Cornbread Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Syrup


These are for sure the lightest, fluffiest cornbread pancakes of all time! By partially cooking the cornmeal before cooking the pancakes, there's no gritty or bitter aftertaste that you sometimes get with uncooked cornmeal. Serve with a dollop of homemade crème fraîche or sour cream.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 35 mins

I love doing videos for breakfast recipes. They generally get great traffic, which is kind of a big deal for people who do what I do, but above and beyond that selfish advantage, I enjoy sharing ideas for new ways for people to break their fast. Even the most adventurous eaters struggle to break the breakfast routine, and it's very easy to get into a rut. Well, the next time that happens to you, may I suggest a nice plate of cornbread pancakes with fresh strawberry syrup?

I decided to call these "cornbread pancakes" instead of the more common "cornmeal pancakes" since they don't have the typical characteristics of the latter. These aren't dense, or gritty, but rather light, fluffy, and much more vertically impressive, which are all thanks to a simple technique regarding precooking the cornmeal. My hardly exhaustive research indicates this trick was first made popular by Cook's Country, where they apparently microwaved the buttermilk and ground corn first, but whoever came up with the idea deserves our sincere thanks, since it really does produce a cornmeal-based pancake far superior to any others I've ever had.

And while these magnificent cakes would be lovely with any of your favorite pancake toppings, the very easy-to-make fresh strawberry syrup is a perfect pairing. Unlike some other strawberry recipes, we don't need to use perfectly ripe and sweet fruit, since we're adding sugar and cooking everything down, so you can't use strawberries being out of season as an excuse. But, regardless of what you drizzle over the top, I really do hope you give these great cakes a try soon.

Three cornbread pancakes topped with a strawberry syrup on a white plate
Cornbread Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Syrup. Chef John


Strawberry Syrup:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • ½ cup cold water

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Cornbread Pancakes:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk

  • 1 ¼ cups cornmeal

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, or more as needed

  • 2 large eggs


  1. Place strawberries in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar, water, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are very soft, and the syrup starts to thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.

  2. Remove from the stove and carefully pass through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard any seeds and fibrous bits that are left in the sieve. Let syrup cool for 15 minutes, then cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until all ingredients are well incorporated; set aside.

  4. Place buttermilk, cornmeal, and 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until butter melts and mixture starts to simmer. Once simmering, cook and stir until very thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.

  5. Whisk eggs into the cooled cornmeal mixture until incorporated. Add the reserved flour mixture and stir with a spatula until well combined and no flour remains in the saucepan; batter will be thick but still scoopable.

  6. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, scoop 1/3 cup batter for each pancake into the hot skillet and press them down with the back of a spatula to flatten out. Cook until the outside edges start to look a little dry, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side until pancakes are cooked through, another 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat to cook remaining pancakes, adding more butter to the skillet as necessary.

  7. Top warm pancakes with strawberry syrup.

    Three cornbread pancakes topped with a strawberry syrup on a white plate
    Cornbread Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Syrup. Chef John

Chef's Notes:

If you don't have buttermilk, try the lemon juice hack! Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to 1 3/4 cups whole milk. Stir the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes before using.

If your batter is too thick to scoop, it can be thinned slightly with buttermilk or milk. Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of your pancakes.

Try my crème fraîche recipe for topping these pancakes!

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of syrup. The actual amount of syrup consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

744 Calories
18g Fat
131g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 3
Calories 744
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 160mg 53%
Sodium 1299mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 131g 48%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Protein 18g
Potassium 622mg 13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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