Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

These incredibly fluffy and soft pancakes are the definition of a decadent Sunday brunch. Topped off with a poppy seed sugar topping, they taste more like a decadent dessert than just ordinary breakfast pancakes. The combination of a sour lemon taste paired with a slightly nutty taste from the poppy seeds is a delicious combination and certainly makes a stunning presentation when stacked up high. Make these pancakes for your next brunch and watch the pancake stack disappear as everybody reaches for another one!

Poppy Seeds

These pancakes are full of hundreds of delicious poppy seeds, and I mean seriously full! If you have ever used poppy seeds in the kitchen before, you’ll know that they come in 2 different forms- ground and unground. Unground poppy seeds are in the same condition as when they were harvested directly from the plant. They are hard, round and slightly bluish kernels that are unsuited for cooking. However, once you ground them, they release their oils and aroma and become soft. If you buy poppy seeds make sure they are already ground, or buy them unground and do it yourself. Simply add poppy seeds to a mixer or blender and pulse for a few seconds. Voilà, it’s that simple!

Lemon

To give these pancakes a fresh and tangy lemon flavor, we are adding some lemon zest into the batter. Fresh is key, since fresh lemon zest tastes a lot better (and has more flavor!) than the packaged stuff. Be sure to use an organic lemon and grate it just until you reached the white part of the lemon. This is the bitter part, which you want to avoid zesting.

If you want give these pancakes an even more intense lemon flavor, top them off with a homemade lemon syrup. Brush it onto the pancakes or pour it on like you would with maple syrup. It tastes incredible!

To make the lemon syrup all you need is white granulated sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It’s as simple as that! You can also use any leftover syrup to make homemade lemonade simply by combining the syrup with some sparkling water. Yum!

Dry Ingredients

Flour: It’s best to use all-purpose flour for this recipe

Baking Powder: Makes the pancakes fluffy.

Baking Soda: Reacts with the buttermilk and causes the pancakes to rise.

Salt: You don’t taste it but it enhances the other flavors.

Sugar: Since we are topping our pancakes off with a very sweet topping, the batter itself isn’t overly sweet.

Poppy Seeds: As mentioned, use ground poppy seeds!

Wet Ingredients

Eggs: Give the pancakes structure and make them fluffy.

Butter: Shouldn’t be substituted with anything else. You want the real butter flavor, trust me!

Buttermilk: Makes the pancakes soft and delicious. (If subbing for regular milk, omit the baking soda and add 1 and ½ teaspoons of baking powder instead.) Or make your own buttermilk by adding 2 teaspoon lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then use as instructed.

Lemon Zest: Gives the pancakes a wonderful tangy flavor.

Topping

The poppy seed and sugar topping is actually a typical topping for yeast dumplings but works really well here too. It contains ground poppy seeds mixed with powdered sugar, which gets sprinkled on top of the hot pancakes. This not only sweetens them, but also brings out the poppy seed flavor even more.

If you wish to omit the topping, or simply add more toppings, here are some suggestions:

-fresh berries

-maple syrup or lemon syrup

-whipped cream

-toasted nuts

-chocolate chips

Fluffy and Soft

To ensure that your pancakes turn out fluffy, it’s important to work with room temperature ingredients and to not over mix the batter once you have combined the dry and wet ingredients. Over working the batter results in a tough and chewy texture. You want to gently mix the batter just until no flour specs remain. Then stop!

Tall Pancakes

If you wish to make sky-high pancakes, there are two tricks to making them super tall and fat. The first trick is to place a large cookie cutter in your skillet and spoon the batter into it. Make sure to coat the cookie cutter thoroughly with oil to prevent the batter from sticking to it. The second trick is to use a small pan so that the pancake batter cannot spread too much. This makes flipping the pancake a bit trickier, but it definitely creates super tall pancakes.

While these pancakes are delicious as a breakfast, we enjoyed them for dinner a few nights ago. This breakfast for dinner kind of meal was not only fun, it made a tasty dish (and prevented me from having to cook dinner!).

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Dry

  • 240 g all-purpose flour 2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 20 g ground poppy seeds 1/4 cup

Wet

  • 2 eggs
  • 480 ml buttermilk* 2 cups
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 60 g butter 1/3 cup, melted and slightly cooled

Other

  • butter or oil for frying

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 20 g ground poppy seeds 1/4 cup

Lemon Syrup

  • 150 ml lemon juice 3 medium lemons
  • 70 g white granulated sugar 1/3 cup

Instructions

  1. Start by preparing the lemon syrup. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons. 

  2. Pour the lemon juice through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Add sugar and stir to combine. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on high until the sugar has completely dissolved. 

  3. Pour into a small glass bottle and let it cool while making the pancakes.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds and whisk together until well combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk and lemon zest and whisk together until well combined. Then stir in the melted butter.

  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together gently just until combined. (Mix until no more flour specs remain. It’s okay if the batter is still a bit lumpy.)

  7. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter and coat the skillet with it. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and cook until it throws bubbles on the edges. Flip and bake for another 1-2 minutes until through. Continue until all pancakes are cooked, adding more butter or oil to the pan as needed. (Keep the pancakes warm while cooking the rest.)

  8. Combine the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle over pancakes. Serve hot.

Notes

*If you wish to sub for regular milk, omit the baking soda and add 1 and ½ teaspoons of baking powder instead. Or make your own buttermilk by adding 2 teaspoon lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then use as instructed.

Store leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Pancakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze pancakes with parchment paper in between until completely frozen, then store the frozen pancakes together in a Ziploc bag.

Feel free to double or triple the recipe.

Let’s get started!

Step 1- Lemons

Start by preparing the lemon syrup. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons.

Step 2- Cook the Syrup

Pour the lemon juice through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Add sugar and stir to combine. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on high until the sugar has completely dissolved. (You can either taste it or rub a little bit between your fingers to see if you can still feel any sugar granules.)

Step 3- Chilling

Pour into a small glass bottle and let it cool while making the pancakes.

Step 4- Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds and whisk together until well combined.

Step 5- Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk and lemon zest and whisk together until well combined. Then stir in the melted butter.

Step 6- Combine

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together gently just until combined. It’s important to avoid over mixing the batter as that can result in tough and flat pancakes. (Just mix until no more flour specs remain. It’s okay if the batter is still a bit lumpy.)

Step 7- Fry the Pancakes

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter and coat the skillet with it. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and cook until it throws bubbles on the edges. Flip and bake for another 1-2 minutes until through.

Continue until all pancakes are cooked, adding more butter or oil to the pan as needed. (Keep the pancakes warm while cooking the rest.)

Step 8- Topping

Combine the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle over pancakes. Serve hot.

Pancakes are a great way to add some decadence to your breakfast. You can easily double or even triple this recipe to serve a larger crowd and make this for a brunch with friends.

In need of more breakfast inspiration? Try this gluten-free apple crisp, this chunky peanut butter and chocolate oatmeal or this mouthwatering banana nut bread.

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