Adding pumpkin purée is one of the easiest ways to take classic pancakes up a notch. It adds a lovely, autumnal orange hue and keeps the pancakes very moist. And complementing its flavor with brown sugar and warm spices (like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg) makes these tall, fluffy buttermilk pancakes a breakfast worth waking up for.
How to make perfect pumpkin pancakes
Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk flour, salt, baking soda and spices together.
Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk melted butter, buttermilk, pumpkin purée, eggs, brown sugar and salt together.
Make the batter and let it rest. Fold the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes so the batter can thicken and the flour can hydrate.
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Cook the pancakes. Cook 1/4-cup portions of the batter in a nonstick pan or griddle. Make sure to let them cook at least 2 1/2 minutes on each side (lower the heat if you need to) so they cook all the way through.
Important ingredients in pumpkin pancakes
Canned pumpkin: Make sure you get canned pumpkin that doesn’t contain sugar or spices (i.e., not pumpkin pie mix) so you can control the sweetness and spice levels.
Buttermilk: You can use low-fat or whole buttermilk.
Spices: If you have an actual pumpkin pie spice blend on hand, use 2 3/4 teaspoons of the blend and skip the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Serves 4 to 6, Makes 16 to 18 (about 3-inch) pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for serving
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup canned or homemade pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Vegetable or canola oil, or cooking spray
- Maple syrup, for serving
1. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Cut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into 4 pieces and place in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, 40 to 50 seconds. (Alternatively, melt in a small saucepan over medium heat, then transfer to a medium bowl.) Add 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 1 cup pumpkin purée, 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
3. Add to the flour mixture and fold until just combined with no streaks of flour. Let sit for 10 minutes, it will be thick and fluffy (this is a good time to make the Pumpkin Spice Syrup).
4. Five minutes before the batter is ready, heat a large seasoned cast-iron skillet, nonstick frying pan, or griddle over medium heat. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling in a couple drops of cold water: If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use; if it evaporates instantly, the pan is too hot. Add 1 to 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil and brush over the pan or spread it around with a paper towel, or coat the pan with cooking spray.
5. Drop 1/4-cup portions of the batter into the pan (scrape it out with a flexible spatula if needed), 3 for a 12-inch pan, and gently flatten each one out the spatula until about 3 inches wide if needed. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and a few small bubbles appear on the top, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium low if the pancakes are browning too quickly, they should cook for at least 2 1/2 minutes on each side to cook all the way through.
6. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a 200 F oven to keep warm if desired. Repeat cooking the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Serve with more butter and maple syrup.
Pumpkin spice blend: If you have an actual pumpkin pie spice blend on hand, use 2 3/4 teaspoons of the blend and skip the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Storage: The pancakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days. To freeze pancakes, freeze in a single layer, then transfer to a zip-top bag and freeze for up to two months. Reheat in a 325 F oven until warmed through, 7 to 15 minutes.