On a crisp fall morning, you can never go wrong with these apple pancakes, finished with the most amazing apple cinnamon topping.
Every bite of these fluffy and tender pancakes is packed with cozy flavors of apples and cinnamon. Oh, and these pancakes have fresh sliced apples hidden inside!
You’ll love starting off your morning with these delicious apple pancakes. So good!
As the trees begin to change into hues of orange, red, and yellow, there is nothing more enjoyable than a cozy weekend breakfast. These apple pancakes have become highly requested at my house, and for good reason! They are delicious.
Imagine the scent of apple and cinnamon from the kitchen on a crisp fall morning. Is there anything better than that?
These apple pancakes are tender and fluffy, with thin slices of apple inside…because, well, the more apples the better! The apple topping is the best part, with its delicious cinnamon and maple syrup flavors.
Why you’ll love these apple pancakes:
- Fall in a bite: The combination of apple and cinnamon screams autumn, and I’m here for it!
- So delicious! You’ll love the slightly sweet and tangy pancakes, topped with a generous amount of the most delicious apple cinnamon topping ever.
- Fluffy and tender: The reaction between buttermilk, baking powder, and baking soda creates the perfect rise for these pancakes, as well as a fluffy and tender texture.
- Very easy to make: No complicated steps here.
- Prep ahead and freezer friendly!
The Apple Topping
The apple cinnamon topping is the star of the show, of course. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and spice that brings out the best of fall flavors.
The apple topping is made with diced honeycrisp apples, butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon.
Everything is cooked for just a few minutes until the apples are tender, and the syrup and sugar begin to thicken. Your house will smell amazing!
When this apple cinnamon topping is drizzled on those fluffy pancakes, it’s like heaven on earth.
What Type of Apples to Use
When choosing apples for this apple cinnamon pancake recipe, there are the 3 factors to keep in mind:
- Texture: Look for apples that can hold their shape when cooked. You want the apple topping to be tender with a slight bite, not mushy.
- Sweetness: Look for sweet tasting apples for best results.
- Tartness: If you want a combination of sweet and tart, use a combination of honeycrisp and granny smith apples.
With that said, honeycrisp apples are the recommended variety for this recipe because of their sweet-tart flavor and their ability to hold their shape when cooked.
However, other similar varieties, such as Gala or Fuji, can also be used. Avoid the Red Delicious variety of apples, since they tend to disintegrate when cooked.
The ingredients you need to make apple pancakes at home are quite simple. In fact, you may already have everything you need. Below are a few ingredient notes from recipe testing. Per usual, the quantities can be found in the recipe card down below.
- All-purpose flour: Measured correctly, spooned and leveled.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Provide rise and make the pancakes fluffy. We use both baking powder and baking soda for best results.
- Buttermilk: Offers a slight tang and ensures tender pancakes. Buttermilk, which is acidic, activates with the baking powder. Don’t substitute the buttermilk with milk (because milk is not acidic, it will not react properly with the leavener).
- Kosher salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Granulated sugar: Just enough to give a mild sweetness to the pancakes.
- Eggs: Acts as a binder and gives structure.
- Butter: Melted and cooled butter gives richness without making the batter too warm.
- Thinly sliced apple: These pancakes have thin slices of apple encrusted inside.
- Maple syrup: A natural sweetener for serving and in the topping.
- For the apple cinnamon topping: Honeycrisp apples, butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and ground cinnamon.
Lately, I’ve been making these apple pancakes at least once a week for my family. Super easy to make. Below is a quick tutorial.
Step 1 | Make the apple topping
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and then add diced honeycrisp apples. Stir in maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes until tender and thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside and let it cool slightly.
Step 2 | Mix the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
Step 3 | Mix wet ingredients
In another bowl, beat the eggs along with the buttermilk and melted butter.
Step 4 | Combine dry and wet ingredients
Combine the dry and wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. The batter should be lumpy and thick.
Step 5 | Cook pancakes on griddle
Heat an electric griddle to about 325 to 350 degrees F. Add a bit of butter and lightly wipe it so a thin film of grease remains.
Pour ⅓ cup of batter for each pancake. Then add 2 slices of thinly sliced apples on top of each pancake, slightly pushing them down. Cook until the bubbles form on top begin to pop, then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.
Step 6 | Serve
Serve warm with a generous helping of the prepared apple cinnamon topping plus a drizzle of maple syrup if desired.
Griddle vs. Skillet?
While both work well, I prefer to use a griddle. Specifically, an electric griddle.
Electric griddles have a temperature control knob and a large surface area, allowing you to cook multiple pancakes at once. The controlled temperature ensures even cooking, which prevents pancakes from being burnt or undercooked.
A larger cooking surface enables you to cook more pancakes at the same time, which is a win-win.
If you don’t have an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle or a skillet will work too. Use medium to medium-low heat, or adjust the temperature as needed. To keep the pancakes warm, transfer them to a slightly warm oven until ready to serve.
Freezing and Storage
I think pancakes taste better when they are freshly cooked. Who can resist the delicious aroma of fresh pancakes anyway?
However, if you must, you can make them ahead. Refrigerate the cooked pancakes (without syrup or topping) for about 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or in a toaster.
You may also freeze these apple pancakes. Stack them (without syrup or topping) in between parchment paper and store in a large resealable freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat in the oven or in a toaster.
More Fall Inspired Breakfast Ideas
We love to serve these apple pancakes as is, they don’t need anything else. But if you’re the kind of person who can’t decide between sweet and savory, you can serve them with a side of bacon, sausage, or eggs.
As a variation, you may add extra toppings to your apple pancakes, such as….walnuts, pecans, confectioner’s sugar, or whipped cream.
If you’re looking for more cozy, fall-inspired breakfast ideas, check these out!
- Apple Turnovers
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Apple Dutch Baby Pancakes
- Spinach Strata
- Nutella Banana Bread
Not for this recipe. Buttermilk is needed to react with the leaveners. Without buttermilk, the baking soda will not activate, resulting in flat and tough pancakes.
The batter should be thick and lumpy, but still pourable.
Absolutely! Refrigerate for up to 3 days and reheat in a toaster or oven. You may also freeze them (stack in between parchment paper) for up to 4 months.
Yes, store the prepared apple topping in the fridge and reheat before serving.
I would not recommend that, as the leaveners (baking powder and soda) may lose their effect.
This recipe was published in 2018 and updated in September 2023 to include new photos and information, plus a few recipe modifications.
Tips for Success
- Choice of apples: My go-to are honeycrisp apples, but Gala or Fuji work too. For some tartness, mix in some granny smiths.
- Don’t overmix the batter! This is the number 1 thing to remember when making pancakes. The batter should be lumpy. Overmixing can lead to tough and dry pancakes.
- When to flip pancakes: Pancakes are ready to flip when the bubbles formed on top begin to pop. Take a quick peek underneath to ensure it’s golden brown. Usually, this takes 2 or 3 minutes on the first side and 1.5 minutes on the other side.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Make sure they are not expired to ensure the pancakes rise properly.
- Watch the heat: If using an electric griddle, anything between 325 and 350 degrees F is good. If using the stovetop, try medium or medium-low heat.
- 2 cups all purpose flour - spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled - plus more for griddle
- 1 peeled honeycrisp apple, very thinly sliced - these will go inside the pancakes
- Maple syrup for serving
Apple cinnamon topping
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 honeycrisp apples, diced
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Make the apple cinnamon topping: Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the rest of the topping ingredients, and cook until the apples have softened to your liking, stirring occasionally, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, Kosher salt, and the 3 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter until evenly combined.
- Add the prepared dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Do not overmix. The batter should be lumpy and thick.
- Heat an electric griddle to about 350 degrees. Add a bit of butter and lightly wipe it so only a thin film of grease remains.
- Pour ⅓ cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle. Then add 2 thin slices of apple on top of each pancake, slightly pushing them down. Cook until the bubbles formed on top begin to pop, and the bottom is golden brown. Then, flip and cook the other side for another minute or so.
- Repeat with the remaining batter. Tip: To keep pancakes warm, transfer them to a slightly warm oven.
- Serve the pancakes with the warm apple cinnamon topping. If desired, drizzle more maple syrup on top. Enjoy!
- Choice of apples: My go-to are honeycrisp apples, but Gala or Fuji work just as well. If you want to add some tartness, use a combination of these plus granny smith.
- Make ahead: The apple cinnamon topping can be made the day before and refrigerated. Reheat in a saucepan before using.
- Watch the heat: Too high and the pancakes will burn before cooking through; too low and they won’t get that golden exterior. If using an electric griddle, 350 degrees F is good. If using the stovetop, try medium or medium-low heat.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate pancakes (without syrup or topping) for about 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or in a toaster.
- Freezing: Stack them (without syrup or topping) in between parchment paper and store in a large resealable freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat in the oven or in a toaster.
- Do not substitute the buttermilk. It’s needed for the baking soda to activate.
- Apples: Honeycrisp, gala, or fiji.