Poppy Seed Pancakes Recipe

My go-to poppy seed pancake recipe. Made with buttermillk, a generous amount of poppy seeds, toasted sunflower seeds. Drizzled with an simple-to-make, chunky citrus syrup.

Poppy Seed Pancakes

This freckled batch of fluffy buttermilk pancakes is punctuated with all manner of surprises. The recipe was inspired by a tiny pouch of Full Belly Farm poppy seeds hand-delivered to me by regular Mighty Foods contributer Rachel Cole. While the poppy seeds here are apparent, enveloped by the batter you'll also find deeply toasted sunflower seeds which lend a nutty depth to the pancakes you wouldn't get otherwise. I drizzled the lot with a chunky, orange and lemon-flecked, homemade citrus syrup.

Don't skimp on the poppy seeds, there's something irresistibly delightful about the role they play in these crowd-pleasing pancakes. I mean really, who can complain about the peppy crunch they lend to every bite of pancake or muffin they infiltrate?

And lastly, while I love this citrus-drizzled version of the recipe, you might certainly rework it into a delicious savory poppy seed pancake. You would just stir a few handfuls of anything from chopped sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, lemon zest, and/or crumbled cheese to chopped olives, cooked grains, or smashed roasted garlic into the batter. Replace the syrup with a generous slather of a creatively concocted compound butter and you're on your way.

Related links:
- Full Belly Farm
- Just noticed this informative Michael Ruhlman post on compound butter as well.

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Poppy Seed Pancake Recipe

If you can't find white whole wheat flour, feel free to substitute unbleached all-purpose flour. If you can't find agave nectar, substitute 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup maple syrup, I use the light agave nectar for this recipe (it also comes in amber). You can also use whole wheat pastry flour in place of the other flours I've mentioned. I love cara cara oranges and use those when I can get them.

1- 2 oranges, peeled, segments torn into small pieces
1 lemon, peeled, segments torn into small pieces
1/3 cup agave nectar

2 cups white whole wheat flour (or unbleached a-p flour)
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted until deeply golden
2 1/4 cups organic buttermilk
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted

butter, to serve (and for pan)

To make the citrus syrup put the orange and lemon segments and agave nectar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat and stir until the ingredents combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for for 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the pancakes combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Stir all the ingredients until they are just combined. Don't worry if the batter is a bit lumpy, you don't want to over mix.

Heat your skillet, pan, or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. Test for the right temperature. If a drop of water dropped onto the pan starts to dance, you are in the ballpark. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter into the skillet. Wait until the pancake bottom is deep golden in color, then flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with a golden pat of butter and a nice drizzle of syrup.

Makes about 12 large pancakes, or dozens of silver-dollar pancakes - enough to feed a small crowd.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Anytime I make pancakes, I automatically use a sourdough starter. I'm willing to bet it would be a nice twist on an already-delish dish.


Yummy--I can't wait to try these!! Alastair, if my memory serves me correctly from my stint in Ireland, buttermilk is called sour milk in the UK. I hope this helps you, I know the stuff is sold there. :)


Lovely picture and recipe! :) I love it! Btw, I made the power bars you posted in the previous post and substituted roasted unsalted soy nuts for the pecans and they were yummy. The pan I made on Friday is already gone.


Lovely picture and recipe! :) I love it!


wow! they look so fluffy and delicious!

charlotte s

Poppy seed along with sunflower seeds in a w/w pancake---how good that sounds!


Hi Heidi- I just bought your book today. I had to after reading your blog. So beautiful... And these pancakes look terrific. I will certainly be making them! Thanks!


Oh, how nice! I love pancakes an poppy seeds but have never mixed the two together. Lately, I've had a thing for yeast pancakes made with buckwheat, but your pancakes might just bump them from the top spot :-)


Alastair... Buttermilk is basically just thinned yogurt. I do 2/3 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup milk to make a cup of buttermilk.


Lemon juice will sour the milk as well as vinegar, and adds a nice zing to the recipe. My Irish granny used to use milk when it had gone "off" to make soda bread - so that's another thing to bear in mind, but maybe it doesn't taste as nice nowadays!


Looks yummy! Alastair ... I don't use buttermilk often enough to buy it, so I fake it ... I put a teaspoon of white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and fill to the 1 cup line. (Not sure what measurements you would use.) Let the milk/vinegar sit at room temp while you prep your other ingredients, and there you go.


Buttermilk? Where can you find buttermilk in England?


those look festive! There are just so many ways to make pancakes -- who'd known?


WOW. The combination of poppy seeds and orange is beautiful to me, and as it so happens, I just posted a few hours ago an Orange - Poppy seed Biscotti recipe in my Blog.. Sounds delicious, will try it soon!


I've been craving poppy seed muffins for awhile now and this looks like a very happy alternative. The citrus syrup sounds like a great combination, too! I'm excited to try these tomorrow.


What a GREAT idea! Whole-wheat pancakes and poppyseed muffins in one fell swoop :) Can you say more about aluminum-free baking powder?


Looks so engaging, too bad it's not breakfast time yet. Heidi I would like to know if I can feature my version of your animal crackers recipe on my blog? Thx


wow...i was just planning to make your pancakes with blueberry maple syrup..i was coming on the site to find the recipe.. (haha i slept in) (u gotta love presedents day =))anyway...these look way wonderful and i also have a bag of cara cara oranges i got a few days ago when i was stocking up on healthy stuff for the week. thanx again ..and i LOVE the pix =)


wow...i was just planning to make your pancakes with blueberry maple syrup..i was coming on the site to find the recipe.. (haha i slept in) (u gotta love presedents day =))anyway...these look way wonderful and i also have a bag of cara cara oranges i got a few days ago when i was stocking up on healthy stuff for the week. thanx again ..and i LOVE the pix =)


yum, i love whole wheat pancakes filled with crunchy goodness, and that syrup looks luscious - i've been wanting to try working with agave syrup.

michelle @ Us vs. Food

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