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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Hi Heidi, love your blog and your recipes, for years I have made orange and poppyseed puddings and OPS cake, never thought about using the combination in pancakes (of which we sell many) am gonna try it, cheers R


I took your suggestion and tried the savory version for dinner. I added a handful of spinach and a few handfuls of shredded cheese to the batter and ate it with a compound butter (made of garlic, lemon, rosemary, marjoram and thyme) and some baked fish. Absolutely delicious. I’ve been looking for ways to make pancakes for dinner acceptable!


These look fantastic…I love pancakes and definitely will try these out with the poppy seeds i have in my spice cabinet.


I can already tell this is a recipe that’s going to get used. And used. And used. I agree with Stephen about the Hungarian poppy seeds, I found some delectable poppy seeds in Poland, and some parts of Czech Republic as well. It’s worth your effort to see if you can get your hands on them locally, it’s a subtle but wonderful difference.
Finding agave juice might be a bit tricky, on the other hand.
Here’s a list I found as well to buttermilk suppliers in the UK:


Sounds great! Poppy seeds are anchored in my mind that brings laughter. Seinfeld show had an episode that Elaine was tested positive with drugs. It turned out to be the poppy seed muffins. http://hotcookies.net

John Calkins

Mmm! I love poppy seeds!
My pancakes never turn out right and I’ve vowed to stop making them several times, but I think I’ll break my promise for these 🙂


I dare you to make these for your colleagues at the drug testing company!


I love poppy seeds, and the added crunch the sunflower seeds would lend makes me hungry for pancakes.


What a wonderful idea! My boyfriend loves poppyseeds – puts them in every homemade pizza crust he makes and sometimes the sauce – these are definately on the docket for this week.
I’m always pleased to visit your site and be inspired by your fresh take on nutritious food.


Would whole wheat pastry flour work? My neighborhood WF only sells whole wheat pastry flour rather than all purpose.


Great looking pancakes. I especially like the citrus syrup 🙂 Thank you.


love it! i have an offbeat pancake recipe coming up as well!!!


Note to self: Never read this blog right before lunch time. Now I’m drooling all over my computer and have totally lost interest in the wilted spinach salad I have planned for my sad, little lunch. I must try these! I had great luck with some scones I made a while back with poppy seeds and lemon zest. These pancakes sound even better.


Holy heaven! Those pancakes look delicious! I know what I am making for breakfast this weekend!


Beautiful pancakes! and they sound delish!

Paula Hennig

Sadly, poppyseeds are not especially cheap or plentiful in my part of Japan. But I’m inspired to give it a go with black sesame seeds.
I never thought that they could go sweet until last year, when I stumbled on “goma miruku” in a cafe and gave it a whirl. It seems to be lightly sweetened milk gently heated with crushed sesame seeds. The smell alone was wonderful. :o)


My family and I continue to enjoy your recipes. I am so glad to see you have introduced so many middle Esatern ingredients to the general public and NEVER use ready made ingredients, most of which I couldn’t find here in Israel anyway, and glad I cannot!


Hi, thank you for all the effort you put into showing this to us. I especially liked how you take pictures of the food. They taught me how to take and present food.


I love the way these look! I never thought I liked poppy seeds but I think I don’t actually have much experience with them. I love the orange and the sunflower seeds & the whole wheat!


i do have some poppy seeds sitting around in the cupboard… finally a tasty solution!


They look great Heidi! I think people use poppy seeds way less than what these tiny grains are worth:) I made poppy seed and coconut coffee cakes (posted on my blog) sometime back!
btw, do you know poppy seeds contain opium, so make sure you use only a handful of these:)D


Oh, those look wonderful! I’ll give them a try one of these weekends.

Anna/Village vegan

Oh these look wonderful. I’m always looking for a new version of pancakes or waffles of muffins.
I just purchased Super Natural Cooking yesterday! I can’t wait to get moving and try more of your delightful concoctions as well as learn new ways to utilize the great, whole, and natural foods I have here in Portland.


Hello Heidi – great little recipe! 🙂 I was wondering whether you have any substitute for agave…do you think the same amoutn of honey could do the job?
thanks a lot!


One big YUM for pancakes and griddlecakes. I recently explored a cake made with amaranth, topped with a dried fruit stew. Delicious. I could see topping these poppy seed beauties with other heartier sauces/stews for a lunch or dinner! Also to note: Trader Joes is now selling agave nectar, at least in the Boston area. http://doesabodygood.blogspot.com


These look amazingly delicious! You always have such great ideas!


These would be great savory as part of a dinner meal. As a muffin too…yum!


I simply love your recipes. I’ve tried your guacamole & it was a hit!
Now you’ve greatly inspired me about using poppy seeds in pancakes:)


Wow! Just restocked on poppy seeds, and a great way to use up the rest of the buttermilk. Thanks! I know what I’m having for breakfast!


I didn’t know that buttermilk was thinned yogurt…that’s really interesting, thanks Lauren! I’ve always used the milk/vinegar option (like Erin), as we don’t have anything like buttermilk here in Italy (…and if we do, I’m not aware of that).
Thanks for these pancakes Heidi :-), they look really delicious!


Beautiful picture, just too good. I’ll definitely try them out. Have a full bag of poppy seeds lying in the pantry and other than use them in some Indian spicy dishes(which I do not cook too often) I did not know what to do with them. Thanks a ton


I discovered this site last week, and I have to say I am impressed! I have never been much of a cook, but your recipes are easy, delicious, nutritious and fun to make!
I can’t wait to try the pancakes, they look yummy 😀

Nicky MC

Mmm, poppyseeds just got bumped to the top of my grocery list.
I’ve been making simple pancakes by just mixing together sour cream, an egg and whatever flour I have on hand, usually white whole wheat. Occasionally I’ll stir in something extra like fruit. The sour cream makes it nice and fluffy, and it’s easy enough to just eyeball it when I’m sleepy in the morning.
One day when I’m awake enough, I will try these instead.


We caught up with the Hungarian Blue poppy seed in Budapest last summer. It was super nutty flavored. Not with pancakes, but with the Dobostorte: think Savoy sponge between layers of cream filling and chocolate. OK, not breakfast, but a great poppy seed!


I’ll have to try this, it sounds good! How would poppy seeds taste with corn? I could top them with salsa.


Poppy seeds AND sunflower seeds? the sound wonderful!
Now if I can just figure out how to adapt it for yogurt (no buttermilk)… Yeah, I can do that!


Yum! They look fantastic! I usually do a cornmeal pancake, or in fall, I like to do a pumpkin-walnut pancake (which I blogged about)—-but these are something I’d never thought of! This is why we all keep reading…..thx for the inspiration! 🙂

The Secret Ingredient

What an awesome recipe! I LOVE poppyseed anything, i’m definitely giving this one a whirl.


They look beautiful and best of all delicious! I am a pancake kinda’ girl, I can’t wait to try them. Thank you for the recipe!


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!


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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