Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

lemon poppy seed pancakes 5

My Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes are a lightened up version of your favorite breakfast ~ they’re perfect for a special occasion, a cozy weekend morning, or just any time you want to treat yourself!

lwmon poppy seed pancakes

lemon poppy seed pancakes burst with citrus flavor

So many lemon recipes suffer from the wimp factor. They add a tablespoon of lemon juice or the zest of one lemon and then have the nerve to call themselves a lemon this or a lemon that. It’s such a shame. When it comes to lemon, I say go big or go home. This recipe uses the zest of two lemons and plenty of fresh lemon juice to insure you’ll get the lemon message loud and clear.

lemon poppy seed pancakes

poppy seeds add a lovely crunch to these fluffy lemon pancakes

And it’s the same thing with poppy seeds. People seems to think that a teaspoon or two entitles them to emblazon the words poppy seeds all over their recipe title. I assure you that these lemon poppy seed pancakes have earned their name fair and square with lots of poppy seed crunch.

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

what you’ll need

  • lemons ~ you’ll use the juice and zest for extra flavor.
  • poppy seeds
  • yogurt ~ you can also use sour cream.
  • buttermilk ~ you can make an acceptable substitute by mixing lemon juice with regular whole milk.
  • butter
  • egg
  • vanilla extract
  • flour ~ I use a combination of all purpose white and whole wheat, but you can use all white flour if you like.
  • granulated sugar
  • baking powder, baking soda, and salt
bright lemony pancakes with poppy seeds

lemon poppy seed pancake making FAQs and tips

What can I use in place of buttermilk?

You can use regular milk, or make your own buttermilk substitute by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes.

How can I get my pancakes to come out light and fluffy?

Be sure not to over beat your batter. Once you add flour to the bowl, gently fold it in until no dry streaks remain, then stop. Don’t worry about small lumps ~ they’re fine. And make sure your baking powder is fresh! It doesn’t last forever, so check your label and when in doubt, toss it and replace. You should be replacing it every 6 months.

How do I get my all my pancakes to be the same size, and round?

Use a scoop or measuring cup (the size is up to you) to portion out your batter for equal sized pancakes. You can nudge the batter gently at the edges to ease it into a rounder shape.

How do I know when my skillet it hot enough?

You can add a drop of water to the pan ~ if it sizzles and ‘jumps’ around immediately, you’re good to go. I always do a test pancake to be sure.

What is best for greasing my pancake pan, oil or butter?

I like to use oil because butter tends to burn at higher temps.

Do I need to soak poppy seeds before using?

Some people like to soak poppy seeds in hot water before using on the idea that this makes them easier to digest. I don’t find that this is necessary.

Can poppy seeds go stale?

Yes, all seeds have a relatively high oil content and can go rancid. If yours have been sitting around for more than 6 months, replace.

lemon poppy seed pancake batter

maple syrup + lemon? it’s fabulous!

In case you’re wondering, yes, maple syrup does go with the lemon, in fact the flavors complement each other beautifully. I’ve even gone on to make a Tangerine Poppy Seed Pancakes, which I love equally as much. Just be sure you buy real maple syrup, not the fake stuff.

let’s hear it for poppy seeds!

If you’re a fan of the delicate crunch that poppy seeds bring to a recipe, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve used them in lots of delicious ways:

poppy seeds in a spoon

“I have made these for Mother’s Day the past couple years and they are always a huge hit! My mom LOVES them as do I. They are a very special treat for us every year, so thank you for sharing! We love them!!”

~ Natalie
bright lemony pancakes with poppy seeds
3.74 from 136 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes ~ This unexpected combination is a refreshing change from regular pancakes and it’s perfect for a special occasion, a cozy weekend morning, or just any time you want to treat yourself!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 254kcal
Author Sue Moran


dry ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

wet ingredients

  • 1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice about 2 lemons
  • 3 Tbsp butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds


  • Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, blend the wet ingredients together and fold in the poppy seeds.
  • Add the wet to the dry and mix just until combined, don’t over mix, you want your pancakes to be fluffy! Lumps are fine.
  • Cook on a lightly greased griddle until lightly golden on both sides.
  • Serve hot with maple syrup.


Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.18g | Protein: 6.35g | Fat: 11.11g | Saturated Fat: 4.95g | Sodium: 310.98mg | Fiber: 3.07g | Sugar: 14.41g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2020 at 11:00 am

    5 stars
    We had GF Lemon Poppyseed pancakes for Mother’s Day breakfast. They were absolutely delicious!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Sue, These look great! Due to the quarantine still in effect, all I have is frozen lemon juice, would that work? If fresh is better I will wait until after to try, but these look so tasty! I used up my lemons in lemon curd before stumbling onto this recipe, so sad!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      I don’t see why frozen wouldn’t work 🙂

  • Reply
    April 20, 2020 at 5:58 am

    Can’t wait to make these. If I don’t have buttemilk will milk with vinegar be a good substitute?

    • Reply
      April 20, 2020 at 6:45 am

      Yes, absolutely.

  • Reply
    Brinda Mahalingam
    March 29, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely awesome! The pancakes were so moist, delicious and so full of flavor! It made a great Sunday breakfast, brightening up our day, in these stay-at-home days!!
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 5:36 am

    5 stars
    Just made a gluten- free, plant-based version of these for our Sunday breakfast during the Covid-19 lock down for my husband and myself. (Found your recipe on feedfeed instagram a couple days ago.) I subbed soya milk for buttermilk and yoghurt, flaxseed egg for egg, olive oil for butter etc. The end results were the fluffiest, softest pancakes we’ve ever had! The tanginess of lemon not sour or bitter – just right, and the texture of poppy seeds with real mapke syrup was a perfect marriage indeed, as you promised. I was planning to have them with some fresh fruits but in the end decided not to. Was heavenly delicious as they were… Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply
    Stephanie Oliver
    February 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    5 stars
    WOW…just wow!!! For some reason this recipe popped up in social media of some sort and I just had to make it. My husband is recovering from a surgery procedure(nothing major) and I figured he needed some perking up. What an amazing flavor. Not too much lemon. I did kinda have to do with what I had, so I ended up using cashew yogurt instead of Greek, and did the lemon whole milk trick for the buttermilk. Oh, and I dialed the poppyseeds down to 1/4 cup. I said a hail Mary as they were on the grill and it worked out beautifully. It was a light moist spongy cake, not tough or cakey at all. My hubby had three and I ate the rest…full disclosure. This one is a keeper. It’s very impressive. Next go-round I will try the original recipe. I can always count on a top notch meal from you. Thank you

    • Reply
      February 1, 2020 at 5:59 pm

      You’re so welcome, I’m glad they helped your hubby feel better!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2020 at 9:04 am

    5 stars
    Just finished eating these delightfully light pancakes. What an excellent recipe – tastes like a fancy restaurant!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2020 at 9:05 am

      I’m so glad, thanks for coming back to let us know 🙂

  • Reply
    June 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    3/4 cup or container of yogurt?

    • Reply
      June 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      That’s 3/4 cup Jane!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Sue!
    If I don’t have whole wheat flour, can I just use 1 cup all-purpose instead?

    • Reply
      June 9, 2018 at 6:24 am


  • Reply
    May 17, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Sue

    This recipe looks so good and I would love to make these pancakes this weekend. However as poppy seeds are banned in my country, what can I use as a substitute? Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Oh, that’s so interesting, now I’m curious to know where you live! Let’s see…you’ve stumped me on this one, poppy seeds are so unique. How do you feel about plain lemon pancakes?? 😉

      • Reply
        September 5, 2018 at 6:43 am

        I don’t know where Adeline lives, but I’m a Dallas girl living in Singapore and poppy seeds are not allowed here. It’s due to the history of opium abuse. I doubt poppy seeds sold for consumption can actually be used to grow poppy flowers, but that’s the reason. We use black sesame seeds as a substitute. Different taste but not a bad substitute. Love your site. Just printed out this recipe and will try very soon. I’ll report back.

        • Reply
          February 15, 2019 at 10:29 am

          Thanks Jeanne, that’s so interesting!

      • Reply
        May 2, 2020 at 10:08 pm

        I use chia seeds instead of poppy seeds.

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