Apple Cinnamon Pancakes with Applesauce and Buttermilk
How to start your day with a breakfast that’s as warm and comforting as a bear hug from your favorite person:
- Cook some apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and brown sugar until soft and sweet.
- Fold all those tender sugary apples into buttermilk pancake batter and pour it into a warm skilled coated with a generous amount of butter.
- Create a ridiculously overindulgent tower of pancakes (now is not the time for restraint) and top with more butter and maple syrup.
- Eat. Smile. Share (if you like). Relax into that feeling of total satisfaction that comes with slow mornings and the most delicious comfort food.
Slow weekend mornings are one of my favorite things and yet, they don’t always come easy. I have to be deliberate about creating space for them. Which sounds kinda weird, except that things have a way of accumulating throughout the week. All sorts of things. Every week. Almost without fail.
I repeatedly overestimate how much of anything I can accomplish from any given Monday to Friday. And so, on most Saturday mornings, there exists a buffet of leftover tasks demanding to be dealt with.
Sometimes I do. (Deal with all the “things”.) On some Saturday’s, I rise early and do my best to tackle the remains of my overly ambitious black hole of a to-do list.
Sometimes I don’t. (Deal with any of the “things”.) Some Saturday’s I pull the covers up and stay in bed for a long, long time. When I finally get up, I make pancakes. I pile them high and bring them back to bed, closing the door on all the undone “things”.
Because here’s what I know to be absolutely true: The end of my to-do list is a mirage. There is no such thing.
This, is something I’m actually grateful for. It means I have people to care for and meaningful work to do.
But, sometimes I need the reminder that I am the master of my to-do list, not the other way around. I need to show it who’s boss, and just let everything stay undone for another day. Some days I need rest and pancakes.
So do you. Some days YOU need rest and pancakes.
How to make amazing Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
One of the most important keys to making deliciously comforting Apple Pancakes is to not use raw apples. If you add raw apples to pancake batter, you’ll end up with a crunchy consistency because the apples don’t have enough time to soften during the short time it takes to cook a pancake.
To solve this problem, simply cook the apples first. And, if you’re going to cook the apples, you might as well do it in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, because… YUM. 😋
Cooking dried spices opens up their flavor and intensifies their impact a bit more than if you simply add them straight to the batter. Even better, the brown sugar mixes with the juice released by the apples as they cook and creates a delicious, rich glaze that adds another layer of flavor.
It’s important that you allow the apple filling to cool to room temperature before mixing it into the batter. Adding piping hot apples to the batter will activate the baking powder too early and prevent the pancakes from achieving a fluffy, tender consistency.
If you want to shorten the prep time in the morning considerably, make the apple filling a day or two in advance. Put it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator, folding it into the batter in the morning right before you cook the pancakes.
Buttermilk makes the best pancakes.
Buttermilk is magical. First of all it adds flavor to everything from cornbread to Red Velvet Cake and Vanilla Cake. More flavorful pancakes is always a good thing, but the MOST important reason to add buttermilk to pancakes is because it gives them a super fluffy consistency.
The acid in buttermilk reacts with the bit of baking soda in pancake batter, creating little pockets of carbon dioxide bubbles. Without these little bubbles, the pancakes won’t rise and you’ll end up with pancakes that are tough and dense instead of light and fluffy.
Yogurt and sour cream can have a similar effect, but as I discovered while creating the recipe for these super fluffy blueberry pancakes, buttermilk rules. It’s just not possible to get fluffy, tender pancakes without it.
Cook your pancakes in butter.
I got super bossy about this when writing about what makes for a really good blueberry pancake, so I’ll try to restrain myself from going on and on about it all over again. (Collective sigh of relief.)
BUT (there’s always a but) – you should really cook your pancakes in butter. Really.
Without greasing the pan or griddle with a bit of butter or oil, your pancakes will stick. They just will. But, for the love of all that’s good and holy about breakfast, please, please use butter. First of all, butter will make them taste better than if you brush some oil in the pan. Second, using oil will make your pancakes taste oily.
No one wants to eat oily pancakes. Everyone wants to eat buttery pancakes. This is the easiest decision you’ll make all day.
One little caveat: butter will begin to burn if it cooks for a long time. So, be sure to rinse out your pan or wipe down the griddle after each batch. This only takes a couple of seconds.
Flip out your pancakes, run the pan under water to rinse out the excess butter, put it back on the burner, add a pat of fresh butter and get on with it. Or, keep a damp rag next to the griddle and simply run it over the griddle after each batch before adding some fresh butter.
More recipes you might like:
- The Fluffiest Blueberry Pancakes
- Apple Fritters with Maple Glaze
- Sugar Free Homemade Apple Sauce
- No Peel Slow Cooker Apple Butter
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
Fluffy, tender Apple Cinnamon Pancakes made with brown sugar and buttermilk are one of the world’s greatest comfort foods.
For the Apple Filling:
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups diced sweet red-skinned apples (peel and core apples, and cut into pieces about the size of a kidney bean)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Pancake Batter:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup buttermilk (full fat)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
- 1 tbsp salted butter, melted (plus about 4 tablespoons for the pan)
Make the Apple Filling:
- Add the lemon juice to a 10 or 12-inch skillet. As you dice the apples, add them to the pan and toss them around in the lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
- Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to the saucepan. Stir to mix and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples have softened slightly and the liquid in the pan is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
- Scrape the filling into a bowl, stir in the vanilla, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. *(See note)
Make the Pancakes:
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- In a small bowl, add the applesauce, buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and orange zest (if using). Stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until all the dry ingredients are moistened and there are no large lumps. (Some small lumps is fine; be careful to not over mix.)
- Add 1 tablespoon of melted butter and the apple filling to the batter and stir gently just until blended.
- Add a pat of butter to a skillet (about 1 tbsp) and set it over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add about 1/3 cup of batter to the skillet per pancake. In a 12-inch skillet, you should be able to cook three pancakes at a time.
- When the edges of the pancakes look set and there are little bubbles all around the pancake edges, use a spatula to gently flip the pancakes over. Cook until the other side of the pancakes is brown and the pancakes are cooked through. (To test, insert a small sharp knife in the center of one pancake and look for raw batter in the center.)
- Remove the pancakes from the pan to a platter. Rinse out the skillet (old butter will start to burn), add more butter, and continue cooking until all the batter has been used.
- The Apple Filling can be made up to 2 days in advance. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Keywords: pancakes, apple cinnamon, weekend breakfast, apple cinnamon pancakes, brunch recipe, breakfast recipe, buttermilk pancakes
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