Gingerbread pancakes, with their festive scent of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and orange, are a perfect treat during the holidays or any time that needs a little joyfulness. Serve with apple butter, fresh fruit, or maple syrup. You can’t go wrong.
If you like pancakes (and, heck, who doesn’t?), I suspect you will very much enjoy these darling gingerbread pancakes. These mahogany gingerbread beauties are only mildly sweet and pleasantly bright with a bit of orange zest. This batter comes together quickly, although be sure to plan ahead, as it needs to rest in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.–Jennifer Lindner McGlinn
Gingerbread Pancakes FAQs
What is the best way to make pancakes for a crowd?
If you want to prepare all of the gingerbread pancakes before serving, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the just-cooked pancakes on the baking sheet, layering them between sheets of parchment paper, and set them in the oven to keep warm.
Why do I need to let the batter rest?
The best pancakes are fluffy pancakes, right? The gluten in the flour needs the rest to relax and for the starch grains to swell, especially when using whole-wheat flour, like in this recipe. Think of it as beauty sleep for your breakfast–pancakes made with rested batter are lighter, fluffier, and more tender. It also allows the spice mixture to come together in a particularly marvelous way.
- 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, plus more for the pan
- Apple butter or maple syrup for serving (optional)
Make the drops
- Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and orange zest in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla extract, and 3 tablespoons melted butter in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk just until combined. (Avoid mixing the batter too thoroughly; some lumps are okay.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to chill and rest for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Heat about 1 teaspoon butter in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. (A nonstick pan is helpful here.) Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan for each pancake. (Depending on the size of the pan, you'll want to make about 2 at a time.) Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface of the cakes and they begin to brown ever so slightly around the edges. Flip the cakes and cook on the other sides for about 2 minutes more. Remove the pancakes immediately to a serving plate, or set them on a baking sheet to keep warm in the oven (see FAQs). Carefully wipe the pan with a paper towel, melt another teaspoon of butter, and continue the process with the rest of the batter.
- To serve, spread the gingerbread pancakes with a layer of apple butter and/or drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This gingerbread pancake recipe was a great change from run-of-the-mill pancakes, and especially perfect around the holidays.
The flavor of these pancakes is outstanding. I loved the spicy flavor of gingerbread in pancake form. They were fantastic hot off the griddle with nothing on them, but when eaten on a plate with a bit of maple syrup they were out of this world.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Oh! Sorry about that, but the smells coming from cooking these pancakes will put you in the holiday mood. I will definitely be making these Christmas morning for my family. The flavor is rustic, definitely not out of the box. I have some over-size cookie cutters that may be put into service for these.
My family is admittedly a family of happy eaters, and these gingerbread pancakes had them anxiously asking, “Do you have any more?” At that moment, I wished I had another griddle to cook with because I just couldn’t flip and serve these pancakes fast enough for them. They loved how the warm, sweet flavors of gingerbread mingled throughout the pancakes. Having them for breakfast sparked joyous eating fun.
These gingerbread pancakes are more than just a tasty alternative to the normal, everyday pancake: they’re a complete replacement for them! The warmth and brightness of these gems are a refreshing twist to a breakfast classic that you’ll come back to again and again. Marry the buttery, gingery flavors of these pancakes with maple syrup to create an addictive treat your family and guests will rave about.
I have never referred to a pancake as “charming,” but these truly were. The pancakes were very delicate in texture, more like a crepe than a traditional pancake. The level of spice was just right and complimented the maple syrup. A perfect addition for a holiday brunch.
The photo illustration shows blueberries, but nowhere does Lindner McGlinn say anything about blueberries in the text. She does note the option of serving with apple butter or maple syrup. I made a batch of homemade apple butter, heated real maple syrup, and also prepared a double batch of homemade blueberry compote from frozen berries, all of which went beautifully with these lovely pancakes.
Because I was concerned they would be dry, which they ultimately were not, I also made a batch of homemade ricotta, drizzled it with honey, sprinkled it with cinnamon, and added it to the available array of pancake toppings. The moist ricotta was delicious atop the pancakes, despite their not exhibiting the dryness I had feared.
Big kudos for the whole-wheat flour, which was the area of my initial concern! I needn’t have had any concern: the whole wheat added nutrition, plus the complexity and nuttiness described. Not one of the fourteen diners at brunch suspected they were essentially a flavored whole-wheat pancake: the whole wheat + dark brown sugar + spice combination was appealingly complex and perfectly seasonal. We felt we could eat these regularly from November through the first March thaw!
Originally published December 15, 2009
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I tasted the batter before letting it sit and noticed that the taste of cloves was almost overwhelming. Luckily, all of the spices mellowed out in the fridge while resting, and when cooked, everything came together. I let this rest in the fridge for about 9 hours without any problems. I’d also skip the use of butter to cook them if using a nonstick pan. They cooked just fine without it! Overall, a great recipe I’ll keep in my stable of breakfast foods.