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Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes

Who says a pancake breakfast can’t be tasty and healthy? Whip up a batch of these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes and indulge your fall cravings for foods that are warm, spicy and sweet. Your house will smell like pumpkin pie, your taste buds will think you’re eating something sinful, and your body will thank you for filling it with a wholesome meal!

I had been planning on making french toast for our Sunday morning breakfast. I had baked some really good buttermilk bread the other day and the last half a loaf is at that ‘too stale for cold sandwiches but perfect for french toast’ stage.

So what is that photo of whole wheat pumpkin pancakes doing up there? Well, this morning I did what I do best. I changed my mind. Just as I was pulling out the milk and eggs for french toast, I had a vision of pumpkin pancakes. This was odd because I’ve never even tasted pumpkin pancakes, much less made them!

Pumpkin Pancake Batter

But once the idea was in my head, I couldn’t let it go. I announced to my husband that breakfast plans had changed and that he would be eating pumpkin pancakes as soon as I figured out a recipe. He gave me an uncertain look that said he was hungry and worried that my ‘pancake experiment’ would delay breakfast for quite some time. But he knew it was useless to protest and muttered something like, “That sounds good” and went back to playing his latest PS3 game.

I was hungry too, but confident enough in my pancake-making ability to take the chance. I had a feeling I could throw something together pretty quick and on the off chance it turned out to be a disaster, french toast was still an option!

Ladleful of Batter

When I was a kid, I hated whole wheat pancakes. I thought it was bad enough that we were only allowed to eat whole wheat bread when all the other ‘lucky kids’ at school got to eat sandwiches made with Wonder bread. I didn’t think the dreaded whole wheat flour had any place in my breakfast pancakes!

Pancakes and waffles were one thing that my parents made with white flour and therefore they were just like the pancakes my friends ate and just like the pancakes I could order at a restaurant. And that’s the way I liked it. We didn’t eat pancakes at home very often but they were (and are) a breakfast staple up at the cabin. Plain pancakes, banana pancakes, blueberry pancakes, gooseberry pancakes, and even corn pancakes. But never whole wheat!

Uncooked Pumpkin Pancakes

The few times I had to eat whole wheat pancakes growing up, I thought they were absolutely terrible! Maybe they were, they certainly can be if you use the wrong recipe. But I think it was probably all in my head.

My views on whole wheat bread changed over the years as did my views on whole wheat pancakes. I’ve learned that many types of whole wheat pancakes actually taste much better than regular ones. So, even though I’ll always love a stack of good old white flour buttermilk pancakes, I find myself experimenting more often with different types of whole grain pancakes.

Cooked Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin pancakes seemed like the perfect vehicle for whole grain flour so that’s what I used in this recipe. I added a little bit of cake flour to lighten them up a bit but feel free to try the recipe with 100% whole wheat flour if that’s what you prefer.

This recipe will use about half a can of pumpkin puree. If you have a large family, double the recipe and use the entire can. One can is just under two cups of pumpkin but don’t worry too much about not having enough pumpkin. Just use one can and add a bit more buttermilk if the batter is too thick. If you aren’t going to make a double batch, use that extra half can of pumpkin to whip up some pumpkin muffins!

Pumpkin Pancakes on Plate

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

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1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients (whole wheat flour through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients (buttermilk through brown sugar).

2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are ok, just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If batter seems too thick to pour, you can gently stir in a little more buttermilk.

3. Drop pancakes by ladleful onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface.


You may substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour. You may also use only whole wheat flour, just increase whole wheat to 1 1/2 cups and omit cake flour; pancakes will be a bit heavier. Light brown sugar or white sugar may be substituted for dark brown sugar. If you have it on hand, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Pinch My Salt

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