Pumpkin pancakes are the ultimate autumnal breakfast. Lightly spiced with ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, this pancake batter mixes up quickly with mostly on-hand ingredients and cooks up into fragrant, lofty cakes with moist texture. Serving these hot from the griddle with traditional accompaniments like a pat (or two) of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup is wonderful and delicious, but these beauties can also be served with a simple dusting of confectioners’ sugar or even topped with sliced bananas or a dollop of warmed applesauce or compote.

The recipe makes 8 to 10 pancakes but it can easily be doubled if there’s a bigger crowd around your table. The pancakes are best served fresh from the griddle but leftovers can be cooled, covered and stowed at room temperature for one day before reheating in a toaster oven or microwave.

Kitchen Notes:

The recipe calls for 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar. I like my ‘cakes on the sweet side so I use the larger amount but use less if you prefer. In addition, the recipe calls for granulated sugar but the same amount of light or dark brown (firmly packed, of course) can be used instead.

This pancake batter is the ideal destination for any leftover pumpkin puree languishing in the fridge or freezer. When I make the Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting, I tuck away the excess puree (3 ounces) in the freezer. Well-wrapped and labeled (I use a small, heavy-duty freezer bag), the puree can be frozen for up to 3 months. The small amount thaws overnight in the refrigerator or, for a spur of the moment breakfast, a brief blast in the microwave or dip in hot water is all it takes to get things going.

Makes eight to ten 3-inch cakes


  • 1 1/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon (1 ounce) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, for the griddle


For serving (optional)

  • Butter
  • Maple syrup
  • Confectioners’ sugar


1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well blended. Put the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, egg, oil and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, gently fold until just blended. The batter will be thick and look a little lumpy.

2. Heat a large, double stovetop griddle or large heavy-duty skillet over medium heat until a droplet of water immediately evaporates upon hitting the pan. Put a couple of the butter pieces on the griddle and, using the tip of a heatproof spatula, spread the melting butter.

3. Ladle or scoop a scant 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto the griddle, leaving 3 to 4 inches between the pancakes. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the undersides are nicely browned and the edges look set and dry, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a wide, offset spatula to gently lift one edge to peek at the color. If the cakes are overbrowning, reduce the heat to low. Using the spatula, flip and cook the other side until the pancakes are puffed and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 3 or 4 minutes.

4. Repeat with the remaining batter, lightly greasing the griddle with more of the butter pieces between batches.

5. Serve immediately with butter, maple syrup or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Any leftovers can be cooled, wrapped and stowed at room temperature for up to 1 day before reheating in the microwave or on the griddle or toaster oven.