Light, buttery cornmeal pancakes! Served with a homemade blueberry compote, these tender cornmeal pancakes make a delicious weekend breakfast or brunch.
Cornmeal Pancakes vs Johnny Cakes
All Johnny Cakes are cornmeal pancakes, but not all cornmeal pancakes are Johnny Cakes. So what gives? It really comes down to history.
Johnny Cakes, hailing from as early as the 1700s, are often credited with being the precursor to what we now know as pancakes. The exact method and ingredients for Johnny Cakes varies depending on region—as do the name they go by which includes hoe cake, ashcake, jonny cake, journey cake and Shawnee cake.
In general, Johnny Cakes are flat griddlecakes made with cornmeal. Some are fluffy, not overly sweet and half the size of regular pancakes. Others are oven baked and more resemblant of cornbread.
You’ll find recipes that use boiling water while others are very adamant about using milk. Some recipes feature flour, others omit it and only use cornmeal. Eggs, fat (either melted butter or oil) and leavening (most commonly baking powder) are also often included.
Cornmeal pancakes are loosely defined as pancakes made with cornmeal—usually a combination of cornmeal and flour. The rest of the ingredients are really up to the cook—anything goes.
Ingredients Need for Cornmeal Pancakes
These cornmeal pancakes, which are inspired by Johnny Cakes, feature fresh sweet corn and a scoop of whole-wheat flour.
- unsalted butter
- fresh corn kernels
- yellow cornmeal
- whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- coconut sugar or granulated sugar
- baking powder
- baking soda
- kosher salt
- large eggs
- pure vanilla extract
How to Make Cornmeal Pancakes
- Cook blueberries and maple syrup together to make the quick blueberry compote.
- Sauté sweet corn in butter until tender and just starting to brown.
- Whisk together dry ingredients.
- Whisk together wet ingredients.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients together then stir in cooked corn kernels.
- Cook batter in a butter cast iron skillet until golden brown.
Leftover Tip: Leftover blueberry compote is great spooned over greek yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal and more.
How to Serve Cornmeal Pancakes
I love to serve cornmeal pancakes with blueberry compote, but butter and warm maple syrup are a classic for a reason.
These buttery corn pancakes are just barely sweetened with coconut sugar, making them a blank canvas for both sweet and savory toppings. I love to serve cornmeal pancakes with blueberry compote, but butter and maple syrup are a classic for a reason. If you opt for the savory route, consider créme fraîche with smoked salmon, chives and capers.
If you give this Cornmeal Pancake recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestful-kitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!Print
Tender cornmeal pancakes featuring pockets of fresh sweet corn. Serve with a flavor-packed blueberry compote and fresh basil for the ultimate brunch.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 ear corn, kernels cut from cob (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Basil, for serving, optional
For the blueberry syrup, combine blueberries, maple syrup, ¼ cup water, zest and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
Whisk together 1 tablespoon lemon juice and cornstarch. Stir slurry into blueberry mixture and simmer until sauce thickens and becomes shiny, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon lemon juice and vanilla extract; set aside.
Heat oven to 200ºF (93ºC). Line a sheet pan with a wire rack.
For the pancakes, in a large cast iron skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, add corn kernels and sauté until softened, 3–5 minutes. Transfer kernels to a bowl; wipe out skillet.
In a large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until nearly combined, and some dry pockets of flour remain; stir in cooked corn kernels.
Reheat cast iron skillet over medium, coat pan lightly with butter. Spoon batter by ¼ cup onto hot skillet, spreading into a roughly 3½-inch circle. Cook until bubbles form on surface and bottoms are golden brown, 1½–2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown, 1½ minutes.
Transfer pancakes to prepared sheet pan and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with butter, blueberry compote and fresh basil, if using.
The blueberry compote will last up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 3 pancakes + heaping ¼ cup compote
- Calories: 285
- Sugar: 23g
- Sodium: 198mg
- Fat: 9.5g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 43g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 9g
- Cholesterol: 111mg
Keywords: Johnny Cakes, Cornmeal Pancakes
This recipe and article was originally published on August 22, 2016.