Butternut Vanilla Bean Pancakes


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Vegan Desserts

Vegan Desserts

By Hannah Kaminsky

Published 2015

  • About

Easily my favorite weekend breakfast, there’s nothing quite like waking up to the luscious aroma of coffee and sweetness wafting from the kitchen. Piling up a big stack of soft, fluffy pancakes and drenching them in about a gallon of maple syrup as a kid, it was breakfasts like these that made waking up before noon worthwhile. Though they were reserved only for the most special occasions, and usually when we had company, I relished every bite when they graced the breakfast table. Though I’m happy enough to take them any which way—with chocolate chips, blueberries, plain—I’ve recently fallen in love with a more autumnal version, infused with the delicate sweetness of butternut squash and vanilla bean. Though it’s hard to turn down the maple syrup, which still makes a fine match with these little griddle cakes, I’ve found that an even more unique treat comes from reduced and spiced apple cider, bringing with it a slightly tart punch in addition to a syrupy sweetness. Since it takes a bit longer to prepare, I’d advise making it the night before, because no one will want to wait that long before devouring these pancakes!


Chai-Spiced Cider Syrup

  • 4 Cups Apple Cider
  • 1 Teaspoon Chai Spice**
  • 2 Teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

Butternut Pancakes

  • 2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Flaxseeds, Ground
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Lightly Mashed, Roasted Butternut Squash*
  • 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
  • 1 Tablespoon Tahini
  • 1⅔ Cups Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • 2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • Pinch Ground Nutmeg


To make the cider syrup, place the apple cider and chai spice in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk well, and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, approximately 60 minutes. Stir the cornstarch and maple syrup together to create a thick paste, and mix that into the syrup. Whisk thoroughly to incorporate, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until the mixture has thickened. Let cool completely and store in the fridge in an air-tight glass jar or bottle.

For the pancakes, begin by mixing the flour, ground flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and soda together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed butternut squash, sugar, tahini, non-dairy milk, vinegar, and olive oil until smooth. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and use the edge of the knife blade to scrape out the seeds inside. Add them to the wet mixture, along with the nutmeg.

At this point, you can start preheating a medium non-stick skillet over moderate heat. You’ll know it’s ready when you can splash a small drop of water on it, and the droplet will sort of skitter around on top. If it just sits there, the pan is too cold, but if it immediately sizzles off, the pan is too hot.

Once the skillet it hot and ready, pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry, and combine the two by mixing with a wide spatula, stirring as little as possible to bring together a loose batter. Spoon ladlefuls of about ¼ cup per pancake into the skillet, and cook no more than 3–4 at a time, depending on how large your pan is. Allow the pancakes to cook, undisturbed, for about 3–4 minutes before gently lifting up one edge to check if the bottom is appropriately browned. There should be bubbles bursting on top, and the edges should be mostly firm. If they seem cooked on the bottom, flip them over, and cook for another 3–4 minutes until similarly browned on the other side.

Slide the pancakes out onto a waiting plate, and repeat with the remaining batter. If you want to keep them hot and serve them all at once, stash them in your oven set to the “warm” function, or preheated to about 200°F. Just be mindful of your time and keep them in there for no more than 30 minutes, or the pancakes will dry out.