Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes: blues you can use

Every time I see a picture of pancakes, I want to drop everything, run into the kitchen, and whip myself up a quick plateful.

So why is it that I only make pancakes about once a year – if that?

There’s nothing so compelling as a hot-off-the-griddle pancake, spread with soft butter and drizzled with thick, dark Grade B maple syrup.

Or, in the case of the pancakes pictured above: tangy-sweet lemon syrup.

So what stops me from making pancakes?

Inertia, plain and simple.

7 a.m. isn’t exactly my finest hour of the day. The treadmill’s been trod, Facebook checked, emails answered, dog walked… whoops, time to go to work! But I need breakfast. What’s fastest, easiest, and most portable?

A travel mug of Ovaltine and a high-fiber English muffin with peanut butter and jam.

Every single morning.

Even when the weekend rolls around, I seem unable to break out of my breakfast rut and try anything new. (That’s the inertia part.)

Oh, sure, sometimes I survey the kitchen on a sunny Saturday morning and think, “What a perfect day for pancakes!”

And then the dog starts barking at the kids next door, and the washing machine buzzes that it’s done, and my husband enlists my help to look for his car keys… and my pancake dreams go right out the window.

So I grab an English muffin and run.

But you know what? I’m going to turn over a new leaf. Two new leaves, actually.

One is an all-time favorite recipe: Homemade Whole-Grain Pancake Mix. Once I have the ingredients stirred together and stashed in my fridge, all I have to do is whisk together a cup of the mix with an egg and milk to make delicious, tender, wonderfully moist pancakes.

The second is a new favorite: Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes, made with self-rising flour, sugar, lemon, vegetable oil, and blueberries – which means not only is this a fast, easy breakfast, but it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans (of which I have more than a few friends and family members these days).

So, next time I hear by the Saturday siren song of pancakes, I’m giving in.

Talk about sweet seduction…

First, get a medium- to large-sized lemon out of the fridge.

Grate the peel; a Microplane zester makes wonderfully short work of this task, without any chance of scraped knuckles.

Set the peel aside, halve the lemon, and squeeze out all the juice; you should have about 1/4 cup.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

Next, whisk together 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour; 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste; and the lemon peel you’ve just grated.

[Ed. note: Want to make lemon-blueberry pancakes using King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, in place of self-rising? Follow our recipe for Blueberry Pancakes, substituting 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice for 1/4 cup of the milk; adding the grated rind of 1 lemon; and increasing the sugar to 3 to 4 tablespoons, to taste.]

In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup water, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just to combine; a few lumps are OK.

Stir in the blueberries. If you use frozen berries, it’s just about inevitable that their juice will streak the batter as you mix them in…

…and turn the resulting pancakes a lovely shade of purple-pink (pictured at left).

Using fresh berries (right) will give you a typical golden pancake studded with dark-blue berries.

Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes, while you preheat your electric frying pan to 325°F, or preheat your stovetop griddle over medium heat.

Oil your frying pan with vegetable oil or non-stick vegetable oil spray, and drop the batter in 1/4-cupfuls onto the hot surface. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on the first side, until bubbles come to the surface and start to pop; the cakes’ undersides should be a light golden brown.

Cook on the second side for about 2 1/2 minutes, until pancakes are golden brown.

Something nice about using fresh blueberries: they’re usually very juicy.

Looks kinda messy, but you know what I always say: beauty is only crust-deep – it’s the taste that counts!

Transfer cooked pancakes to serving plates, and serve hot.

A sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar is an easy, tasty topping. Or drizzle with lemon syrup: mix 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice with 2/3 cup granulated sugar, or to taste. Heat briefly, just to dissolve the sugar.

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Self-Rising Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Stephanie

    Me again. Although I usually use KA flour products I was unable to find your self-rising. I did use self-rising flour but from another company. Interesting what a difference it made. I’ll try the pancakes again, after I locate your self-rising flour. Thanks!

    Stephanie, I’m betting they use a higher-protein flour. Hope you can re-test with some KA at some point. Enjoy – and thanks for following up here. PJH

  2. Anne

    Re the way to get the berries to the pancake, may I chime in? When the berries are bigger, instead of stirring them into the batter, indeed I find it easier to distribute 10 to 15 berries or so directly onto each pancake when the batter hits the skillet. When side one is done, the berries adhere to the pancake and make it safe to flip over to cook side two. In my kitchen most of the berries would inevitably burst if they were larger in size – their diameter being greater than the thickness of the pancakes. The end result is the juice of the berries gets caramelized and much of it sticks to the pancake – not a sacrifice to taste, however. How about in the photogenic department? Well, the leaked out juice not only discolors but also causes mini blue craters on side two of the pancakes where the berries have been placed. So better serve side one up.

    Pancakes, muffins, pies, coffee cakes, jams – whatever pleases, is a good way to use the abundant blueberries while they are in season. Such fun to make something delicious!

    Anne, thanks, as always, for your helpful feedback here. I tried sprinkling and found the berries were too large, as you described; but sprinkling smaller berries would have been fine, and I often do make blueberry pancakes that way, once the smaller Maine blueberries are ready. This is a wonderful time of year for berries, isn’t it? As you say – they’re SO good in so many different dishes… or just over yogurt with granola, one of my favorites. PJH

  3. Stephanie

    I love pancakes, especially for dinner. Got super excited to make these for dinner last night. Well…I followed the recipe exactly and I had cookie dough consistency instead of batter. I had a ball so added more water just to be able to add the blueberries. They took forever to cook then didn’t cook well. Yummy blueberry and lemon flavor but strange dough flavor. I double checked my ingredients and came and read your blog again during assembly. No clue what went wrong.

    Sorry about that, Stephanie. Our self-rising flour is low protein, and the amount of liquid should have worked. Did you maybe use another company’s self-rising flour, or some other kind of flour? A higher-protein flour would definitely act as you describe… PJH

  4. glpruett

    I tried this recipe this morning, as I had all of the ingredients in the house and wanted to see how it tasted in advance of a visit by some vegan friends in a few weeks. Well, I’ll be the first to say that KAF recipes and ingredients are the BEST, but I’m afraid you lost me on this one.

    The pancake was very doughy, with little flavor other than lemon. I did enjoy the lemon and blueberry flavor combination, and will remember that when I make my homemade whole wheat pancakes containing eggs and buttermilk…yum! I just won’t be pulling this recipe out when we have vegan visitors…sorry!

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy these… and good idea, applying the flavor combination to your favorite “regular” pancake recipe. PJH

  5. cartvl219

    Sorry! Pancakes don’t appeal. Now, if you had mentioned waffles or corn fritters… When I lived in Mass. I had wild blueberries growing in the woods near whichever house it was. I usually made muffins and the occasional pie. No blueberries around the house here in NC and if there were, they would probably be the marble-sized ones I see in the grocery. Well, there’s always the Wyler wild Maine berries in the freezer section.

  6. marthahaynes

    I can’t remember where I read this tip, but I swear by it. Don’t mix the blueberries in the batter; just a small handful on top of the batter while the first side is cookie. No smushed berries, no purple discoloration. Happy Breakfast! (Or anytime, right?)

  7. Adina

    I don’t understand the substitution for self-rising flour. You say: Follow our recipe for Blueberry Pancakes, substituting 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice for 1/4 cup of the milk; adding the grated rind of 1 lemon; and increasing the sugar to 3 to 4 tablespoons, to taste.

    But that recipe calls for 1 and 1/4 cups of milk, and 2 eggs, which seems like it would make something vastly different from this recipe. Mostly, I don’t understand how this recipe works with much less liquid, but the same amount of flour, as the other recips.

    To make a recipe with similar taste using the all purpose flour, you’ll need to use a different recipe (Blueberry Pancakes). On that recipe make the following adjustments: Use 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add grated rind of one lemon. Increase sugar from 2 tablespoons to 3 or 4 tablespoons depending on your taste preferences. I hope this is helpful – happy baking (or pancake making)! Irene @ KAF

  8. Anne

    Among all the KAF recipes I have tried, Homemade Whole-grain Pancake Mix is the most valuable to me. I first came across the recipe in the cookbook. Ever since I keep a batch of this mix in the freezer all the time. The mix is economical, fiber-rich, and easy to use. (Just remember 1-1-1: one-cup mix, one-cup buttermilk/milk/yogurt, and one egg.)

    This time of the year we have good blueberries and lately I have been putting them into pancakes – the smaller ones go into the batter, the bigger ones are reserved for garnish, and the biggest ones go straight to the mouth of the breakfast chef!

    So often when I prepare my pancakes, I think of the news that so many children go without proper meals. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could have these whole-grain pancakes for supper? They are aromatic, tender and delicious when served hot from the stove, and so much more economical and wholesome than some of the canned or prefabricated foods.

    Now, PJ, an English muffin for breakfast is not a bad idea either. I haven’t had a good English muffin so long that I don’t even think of having one. I remember Julia Child made them on one of her programs. Would you want to explore some EM recipes and tell us which one is a winner?

    Anne, so glad you’re a fan of that yummy whole-grain pancake mix. And I agree – it would be wonderful if more people could keep it on hand, for an instant high-fiber, nutritious meal. As for English muffins – I’ve never run across the “perfect” recipe. But for flavor and ease, I love these Baked English Muffins. And for craggy interior, these regular English Muffins. I’d recommend either. PJH

  9. Pat

    If I don’t usually have self-rising flour around, but still want the vegan-ness of this recipe, is there any reason I can’t use the regular KAF unbleached AP flour and add baking powder? Does the softer wheat in the self-rising help make up for the absence of eggs?

    Pat, you can certainly try that – add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt; and increase the water by 1 to 2 tablespoons. I don’t think the softer wheat really makes up for the absence of eggs; you might try increasing the vegetable oil by 1 tablespoon (instead of the water) for a softer cake. Enjoy – PJH

  10. Cindy Leigh

    Having read the labels on the crates of produce during a sports-team bulk citrus sale, I think it’s important to note that citrus is sprayed with pesticides and fungicides and sometimes a layer of wax. Not something I’d want to grate into my food. I think it’s worthwhile to buy organic citrus when zest is needed.

    These pancakes look yummy! I love lemon and blueberries!

    Great advice, Cindy – I always wash my citrus fruits thoroughly before grating the peel. And, as you say – probably a good idea to go organic. Enjoy the pancakes – PJH


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