If you’re unfamiliar with johnnycakes, thank me now: Your life is about to change forever. (All you others, pat yourselves on the back and grab a baking sheet.) Part cornbread, part pancake, part biscuit, this New England breakfast staple stepped in to fill the void left when my pancake addiction was cut short by gluten sensitivities. I drown my johnnycakes in agave nectar, but no matter how you treat them, plan on sharing. You only rarely find these at BabyCakes NYC because they absolutely must be served warm. I bake them on a sheet pan, although you can spoon them onto a well-greased griddle for a crisper—though more caloric—cake.–Erin McKenna

LC Not Quite Gluten-Free Note

Yes, this cornbread-y, pancake-y, biscuit-y breakfast thing is relatively low in gluten, though it’s not quite gluten-free. It still contains spelt, a strain of wheat that’s tolerated by some, though not all, who suffer from gluten intolerance. If you’ve not yet acquainted yourself with the lovely, nutty little flour that’s milled from spelt, it’s worth considering–though not if you suffer from severe gluten intolerance or allergies.

Johnnycakes Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 40 M
  • Makes 6 to 8


  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, 2 tablespoons agave nectar, and vanilla and stir until the batter is smooth. Pour the hot water over the batter and stir just until you have a thick, grainy batter.
  • 3. For each johnnycake, scoop 1/3 cup batter onto the prepared baking sheet and use the back of the measuring scoop or a spoon to shape the blob into a round, spacing the johnnycakes 1 inch apart. Sprinkle each johnnycake with a pinch of salt.
  • 4. Bake the johnnycakes for 14 minutes, rotating the sheet 180° after 7 minutes. The edges of the finished johnnycakes will be golden brown and firm to the touch. Let the johnnycakes stand on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then drizzle with agave nectar. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm. (In the unlikely event you have leftovers, you can store cooled johnnycakes in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment paper, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm before serving.)
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