Grab your forks and napkins, everyone! Because we’re in peak citrus season! A few weeks ago, we made this super tasty grapefruit smoothie, and now I’m thinking it’s time for a little revamp of an older recipe. So here we are again, face to face with fluffy lemon pancakes. And what a lovely encounter it is.
These flapjacks pretty much check all the boxes. Tangy? Check. Light as air? Check. The perfect vessel for sweet and sticky maple syrup? CHEEEEEECK!
What makes these pancakes extra special, you ask?
Well, there’s a few things. First, there’s the toasted coconut whisked into the dry ingredients for a toasty, nutty flavor (a little trick learned from Minimalist Baker). Second, there’s the lemon juice and lemon zest for tartness and tang. Third, there’s the method of separating the egg yolks and egg whites for maximum fluffiness. And let’s not forget the cake flour, which truly makes this stack stand out from the crowd!
In case you don’t know (you probably don’t since, like, I’m a stranger on the Internet and all), I am a huuuge fan of classic American pancakes. Like, HUGE.
One of the first foods I ever learned to make from scratch was pancakes, and I spent years perfecting the recipes and cooking techniques. Basically, I know my sh*t. So I’m gonna pass on some of that to you, so that you may never again have a failed flapjack on your hands!
And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, don’t you think your special someone would love waking up to a stack of these? I may have to argue that fluffy lemon pancakes are more romantic than chocolate.
Of course, if you’re self-partnered, what better way to say “hey, self, I love you” than to make yourself something good to eat. Because you deserve it. And who’s going to love you more than you, anyways?
Okay, therapist hat off, pancake hats on!
Ingredients for fluffy lemon pancakes
- Unsweetened coconut flakes – Toasted in the oven, blended in a food processor or blender, then whisked into our dry ingredients.
- Cake flour – I know this might not be an ingredient you have just lying around, but it truly makes the fluffiest, airiest pancakes I’ve ever, ever had. If you insist on using all-purpose flour, see tips below on how to substitute.
- Salt – To boost our flavor.
- Baking powder & baking soda – For leavening; baking soda is used as well because we are using acidic ingredients like lemon and buttermilk.
- Granulated sugar – Only a couple of tablespoons since we’ll most likely be having our pancakes with maple syrup.
- Vanilla extract – Another flavor booster.
- Lemon juice & lemon zest – Mixed into the wet ingredients for tartness.
- Unsalted butter – Also part of the liquid ingredients. Melted, then cooled.
- Egg, yolk and white separated – Separating the egg yolk and egg white makes for a fluffier pancake.
- Buttermilk – Used in pancakes for its tanginess and moisture. Don’t have buttermilk on hand? Just mix either one tablespoon of white vinegar or one tablespoon of lemon juice in one cup of plain milk. Stir, and let it sit for a few minutes.
How to substitute with all purpose flour: Simply use a cup of AP flour in place of cake flour.
How to make perfect pancakes from scratch
- Grab a large mixing bowl and add all the dry ingredients to it. Whisk very well, then set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients: cooled melted butter, egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract. Whisk until completely combined and smooth.
- Now, it’s time to whip the egg white. Since we separated it from the yolk, it should be in another bowl on its own. Get your mixer or your whisk (if you’re strong enough) and beat the egg white until it reaches stiff peaks. When you lift up the beaters or whisk, a peak should stand up straight and firm without flopping over. You’ll find that the egg white is thick and almost doubled in size.
- Take the wet ingredients and pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Now, use a rubber spatula to gently fold them together until combined. Lumps are okay; don’t overmix! Add the whipped egg white, then fold until just combined with the batter.
- Let the batter rest for about five minutes while you bring your pan or griddle to heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto the pan/griddle. Wait until around the edges look finished and there are open holes on the surface of the pancake before flipping. Don’t flip as soon as you see bubbles; let the bubbles form holes that stay un-popped.
- Place finished pancakes on a wire rack, spread out, so that they don’t steam and get soggy.
Common Pancake Mistakes
Listen, y’all: pancakes may be simple, but they ain’t foolproof. I know because I’ve made my fair sure of tough, dense, and chewy ones. It sucks when you put a lot of love into making something, and it fails. Luckily, these are learning experiences. Here are some common pancake-making mistakes to avoid:
- Measuring flour incorrectly: This has got be one of the biggest no-nos. Dipping your measuring cup directly in a bag/canister of flour is not the correct way to measure, because it can yield up to 30% more flour than intended. Instead, measure flour with a kitchen scale (the most reliable method, in my opinion), or spoon flour into a measuring cup, then scrape off any excess. Read this for more information on how to properly measure ingredients.
- Using the wrong equipment: 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.
- Wrong 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.
- Pressing down on 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.
- Flipping them more than once: Flipping more than once takes all the air out of pancakes.
- Flipping at the wrong time: Don’t flip immediately when bubbles pop up on the surface. Wait for the bubbles to become open holes, that do not pop. There will also be crispness and a golden color around the edges.
- Not cooling the butter: Naturally, when you melt butter, its a little hot. Be sure to let the butter cool down before mixing it into the wet ingredients, otherwise you risk scrambling the egg!
- Over-mixing: Fold pancake batter until wet and dry ingredients are just combined. Lumps are okay!
- Not separating the egg yolk and white: Yes, it’s a little extra work. But the amazing texture you’ll get makes it completely worth it.
Why are my pancakes not fluffy?
-The main culprits for this problem are using too much flour and overmixing the batter.
What’s up with my pancakes burning?
-The heat is too high/wrong equipment. If using a cast iron pan, set to medium heat. If using a griddle, set to around 375 degrees F. Don’t use a stainless steel pan!
Why are my pancakes raw in the middle?
-Again, heat too high, which causes pancakes to burn around the edges yet remain uncooked in the center.
Why are my pancakes dry?
-You may have used too much flour. Be sure to measure flour using either a kitchen scale or the spoon and level method.
Storing and reheating fluffy lemon pancakes
We all know that pancakes are best when served fresh, but they’re also are sooo freezer friendly! I like to cover any leftovers in one layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, just reheat them in the microwave or the oven (I prefer the oven).
I hope you’ll enjoy these fluffy lemon pancakes all-citrus-season long!
Fluffy Lemon Pancakes for Two
- 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 another bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Whenen the beaters are lifted, the peaks should stand firmly up without flopping over.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Fold gently until just combined. Do not overmix. Lumpy batter is what we want! Finally, 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 more minutes. Transfer finished pancakes to a wire rack.
- 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.
- Nutrition facts are just an estimate.