This Cornmeal Pancake Recipe is a delicious twist on a traditional breakfast. These gluten-free pancakes are quick and easy to make and come out light and fluffy with perfect golden edges. Serve them sweet or savory with any meal you like!
This post may include affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
This recipe is perfect for special breakfasts or an easy weeknight dinner. Personally, I loved breakfast for dinner as a kid!
If you've never had cornmeal pancakes, then you're in for a real treat. Cornmeal pancakes are similar to traditional pancakes, except they include yellow cornmeal. This gives them a grainier texture more similar to that of cornbread.
These are the best cornbread pancakes...and they're gluten-free! The texture is perfect and they come together so easily.
📖Why This Recipe Works
- Gluten-Free or Not. This recipe makes delicious gluten-free pancakes, but you can also use white flour if you don't eat gluten-free.
- Sweet or Savory. Top your pancakes off with all the best sweet pancake toppings or enjoy them with more savory add-ons. You can't go wrong!
These cornmeal pancakes are made with just a few super simple ingredients! Here's what you'll need:
Cornmeal - The MVP of this recipe. You can use finely ground cornmeal or stone-ground cornmeal. Do not use corn flour in this recipe.
Flour - For gluten-free pancakes, use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. If you’re not worried about gluten, feel free to use regular all-purpose flour.
Xanthan Gum - You’ll need this only if your flour blend doesn’t already contain it! Double-check first, so you don’t add too much. The xanthan gum is necessary to help stabilize the pancakes.
Milk - I use whole milk, but you can use whatever type of milk you have on hand.
Butter - You can use salted or unsalted butter. Salted butter is better for savory pancakes.
Granulated Sugar - Adds just the right amount of sweetness. If you prefer more savory cornbread pancakes, you can reduce the sugar by half or eliminate it entirely.
You can also use coconut sugar or honey in this recipe.
Baking Powder - Keeps the texture light and fluffy.
Egg - Egg binds everything together so the pancakes can rise. I prefer to use room temperature eggs so it doesn't chill the batter.
Oil - You need just a little bit of vegetable oil to grease the pan so the pancakes don’t stick. You can also use bacon drippings.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
- Use buttermilk - Want to make these into buttermilk cornmeal pancakes instead? Feel free to swap the whole milk out for buttermilk! The buttermilk will react more strongly with the baking powder and your pancakes will be fluffier.
- Make them dairy-free - These pancakes can be easily made dairy-free too by just swapping the milk out for almond milk or another non-dairy milk of your choice.
- Add mix-ins - If you love your pancakes with a little extra texture, you can totally add in any of the classic pancake mix-ins. Try chocolate chips, frozen or fresh blueberries, nuts, you name it.
- Savory- Skip the sugar. You could also go even more savory with it and add Cajun spice, bacon bits, diced jalapeños, or even a handful of cheddar cheese.
⏲️How to Make Cornmeal Pancakes
Cornbread pancakes are just as easy as regular pancakes...which is pretty darn easy! This recipe requires just a few minutes of hands-on time.
Step 1 - Warm the Milk
In a small pan, heat the milk and butter over low heat until the butter is melted. You don’t want it to be scalding hot or ice cold, but a little bit of warmth is good! Warming the milk first helps create a fluffier texture.
Step 2- Make the Batter
In a large bowl or large liquid measuring cup (at least a 4-cup size), whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Pour the warm milk and butter into the dry mixture, add the egg, then stir to combine.
A few small lumps are fine, but you want to be sure to whisk the cornmeal enough that there are no large chunks.
Once the batter is fully mixed, set it aside to rest for 10 minutes. Resting the pancake batter rehydrates the flour for a soft and fluffy pancake texture.
Step 3 - Cook the Pancakes
When the batter is ready, brush a griddle or cast iron skillet with the oil and allow it to warm for a couple of minutes over medium heat. The pan should be warm before you add the batter so the cornbread pancakes get that nice crispy edge.
Next, pour ¼ cup of the batter into the pan and let it cook. When bubbles start to form and pop on top of the pancake, it’s time to flip.
Carefully flip the pancake over to the second side, and cook until it’s golden brown. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes per side, but add time as needed.
Repeat with the remaining batter until all of the pancakes are ready to go! You can keep the cooked pancakes warm as you finish the rest by placing them in the oven set to 200ºF.
🥗How to Serve Cornmeal Pancakes
One of the best things about cornmeal pancakes is that you can serve them sweet or savory! Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve them:
- Sweet: Top your pancakes off with maple syrup, pumpkin syrup, blueberry syrup, fresh fruit, or whipped cream.
- Savory: Pile them with shredded beef, roasted eggplant, or use them in place of the polenta in my polenta and eggplant recipe. You can also dip- them in Cajun garlic butter sauce, classic garlic butter sauce, or homemade romesco sauce.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Don’t forget to preheat the oven to 200º before you start making your pancakes! You can keep the cooked pancakes in there while you use the rest of the batter to keep everything nice and fresh.
🌡️Storing Leftovers and Reheating
Cooked cornmeal pancakes will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To reheat, warm in a skillet on the stove or in the oven to warm and re-crisp. Or you can pop them in the toaster on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
Because of the reaction with the baking powder, all the pancake batter should be used up immediately and not saved for later.
More Easy Breakfast Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Cornmeal pancakes and johnnycakes are two different terms for the same thing: a pancake made with cornmeal.
Yes, cornmeal pancakes can be made in advance. These pancakes freeze beautifully, so they’re a great make-ahead recipe. Simply cook the pancakes as instructed, and let them cool.
Then store them in an airtight container for up to 1 month in the freezer. Be sure to separate any layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the pancakes in the fridge, then reheat them in a pan over medium-low heat to warm and re-crisp.
The keys to light and fluffy pancakes are baking powder, warm (not hot) milk), and letting the batter sit for 10 minutes before cooking the pancakes.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave us a rating or a comment. It helps other wonderful people connect with our food.
Fluffy Cornmeal Pancakes
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ cup gluten-free flour blend or regular flour if not GF
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your flour blend contains (for GF only)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar omit or reduce for savory
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 large egg beaten
- Vegetable Oil for pan
- In a small pan, heat milk and butter over low heat until the butter is melted.1 ½ cups whole milk, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour in the warmed milk. Add the egg and stir to combine. Rest the batter 10 minutes to rehydrate.1 cup cornmeal, ½ cup gluten-free flour blend, ½ teaspoon xanthan gum, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 large egg
- Brush griddle with oil. Pour ¼ cup of batter into the pan. Turn when bubbles on top begin to pop; cook until the second side is golden brown. About 2 minutes per side. Work in batches to cook all the pancakes.Vegetable Oil
- For savory pancakes reduce the sugar by half or omit it entirely
- While cooking the remainder of the pancakes, keep the cooked pancakes warm in a 200 F degree oven on a baking sheet.
- Cooked pancakes can be kept in the fridge or the freezer. Reheat on the stovetop or in a toaster.
- Because of the reaction with the baking powder, all the pancake batter should be used up immediately and not saved for later.