dollar sized to as large as the circumference of your griddle will allow. We use a ¼ cup scoop, which makes a size that’s easy to handle (by which we mean flip on the griddle).
  • Butter is wonderful on pancakes. So we always add a pat (or a scoop of tubbed butter) to each serving.
  • Then there’s maple syrup, which most people consider a must for pancakes. We always use the “pure” stuff. Pure = 100% maple syrup. Avoid the “pancake syrup” that dominates the shelves of most grocery stores (it’s not very good). Pancake syrup contains some maple syrup, but most of the contents are flavorings and other sweeteners.
  • In the US, pure maple syrup is graded “A” or “B.” Grade A is subdivided into Light (Fancy) Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Grade A is what you’re likely to find on the store shelf. Grade B typically has a much stronger, darker taste. 
  • We like to use dark amber maple syrup (when we can get it) because of its color and flavor, but we won’t say no to light or medium.
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, use about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours. 
  • Pancakes are traditionally thought of as breakfast food. But we also enjoy them for dinner. Or lunch, for that matter.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Flipping Over Flapjacks

“Wow,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Who knew pumpkin and pancakes could play so well together?”

“Yeah, the flavor of these exceeded expectations,” I said. “Turned out batter than I thought.”

“That joke fell flat as a pancake,” said Mrs K R.

“Thought you’d flip over it,” I said.

“Careful,” said Mrs K R. “I don’t waffle around.”

Guess I better stop before she gets crêped out.

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54 comments:

  1. Am I the first commenter! OK, if that's not weird enough, I dreamed yesterday that I was eating the most amazing pumpkin pancakes! No kidding! I couldn't agree more with everything in this recipe, John. A nonstick electric skillet is definitely the way to go. I never grease it at all - the skillet doesn't need it, and neither do the pancakes. I also agree that I'd eat pancakes at any meal.

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    1. Hi Jeff, first! :-) And we are more likely to eat pancakes for dinner than breakfast (that whole breakfast for dinner thing). Thanks for the comment.

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  2. John, I love pumpkin bread so why not pancakes. We can now get canned pumpkin here so it's a very doable recipe. A definite holiday brunch dish...

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    1. Hi Ron, glad you can get canned pumpkin -- it's so versatile. And perfect in this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Pumpkin pancakes are a favorite in our house this time of year and these look fluffy and delicious!

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    1. Hi Amy, they're really good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I wish I would have had these for breakfast! They look and sound tasty.

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    1. Hi Pam, there's always tomorrow. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Oh yeah, pumpkin pancakes (With maple syrup) are always a good idea! And you know what would be even better? Quick maple-butter-whiskey (bourbon) syrup. If you haven't try, you definitely should! :)

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    1. Hi Ben, we should try that! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. With all the sourdough baking activity in our household, we eat pancakes often -- made from the discard of the sourdough starter and other pancake ingredients. So why not squash or pumpkin puree? Sounds like a great variation.

    As for butter on the no-stick griddle, I like to use it because it makes a nice brown-butter surface. So I don't put either sugar or fat in the batter.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, sourdough pancakes are terrific! A pumpkin version would be nice. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Yes, pancakes any time of the day! I never get tired of pumpkin and usually stash some extra cans to have for the whole year ;)

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, we usually stash some cans of pumpkin, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Oh my gosh, these look good! I love pumpkin pancakes, and now I have a serious craving. Happy Thanksgiving early!

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    1. Hi Lisa, sorry abut that craving thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. These would be great on Thanksgiving morning! They look delish!!!

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    1. Hi Liz, they're wonderful! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. What a perfect pancake recipe for the season now! It would be great for Thanksgiving breakfast. Yummy!

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    1. Hi Holly, these are remarkably good. :-) Love 'em with maple syrup! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. So fluffy and tender and with all the maple syrup...this has got to be GOOD!

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    1. Hi Angie, it is, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Oh dear - here's a comment from Down Under again ! I took some time as I went looking for the pumpkin puree in our supermarkets - the one I knew I probably would not find ! I did not. Then I went to look for a pie or pancake recipe I also thought it difficult to access - true !!! Oh, I found a lot of recipes for roasted pumpkin aside meats and for pumpkin soups, salads, risottos and some savoury breads. Some very definitely savoury pies, often Asian in nature, also appeared. Well, we do not use pumpkin in any sweetish dishes . . . those seems rather strange . . . so, I guess we do not need the puree :) !! United States loves its sweet dishes much more . . . I believe there is sugar even in your bread !!! That naturally does not mean I cannot make my own puree . . . and tho' I prepare pancakes perhaps once a year . . . may just try and see what you all enjoy !!!

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    1. Hi Eha, always so fascinating to learn about difference in food habits, isn't it? We tend to use pumpkin a bit more in savory dishes than in sweet, but pumpkin really does work well in sweet dishes. Although it's the maple syrup that makes this a sweet dish -- almost no sugar in the pancakes. Thanks for the comment.

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    2. Well, I love to learn the differences ! No criticism ever implied !! Perhaps it has been because of your Halloween and Thanksgiving, but there have been a number of TV and paper discussions here just lately - in line with 'pumpkin - sweet - really !!!' :) You may have a very valid point re maple syrup - pretty expensive and not always available in the 'average' food store ! . . . best . . . !

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    3. :-) "Real" maple syrup is rather expensive here, too, although that's what we buy. Actually, we find the whole pumpkin craze at this time of the year a giggle. It's fun! A dish that is probably much more to your taste is the pumpkin and ricotta gnocchi we posted a few weeks ago. That uses canned pumpkin, but any cooked winter squash puree would be good. I'd suggest butternut squash, although acorn is another favorite of ours.

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  13. Oooh these look incredible! I'm not a pumpkin pie fan, but I'll totally take a stack of those pumpkin pancakes!

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    1. Hi Laura, we actually prefer sweet potato pie to pumpkin -- better flavor, we think. Although we do like pumpkin pie, and would never turn it down! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I love pumpkin pancakes! I'm not a huge pumpkin person, but pumpkin in pancakes is just the best. Maybe it's the maple syrup that makes the pancake taste so good or maybe it's the other way around-whatever the case pumpkin pancakes rock!

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    1. Hi Abbe, actually, pumpkin pancakes are one of our favorite sweet pumpkin things. Although I think the pumpkin is kind of along for the ride -- it's the spices (pumpkin spices!!) and the maple syrup that do all the work. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. what an interesting idea! pumpkin pancakes. Now that aussies are really getting into halloween, we have big orange pumpkins for carving, and then the regular ones for eating. we have Queensland blue, or japanese or butternut squash which everyone calls pumpkin anyway... Yes to real maple syrup.

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    1. Hi Sherry, before long you'll be making pumpkin pie! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. John, I'm putting this on my Thanksgiving morning breakfast menu! They look wonderful!

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  17. Your recipe is a winner, especially for Thanksgiving morning. I haven't made pancakes in a long time. These would be welcome by everyone.

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    1. Hi Judee, we rarely make pancakes, and when we do, wonder why we don't more frequently! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Yes pancakes breakfast lunch and/or dinner. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, we'll eat 'em any ole time. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Are we too late or can we have a delicious stack too? I know our family would pop out of bed if I served this for breakfast. Love the warming spices.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, the spices in this make the dish! Well, and the maple syrup, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. As I’ve mentioned, pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast dishes, especially with really good maple syrup. I never thought of making with pumpkin… And I do have leftover pumpkin in the fridge. This will make for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend breakfast. Thanks, John, for this really creative recipe!

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    1. Hi David, you'll love these! The pumpkin (and the spices) really add some nice zing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I have a Jap (Kent) pumpkin begging to be cooked up, but I could make your pancake recipe even without the pumpkin it looks so good. We don't buy canned pumpkin much here, plenty of fresh pumpkins to choose from, but I love it in so many dishes. Our treat at home used to be Scotch pancakes, big like yours, for early tea at night, with lemon juice and sugar on them. So good. Maple syrup was such a luxury item here. Love this recipe and your very clever wit at the end. Enjoy your thanksgiving celebrations John.

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    1. Hi Pauline, we use canned pumpkin simply because it's available and of pretty good quality. But your own cooked puree will be a bit better. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Now this is a Thanksgiving dish I can get behind! Although I'd be happy with this for breakfast (or dinner) any day.

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    1. Hi Laura, this is too good to reserve just for Thanksgiving time. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Yes, please! And make mine a double stack. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, a double stack coming up! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I don't remember ever having made pumpkin pancakes. Yours look quite yummy and just perfect for this Thanksgiving week. Thanks for the inspiration John. Hope you and Mrs. KR have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi MJ, you need to add this to your list of stuff to make! :-) Thanks for the comment, and I hope your Thanksgiving is terrific.

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  25. I am so making this tomorrow for breakfast, looks darn good

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