These homemade cornmeal pancakes are hearty, subtly sweet, fluffy in the center, and slightly crispy on the exterior. Just add your favorite pancake toppings and dig in!
In the pantheon of basic pancake recipes—your buttermilk pancakes, your ricotta pancakes, and even your average protein pancake recipe—cornmeal pancakes are one of the more versatile options. Subtly sweet (just like fresh corn!), they can be made into a savory breakfast by adding the right toppings (may we suggest chive butter or hot honey?), or you can lean into the sweetness by adding fresh fruit and honey.
Cornmeal pancakes are also hearty thanks to the addition of cornmeal, but because they’re also made with standard all-purpose flour, they retain that light, fluffy pancake texture we all know and love.
So, basically, they’re hearty but not too hearty. Sweet, but not too sweet. Which makes them all-around perfect pancakes!
About these cornmeal pancakes
The best thing about cornmeal pancakes is that they get ever-so-slightly crispy where they brown on the griddle—just enough to make things interesting! That thin, crispy layer on the exterior has the most lovely, toasty corn flavor.
(Now, if you want a more traditional soft, fluffy pancake, that’s doable, too—just cook your cornmeal pancakes until they’re golden on each side, not lightly browned.)
We topped these pancakes with a generous drizzle of honey, but honey butter or creamed honey would be delicious, as would our Strawberry Sauce or Blueberry Sauce! We’ve also got plenty more topping ideas below. Keep reading!
What you need
The ingredients in this recipe are very basic and you might find you already have everything you need on hand!
Wet ingredients: Egg, milk, oil or melted butter
Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, yellow cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt
A note about cornmeal
You’ll want a fine or medium grind cornmeal for this recipe; avoid coarse cornmeal, which is better used for making grits, polenta, or breading. Do not use cornbread mix—it’s not the same, as it has other ingredients added to it.
If you can find stone-ground cornmeal, that will add more corn flavor and nutrition to your cornmeal pancakes, as the hull and germ (or at least some of it) remain in the meal. Most cornmeal is ground with steel rollers, which makes it last longer, but it removes the hull and germ.
How to make them
Mix the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to beat the egg, milk, and oil or butter until they’re smooth.
Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Gently mix them together on top of the wet ingredients before stirring them in. (This keeps you from needing to use an extra bowl!) Mix until just combined; a few small lumps are okay.
Heat your griddle. Place a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. If you’re not using a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet, add a little oil or butter to the griddle to keep the cornmeal pancakes from sticking.
Cook the pancakes. Pour the batter onto the hot griddle in about 2 tablespoon portions. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges of the pancakes begin to look dry. Carefully flip the pancakes and continue to cook for another minute or two, or until golden brown and cooked through.
Finish. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Cornmeal pancakes are fluffy, but not quite as fluffy as buttermilk pancakes, so you have to go into this recipe with the right expectations! If your pancakes don’t match the fluffiness in the photos, you may have over-mixed the batter (which will make the pancakes chewy), or you added too much liquid to the batter. Be sure to be precise as you measure!
Aside from the obvious difference in color, yellow cornmeal has a more assertive corn flavor, while white cornmeal is a little more subtle. We use yellow cornmeal in this recipe so that corn flavor really shines through, but you can certainly use white cornmeal (or even blue cornmeal!) if that’s what you have on hand.
No, cornmeal isn’t the same as corn flour; corn flour is very finely ground, similar to all-purpose flour. It’s used in baked goods and sometimes tempura batter, but it won’t give you the hearty texture you want in cornmeal pancakes.
How to make these cornmeal pancakes your own
We promised topping ideas, and we’ve got them! Here are some ways to customize your cornmeal pancakes.
- Make them Southwestern-style. Use blue cornmeal and serve them up with pico de gallo, sour cream, Monterey jack, pickled jalapeños, and roasted corn.
- Give them some fall flair. Cornmeal pancakes are super good with cranberry relish and freshly-grated orange zest.
- Load ‘em up with spring berries. Pile your pancakes high with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries, add a dollop of Greek yogurt or Lemon Whipped Cream, and finish it with a drizzle of honey.
- Serve them up with stone fruits. Cornmeal pancakes are also delicious with pitted cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines in the summer!
Make Ahead Ideas
These cornmeal pancakes can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can freeze cornmeal pancakes in an airtight storage container or a freezer bag with parchment paper between the layers to keep the pancakes from sticking to each other.
Microwave cornmeal pancakes until they’re warmed through, or place them on a sheet pan, cover it with foil, and heat them in a 350ºF oven for about 10 minutes. (Covering the sheet pan with foil keeps the pancakes from getting dry in the oven.)
If you’re reheating pancakes from frozen, simply add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
More classic pancake recipes
Get the Recipe: Cornmeal Pancakes
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and oil.
- On top of wet ingredients, add flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Gently mix together before stirring into wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, some small lumps are okay.
- Heat a griddle over medium-low heat. If desired, add a little oil or butter to the griddle.
- Pour batter onto hot griddle in about 2 tablespoon portions. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until edges begin to look dry. Flip and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Makes about 9 pancakes
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can freeze cornmeal pancakes in an airtight storage container or a freezer bag with parchment paper between the layers to keep the pancakes from sticking to each other.
- To Reheat: Microwave cornmeal pancakes until they’re warmed through, or place them on a sheet pan, cover it with foil, and heat them in a 350ºF oven for about 10 minutes. (Covering the sheet pan with foil keeps the pancakes from getting dry in the oven.) If you’re reheating pancakes from frozen, simply add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.