Caramel Apple Pancakes
These Caramel Apple Pancakes give classic apple pancakes a nostalgic spin by topping them with a sticky maple-infused caramel sauce. It’s like having your favorite fall treat for breakfast!
If you live somewhere that has apple orchards, you probably have memories of going apple picking and getting either apple cider donuts or a caramel apple on a stick after a brisk fall day spent filling a bushel with apples. Caramel apples are a classic fall treat because let’s be real: what goes better with apples than caramel? Is there anything?!
I don’t think so!
(Nope, not even cinnamon!)
Need further proof? Don’t miss our caramel apple mimosa.
About this caramel apple pancake recipe
This caramel apple pancake recipe lets you enjoy all that caramel apple goodness year-round—and instead of eating it on a stick, it’s delivered in convenient pancake form, which is much less messy.
The recipe begins with a classic buttermilk pancake batter (don’t forget, you can always make your own buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand). You’ll fold diced Granny Smith apples into the batter itself; because the apples are finely diced, they’re small enough that they’ll get tender even in the short cooking time on the stovetop.
Each stack of apple pancakes is smothered in homemade caramel apple sauce—and this isn’t any ordinary caramel sauce! We give it a major upgrade with the addition of maple syrup, and it also has more Granny Smith apples stirred right into the sauce to give you double the apple-y goodness.
(Pro-tip: The caramel apple sauce is also amaaaazing spooned over vanilla ice cream.)
What you need
Here’s everything you’ll need to make caramel apple pancakes for breakfast!
For the Caramel Apple Pancakes:
- Butter – I recommend using unsalted butter, as it gives you more control over the salt level of your pancakes.
- Buttermilk – No need to buy buttermilk! Place a tablespoon of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, then fill it the rest of the way with whole milk. Stir it and let it sit for 5 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. Read more about how to make your own buttermilk and become an expert!
- All-purpose flour – If you’d like to make these gluten-free, substitute a cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. You can also use whole wheat flour for a heartier pancake.
- Additional basic pancake ingredients: You probably have all of these on hand! You’ll need eggs, water, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt.
- Granny Smith apples – Feel free to substitute another variety of firm, tart, or sweet-tart apple such as Honeycrisp or Gala.
For the Caramel Apple Sauce:
- Granny Smith apple – Another variety can be used here, too.
- Brown sugar – You can use dark for a deeper, more molasses-y flavor, or light brown sugar.
- Maple syrup – For best results, opt for pure maple syrup, not the artificial stuff.
- Unsalted butter – If you only have salted, omit the additional salt in the recipe.
- Salt – Salt helps balance the caramel. Add an extra pinch for salted caramel.
- Cornstarch & Water – For the perfect spoonable consistency!
How to make caramel apple pancakes
Make the caramel apple sauce. Combine the apples, sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium pot set over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sauce comes to a boil, then let the sauce continue to boil for 5 minutes, or until it’s beautifully caramelized.
Thicken the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Stir this mixture into the caramel sauce, then cook for about a minute more, or until the sauce thickens. Remove the pot from the heat or keep it on low while you make the pancakes.
Prepare. Preheat an electric griddle to 375°F or set a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.
Start the batter. Whisk the the melted butter and eggs in a medium mixing bowl, then add the buttermilk, water, sugar, and vanilla, followed by the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
Let the batter rest. Fold in the apples and let the batter rest for 5 minutes. This is key to light, fluffy pancakes!
Make your pancakes. Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter (about ⅓ cup) onto the preheated griddle or frying pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the second side.
Top and serve. Stack the pancakes on plates and spoon the caramel apple topping over them.
Everyone knows that Granny Smith apples are a go-to for baking, but you can also use Pink Lady, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, and Jonagold. Less commonly-available baking apples include Mutsu, Haralson, and Winesap—if you can find them near you, give them a try!
While 4 to 5 minutes is a good general rule, some stoves and griddles cook differently, so visual cues can help. When bubbles form on the surfaces of the pancakes and they pop leaving small holes, it’s time to flip them.
It’s up to you! Since you’ll be finely dicing the apples, you won’t have big pieces of peel in your pancakes, so there’s really no need to peel them if you don’t want to.
How to make these caramel apple pancakes your own
- Add a generous pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice to the pancake batter, caramel apple topping, or both.
- Do you always get the caramel apples that are rolled in chopped nuts? Feel free to stir chopped peanuts, walnuts, or pecans into the caramel after it’s done cooking or sprinkle them on top as a garnish.
- If you’re in a rush, you can use a jar of caramel sauce instead of making it from scratch.
Make Ahead Ideas
Both the pancakes and the sauce can be made in advance. Store the pancakes and caramel topping in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator; for maximum freshness, make these no more than a day or two ahead of time. Caramel sauce will thicken when it’s cold.
Leftover caramel apple pancakes will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, as will the caramel apple sauce. Store them separately in airtight containers.
You can also freeze both the pancakes and the sauce for up to 3 months; let them thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
You can reheat the pancakes in a 350ºF oven for 5 to 10 minutes; place them on a sheet pan and cover the pan with foil to keep them from drying out. The microwave works too!
For the sauce, heat it up in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave.
More apple recipes
Get the Recipe: Caramel Apple Pancakes
- ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ⅔ cup water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 Granny Smith apples, diced finely (peeled or unpeeled)
Caramel Apple Sauce:
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Begin by preparing the caramel sauce. Stir together the apples, brown sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium sized pot.
- Heat over medium heat, stir occasionally, until the sauce boils. Once the sauce comes to a boil, cook for five minutes.
- Stir together the cornstarch and water then add it to the sauce. Stir and cook for one minute then remove the pot from the heat (keep on low to keep warm if desired).
- Preheat an electric griddle to 375°F or a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.
- Whisk together the melted butter and eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, water, sugar, and vanilla and whisk well.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until smooth.
- Fold in apples. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.
- After the batter has rested, drop spoonfuls of batter (about ⅓ cup) onto the preheated griddle or frying pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes longer on the second side.
- Serve pancakes topped with the caramel apple sauce.
- Leftover pancakes will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, as will the sauce. Store them separately in airtight containers. Caramel sauce will thicken when cold.
- You can also freeze both the pancakes and the sauce for up to 3 months; let them thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheat pancakes in a 350ºF oven for 5 to 10 minutes; place them on a sheet pan and cover the pan with foil to keep them from drying out. The microwave works too! Reheat sauce in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave.