I 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
- ½ cup Pumpkin Powder
- 2 Tbsp – ¼ cup Honey, to taste (optional)
- 5 Eggs
- ½ tsp Ground Ginger
- ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- ½ tsp Ground Allspice
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil or other good cooking fat for frying
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.