Would it be crazy if I told you that I’m practically a pancake-making veteran? Seriously. I think I’ve tried almost every pancake recipe on the internet. From those super thick Japanese-style pancakes to vegan flapjacks made with banana, I’ve been around the block (or should I say the griddle?) But these lemon coconut pancakes top them ALL!
They’re EVERYTHING you want in your flapjacks. Light and fluffy? Check. Flavorful? Check. The perfect vessel for sweet, sticky maple syrup? CHEEEEEECK!
With their light-as-air texture and delightful flavor, a stack of lemon coconut pancakes might just be the closest thing to a tropical vacation you’ve had all year! And I think we all need to pretend that we’re lying out on an island right about now, am I right?
What you’ll need for lemon coconut pancakes
We’re working with a fairly simple ingredient list here. One of the great things about pancakes is that they’re made with ingredients that are most likely already in your pantry.
The only ingredients you may not already have are cake flour and unsweetened coconut flakes, both of which are crucial to the overall texture and flavor of these pancakes. I mean…coconut is in the name. We’ll toast the coconut flakes in the oven, blend them up, and then mix them into the dry ingredients. I discovered this genius method over at Minimalist Baker, in their Toasted Coconut pancake recipe.
Why use cake flour? Because it is super fine and light, which is essential for yielding ultra fluffy pancakes. Using all-purpose flour will not yield the same texture. Plus, if you sub with AP flour, you’ll have to do more math. And who wants more math? I want more dessert, more weekends, and more makeup, but NEVER more math!
Tips for making perfect lemon coconut pancakes
- Keep dry and wet ingredients separate: That means dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Yes, there will be more dishes to wash, but there will also be super great pancakes!
- Use buttermilk: I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of subbing whole milk for buttermilk in the past, but I’ve learned from my errors! The tang and flavor of buttermilk in pancakes is unbeatable. Likewise, there’s a scientific purpose in using it. The acid in buttermilk activates the baking soda, providing height, fluffiness, and tenderness.
- Separate the egg yolks and egg whites: Yep, this also means more dishes. However, it also means awesome-r pancakes! Mix the yolks in with the buttermilk, and beat the whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. You’ll combine the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients, and then gently fold in the whipped egg whites last. This little trick, albeit a little time-consuming, gives your pancakes a serious upgrade in the fluff department! Plus, it’s cool to watch egg whites go from looking like mucus to looking like soft clouds.
Prevent pancake-making disasters
Remember how I said I’m a pancake-making veteran? Well, a lot of those pancakes failed. Like, a lot! Seriously…I’ve shed some tears in the kitchen. Not ashamed to say it! BUT these failures have given me tons and tons of culinary wisdom, which I’m excited to share with you guys today. Here are some ways to avoid a pancake FLOP:
- Measure your flour correctly: I used to take my measuring cup and scoop it directly into the bag of flour, yielding WAY too much flour as a result. Those were the dark days. But when I started measuring flour correctly, by using a scale and, sometimes, the scoop and level method, my pancakes went from hard and dry to light and fluffy.
- Use non-stick spray: They don’t call it non-stick for nothing! It’s a real help in this process. I like PAM’s butter flavored non-stick spray.
- Use a good-quality pan and spatula: I’ve had the best luck with pancakes using a dark metal, cast iron pan/skillet or griddle. A griddle is the most ideal to use; avoid stainless steel pans! The pancakes will stick and be difficult to flip.
- Watch the temperature: Pancakes need even heat to cook up well. Too cold and the pancakes will be tough, too hot and they’ll burn around the edges and be raw in the middle. Know your equipment, be observant, and don’t step away from the stove.
- Don’t press down on the pancakes: Yeaaaah…no. I totally get the urge to feel like you’re making burgers on the grill at a cookout, but this is a no-no. You’ll press all the air out of your pancakes and they’ll be tough.
- Be patient: And this advice is coming from a VERY impatient person. I’ve learned my lesson from rushing pancakes: not waiting for the pan to get hot enough, flipping them too soon, flipping them more than once, etc. Be patient because good pancakes are worth the wait.
Yes, it’s a small batch recipe!
Isn’t it frustrating sometimes when you’re looking for a recipe and all the ones you find make ridiculously large portions? I’ve stumbled on pancake recipes that call for FOUR cups of flour! I don’t have that many mouths to feed, and I also don’t want to waste food.
This lemon coconut pancakes recipe yields six pancakes. That’s three pancakes for you, and three pancakes for your partner, your roommate, your best friend oooor…yourself! Plus, maybe one little tiny pancake made from the last bits of batter scraped from the bowl.
And if you’ve got more than two hungry mouths to feed, not to worry! This recipe can be doubled! Pancakes also store really well. I like to wrap each individual flapjack in plastic wrap, freeze them, and reheat them in the oven. They’ll taste like they’re fresh off the griddle!
Another lemon recipe you may like…
Lemon Coconut Pancakes
- Non-stick dark metal pan/skillet OR electric griddle
For the toasted coconut
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the pancake batter
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (127 grams) cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, yolk and white separated room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the coconut flakes on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about two minutes, stir, then bake for another minute and a half. Once the flakes are a nice golden brown color, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a blender or food processor. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, and blend to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and the blended coconut-sugar mixture.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine melted butter, vanilla, egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and buttermilk. Beat gently with a whisk until combined.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, being careful not to over-beat. You want it so that when the beaters are lifted, the peaks stand firmly up without curling at the tips.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a whisk, being careful not to over-mix. Lumpy batter is what we want! You only need to do about 5-7 big stirs, then stop. Now, gently fold in the whipped egg white until it is just combined with the batter; there should be little to no white streaks.
- Let the batter rest for at least five minutes while you bring a pan to medium heat on the stovetop. If using a griddle, set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the surface with non-stick spray.
- Once the pan is hot enough, pour in a 1/3 cup of pancake batter. Once the edges look cooked through and small holes pop up and remain on the surface, flip the pancake and cook for about 2-3 more minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat until there is no leftover batter.
- Serve warm with your favorite toppings and maple syrup, if desired.
- It’s normal if your first pancake comes out a little flatter or under-cooked than the rest. As you continue to cook the batter, the pancakes will come out thicker and more golden.
- Pancakes will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
- The pancakes will not be as fluffy and light if you use all-purpose flour in place of cake flour.