Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes

June 4, 2012 in Categories: by

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pumpkinpancakes2I was first introduced to pumpkin pancakes at a Bed & Breakfast in Tucson, Arizona in the summer of 2005.  Prior to that revelation, I wasn’t particularly fond of pancakes.  Afterward, I was obsessed with trying to create the perfect pumpkin pancake.  Pumpkin pancakes are tricky.  In order to get enough pumpkin into the batter to have a good flavor, you need some strong binders to hold the batter together.  This was hard back even in the days when I poured gluten into everything.  Combined with how tricky paleo pancakes are in general, you would think that creating a paleo pumpkin pancake would be an impossible task.  Paleo pancakes have to be made small and are hard to flip.  Pumpkin pancakes take forever to cook and are hard to flip.  But these paleo pumpkin pancakes are perfect (try saying that five times fast!).  They are easy enough to handle that you can make them a decent size, they have a great spongy and not too soft texture, and they have a terrific pumpkin flavor.  The secret was to use Pumpkin Powder, which is simply ground dehydrated pumpkin.  I have used store-bought pumpkin powder (which you can buy here or here) and I’ve made my own; both work equally well.

I’m not an expert pancake flipper, but I managed fairly well with these pancakes.  I used about 3 Tbsp of batter for each pancake, which made pancakes 3-4” in diameter.  This batter holds together well enough that you could make these pancakes even a little bigger if you have an extra wide pancake flipper (which I don’t).  I fried them in coconut oil in a non-stick skillet on slightly-cooler-than-medium-high heat.  As is the trick with any homemade pancake recipe, there is a sweet spot with the cooking temperature, where they cook slow enough that the bottom isn’t too brown when the top is dried enough to make flipping possible.  If the temperature is too cool, the pancakes absorb too much of the cooking fat and it changes the texture.  You might have to adjust the temperature a bit with your first batch or two until you know exactly what setting to use with your stove, your cooking fat, and your frying pan.  Also note that pumpkin pancakes are darker than regular pancakes in general.  As long as they aren’t black (or really dark brown), they’re fine.  These pancakes are delicious with butter and maple syrup, the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk, chopped fruit (banana is particularly nice) or just plain!  This recipe makes a dozen 3-4” pancakes.

To make my own pumpkin powder:  I placed pumpkin puree on a Fruit Roll Sheet in my Food Dehydrator and dried until it was completely dried to a crisp, about 18 hours.  I then broke the pumpkin into pieces, placed in my Magic Bullet (you could use a Blender or Food Processor) and pulsed until finely ground, about 30 seconds.  I have tried this with Canned Pumpkin and with homemade pumpkin puree (I cut pumpkins in quarters, remove the seeds, bake at 350F for 1-2 hours until the pumpkin is soft, let cool, scrape the cooked pumpkin meet off the rind, and puree with a hand blender or potato masher).

Variations:  I have also used Sweet Potato Powder in these pancakes and they were fantastic.  Note that sweet potato powder is quite different from sweet potato flour, which is a refined starch.  Again, you can make your own (see my Food Dehydrator post) or purchase it here.  I think these would work equally well with Squash Powder or Carrot Powder, obviously changing the taste with each variation.

Prep Time: 10 minutes (+ 18 hours if making dehydrated pumpkin powder at home)

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4-6, with 12 3-4″ pancakes


1.    Mix all ingredients together in a blender for about 30 seconds.
2.    Heat a non-stick or very well-seasoned cast iron skillet or griddle on medium-high heat (or slightly cooler than medium-high).
3.    Add about 2 Tbsp of coconut oil into the pan.  Pour batter into the pan, about 3 Tbsp per pancake, spacing far enough apart that the pancakes won’t touch as the spread.
4.    Cook for 6-8 minutes on the first side, until starting the batter is starting to look a little dry around the edges and more solid on top.  If you use your flipper to get a sneak peak at the underneath side of the pancake, it should be nicely browned but not too dark.  Carefully, flip the pancake.
5.    Cook for 2-4 minutes on the other side, until done (should be browned, and feel solid when you press gently on the pancake with your flipper or finger).
6.    Repeat until all the batter is used.  Enjoy warm or cooled.


I thought you didnt do eggs because of being on the AI protocol? Have you ever tried making pancakes without eggs? I so miss eating them…

I replaced 2 eggs with 1/2 C of applesauce and 1tsp of baking powder they tasted good but they where thin I am guessing bc of the lack of the extra eggs.

Have you tried using soaked chia seeds instead of eggs? They tend to have the same effect as eggs in most recipes. I usually soak a quarter cup of the seeds in a half cup of water or coconut water for about a half-hour or until they “gel up” nicely. Then measure out 2 tablespoons to equal 1 egg. Haven’t tried it with this recipe, but it just might solve the “thin” problem. An extra tip, blend some fruit and sweetener of your choice up with the remaining chia and use it to top the pancakes.

Thank you so much for all of the info and recipes that you share. In the last couple of month’s I’ve convinced both my parents to go Paleo, and your recipes have been a HUGE help for them. My step-father is a true believer as he had serious inflammation issues, stomach issues, and his PSA levels had started creeping up. Since switching his diet, he has seen some major improvement. His PSA levels have dropped from 3.0 to 1.3 in two months. And most dramatically of all, his golf score is improving. 🙂 Thanks for all the time and effort and keep up the good work.

Thank you Jason! That’s wonderful to hear that your parents are going paleo too! I’m getting my mom there, hoping to get my brother on board. Sometimes family are the hardest ones to convince! 🙂

Why do you consider sweet potato flour to be a refined starch? The description of Zocalo sweet potato flour on Amazon says it’s just made from dried and milled sweet potatoes. There aren’t any other ingredients.

Some brands sell ground dried sweet potato and some sell sweet potato starch (the only ingredient in either is sweet potato, but they are processed differently and the starch is still labeled as flour). I just wanted to point out the difference so that nobody inadvertently orders the wrong thing (like I did!).

If you can go to the company’s website to get more information, that’s probably the easiest way. But other than that, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that you are getting the starch if it looks white or very lightly orange. If it’s a darker orange, you are probably getting the powder. If you order the starch by mistake, it subs very well for arrowroot powder in recipes.

If I was to use pumpkin puree instead of the pumpkin powder then how much of the puree would I have to use?
Thank you.

how did your pancakes turn out so round and puffy? Mine were very flat and elongated. But they sure were yummy, because they only lasted several minutes after cooking. We also put Pumpkin Butter on them!

Yay! You’ve started to use pumpkin powder 🙂

I posted a pumpkin pancake recipe basically the same as this a few months ago (minus the spices). Now that you’re in the swing of it I’m crossing my fingers for some other pumpkin powder creations from you. My favourite pumpkin powder experiment ended up with pumpkin crumpets/cake things: blend 2 eggs and 6 TBS pumpkin powder with 1/16th tsp (or less…) baking soda and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I put this batter in a big ramekin so the mixture came up about halfway then microwaved for 3 minutes (I have a weak microwave). Then tipped it out and sliced it into 3 rounds and topped with ghee and honey. YUM. My boyfriend was ridiculously impressed as was every member of my family. It’s about 1-2 serves.

I’m thinking about turning it into cupcakes with honey buttercream icing tomorrow. I want a buttercream icing that doesn’t involve heating my lovely local raw honey though 🙁

Wow! That sounds great! That’s funny that you posted a similar recipe… there I thought I was being all creative! 🙂 I actually have another pumpkin powder recipe coming in the book. I’m out of what I made last year, but I have some other ideas to play with it so maybe I’ll go crazy and make tons of powder in the fall. 🙂

Your article on different types of flours is what inspired me to make pumpkin powder for baking in the first place. I made pumpkin powder the first few times but it is soooo messy to make so I just ended up ordering it online. Semi-expensive ($50/kg) but worth it (australian pumpkins aren’t that cheap anyway).

I’ve done the pancake thing with carrot powder (+ cinnamon) as well. It works but I don’t think the flavour is as nice as pumpkin but I’ve never really been into carrot desserts (i.e. carrot cake). I have also tried it with beetroot powder + cocoa (like all the beetroot chocolate cake recipes around but in pancake form), which I really liked but would never feed to a non-paleo human being. The microwave cupcake thing doesn’t work with carrot powder… or zucchini powder. The zucchini powder experiment was a failure on all fronts.

Looking forward to the recipes in your book 🙂

So so so happy for you that you have been able to reintroduce eggs! These look amazing. Fingers crossed I’ll get to taste them too someday!

Hi! I made these for breakfast this morning and they are DEVINE!!! We enjoyed them with grass-fed butter and my homemade maple chai syrup. I reserved some of the batter (about 4 pancakes worth) and baked it at 350 in an 8″ glass cake pan for 13 minutes. Topped it with some homemade mustang grape jam I got from a dear friend and coconut maple cream drizzle. Absolutely delicious! What a great way to use pumpkin powder. Thanks so much for your wonderful ingenuity!

I’m excited to try this recipe out! I usually make banana or sweet potato based paleo pancakes, but these sounds like a really great option. Thanks so much for all of your great recipes 🙂

I was really looking forward to trying these but the method for making my own pumpkin powder failed miserably… Did it exactly as described in this post. Probably just going to have to purchase it from Amazon. Bummer… 🙁

im currently trying to get started on paleo and eventually the aip diet. When you put eggs in this recipe (and some others) can I use only the yolks?? The whites is what I am to avoid correct? Thank you so very much for your help!

So yummy delicious but the pumpkin powder is so expensive (cost me $24.00 for 2-4oz bags). So $12.00 to double the batch! Ugh! Unless I can find it cheaper, just can’t do it again.,…

I did make my own pumpkin powder and it takes a lot of purée… But that is for sure what made these so great! I used 1 1/2 cups of purée and only yielded 1/4 cup of powder.

I too have been trying to convince my mom to go paleo she just had surgery for diverticulitis and had 12 inches of inflamed colon removed. You would think she would try instead of surgery but she thinks she knows

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