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Looking down on a stack of apple pancakes with caramelized apples on top.

Caramelized Apple Pancakes Recipe

Delicious, not-so-guilt-inducing caramelized apple pancakes perfect for apple season. With whole grains, plenty of spice, and freshly-grated apple, these pancakes are rich, enticing, and satisfying.

Top your stacks with caramelized slices that don't require any added sugar. For the ultimate apple pancake, top your stacks with a bit of the spiced whipped cream from this apple cider recipePlease note when made without any substitutions this is a thick pancake batter. If you like it thinner, add a bit more milk.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 10, 4.5" Pancakes 1x



For the Pancakes

  • 5 ounces or 1 cup of whole wheat flour (or gluten-free flour or all-purpose flour)
  • 3 ounces or ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon of oat flour (or ground oats)
  • 1½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt (less if table salt)
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon of cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon of allspice
  • 2 cups of buttermilk or 1 cup of whole milk or plant-based milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup or 2 ounces of melted butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • zest of one lemon  or orange, optional
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated, optional

Caramelized Apples

  • 1 or 2 apples, cored and sliced thin, or peeled and diced
  • Granulated sugar, optional
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, optional
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or pie spice



For the Pancakes

  1. If you plan to add grated apple to your pancake batter, peel, core, and grate the apple with a box grated or microplane for very small pieces. Melt the butter and set it aside. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wheat flour, oat flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Then whisk to combine.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, milk, any extract, and citrus zest. Using a whisk, begin with a small mixing motion to break up the eggs and mix them with just the liquid ingredients. Then broaden your strokes to bring the batter together until the large lumps are gone, but small ones remain. For gluten-free pancakes, mix until all the lumps are gone and the batter is smooth. Stir in the grated apple gently, if using. 
  4. Preheat your pan or griddle to medium (370° F on a griddle). Scoop or pour your batter onto the pan into same-size circles and cook until bubbles break the surface. Then flip the pancake(s) and finish cooking on the second side, which will be faster than the first. You only need to flip pancakes once. If they are browning too quickly before the bubbles break through the center of the pancakes, turn down the heat a little.
  5. Keep the first batches warm in a low-heat oven or warming drawer at around 200° F while you cook the rest. Covering the finished pancakes with foil will keep them from drying out in the oven.
  6. Serve the apple pancakes with the caramelized apples on top, a little spiced whipped cream, and melted butter or maple syrup. 

For the Caramelized Apples

  1. Core and slice your apples into quarter-inch pieces or dice them into cubes. If you like, spread brown or granulated sugar in a thin layer on a plate and dip one side of each apple in it. 
  2. Heat a large sauté pan or griddle over medium-high heat.
  3. Add as many apple slices to the pan as you can while maintaining one layer. You may need to work in batches in order to leave space between them. Otherwise, the moisture from the apples can't escape and they will steam each other instead of browning and caramelizing.
  4. Cook the apples until the first side is a deep golden brown. Then flip the slices over or shake the pan to easily flip over diced apples. Caramelize the second side watching them carefully. Fight the urge to move the apples while they're cooking. This will prevent them from caramelizing.
  5. Once all the apples are speckled a deep brown, turn the heat down to medium-low and add any earlier batches back to the pan.
  6. Add the butter to the pan and gently swirl it to coat the apples.
  7. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon and swirl again to mix it all together gently. You can add up to a stick of butter for a saucier caramelized apple compote. 



On the oat flour. If don't have, can't find, or don't want to buy oat flour, you can replace it with more whole wheat or gluten-free flour. If you have oats and a blender, you can make your own oat flour by grinding them to a sandy texture. A few whole oats left are fine. And will simply add a little texture which is delicious.

On the spices. Cinnamon, cloves, and allspice are traditional apple pie spices. So if you have a jar of apple pie spice, a heaping teaspoon is a nice amount in this recipe.

Chef's Tips

Choose apples on the sweeter side. Reach for sweeter apple varieties for the best results. Fuji, Red Delicious, and Honeycrisp apples contain higher sugar content than other common varieties. And will brown and caramelize better than more tart apples.

For light and fluffy pancakes. For the ultimate stack of fluffy apple flapjacks, separate the whites and yolks of the eggs. Mix the yolks in with the batter as you would usually. Then beat the whites with a tablespoon of sugar to soft peaks with an electric hand mixer. Gently fold the whipped whites into the batter and cook as usual. 

On the professional pancake formula. I love culinary ratios because recipes based on these tried-and-true formulas succeed every time with proper technique. Even with substitutions for allergies or dietary needs, you need to adjust amounts a little bit. If a recipe publisher wants you to avoid reliable substitutions for a common dish, it's most likely because they didn't start with a professional ratio. The pancake ratio is: 4 parts flour + 4 parts liquid  + 2 part eggs + 1 part butter or oil.

On the Nutrition Information

The nutrient amounts below are based on the recipe as written, using whole wheat flour, oat flour, and buttermilk. Any ingredient substitutions or additions such as more butter will change the nutrient profile outlined below.

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • Serving Size: 2, 4.5" Apple Pancakes
  • Calories: 194
  • Sugar: 8.8 g
  • Sodium: 70.6 mg
  • Fat: 8.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.3 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 5.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 54.8 mg

Keywords: pancakes recipe, apple pancakes recipe, gluten-free pancakes, pancake formula, caramelized apples