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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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. Cheers, JF


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! besitos


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 :D

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!


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