cornmeal buttermilk pancakes

before my husband was born, his parents and older sister were living in rural Canada, in a log cabin built by my mother- and father-in-law’s own hands. they raised some livestock and gardened for fresh vegetables. is that even for real? i can hardly imagine what that life would have been like. with no roads leading to the nearest town, they had to get creative in the kitchen between grocery-shopping trips. chores such as milling their own wheat or cornmeal with a hand-cranked mill for baking were common. so much like Little House on the Prairie! this has to be part of why my in-laws are such amazing, hearty people, with their endless energy and smiles for every situation. (my mother-in-law figures they expended more calories milling wheat for bread than were in a few slices. pretty sure that’s called Character Building.)

i recently spied a recipe for cornmeal pancakes and had to make a batch for breakfast-for-dinner. i have vague memories of cornmeal pancakes on the table from my childhood… but my husband reminded me that the cornmeal pancakes his dad made were a specialty. so i made these with coarsely-ground cornmeal in honor of Bob.

best part? my husband saying that these flapjacks tasted most like his dad’s than any others he’s eaten.


these are heartier and have more of a toothsome bite than regular flapjacks, and i love how they get a slightly crisp crust where they touch the skillet, while remaining fluffy in the center — perfect for soaking up syrup, and perfect alongside a breakfast sausage link or two.

our family of six ate a lot of pancakes growing up — and waffles, and french toast — and my mom always made her own “maple syrup” from imitation maple flavoring. it’s simple, amazingly delicious hot off the stove, and a lot less expensive than real maple syrup (probably why we always had it). honestly, most times i prefer it to the pure stuff. it tastes so homey and comforting. (plus, a teaspoon or two of this syrup is amazing in a Bourbon with ice. just saying.)

i also liked these pancakes with blueberry syrup. which is also kind of expensive to buy, and really simple to make in a hurry. so make your own! and then eat a stack of pancakes.

cornmeal buttermilk pancakes

recipe from Bon Appetit
serves 2 hungry people, but maybe as many as 4
  • generous 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (sometimes labeled “stone-ground” or “polenta”)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBSP butter, melted and cooled
  • vegetable oil

whisk the dry ingredients together. whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, and combine until smooth.

note: beating pancake batter is normally not cool, because it produces pancakes more tough than tender. however, these made from cornmeal are a whole ‘nother beast; cornmeal does not contain the gluten that develops when worked. so mix away in this case.

heat a little oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat — just enough to coat the skillet. when a droplet of water tossed into the skillet dances and sizzles, it’s ready. pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. they are ready to flip when the tops have bubbles appear. serve immediately; two super-easy syrup options below!

fresh “maple” syrup

makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP imitation maple flavoring

bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. reduce heat and let simmer until crystal-clear, stirring occasionally. remove from heat and add maple flavoring. serve piping hot.

blueberry pancake syrup

makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar, depending on your preferences and ripeness of berries
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in a little water

cook berries and sugar on medium-low heat until some berries begin to burst, stirring occasionally. add the cornstarch slurry and stir well. syrup will thicken as it cools; serve warm.

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13 thoughts on “cornmeal buttermilk pancakes

  1. nan says:

    i love you and your blog. write more often??? :) always makes my day.

  2. suzanne reingans says:

    okay, I’m rushing into the kitchen to make cornmeal pancakes! Yours look meltingly delicious in your photos. Hurrah for simple maple syrup; easy and thrifty. Love your blog!

  3. i adore breakfast for dinner, if it starts the day off right, it stands to reason it’d end the day right too.
    i enjoyed the picture you painted of your husband’s family/childhood, so rustic and charming.

  4. ally says:

    these sound so so perfect. thank you!

  5. Jim says:

    Great, now I’m hungry for pancakes! I’d probably eat them about 5 days a week; well, if Kristin would make them for me that often. I might have to try these out on my own sometime.
    Really enjoy your posts, keep em coming!

    • Haha, Nathan would eat pancakes (any old kind) every day if he could, too! he actually cut that stack away into a neat wedge that I immediately whisked away from him so i could photograph it :) thanks for your kind words, Jim they mean a lot!

  6. […] 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup maple syrup (pure or homemade) […]

  7. […] of all were her breakfasts, waking us vigorously and fueling us for a day of adventure. pancakes (cornmeal or buttermilk), cinnamon rolls, bacon, hot chocolate to warm us. but griddle scones were always my […]

  8. […] 1/4 cup maple syrup (pure or homemade) […]

  9. […] syrup (the real stuff or “homemade” will […]

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