Welcome to The Storied Recipe Podcast, a podcast about food, culture, and love. This recipe for Vegan Cornmeal Pancakes came from my podcast guest, Deborah Johnson, from her cookbook, On Rising. Make sure you listen to her episode Recipes for Joyful Mornings while you make her easy, fluffy Vegan Corn Pancake recipe!
When I read Deborah's recipe for these Corn Pancakes, I was... both intrigued and, frankly, skeptical. I simply could not understand how the cornmeal and banana flavors would work together.
I'm so glad I tried!!! The combination makes for the MOST delicious pancakes with a fluffy but substantial texture and only a mildly sweet flavor. Top (or fill) with fresh berries and maple syrup for added sweetness, or just slather with butter. I would never imagine saying this but... Honestly? I now like these more than traditional pancakes!
Here's what my podcast guest, Deborah, says about this recipe she shared with us:
Corn pancakes are unique among pancakes - not too sweet and satisfyingly substantial. The cornmeal adds its own signature flavor and texture that comes through in every bite. If you love the flavor profile of cornbread, you'll be a fan, but corn pancakes are more tender, soft, and sweet.
Pancakes are universal! Try these recipes for sweet and savory pancakes from all around the world! 2 Ingredient Banana Omelette, Polish Biszkoptowy, Southern Savory Courgette Pancakes, Bengali Malpua, Kabalagala: Ugandan Cassava Pancakes.
- Homemade Corn Pancakes: Look, Flavor, and Texture
- Guest's Memories of Corn Pancakes
- Top Tips for Fluffy Cornmeal Pancakes
- Ingredients (Substitutions Below)
- Substitutions and Variations
- Are Cornmeal Pancakes the same as Johnny Cakes?
- Are Cornmeal Pancakes healthier than traditional pancakes?
- Best Pancakes Around the World
- Listen to Deborah's Episode
- Author of On Rising
- Easy Fluffy Vegan Cornmeal Pancake Recipe
- Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
Homemade Corn Pancakes: Look, Flavor, and Texture
- Perfectly golden exterior
- Puffy, aerated interior
- Cornmeal and banana - you can taste both and... shockingly, they go together beautifully. Try it and you'll see!!!
- I assumed these would be savory cornmeal pancakes, but they're not. The banana adds just a touch of sweetness - just enough that a drizzle of syrup or smear of jam complements the pancakes rather than contrasting or competing.
- Again, I was a doubter, but YES, these are FLUFFY pancakes, thanks to a generous 1.5 tablespoons of baking powder.
- Also, when you hear cornmeal, don't think cornbread. These are chewy, not crumbly.
Guest's Memories of Corn Pancakes
To me, cornmeal pancakes are an especially homey meal. Maybe because, when I was growing up, every Saturday morning started wtih a batch of corn pancakes prepared by mom. Despite working full-time as a doctor, raising four rambunctious children, and having a house constantly filled with visitors (literally, she would serve meals to more than a hundred guests at a time in our backyard with a relaxed smile on her face), she made time for many home-cooked family traditions. Corn pancakes might have been my favorite.
They have thus been an enduring favorite! But as a vestige of childhood, I prefer mine slightly burnt.
Listen to Deborah Johnson's episode here:
Top Tips for Fluffy Cornmeal Pancakes
- Use finely ground cornmeal. Coarse cornmeal can make the pancakes crumbly.
- Let the batter rest 15 minutes before frying the pancakes.
Ingredients (Substitutions Below)
- Finely ground cornmeal (*See notes below)
- AP flour (*See notes)
- Baking powder - critical to the fluffy texture.
- Non-dairy milk of your choice, room temperature: I used oat milk, you could also try unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, or anything else
- Maple syrup
- Coconut oil (or Canola oil, Vegetable oil, etc;) to prep the pan (You won't need this is you use a nonstick skillet or griddle.)
Substitutions and Variations
Masa Harina vs. Cornmeal
- Masa Harina and Cornmeal are processed differently and are not the same thing.
- However, the important thing in this recipe is that the corn is very finely ground - as it is in both cornmeal AND Masa Harina. So you can use either.
Yellow Cornmeal vs White Cornmeal
- Yellow cornmeal and white cornmeal differ in color (obviously) and slightly in flavor.
- The texture will be the same regardless.
- The important thing in this recipe is that the cornmeal is finely ground.
Pure Maple Syrup vs. "Pancake Syrup"
- I'll be honest: I used the cheap stuff. I grew up on the cheap stuff and that's what I keep in my pantry.
- Obviously pure maple syrup is healthier than high fructose corn syrup with a bazillion preservatives.
- If you grew up on it, maple syrup tastes better also!
- But both will work in this recipe.
What if I'm out of baking powder?
- Replace with 1.5 teaspoons baking soda and 2.5 teaspoons cream of tartar
- Or 1.5 teaspoons baking soda to 2.5 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
Make Gluten Free Cornmeal Pancakes
- Replace the AP flour with EITHER
- Gluten free oat flour (See this post from Rachel Mansfield: Oat Flour 101)
- Or use an All Purpose Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend + ⅛ teaspoon Xanthum Gum if that's not in your blend)
- As soon as you pour batter onto your cooking surface, sprinkle a few fresh blueberries or chocolate chips on top
- Pour a drizzle of maple syrup (or maple-flavored table syrup)
- Smear a dash of Butter, nut butter, vegan butter
- Garnish the top of the pancake with Fresh fruit, compote, jam
- More bananas natural choice
- See link to more
- Mix dry ingredients
- Mash bananas. Add non-dairy milk. There will be small lumps - don't worry about it, you won't taste or experience them in the final pancakes.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Allow a resting time of 15 minutes.
- Turn electric griddle on to 350 OR preheat and add coconut oil to cooking surface
- Use about a quarter cup of batter to make small pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes (usually 2-3 minutes), flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat until remaining batter is gone.
Are Cornmeal Pancakes the same as Johnny Cakes?
- Deborah addresses this in her book On Rising also! She says,
- "The origin of Johnny cakes, which I like to think of as the original corn pancakes, is shrouded in mystery. Some say they originated with the Pawtuxet Indians, who called them "Shawnee Cakes", which the settlers mispronounced as "johnnycakes". Others claim they were originally "journey cakes", a convenient snack for long voyages. Either way, the base recipe [for the original corn cakes] was composed of ground flint corn, boiling water, and salt."
Are Cornmeal Pancakes healthier than traditional pancakes?
- Whole grains: While Cornmeal is not a whole grain (the hull is removed in processing), it does have a lower GI than flour.
- No added sugar: Banana and maple syrup is the only sweetener in these pancakes.
- I highly recommend my favorite nonstick griddle!
- Otherwise, use a Non-stick frying pan or Stainless steel frying pan
- Nah, don't try to store these.
- You need to use your batter within 15 minutes of making it.
- These vegan cornbread pancakes need to be eaten fresh - and they're easy enough to make there's no need to do it in advance.
- If you want to save time, mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients the night before and keep them separate.
Best Pancakes Around the World
Listen to Deborah's Episode
165 Recipes for Nurturing Joy with Deborah Johnson
Last Modified: Jan 16, 2024 · This post may contain affiliate links
(edit post info)
Author of On Rising
How’s your New Year going? If you’re already feeling suffocated by the treadmill that is our chaotic days, I offer this book titled On Rising: Recipes and Rituals for Joyful Mornings by today’s guest, Deborah Johnson.
Reading Deborah’s book was like unwrapping a series of small, beautifully wrapped, delightful gifts. As I turned each page, I didn’t know if I would be greeted with another intriguing recipe, gorgeous image, personal essay, or invitation to rethink my rituals in a way that would, as Deborah says, “take responsibility for my thought life.”
Throughout the pages of On Rising, Deborah gently - but ever so practically - invites us to create mornings full of Piglet’s peaceful wonder and excitement. Her invitation is so warm, empathetic, and actionable, you’ll find it difficult to turn down!