These lemon pancakes have a deliciously bright and citrusy flavor from fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. They're extra fluffy with golden brown crispy edges and taste like a warm sunny day! They're extra delicious topped with blueberries, whipped cream, and maple syrup.
What's better than homemade pancakes and a cup of coffee in the morning? These lemon pancakes will be the star of your next weekend breakfast or Sunday brunch table (besides the mimosas, of course).
They taste like sunshine and go with so many toppings, like lemon curd, fresh berries, or blueberry compote/sauce. The lemon flavor is zesty, sweet, and tart- not sour or overpowering.
These pancakes are so soft and moist- they basically melt in your mouth. Whipping up a batch in the morning could not be easier. They're done in under 30 minutes!
Why This Recipe Works
- Restaurant quality pancakes- These pancakes are similar to the traditional buttermilk pancakes served at restaurants.
- Easy to make- You can make them under 30 minutes!
- Fresh, wholesome ingredients- The bright lemon flavor comes from fresh lemon juice and lemon zest rather than store-bought ingredients. The pancakes are made from scratch without Bisquick.
- My favorite way to serve these pancakes is with melted butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a dollop of coconut cream or Greek yogurt. If you don't have maple syrup, check out these maple syrup alternatives.
Here are some notes about the ingredients. For the full ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
- Avocado oil- I love this in the batter because of its neutral yet buttery taste and healthy fats. Use avocado oil instead of melted butter to grease your griddle or pan too.
- Milk- I use oat milk to make this recipe dairy free. If you want richer pancakes, use whole milk.
- Grated lemon zest- You can make this recipe using regular lemons or Meyer lemons. A Meyer lemon is supposedly a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. They're sweeter and have a thinner peel.
- Lemon juice- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of bottled juice. This is important and will lead to a brighter, fresher citrus flavor.
- Baking powder + baking soda- Using both gives the pancakes a better rise and makes them fluffy.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the steps to make and bake a stack of lemon pancakes. Measure your ingredients and preheat your griddle to 350F before you start. You can also use a skillet or frying pan on medium-high heat.
Don't use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer because the batter can be easily overmixed. All you need is a whisk and rubber spatula.
STEP 1: Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, sift the all purpose flour to prevent flour lumps. Then, gently whisk in baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
STEP 2: Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate medium mixing bowl, stir the cane sugar, egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Make sure to tap the flour off of your whisk before your stir the wet ingredients or use a clean whisk.
STEP 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Whisk until barely combined.
STEP 4: Fold in the lemon zest. With a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest by lightly scraping around the sides of the bowl and turning the spatula, making figure-8 type motions.
STEP 5: Rest the batter. Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes. This lets the leavening agents activate.
STEP 6: Cook the pancakes. Preheat the griddle to 350F or skillet to medium heat and prepare it with a little oil or cooking spray. Then, add ¼ cup of batter to the surface. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the surface appears matte and little bubbles appear. Flip and cook for 2-4 more minutes. The finished pancakes should be cooked through and golden brown with crispy golden edges.
STEP 7: Serve! Serve the pancakes hot dusted with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Expert Baking Tips
- Measure your flour properly using the spoon and level method. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup and swipe a knife across the top to remove the excess flour.
- Grease your pan with avocado oil instead of butter. The pancakes are less likely to burn because of the higher smoking point.
- If your pancakes are burning on the outside but raw on the inside, your cooking temperature is too hot.
- Don't overmix the batter. Overmixing will make the pancakes lose their height and light texture. The secret to fluffy pancakes is just barely combining the ingredients.
- To make perfectly round, evenly sized pancakes, try using a large cookie scoop. You can also try putting the batter in a condiment bottle and gently squeezing even amounts of batter onto the griddle.
- Any kind of milk can be used.
- Vegetable oil can be used instead of avocado oil.
- Make orange pancakes by using orange juice and orange zest.
- Make lime pancakes by using lime juice and lime zest.
There are so many different ways you can customize these pancakes! Here are some of my favorite topping ideas.
- Nuts- macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds.
- Fruit- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries.
- Jams- blackberry jam, blueberry jam, raspberry jam.
- Syrups- maple syrup, date syrup, blueberry syrup, pomegranate molasses.
Other ideas include toasted coconut, ricotta, honey drizzle, a dusting of matcha powder, and white chocolate chips!
Frequently Asked Questions
You probably overmixed the batter!
The egg adds structure to the batter and supports the light and fluffy, tender texture. To replace the egg, make a flax egg by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let it sit in the refrigerator to thicken for a few minutes. This makes one flax egg that can be substituted for eggs at a 1:1 ratio.
Yes, you can use lemon extract instead of vanilla for an extra citrusy flavor.
No, you can't store your pancake batter in the refrigerator because of leavening agents. They will begin working as soon as you add them to the batter and will get weaker and weaker over time. For this reason, you can't make the batter ahead of time or store it overnight.
How to Store
Let your cooked pancakes cool completely before storing them in a Ziplock bag or reusable airtight container. Then, store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the griddle or in a pan on medium-low heat. They can also be reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.
Place the cooked pancakes in a gallon freezer bag, arranging them in a single layer. Then, store in the freezer for 3-4 months.
Reheating Frozen Pancakes
There are many methods to reheat the pancakes. Here are some tips.
- Oven- Place the pancakes on a lined sheet pan and warm at 350F for about 5 minutes. Add more time for a crispier pancake.
- Microwave- Place the pancakes on a plate lined with paper towels and microwave for about 30 seconds. Add an additional 5 seconds until they are heated through. Remove the paper towel before eating.
- Toaster or toaster oven- Reheat the pancakes for about 3-4 minutes using a medium heat level if your toaster has one.
- Skillet- Warm the pancakes in an oiled skillet on medium-low heat. This will take about 5 minutes or so.
- Air fryer- Using the reheat setting, reheat the pancakes in the air fryer for 1-3 minutes. Be sure to check after 1 minute.
More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
Fluffy Lemon Pancakes
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the all purpose flour through a fine mesh sieve to prevent flour lumps. Gently whisk in baking soda, baking powder, and salt.1 ½ cup all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir the cane sugar, egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract together. Make sure to tap the flour off of your whisk before your stir the wet ingredients or use a clean whisk.2 tablespoon cane sugar, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoon avocado oil, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Whisk until barely combined. Then, gently fold in the lemon zest with a rubber spatula.2 ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes so the leaveners can activate.
- Preheat the griddle to 350F or skillet to medium heat and prepare it with a little oil or cooking spray. Add ¼ cup of batter to the surface. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the surface of the pancake looks less shiny and has bubbles on it. Flip and cook for 2-4 more minutes. The finished pancakes should be cooked through and golden brown with crispy golden edges. Repeat cooking 1-2 pancakes at a time until you have used all the batter.
- Serve the pancakes hot dusted with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream, maple syrup, and fresh fruit