Cornmeal Pancakes with Warm Blueberries

Simple but sumptuous cornmeal pancakes topped with my favorite "pancake syrup" of Warm Blueberries and a dollop of sour cream. The combination makes for a special breakfast or pancake supper.

Cornmeal Pancakes with Warm Blueberries ♥, a simple but sumptous combination, special for breakfast or supper.

Real Food, Fast & Comforting. Mere Minutes to the Table for Breakfast or a Pancake Supper. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Easy DIY.

To every thing (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven.
- From Ecclesiastes,
music by Pete Seeger.

It was Judy Collins who introduced me to the seasons. Over and over, that 45 record turned, turned, turned. Winter-spring-summer-fall, all you have to do is call. (Oh wait. That’s Carole King.)

For as long as I can remember, if it's the Tuesday before the beginning of Lent, the supper menu is the same, year after year.

Shrove Tuesday pancakes are an old Christian tradition, a last gluttonous meal before the self-denial of Lent.

It fits a modern-day sensibility, even if our lives are now so rich that the egg and butter and flour and sugar in pancakes are no long worthy of Lenten fasting. Really, when was the last time you heard, "I'm giving up eggs for Lent"?

So tomorrow, it will be pancakes for supper and then on Ash Wednesday, I'll plant Lenten Grass, an old Finnish tradition especially good for helping children observe Lent.

'Tis the season.

About This Recipe

I long experimented with pancakes made with cornmeal and finally found one that’s substantial but not heavy, earthy but not gritty, in short, crisp and golden, simple and superb. And then you add some warm blueberries (as a substitute for syrup) and a dollop or two of sour cream ... it's a combination worthy of a simple pancake supper any night of the week.

The distinctive ingredients are the cornmeal and the blueberries.

Ingredients for the Warm Blueberries = fresh or frozen blueberries + lime zest + sugar

Ingredients for the Cornmeal Pancakes = finely ground cornmeal + flour + sugar + baking powder + egg + milk + vegetable oil + optional blueberries

Pancakes are so quick! You can start serving pancakes in about 15 minutes, add another 15 minutes if making the Warm Blueberries.

The recipe makes about 10 medium-size pancakes. How many that serves? Well, that depends on your eaters!

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Are the Warm Blueberries essential? No! Minnesotan here, I a-d-o-r-e blueberries. So to my taste, the Warm Blueberries make the pancakes extra-special. But would I run to the store for blueberries just to make Cornmeal Pancakes? No way. Pancake syrup, maple syrup, even sorghum are all wonderful with all kinds of pancakes, including ones made with cornmeal.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CORNMEAL This is my number one tip. What you want is a finely ground cornmeal, not a rough rustic cornmeal.

Now here's where it gets a tiny bit complicated. For flavor and wholesomeness, choose a cornmeal that uses the whole kernel. But no cornmeal package actually says that, instead, the tip-off is that the cornmeal is "stone ground". But! Mostly, stone-ground cornmeal is coarse and gritty: that texture makes for wonderful cornbread but terrible pancakes. So look for a finely ground stone-ground cornmeal, I find it in the Bob's Red Mill section in grocery stores. (A side tip: once you find this, store it in the refrigerator and gorge yourself in cornbread for a few months in order to use it up.)

No luck? Dang. But do not despair. Look for a small tub of "yellow cornmeal" from Quaker, usually in the baking aisle near boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix. Yellow cornmeal is de-germinated (so is not a whole food) but it is very finely ground and makes quite good pancakes. FYI I keep a tub on hand, it's a good gluten-free thickener, a nice dusting for fresh bread and more. I also choose it when making cornbread for kids, who don't always appreciate the more rustic texture of cornbread made with the usual stone-ground cornmeal.

MIX THE BATTER JUST BEFORE HEATING UP THE SKILLET OR GRIDDLE You don't want to mix cornmeal pancake batter ahead of time, at least not all the way. If you want a head start, mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients but keep them separate until just before heating up the skillet.

DON'T OVERMIX THE PANCAKE BATTER So you've seen this tip before, right, for both pancakes and quick breads like Shhh Banana Bread. But what, exactly, does it mean to "not overmix" batter?

First, a little background. You'll see this admonition to avoid over-mixing batter in a certain class of what are called "quick breads". The "quick" is culinary code for baked goods that are leavened (that is, caused to rise up and become light and fluffy) with baking soda and/or baking powder vs yeast.

The leavening action from baking soda and baking powder begin the minute that they (and other dry ingredients) are introduced to moisture (that is, the wet ingredients like egg, milk, oil, etc.). If you over-mix these dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, once the pancakes or quick breads are baked, they will bake up with small open gaps or holes.

So. Here's how to avoid over-mixing.

  • Start with the dry ingredients. Be sure the dry ingredients are well-mixed all on their own before introducing anything wet. This means that any salt, baking powder or baking soda, spices and any other dry ingredients are completely mixed and evenly distributed before going any further.
  • Now work in the wet ingredients. Whether you're using a stand mixer, a hand mixer or just a mixing spoon, gently but confidently stir the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Use as few stirs as you can, mixing the two but quitting just as soon as they're together. Avoid the temptation to give the bowl another stir or two or three – in fact, don't worry if a few bits of flour/dry ingredients remain. Quit!

Why Should Breakfast Get All the Pancakes?

Really, why?!

Pancakes are quick and easy and cheap. And delicious! Add an egg or two for protein and go to town.

So go ahead, make pancakes at night, not just for breakfast. Better yet, Make Tonight a Pancake Night.

PS Pancakes can go savory too. One of the my most memorable meals was pulled together at the very last minute. We were just in from the country, chilled and needing food, fast. I started the pancakes (and skipped the sugar) and topped them leftover pulled pork, a few chopped tomatoes and some Spiced Pickled Red Onions. Gosh they were wonderful!

Make Tonight a Pancake Night ♥ Move over Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday!

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe for simple Cornmeal Pancakes hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Cornmeal Pancakes with Warm Blueberries ♥, a simple but sumptous combination, special for breakfast or supper.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes to mix
Time to table: 15 minutes just for the pancakes, 30 minutes with the Warm Blueberries
Makes 10 4-1/2 inch pancakes
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of a lime
  • 1 cup (160g) finely-ground stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup (62g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the skillet, vegetable oil or bacon grease
  • Fresh or still-frozen blueberries for the pancakes themselves, optional (see TIPS)
  • To serve, sour cream (my favorite with any blueberry pancakes) or maple syrup

WARM BLUEBERRIES Combine the blueberries, sugar and lime zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, let simmer until the juices thicken slightly.

CORNMEAL PANCAKES In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal and other dry ingredients. Separately, whisk the egg and oil together, then whisk in the milk. Stir the egg-milk mixture into the dry ingredients (the batter will be thinner than typical pancake batter).

Heat a large, heavy skillet or a pancake griddle on medium heat, when hot, brush with a little oil or bacon grease.

Pour a quarter cup of batter onto the skillet and if you like, sprinkle with frozen blueberries. Without moving, let the pancakes cook until the edges begin to firm up and a few air bubbles appear on the top, just a minute or two. Flip over with a spatula and cook another minute or two until cooked through but not dry.

HOW TO SERVE The pancakes are best hot from the skillet, serve and savor! Just drizzle a pancake or two or three with some Warm Blueberries, dipping into a dollop or two of sour cream on the side.

LEFTOVER BATTER Save any leftover batter, it can be used for another day or two although the pancakes will be quite flat since the baking powder action will be finished. I suppose you could add some more baking powder right before using the leftover batter? Yes, I do think so!

ALANNA’s TIPS I’ve learned the hard way that coarsely ground cornmeal and grits need a much longer cooking time than finely ground cornmeal and grits. So usually I choose a finely ground stone-ground cornmeal. Plain ol’ supermarket yellow cornmeal works just fine too though I do like to add a half teaspoon of vanilla to the batter for some extra oomph. Do be sure to use finely ground cornmeal for these pancakes. I love the “idea” of blue cornmeal with blueberry pancakes but it’s not as pretty as you’d think, the “blue” cornmeal turns the pancakes a dull grey. Skim milk works really well for Cornmeal Pancakes but 1%, 2% and whole milk work well too. Your choice! For the Warm Blueberries, use either fresh, still-frozen or frozen-thawed blueberries. But for the pancakes themselves, use fresh blueberries if possible and know that still-frozen blueberries work better than thawed blueberries. It's possible to use already-thawed berries, just be sure to drain them really well and know that the pancakes won't be quite as pretty because blueberry juice will leach into the pancake batter. I love-love-love my electric griddle (affiliate link, please see My Disclosure Promise) for pancakes, a great $35 investment. There's no need for any fat on the surface, the cooking is so even, six pancakes can be cooked at once. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per pancake, including Warm Blueberries: 115 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 21mg Cholesterol; 38mg Sodium; 21g Carb; 2g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3 & future WW points.
Adapted from the bag of wonderful blue cornmeal purchased from War Eagle Mill in Rogers, Arkansas – even if I don't recommend blue cornmeal for these Cornmeal Pancakes! With plain finely ground cornmeal, they're simple and superb!

Cooking with Cornmeal

~ cornmeal recipes ~
Cornmeal, Grits & Polenta Recipes ♥

Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries ♥, a real seasonal treat, a skillet of warm corn bread studded with fresh blueberries.

Cornmeal Muffins with Apple, another seasonal muffin ♥, studded with apple with a pretty sliver on top. Perfect for Fall Breakfasts. Autumn Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep. No Mixer Required.

Skillet Cornbread ♥, an adaptable, forgiving recipe. Rises Tall. Stays Moist. Not Too Sweet. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cornmeal recipes ~
~ blueberry recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2011, 2014 & 20222 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Charlie3/07/2011

    I'm headed to the new Local Harvest for stone ground fine blue cornmeal so Jan and I can have your traditional Shrove Tuesday dinner. I'll try sour cream, but expect to prefer the maple syrup I just made!

  2. I love corn in so many forms - tacos, tortillas, popcorn, corn on the cob, but I don't use cornmeal enough in my cooking. Thanks for this great roundup. These pancakes and some of the other corn recipes looks AWESOME.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna