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Spiced Applesauce Pancakes

I’m going caramel apple crazy over here this month. This time, I’m bringing those flavors to breakfast with these Spiced Applesauce Pancakes. Though, I suppose I could have called them, “Caramel Apple Pancakes.”

Spiced Applesauce Pancakes. Applesauce and a mix of warm fall spices fill this moist, tender pancakes. Top with caramel and make caramel apple pancakes!

The caramel apple part is if you want to take these pancakes over the top. You get three guesses as to what kind of syrup/sauce I used to drizzle over these lovely pancakes and the first two don’t count…

Yeah. You know it. Apple Cider Caramel Sauce! Did you make it? Still have some left? If not, then time to make another batch. I can’t even tell you how perfect that sauce is on top of these pancakes!

Pancakes, applesauce, apples, spice, breakfast, brunch, caramel, fall, cinnamon

I think I’ve talked how my kids label the pancakes I make. The ones that are extra special are called, “treat pancakes.” How did we get to that terminology for pancakes?

Well, when I first started making pancakes for them, when they were little, I would make pancakes chock full of whole grain, wheat germ, flax seed and all of the good stuff I could pack in there. I often added pumpkin or some other nutritional boost.

And, I served them without syrup! I know. Sacrilege for some of you. My kids grew up with naked pancakes.

Sometimes I would spread a little butter or jam on them, but I never saturated them with syrup. I simply didn’t want to start their day with a sugar bomb.

Pancakes, applesauce, apples, spice, breakfast, brunch, caramel, fall, cinnamon

One day, I made Cream of Wheat Griddlecakes. The kids were like, “Mom! What kind of pancakes are these?!? They’re sooooo good!” (To this day, they are my daughter’s favorite pancakes :)

I told them they were, “treat pancakes.” Those are the pancakes I make with all purpose flour and no extra added healthy “stuff.”

Treats are things we have sometimes, like dessert. If we had it every day, it wouldn’t be a treat. Ask my kids how often they’ve heard me say that. For one of my kids, it almost seems like an every day reminder.

Spiced Applesauce Pancakes. Applesauce and a mix of warm fall spices fill this moist, tender pancakes. Top with caramel and make caramel apple pancakes!

And while they’ve had no issue eating my granola girl pancakes, they clearly notice a difference when digging into pancakes of the more typical variety, like Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.

Since then, I’ve experimented with making a whole host of different pancake recipes. And every time we have pancakes, they ask, “Are these treat pancakes?”

I don’t do a lot of grinding flax and adding wheat germ to my pancake recipes these days. If I have it on hand, I’ll add it in, but I’ve pretty much settled on just making whole grain pancakes.

For the whole grain part, I use whole wheat pastry flour. I talk about it a lot and use it often for muffins and pancakes and waffles…

Pancakes, applesauce, apples, spice, breakfast, brunch, caramel, fall, cinnamon

I love it because it’s soft enough not to get too “wheaty” in a baked good. And, I don’t have to use all purpose flour. I can get great results just using the pastry flour. So that’s been my granola girl move for awhile now on pancakes.

And now that it’s fall, I wanted to make something to celebrate all that apple goodness. Applesauce is something I always have on hand, and that makes this a no brainer of an idea for me. Spiced Applesauce Pancakes it is!

I was clearly inspired by Spiced Applesauce Cake. That’s another beauty of recipe you should make this season. And so easy!

So, I whisked up my dry ingredients and added my spices. The same spices used in the cake. If you don’t have all of them on hand, go with apple pie spice or simply cinnamon.

Pancakes, applesauce, apples, spice, breakfast, brunch, caramel, fall, cinnamon

The applesauce becomes part of the wet ingredients. I use a 4 cup liquid measuring cup for this part. Why? I knew I didn’t want more than 4 cups of wet ingredients and eggs can vary in size.

Or, maybe you’re just trying to use up some applesauce and you have a little more or a little less than 1 cup. There’s a some flexibility within that 4 cup measurement for you to do that. So I just whisk up most of the wet ingredients and then add buttermilk to get to the 4 cups.

Then, it’s simply about combining the wet and dry ingredients. (Check out my Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake post for lots of extra tips on making great pancakes.)

Apple Cider Caramel Sauce. Rich, buttery and chock full of apple flavor. Drizzle on top of ice cream, cake, pie. Perfect on pancakes and waffles!

The recipe makes about 23 pancakes using about 1/4 cup of batter for each. I desperately would like that number to be an even 24, but I’m over it. It’s a nice sized batch and that’s all that matters.

I always make a larger batch of pancakes. If I’m standing at the griddle flipping them, I might as well flip a few more and get ahead on some future breakfasts. Pancakes freeze beautifully, so I take advantage of that by making more than what I need on any given day.

The pancakes are a little fluffy, but definitely moist and tender. The spices are present, but not overpowering. It’s a perfect fall pancake. But I had some Apple Cider Caramel Sauce on hand….

So I diced up some fresh apples and topped the pancakes with those. Then I took some of that lovely sauce, and drizzled it all over the apples and pancakes.

Pancakes, applesauce, apples, spice, breakfast, brunch, caramel, fall, cinnamon

Basically, you’re getting caramel apples (!) on top of your Spiced Applesauce Pancakes. The sauce is the perfect partner to pancakes. Yeah. It’s really, really good…

The pancakes all by themselves are great. And I would normally put them into my healthier pancake category. Of course, life is about balance. So on this day, I paired those healthier pancakes with a little splurge.

And my kids, observing all of the caramel apple action happening on top, didn’t even ask if they were treat pancakes.

Pancakes, applesauce, apples, spice, breakfast, brunch, caramel, fall, cinnamon

Somehow, they just knew ;)


Spiced Applesauce Pancakes


  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • about 2 cups low fat buttermilk

Optional toppings:

  • Chopped apples
  • Apple Cider Caramel Sauce


  1. Preheat griddle to medium. I heat mine to 340 degrees F. If using a frying pan, you can wait until your batter is mixed up before preheating.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl.
  3. In a four cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together sugar, applesauce, eggs and olive oil until well blended. Add enough buttermilk to bring the entire mixture to 4 cups. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine. Do not over mix at this stage or you'll risk tough pancakes. Lumps are okay. Just mix until the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  5. Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Drop batter by 1/4 cup scoopfuls onto preheated griddle or preheated pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until sides are set and you're beginning to see bubbles and the bottom is golden. Flip and finish cooking the other side. Serve with fresh chopped apples and caramel sauce, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*You can substitute 1 3/4 teaspoons apple pie spice or cinnamon for the individual spices.

*Since we're sticking with the 4 cup measure of wet ingredients, you can play around a little with how much apple sauce you use. I've used as much as 1 1/2 cups and still had good results. Just make sure you reduce the buttermilk accordingly.

*Leftovers freeze beautifully. Allow the pancakes to cool completely. Then, I stack them up separating them with waxed paper and put them in a zip top freezer bag. You can thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave. Or, just reheat them from frozen, which is what I generally do.

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