Hello Fall. I finally made it to my favorite season, but living in Arizona means boots and sweaters are NOT in our near future. As the air turns crisp and leaves don their golden hues in other parts of the country, we still live in t-shirts and shorts, we still BBQ and go swimming… but any day under 100 degrees is a relief. Nonetheless, it’s that time of the year when pumpkin spice makes its return, gracing our lives with warmth and comfort. As the change of season makes its way in, I will share with you our family favorite Fluffy Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes.
They are easy, they are fluffy, and they scratch the itch for sweater weather flavors perfectly. Top them off with plenty of butter, real maple syrup and some crispy bacon on the side. The first bite of these pancakes is like stepping into the cozy season. The fluffiness from the buttermilk complements the warmth of pumpkin spice and embodies the very essence of the season.
Because we live in a warmer climate, the flavors of the holidays are what makes this time of year feel cozy for me. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “spiced” breakfast, drink, dessert, or even a candle. If you are one of those people who loves the idea of running out to grab anything pumpkin spice as soon as calendar marks September… I promise that making these pancakes would capture the joy of the season in every bite.
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What You’ll Need:
Buttermilk– Use the real stuff. They sell powdered buttermilk, and it is ok for baking some recipes, but for this one you will need the acidity of a liquid buttermilk to react with the baking powder and baking soda. The chemical reaction is what makes these pancakes extra fluffy.
TIP: You can make your own buttermilk for this recipe by measuring 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar and adding it to a glass measuring cup. Next, add whole milk up to the cup line. Give it a stir and let sit for 10 minutes. It will curdle slightly and don’t let it sit for longer than 10 minutes before adding to the recipe. It is also helpful to use milk that is already room temperature.
Pumpkin Puree– Make sure you are getting 100% pumpkin puree. The brand doesn’t matter as long as it is not pie “filling”. Pie filling has added ingredients that we don’t need and it may interfere with your end result.
Vanilla Extract or Paste
Unsalted Butter– I don’t recommend margarine. Real butter has the perfect fat to water ratio that adds flavor and richness. Margarine does not melt at the same temperature as butter and will not cook the same. Even though it is only a small amount added to the batter, it does have an affect on the overall crumb/texture of the pancake.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda– Using just one isn’t enough to leaven the batter. A combination of both with an active ingredient such as buttermilk will turn these into those pillowy soft pancakes that you are craving.
Brown Sugar & White Sugar– You can only use all white sugar if you prefer, but I do not recommend using all brown sugar or they will be more dense.
Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon- If you do not have the pre-made pumpkin spice, then cinnamon makes a great substitute on its own. Making a spice blend is also very simple to do.
How to make Pumpkin Spice: Combine 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves. This will keep well in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
Griddle Pan– I use an electric griddle. It allows me to make more that one at a time AND control the temperature to achieve that perfect, fluffy pancake. If you don’t have one, any non-stick skillet or pan that is large enough to fit at least one pancake will do.
Ice Cream Scoop– This gives me just right amount of batter and shape for my pancakes. You can also use a 1/4 measuring cup. I don’t recommend using more than 1/4 cup, they will be too thick to cook properly, possibly causing them to burn by the time the middle is fully cooked through.
Optional Add Ins: Pick one or more: Pecans, walnuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and/or raisins.
Tips & Tricks
- Bring your refrigerated ingredients to room temperature. I set them out on the counter as soon as I get up in the morning, letting it “warm up” while I make coffee and check a few things off of my list for the day. You can also remove the eggs from the shell and place them in a bowl to speed up the “warming” time for the eggs. Same with the buttermilk, measure it out before setting it on the counter. You can also take the chill off of the milk by microwaving it for about 20 seconds.
- Have your maple syrup, butter and plates ready to go for serving before you get started. No one likes a cold pancake no matter how fluffy it is. Real maple syrup should always be stored in the fridge once opened. Because it is a natural product, it can go bad if left at room temperature for long term storage. I also set this out with the rest of my ingredients so it melts in with the butter nicely when serving. Same as with the buttermilk, you can heat the amount you will use in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
- Start pre-heating your griddle pan as soon as you get started mixing your ingredients. Don’t use the non-stick spray until you are ready to cook. The temperature may also need to be adjusted as you are cooking. For example, I know that if I use my gas stove the pan keeps getting hotter. Towards the end my pancakes start to brown much more quickly if I don’t adjust the temperature.
- If you are cooking a large batch for a crowd or meal prepping, I recommend prepping your area. Use a paper towel lined plate or casserole dish to place the cooked pancakes. Cover them with a clean dish towel to keep them warm if they are being served right away.
- You can keep these in an air-tight container or Ziploc bag in the fridge for a 2-3 days. Re-heat several on a parchment lined cookie sheet, covered with foil for 10-15 minutes at 325 F (165 C). If you need to store these beyond 3 days, they will need to be frozen. You can freeze by letting them cool completely on a rack. Place some wax paper on a large baking sheet and pop in the freezer for an hour or two. Use more wax paper between each pancake in a freezer bag. I take out what I need to use and thaw in the fridge overnight.
Looking for more breakfast ideas?
If you try these Fluffy Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes or any of my other recipes tag me on Instagram @joymakersandco, I’d love to see what you make!
Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
- 1 Electric Griddle or Large Skillet
- 1 Ice-Cream Scoop
- 1 Spatula
- 2 cups buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup 100% pumpkin puree canned
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, cooled
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, see notes below
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar, see notes below
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice* OR ground cinnamon, see notes below
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional Add Ins: Pick one or more
- chopped pecans
- chopped walnuts
- semi-sweet chocolate chips
- white chocolate chips
- Pre-heat your electric griddle pan to 300°-325°F (150°-165°C) or medium heat on your stove.
- Combine your buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk in the melted butter. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to make sure there are no lumps of brown sugar.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Gently fold in only until incorporated. Stop when you no longer see see dry patches of flour, this will be a thick, lumpy batter.
- Grease your pan with a neutral oil or non-stick spray. Measure 1/4 cup of batter and pour onto the griddle. I use an ice-cream scoop, it gives me a perfect 1/4 cup every time.
- When the pancake starts to bubble and slightly dry on on the edges, check for browning underneath by gently lifting one edge with a spatula. If it looks nicely browned, then it is ready to flip. (Watch your temperature and adjust if needed.)
- Cook until it's browned on the other side and serve with real butter and maple syrup. Maybe even bacon on the side to make these extra special!