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Fresh and Simple Lemon Pancakes

If you are looking for a pancake recipe that wakes up your tastebuds, you will love this fresh and simple lemon pancake recipe.

pancakes on a brown antique plate with strawberries

Pancakes are a staple breakfast in our house. They are delicious and use simple ingredients, which is a plus in my book!

When my kids wake up and smell the skillet heating up, they know that pancakes are on the menu for breakfast.

During the Christmas season, you will find me flipping our Christmas cinnamon pancakes that are, basically, a cinnamon roll made simple.

If you want a basic pancake recipe, you will love this fluffy pancake recipe that doesn’t use buttermilk. I try to keep things as simple as possible with this recipe while still producing and incredible pancake.

Every once in awhile, I feel like having a pancake that brings a lighter taste to the plate.

Lemon is a loved citrus fruit in this home and I love pairing citrus with sweet treats, like my lemon crinkle cookies, so I thought creating a pancake that replicated those cookies would be a hit!

Our family loves pancakes, so finding different ways to serve the same dish is a strategy I use to keep things simple in our home.

The best part about this recipe is that it uses a base pancake recipe that creates the fluffiest pancakes and adds in simple additions to make them feel new and special.

Why you’ll love Lemon Pancakes

  • They use a basic pancake recipe that produces fluffy, donut like pancakes by combining simple ingredients.
  • The lemon flavor gives a natural freshness to the pancake without taking away from the sweetness you would expect with a pancake.
  • Use fresh lemon juice by squeezing regular lemons or use a tablespoon of pre-squeezed lemon juice
  • You only have to make a simple addition to take a traditional pancake and turn it into a fresh tasting pancake.
  • These lemon pancakes are so versatile and can be paired with so many things- blueberries, fruit reduction sauce, maple syrup, or lemon curd.
  • Lemon pancakes taste great with a simple breakfast quiche to add protein to the breakfast.
  • You can create a fancy plate of pancakes with sliced strawberries, homemade whipped cream, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Or, you can keep them simple with just a dusting of powdered sugar.
bowl of milk, bowl on lemon juice, squeezed lemons

Ingredients for Lemon Pancakes

  • Milk– You can use whatever milk you have on hand. I have even used almond milk before with good success. You milk have to add a couple of tablespoons of flour to thicken up the batter if you use a nut milk, but the pancakes will still be yummy.
  • Flour– I use an all-purpose flour for our pancakes.
  • Sugar– You may use cane sugar, maple sugar, honey, or maple syrup. I have used a variety of sweeteners and the results are still great.
  • Baking powder– This is used for the rise of the pancakes.
  • Salt– As with every good recipe, you must have a salt to balance and bring out the sweet.
  • Egg– Eggs create a fluffy texture and give structure to baked goods.
  • Oil- You may use an oil or butter to give this recipe some fat content, which helps to create a fluffy pancake.
  • Lemon Zest and Juice- These simple ingredients add a light, sunny flavor to your pancakes. I prefer using two fresh squeezed Meyer lemons and adding the fresh lemon zest, but if you don’t have a fresh lemon, simply add 1/4 cup lemon juice.
bowl of lemon juice with squeezed lemons on a cutting board

Make Pancakes in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Mix wet ingredients.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients.
  3. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter onto a preheated griddle.
  4. Flip the pancake once the bubbles in the batter are popping and the outside of the batter looks like it’s set up.
pancake batter with bubbles, pancake ingredients, cast iron

How to Cook Lemon Pancakes

You will make your lemon pancake batter while the cast iron skillet, or your griddle of choice, preheats to medium heat.

Add butter to the skillet and place 1/4 cup of the batter on the melted butter in a large skillet.

Allow the batter to cook until the bubbles are popping on the pancake and the outer edge looks set up.

Flip the pancake and allow it to finish cooking.

pancakes on a brown antique plate with strawberries and powdered sugar

Toppings for Lemon Pancakes

  • Maple Syrup– Maple syrup tastes amazing with these pancakes as the sweet and sunny flavors bring out the best in one another.
  • Browned butter– This butter is, essentially, cooked in a pan until browned. This creates a rich, deep flavor profile that is amazing for pancakes.
  • Fresh Berries– A sweet berry is always good atop pancakes- strawberries, raspberries, fresh blueberries.
  • Whipped Cream– This is best when accompanies by above fruit.
  • Powdered Sugar– A quick shake of powdered sugar makes pancakes a hint of sweetness.
  • Coconut– Shaved coconut is a wonderful addition to this recipe and makes you feel like you’re in the tropics. Toast your coconut to get even more depth of flavor!
squeezed lemons on a cutting board and pancakes on a plate

Tips and Tricks for making the best Lemon Pancakes

  • When should you flip pancakes? Be patient and wait until the outside edges are beginning to set up and the inside is bubbly. Flip using your wrist.
  • How to freeze pancakes: Freeze them on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick together. After 15 minutes, place them in a ziplock until ready to use. Reheat in a microwave or toaster.
  • Don’t over stir. When you see your batter bubbling, do not stir the bubbles out. The bubbles give rise to the pancake batter.
  • Even heat. A great way to burn your pancakes on one side and have raw pancake batter on the other is to not have even heat. Make sure you allow your griddle to come to full heat before pouring, or scooping, your batter onto the griddle. This also allows for the pancakes rise time.
  • Proper Temperature. The best temperature for cooking pancakes is 350°F-375°F.
  • Use butter. Many recipes call for cooking spray to prevent sticking. That works great, but if you want extra crispy edges that taste like you’re eating pancakes at the local diner, toss a pat of butter on your griddle. The butter makes the outside absolutely delish.

cast iron skillet with butter and a pancake

The best pan for cooking pancakes

This might be a disputed issue on the web, but it is not a disputed issue in our home.

The cast iron skillet is the only way to make a pancake.

You can cook them on a large, electric griddle or a non-stick pan, but you will never get the crispy outer edge or flavor that comes with cooking on a cast iron.

I shared all of my tips and tricks for cooking pancakes on a cast iron, along with some great pan options, if you’re interested.

pancakes on a brown antique plate with strawberries with butter

Can I make this batter ahead of time

Yes, if you want to make your morning even easier, make this batter in a large mixing bowl the night before and store in the refrigerator. Be sure to cover it with plastic wrap.

If you want to make this batter the night before, combine all of the ingredients, but leave out the Baking Powder.

Add the baking powder the morning you are making your pancakes about 5 minutes before you’re ready to cook them.

If you add the baking powder the night before, you will have to add more because it is the leavening agent and it will “fall flat” if it sits too long before being cooked.

  • Night Before– Mix up everything for your pancake batter, except the baking powder
  • Morning of– Add in the baking powder and let it activate for 5 minutes before cooking the pancakes.

Other Ways to Enjoy Lemon Pancakes

  • Lemon Blueberry Pancakes– Add blueberries to the batter and fold in gently before cooking.
  • Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes– Add 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese and mix batter. There may be small lumps, but that is normal.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes– Add in 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds to the batter and enjoy poppy seed pancakes with a little bit of blueberry sauce.
  • Lemon Dutch Baby– This would be a wonderful take on a traditional dutch baby that is an easy recipe your whole family will love.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best pan to cook pancakes in?

The best pan to cook pancakes in would be a properly seasoned cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, the next best thing is an electric griddle so you can make several pancakes at once.

How do you store leftover pancakes?

You can store leftover, cooled pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, you can layer cooled pancakes in a ziplock and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheat by microwaving for 15 seconds or by toasting in the toaster.

Other breakfast recipes you’ll love

Winter Soups

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Lemon Pancake Recipe

lemon pancakes on a brown antique plate with strawberries

Simple Lemon Pancakes

Liz Quick
Make a stack of sunny lemon pancakes that are fluffy and have the most subtle and delightful lemon flavor to them.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 100 kcal


  • griddle


  • 2 fresh lemons
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter


  • Measure ¾ cup milk in a small mixing bowl. Add the juice from two squeezed lemons (around ¼ cup lemon juice). Allow that to sit while you mix together the dry ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Add to the milk mixture the egg, vanilla, and oil. Whisk together. Do not overmix.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray or butter.
  • Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet and let cook.
  • Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the outside of the pancake is slightly set up. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
  • Top with strawberries, lemon zest, and a dusting of powdered sugar!


  • When should you flip pancakes? Be patient and wait until the outside edges are beginning to set up and the inside is bubbly. Flip using your wrist.
  • How to freeze pancakes: Freeze them on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick together. After 15 minutes, place them in a ziplock until ready to use. Reheat in a microwave or toaster.
  • Don’t over stir. When you see your batter bubbling, do not stir the bubbles out. The bubbles give rise to the pancake batter.
Keyword easy pancakes, lemon pancake recipe, lemon pancakes

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One Comment

  1. We love all things lemon in our house. We have been enjoying lemon blueberry muffins the past few months, and this pancake recipe looks like something that we would enjoy as well. Thanks for sharing!

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