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Orange Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Citrus Syrup


For the pancakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • juice from one orange about a 1/2 cup
  • buttermilk about 3/4 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • zest from half an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • one egg

For the syrup:

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 stick
  • zest from half an orange
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • juice from one orange
  • juice from one lime or lemon
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
  • fresh orange segments for garnish


  1. Preheat griddle. Mine works best for this recipe at 340 degrees, but griddles can be different, so go higher or lower based on your experience. Or, if using a frying pan, preheat over medium heat just before you're ready to cook pancakes.
  2. Make the pancakes. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Zest your oranges. Juice one of the oranges and add enough buttermilk to make 1 1/4 cups of liquid.
  4. Pour the measured orange juice and buttermilk into a medium bowl and whisk in the egg, vanilla, olive oil and zest.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. You will still have some lumps. Don't over stir or you'll risk tough pancakes. Allow batter to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the syrup.
  6. Place butter, juices, zest, powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium low heat, whisking occasionally, until butter melts, the mixture becomes clear and begins to bubble. Let it boil for a minute or two until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, taste and add a bit more salt if needed. Set aside to cool for a bit while you make the pancakes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  7. Spray griddle or frying pan with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto preheated griddle or in a frying pan heated on medium heat. Cook until edges are set and you're beginning to see bubbles break on top. Flip and finish cooking.
  8. Serve with warm syrup and garnish with fresh orange slices, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*The right pan temperature is critical for good pancakes. Too hot and the outsides will overcook before the insides finish. Too low and the pancake will dry out and become tough. Many recipes call for a temperature of 375, but my pancakes would burn on my griddle at that temperature. When I have a very thick batter, I reduce my heat even lower than 340. This particular batter is pretty standard (not too thick or thin,) so if you've figured out a good temperature for your everyday pancakes, it should work here as well.

*The syrup yields about 3/4 cup which was plenty for us, but we don't use alot. If you're a heavy syrup user, then I would definitely double it.

*I only used the zest from half the orange because I only needed one orange before I ended up making syrup instead of butter. If you want extra orange flavor, you could add in the full zest of an orange for the pancakes and then the full zest of the other orange for the syrup, if you prefer.

*The salt in the syrup may seem strange, but without it, you don't get as round a flavor. It will just taste sweet. You won't lose sweetness, but the salt will definitely bring out the flavor. Start with a bit of salt and add more to taste.

*Store leftover syrup in the refrigerator. It will solidify because of the butter. Reheat for a few seconds in the microwave to bring back to syrup consistency.

*Store pancakes, covered, in the refrigerator up to 3 days or you can separate layers with wax paper and freeze in freezer bags. Either way, they will reheat nicely in the microwave.

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