These lemon pancakes are tender, tangy and plenty delicious. Easy to make, great texture and perfect flavor, I guarantee these will become a favorite. Lemon on pancakes just brightens up the whole dish!
I’ve been making these pancakes for years and years. The recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker , one of my favorite sources for anything sweet- especially breakfast/brunch recipes. You’ll find these recipes of hers one my site as well:
To make these even better, you can add in poppy seeds or chia seeds. You’ll get tender and light buttermilk pancakes, with little crunchy bursts of poppy or chia seed. It’s a really delicious pairing!
How to make lemon pancakes:
You are tweaking a buttermilk based pancake recipe by adding three key components:
lemon zest, and plenty of it, lemon juice, and poppy seeds
Have you ever had a lemon poppy seed dessert you haven’t liked? No? Then you are definitely going to love these pancakes.
How to make buttermilk:
If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge (who does?) there’s an easy at home substitute. Some people use ready laban drink (common in the Middle East) but I found that that sometimes thickens a batter more than usual. What I prefer doing is:
For every 1 cup of buttermilk, measure 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice (I usually use the vinegar), then pour fresh milk over this to make up 1 cup of milk. It’s easier to use a larger measuring jug to avoid spilling. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes, in which time the vinegar or lemon juice will have soured the milk and basically turned it into buttermilk- you’ll see that it clots or foams a little. Stir, and use in your recipe as directed.
Pancake mixing method:
As is common in most pancake recipes, you’ll mix by:
Combining the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) There’s plenty of baking powder here for that extra lift and tenderness.
Combining the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, melted butter and lemon juice.)
Then adding the wet ingredients into the dry until combined. Two things to keep in mind
- Don’t over mix the batter- this will result in tough and chewy pancakes. Lumps are totally fine, you just need to mix enough that you don’t see dry pockets of flour.
- This recipe asks that you rest the pancake batter for 10 minutes. While this isn’t strictly recipe, what this enables is that the gluten that develops while mixing relaxed slightly, leading to more tender pancakes. This is about the time you need to start preparing your pan and heating them, so if you are in a hurry, just leave the batter aside for a few minutes while you heat the skillet.
What to substitute poppy seeds for:
I often add poppy seeds to the mix, but poppy seeds are actually really hard to find in the Middle East. Enter chia seeds to the rescue! I tested these out, not knowing what the end result would be, but the lemon chia seed pancakes were so good. I didn’t even miss the poppy seeds at all!
How to make pancakes fast when you don’t have a griddle:
I always use two stove burners, two skillets, and work on cooking up two pancakes at once. I’ll pour batter in one skillet, then immediately onto the other skillet on the other stove burner, flip the first pancake then the second and repeat! It makes all that flipping work go by much faster.
How to keep pancakes warm:
My favorite tip, also from Joy the Baker, is to heat the oven slightly while you are cooking up the pancakes (90 C or 200 F). Place a large baking sheet in the oven. As soon as a pancake is cooked, slide it onto the baking sheet and leave it in the oven while you finish up all the batter. This enables the pancakes to stay warm without steaming and becoming soggy (like they would if you just covered them with foil). The low oven temperature means they won’t over bake. I do this every time I make pancakes!
Adding lemon on pancakes:
You can serve these drizzled with maple syrup for a classic pancake, or just add a squeeze of lemon on pancakes
Storing leftover pancakes:
Oh pancakes freeze WELL. So don’t worry if you have extra pancakes left over. Pancakes will keep in the fridge tightly covered for a couple days, or can be frozen for up to 2 months. This is how to freeze and reheat them:
Place the pancakes on a baking sheet in a single layer and pop this baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour or until pancakes are frozen solid. This will keep them from sticking together when you put them in a freezer bag.
Place in freezer bag, seal tightly and label. When you want to eat them, you can pull as many as you need straight out of the bag. Just microwave to reheat- start at 15 seconds and then add 5 second intervals until warmed through. Not quite as perfect as fresh pancakes but pretty darn close.
What to serve lemon pancakes with?
I like to sprinkle some extra lemon infused sugar on top, and then drizzle with pure maple syrup. These would pair fabulously with berries, especially blueberries. You can try topping with honey instead of syrup!
Lemon on pancakes brightens these up even more- instead of maple syrup, you can do a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar instead. Simple and delicious. Fresh berries would be great on these too!
If you liked this recipe, you might like:
Sparkling Water Pancakes
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 cups all purpose flour (250 g)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk* *see recipe notes for instructions on making your own
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 56 grams, 1/2 a stick
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds See note
- extra butter or pan spray for cooking
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest, rubbing the zest in with your fingertips until the sugar is pale yellow and scented.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Add the lemon sugar and whisk until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter. Pour this wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined, a lumpy batter is fine. Stir in poppy seeds or chia seeds if using.
- Let the batter rest for 10 minutes, meanwhile heat your griddle or frying pan on the stove. Grease with some butter or non stick cooking spray.
- When batter has rested, scoop out 1/4 cup of a batter at a time onto frying pan. Cook until bubbling on one side and golden brown on the other, then flip and cook for another 1 minute or so until golden brown on both sides. See recipe notes on how to keep finished panakes warm until you are done cooking all the batter.
- Serve with pure maple syrup, or a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of sugar and enjoy!
- For each cup of homemade buttermilk, measure 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup or jug, then fill up the remainder of the cup until the 1 cup mark with milk. Let it stand for 5 minutes until curdled and foamy, and whisk with a fork to mix. You’ll need 2 tbsp of white vinegar and to fill up the milk to the 2 cup mark for this recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 90 C (200F) and place finished pancakes on a baking sheet that’s placed in the oven. Every time a pancake is cooked and off the skillet transfer it to the baking sheet in the oven and they’ll stay warm and still crispy around the edges while you are finishing up, without overcooking.