Cornmeal Pancakes


A year and a half ago when I was visiting my sister in Portland, we ate at this amazing diner that was featured on Diner’s, Drive-in’s and Dives. It was a rare meal where we all ate together — the morning Mom arrived in town and Dad left. I remember a few things about that meal: Mom didn’t care much for her dish because it came out cold. Sis and I made fun of Dad for putting maple syrup on savory pancakes. But best of all were the blue cornmeal pancakes. Fluffy little bites of heaven I had never before (or since) experienced.

I have a weird eating schedule. It goes something like this:

  • 5:30 a.m. get Venti Soy No Foam Latte from Starbucks
  • Continue to reheat until drink is gone – between 7 and 9 a.m.
  • Find something to nibble on around 9 or 10 a.m. (This usually involves something I baked over the weekend or something I bought at Starbucks that morning)
  • Sometime in the afternoon … Walk to the Starbucks near work and get a Grande Soy No Foam Latte, Cinnamon Dolce Soy Latte, or one-shot Cocoa Cappuccino with Soy or … Nibble on something else (this usually involves any sort of food I can find anywhere, which may mean resorting to more baked goods) or … order a sub from Jimmy John’s or reheat food I brought from home (though this is rare)
  • Skip dinner and go to bed or … eat dinner if I’ve been nibbling all day.

Today was a nibbling day and I arrived home ravenous. First thing’s first: take the dogs for a walk and feed them.

There was nothing I could think to whip up besides buttered noodles. Until my eyes rested on the cornmeal on the shelf in the kitchen. And I remembered those amazing blue cornmeal pancakes I ate so long ago. So I found this recipe on the L.A. Times web site (here is where I choke back a huge sob over the fact that I no longer live in L.A. — I’ll be back some day, L.A. I swear! Some day… [more sobs]) for cornmeal pancakes, and I tweaked it slightly:

Note: Adapted from the 1943 “Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer and the L.A. Times


  • 1 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. flour (generous heaping 1/2 c.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder


  1. Combine the cornmeal, salt, butter and honey in a large, heavy bowl. Pour the boiling water over top and whisk well to combine. Cover tightly and let stand at least 10 minutes.
  2. Measure the buttermilk into a measuring cup. Add the egg and beat well with a fork until smooth. Stir this into the cornmeal mixture.
  3. Sift together the flour and baking powder and stir into the cornmeal mixture with a few swift strokes. (Don’t bother sifting. It just gets clumpy once you begin stirring anyway.)
  4. Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium to medium-low heat. Butter or grease the griddle lightly, then pour the batter in using a soup ladle. Cook until pancake begins to bubble and the top surface appears slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve with butter and maple syrup. This makes about 8 pancakes. (Mine made 7.)

A quick note: these pancakes are very thin (and I even added extra flour). If you like a thicker pancake, experiment with the amount of flour you add.

I ate three good-sized pancakes for dinner. The first one I ate with just butter – which I wouldn’t recommend. These pancakes need syrup as they are less sweet than a normal pancake. I added a dab of syrup to my two remaining pancakes and the experience was much improved.

Though these weren’t as good as the blue pancakes I had at the diner in downtown Portland, they were a pretty good substitute. They also inspired me to locate blue cornmeal so I can try making my own blue cornmeal pancakes.

And PS: Of course you can eat these for dinner!

Recipe rating: 



  1. I used to be a barista and loved to make coffee drinks with 90% froth and just a wee tiny bit of coffee. Loved it…but obviously you don’t.


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