A new way with pancakes: lemon pancakes are a bright and fresh twist on a perfectly fluffy pancake stack. This recipe makes 2 small stacks of pancakes for a total of 6 pancakes. It has a dose of heavy cream, which makes them so fluffy and tender at the same time. The absolute best breakfast you can make in less than 30 minutes!
Lemon does wonderful things in the kitchen. Sweet and tangy lemon can brighten up lemon cupcakes with tangy cream cheese frosting, and it can combine forces with herby rosemary to make rosemary lemon chicken thighs for dinner. If we try hard, I bet we could put lemon in all 3 meals in a day and have a super delicious day.
I’m so prone to fits of lemon, that I make my microwave lemon curd weekly. I can hardly think of anything that is not improved upon by a scoop of lemon curd. It would even go great in between these pancakes: a simple pile of 3 pancakes with a surprise layer of lemon curd in the middle!
Pancakes tend to be a weekend thing in our house, most often because I leave the cleaning up of dinner until the next morning. It’s a bad habit, I know, but I’m just so tired at the end of a long day. However, I have found a way to make these weekday pancakes by making breakfast for dinner! My kids love a surprise breakfast for dinner situation, and it makes me quite happy, too.
This recipe has lemon zest and lemon juice to make the absolute best and brightest lemon pancakes ever. Bottled lemon juice will not work here, we need freshly squeezed. We also need the lemon zest, so you definitely need a whole fresh lemon to make this recipe.
Most ingredients for pancakes are pantry staples: flour, baking powder and sugar. You may not substitute baking soda, as it is not the same thing as baking powder, I’m sorry. We also need fridge stapes: milk, heavy cream (you can use more milk or half and half if you don’t have the heavy stuff), butter, one egg, and a whole fresh lemon.
- All-Purpose Flour. All pancakes need flour, and you can try to use a gluten-free substitute if you need to.
- Baking Powder.
- Milk. When it comes to baking, whole milk is best, but you may use whatever you have in the fridge.
- Heavy Cream. This is what makes the lemon pancakes extra tender, but if you’re out, you can use extra milk.
- Butter. Unsalted butter is the best for baking. You need some for the batter, and extra butter for greasing the griddle or skillet to cook the pancakes.
- Lemon. We need a fresh lemon, because we will be zesting it and adding it to the batter. Lemon zest contains all the oils from the lemon and makes these lemon pancakes taste as lemony as possible. We also need the juice from the lemon.
How to make lemon pancakes:
- Gather your ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, heavy cream, melted butter (plus extra for cooking), egg and lemon. Preheat a nonstick skillet or pancake griddle over medium heat, and have ready the extra butter for cooking each pancakes.
- First, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisking dry ingredients helps break up lumps in the flour and eliminates the need for sifting.
- Next, whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate small bowl: the milk, heavy cream, melted butter, egg and lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Now, combine the wet and dry ingredients using a whisk, but be careful not to over-mix. A few lumps in pancake batter are totally fine, because if you whisk everything until smooth, you might accidentally activate the gluten in the flour and end up with tough pancakes. If you’re using gluten-free flour, this is not a risk, however–whisk away.
- Now, it’s finally time to make your lemon pancakes! Add a few teaspoons of the extra butter in a nonstick skillet or griddle, and ladle in 1/3 cup of pancake batter at a time. The best way to make perfectly circular pancakes is to position the ladle directly perpendicular to the pan and let the batter flow out on its own. The batter will naturally spread itself into a circular shape.
- Cook on the first side until bubbles form on the top of the pancakes (about 3-4 minutes over medium heat), and then flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
This pancake recipe makes 6 pancakes, or 2 stacks of 3 pancakes each, and is amazing served with extra butter and maple syrup. The heavy cream keeps the pancakes super tender, like a muffin, and the lemon zest permeates the whole batter.
How to make lemon pancakes with pancake mix:
Let’s say you love lemon but don’t want to make the pancakes from scratch! You can follow the recipe on the back of any box, and just add the zest of one whole lemon to the batter. If the batter calls for milk, you can replace up to 2 teaspoons with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Does lemon juice make pancakes fluffy?
Yes! Acidic lemon juice reacts with the baking powder and creates air bubbles that create super fluffy pancakes. Any time a batter puffs up from a chemical reaction containing acid, you know fluffiness is the result. You can actually see the bubbles in the photo below–cool, right?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for griddle
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- maple syrup, for serving
- First, gather all ingredients, and have a nonstick pan or pancake griddle heating over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, egg, 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk until no streaks of flour remain, but do not whisk the lumps out.
- Add a thin layer of extra butter to the griddle, and turn the heat to medium. Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, portion out pancakes slowly. To get a perfect circle, do not move the cup around the pan; pour in one continuous motion, straight down.
- Cook the pancakes on the first side until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and finish cooking. Serve with extra butter and maple syrup.
All-Purpose Flour: You may use a gluten-free flour if you need to. Ensure it has xantham gum added to it, or add 1/4 teaspoon xantham.
Milk: Whole milk is best, but you can use 1% or 2% milk
Heavy Cream: This is our special ingredient for extra tender pancakes, but if you're out, just use regular milk or half and half in its place.
Butter: We need melted unsalted butter in the pancake batter, plus extra butter to cook the pancakes.
Lemon: One whole lemon will give us enough zest and juice for this recipe. We need 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 5g