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Zucchini bread pancakes are an absolute dream. Lightly sweet and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, they're zucchini bread, but without the hour in the oven. Equally great for breakfast or dinner.
Why we love this recipe
This recipe has all the cozy flavors of zucchini bread, but it's lighter on the flour, sugar, and oven time. When you have a lot of zucchini to use up, they're a fabulous option.
These pancakes are:
- Light and fluffy. They're based on our best-in-class basic pancake recipe.
- Lightly sweet, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla
- Quick and easy to make
- The best of both worlds: pancakes + zucchini bread!
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe. If you've got zucchini, you probably have everything else in the fridge and pantry already.
- You'll need three cups of shredded zucchini, which comes from about two pretty large ones. You can shred it on the large holes of a box grater or with the shredding disk of a food processor.
- The salt in this recipe gets tossed with the shredded zucchini to draw out the excess moisture.
- An important pancake protip is to have your eggs and milk at room temperature to maximize fluffiness. It really makes a difference.
How to make it
This recipe uses a few classic techniques that are easy to make happen. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- Prepping the zucchini prevents excess moisture from taking over the recipe. You'll shred it, place it in a fine-mesh sieve, and toss it with salt. Leave it alone for 30 minutes while the salt works its osmotic magic. Then squeeze the bejeezus out of it, handful by handful.
- Sift the dry ingredients together.
- Stir in the wet ingredients just until mixed. Some lumps are 100% fine.
- Fold in the zucchini and then let the batter rest for five minutes.
Expert tips and FAQs
Yup, you really do. Zucchini contains a ton of moisture, and you don't want that in your pancake batter.
Don't worry, it won't make the final dish taste salty. There's no more salt in here than in a regular pancake recipe. We just add it differently.
Room-temperature eggs and milk make much fluffier pancakes, and the butter won't clump up when mixing. You can leave the ingredients on the counter overnight (unless your kitchen is super-hot) if making pancakes in the morning.
It really makes a difference, promise.
Fresh baking powder really helps.
Baking powder tends to sit around in pantries for a long time, but it doesn’t last forever, so make sure to buy a new container a couple of times a year. Your cakes will thank you, too.
Mixing too much develops the gluten in the flour and leads to tougher pancakes. For light and airy pancakes, you should mix just until the batter looks cohesive, without any big pockets of flour. It will still have some lumps.
Giving the flour a chance to hydrate with the liquids from the batter and the gluten a chance to relax makes for more tender pancakes. It's a good tip whenever you're making them, not just for zucchini bread pancakes.
A little bit of high-heat, neutral-tasting oil like safflower, canola, or peanut oil is a much better choice. Clarified butter is fine, too.
The milk solids in regular butter burn at a low enough temperature that it makes cooking the best pancakes a little too finicky.
Look for a nice brown edge on the underside of the pancake, along with bubbles on the surface that don't fill back in once they've burst. Your dream job is to regulate the heat of the skillet so that both of these things happen at about the same time.
How to serve zucchini bread pancakes
We love to eat them topped with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and plenty of good maple syrup. They're GREAT with butter, too.
And don't forget the bacon.
More favorite zucchini recipes
Got a glut of zucchini? Here are some more of our favorite ways to use it!
- Savory fritters with corn and feta
- A creamy, dreamy spread
- Spiralized noodles with: turkey meat sauce // lemon caper butter // summer vegetables
- Camille Kingsolver's orzo
- Chocolate cake!
- Savory quick bread with cheddar
- Sheet pan pizza with pesto
- Quick curry with chickpeas
- Thai red curry with vegetables
- 3 cups (400 grams) shredded zucchini, from about 2 large
- ½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ teaspoons (16 grams) baking powder
- ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- Safflower or other neutral oil for the skillet
- Vanilla yogurt, butter, and/or maple syrup, for serving
- Have egg and milk at room temperature for optimum pancake fluffiness.
- Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor with the shredding disk. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to combine. Let drain for 30 minutes, then pick up by the handful and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside.
- Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla. Then whisk in the butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir together just until combined. Some lumps are fine. Don't overmix. Then gently fold in the zucchini.
- Let batter rest for five minutes before proceeding.
- Set a griddle or heavy, nonstick pan over medium heat. Coat lightly with safflower oil.
- When griddle is hot, scoop batter by the approximate ¼-cupful onto the skillet, leaving plenty of room between pancakes. Cook until the edges of the underside are browned and the top is covered with bubbles that have begun to burst and stay hollow. Flip and cook until the underside is browned. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Pancakes are best served right as they come off the griddle, though you can keep them warm in a 200°F oven while you cook the rest if you insist.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 439Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 13g