A few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon, I cracked open a brand new jigsaw puzzle box. Before sorting through the 1,000 pieces to find and assemble the border of the puzzle, I decided to set up a movie to listen to in the background while I worked.
As an unseasonably cloudy day, Harry Potter just felt right (I call those cool overcast days “Harry Potter days” because they make me feel like I’m back in Great Britain!), so I reached for the first of the eight DVDs. As the opening scenes rolled, I slid the jigsaw pieces together, hardly glancing up at the screen…
I’ve seen the movie enough times that I can recite most of the lines!
Over the next week, even after the clouds disappeared and our Southern California sunshine returned, I continued to work on my puzzle for an hour or two each day to unwind in the afternoons and evenings, all with Harry Potter playing in the background. Once I finished the first movie, I moved on to the second… then the third… then the fourth…
I even finished that puzzle and starting another one!
Although the weather outside still screamed summer, it felt like fall inside my house while watching those Harry Potter movies. With how often the characters appeared bundled up in jackets and scarves, sat down for lavish meals in the Great Hall, and mentioned pumpkin juice… I started to crave fall foods all day long too — especially pumpkin-flavored ones!
So after a few too many of those breakfast scenes in the Great Hall, I walked away from my jigsaw puzzle and whipped up a batch of these Ultimate Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes as a fun breakfast-for-dinner meal! They’re easy to make, irresistibly fluffy, and full of cozy autumn pumpkin spice flavors.
And although most of my family douses their pancakes with pure maple syrup… I mixed up a simple cinnamon glaze for my pancake stacks. Best idea EVER! It added the perfect sweet and comforting touch, and I scraped up every last crumb, drip, and drizzle.
These healthy pumpkin pancakes are definitely now at the top of my favorite fall breakfasts list… They’re the best pumpkin pancakes I’ve ever had!
HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE HEALTHY PUMPKIN PANCAKES
Let’s go over how to make the best ever healthy pumpkin pancakes!
This easy recipe begins with white whole wheat flour, homemade pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Yes, you do need both baking soda and baking powder! I’ll cover why in just a moment. In the meantime…
White whole wheat flour might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s a real thing – and it’s not a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour! White whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture.
Bottom line? You get super fluffy, nutrient-packed pumpkin pancakes when you use white whole wheat flour! (And if you’re gluten intolerant, then I included gluten-free options for these ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes in the Notes section of the recipe!)
Hint: Whatever flour you use, just remember to measure it correctly! Use this method (and my handy trick!) or a kitchen scale (← that’s the one I own and love!). Too much flour will make your batter dry, which means your pancakes won’t turn out moist and fluffy. However, if you take those few extra moments to properly measure the flour, you’ll get the best healthy pumpkin pancakes imaginable!
Although it may be tempting to reach for store-bought pumpkin spice, I highly recommend making your own! It’s so simple, and I much prefer the taste of homemade pumpkin spice. I can control exactly which spices go into it – and how much of each – which makes me one happy girl. I prefer a much more robust spice flavor with my pumpkin spice, whereas many store-bought jars use mostly cinnamon and very little of the other spices!
In my homemade pumpkin spice, I include cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. The allspice provides a sweet warmth, the ginger adds a little zing, and the nutmeg and cloves create a deeper richness. All together, they make these healthy pumpkin pancakes taste exceptionally cozy!
Hint: “Pumpkin spice” is short for pumpkin pie spice… aka the spices that go into pumpkin pie filling. No pumpkin involved!
For your ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes, you’ll only include a mere teaspoon of oil. Any kind will work! Melted coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil… You name it! Since you’re adding so little oil, it really helps keep your healthy pancakes low calorie and low fat.
But to make sure they still turn out moist and fluffy, you’ll add lots of pumpkin purée! I use canned pumpkin as a shortcut. It’s much easier than making my own! If you’re using canned pumpkin as well, make sure the only ingredient is “pumpkin.” Skip the canned pumpkin pie mix for this ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes recipe!
You’ll also add in a splash of plain white vinegar! No, I haven’t gone completely crazy… The vinegar (an acid) reacts with the baking soda (a base) to create air bubbles. Those air bubbles make your ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes extra fluffy!
As I mentioned earlier, my family loves pouring lots and lots of maple syrup all over their cooked pancakes… So I only added a teensy tiny bit to the pancake batter. It seemed like overkill to add much more than that! If you prefer sweeter pancakes, you can definitely add more if you prefer. (I go over how to modify the recipe to do that in the Notes section of this ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes recipe too!)
Hint: Remember to use pure maple syrup, the kind that comes directly from maple trees, rather than faux pancake syrup!
Then to keep these ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes dairy-free, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Many of my family members are lactose-intolerant, and that’s their favorite non-dairy milk. Just about any milk will work in this easy recipe though, so use whatever you normally keep on hand!
HOW TO COOK PUMPKIN PANCAKES
Now that your batter is ready, it’s time to cook your ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes! I’ve actually gone over how to cook the best ever pancakes here (including photos and visuals!), but I’ll briefly cover my pancake cooking tips and tricks for you here, too.
First, you need some pans! I don’t own a pancake griddle, so I always use dark colored nonstick pans. I’ve found light metal pans often cook the pancakes unevenly, and the pancakes are also prone to burning in light metal pans.
I use at least two pans. Because the pancakes only require a couple of minutes to cook, this means I can cook all of the batter in half the time – and therefore get breakfast on the table much faster!
For evenly cooked pancakes, use really low heat. I usually turn my stove burners down almost as low as they can go! If your heat is too high, you’ll burn the pancakes. Not good!
To dollop the batter into my pans, I use a 2-tablespoon measuring spoon, like this. You need a scant 2 tablespoons of batter for each silver dollar sized pancake, and using a measuring spoon like this makes it so easy to make each ultimate healthy pumpkin pancake the same size!
I use this mini spatula to scrape the batter out of my measuring spoon and into the pan. Isn’t it cute?? I also use the same spatula to spread the batter out in my pan. Remember…
However, with thick batter, you’ll often need to spread it out into a circular shape. Thin batter should spread out on its own. (I’ve added more tips about how to make this ultimate healthy pumpkin pancake batter thicker or thinner in the Notes section as well!)
Once your circles of pancake batter look firm around the edges and the top bubbles, it’s time to flip them! I use a fairly narrow spatula. With wider spatulas, I end up bumping into the other pancakes when I try to slide it under just one. (Maybe I’m a just a klutz… But narrow spatulas are what work best for me!)
When you flip the batter over, just use your wrist! If you flip with your whole arm, you end up with what I call a “pancake skirt” around the edges. It looks a little lacy around the bottom edge or like the batter splatters.
CAN YOU FREEZE THESE ULTIMATE HEALTHY PUMPKIN PANCAKES?
It seems like more and more people are jumping on the breakfast meal prep bandwagon… And some people plan so far in advance that they want to make a huge batch of pancakes, freeze them, and then thaw for quick grab-and-go breakfasts for their kids. (Such a smart idea!)
So… Yes! These ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes freeze, thaw, and reheat quite well.
And now that your pancakes are hot and ready… Just add your toppings and dig in! Then when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your ultimate healthy pumpkin pancakes!
The Ultimate Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (135g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 2 tsp homemade pumpkin spice (see Notes!)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup (see Notes!)
- ½ cup (122g) pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
- 2 tbsp (30mL) plain white vinegar
- ½ cup (120mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 6 tbsp (90mL) water
- optional: cinnamon drizzle, for serving (see Notes – highly recommended!)
- Whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg white, vanilla, and maple syrup. Stir in the pumpkin, stirring until no large lumps remain. Stir in the vinegar. Stir in the milk. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the water, beginning and ending with the flour, stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.)
- Lightly coat a large nonstick pan or griddle with nonstick cooking spray, and briefly preheat over low heat.
- Using a scant 2 tablespoons of batter for each pancake, dollop the batter onto the hot pan, and spread into a circular shape using a spatula or back of a spoon (if desired). Let the pancakes cook for 2-3 minutes, or until a slight skin starts to form around the edges. Slide a spatula underneath, and flip. Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Re-coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray, and repeat with the remaining batter.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Buttermilk Pancakes
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
♡ Healthy Banana Pancakes
♡ Healthy Dark Chocolate Pancakes
♡ Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
♡ Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes
♡ …and all of Amy’s healthy pumpkin-flavored recipes!