Spiced with traditional cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, these fluffy Gingerbread Pancakes are drizzled with a fresh lemon-buttermilk syrup. Christmas morning, I got your back. Originally published December 5, 2014.

a tall stack of gingerbread pancakes with a slice cut out, drizzled in lemon syrup.
Table of Contents
  1. These are the Best Gingerbread Pancakes!
  2. What you’ll need for Gingerbread Spice Pancakes 
  3. How to make Gingerbread Pancakes 
  4. Gingerbread and Lemon Sauce Substitutions and Variations
  5. Serving this recipe for Gingerbread Pancakes
  6. Ginger Pancakes Storage
  7. How to store Lemon Syrup for Pancakes
  8. Gingerbread Pancakes Recipe FAQs
  9. Recommended Recipes
  10. Ginger Pancakes with Lemon Syrup Recipe

Yesterday Eric gently shook me awake. I looked up at him, bleary-eyed, and he says to me, “Karen, something amazing has happened.”

So, tell me, if your spouse woke you up (after too little sleep) and said this, what would you guess in the few seconds before you found out? You know how fast your brain can think of stuff like this. To quote Han Solo, “I can imagine quite a bit.”

“U2 is going on tour next year, and I can buy tickets a day early!!”

It is, of course, a question of WHEN we will buy tickets, not if. Eric’s U2 obsession devotion love knows no bounds. His face looked exactly like Charlotte’s when I tell her that it’s okay to jump in the puddles as hard as she can.

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two children in striped shirts sticking their tongues out to catch raindrops.

I swear I did not coordinate their shirts, by the way. She and her cousin just have excellent taste, and serendipitous tendencies.

These are the Best Gingerbread Pancakes!

Sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what gingerbread pancakes are made of. 

Here’s my last post for gingerbread week! We started on Monday with these craaaazy awesome Frosted Peppermint Gingerbread Bars, then on Wednesday I shared these Nutella Stuffed Gingerbread Cookies. Never enough gingerbread! Represent.

a tall stack of gingerbread pancakes drizzled with lemon syurp, served with lemon slices on a plate.

Today we’re talking breakfast. I made these pancakes for the first time a few weeks ago, and that day my nephew requested them for his birthday party that weekend. My friend Kate tried them, and needed the recipe to make them for her in-laws who were visiting.

So this recipe officially falls under the “I literally can’t wait until you post” category. I get a text, “When are you posting X recipe?” “Uh I don’t know a couple weeks probably.” “You have to email it to me. Now.” That’s when you know you’ve found a winner.

a white pitcher full of homemade lemon syrup.

These gingerbread pancakes WIN. And the lemon-buttermilk syrup. Ooooh, the lemon-buttermilk syrup. I’m kind of regretting not dedicating an entire post to that recipe. Stuff of DREAMS you guys.

What you’ll need for Gingerbread Spice Pancakes 

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Flour
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Buttermilk
  • Molasses
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Vanilla

Lemon Sauce for Pancakes Ingredients 

  • Salted butter
  • Lemons (2)
  • Buttermilk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking soda

How to make Gingerbread Pancakes 

Here’s a quick overview of how to make gingerbread pancakes and the totally-no-optional lemon syrup that goes with it. Scroll down to the recipe card below for complete instructions!

  1. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, egg + yolk, butter, and vanilla.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Heat your griddle or skillet to medium and grease the pan.
  4. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form the pancakes. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until bubbles have formed all over the top. Then flip with a spatula and cook until light brown, another 2 minutes or so.
a measuring cup of gingerbread pancake batter and gingerbread pancakes cooking on a griddle.
Use about a 1/4 cup per pancake. Mmm.

Making Lemon Syrup for Pancakes 

  1. Melt butter over medium heat, then add lemon juice, 1/2 cup buttermilk, and sugar. Stir occasionally over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, then add the lemon zest and stir while the foaming settles down.

Gingerbread and Lemon Sauce Substitutions and Variations

I love this recipe just the way it is, but here are some ideas to add your own twist.

  • Instead of lemon syrup, make buttercream frosting. Give each person at your breakfast table a little decorating bag of buttercream and let them frost their own designs (happy faces, Christmas trees, snowmen, snowflakes–the sky’s the limit!). 
  • Add a chopped bar of high quality white chocolate to the pancake batter for a totally dessert-like breakfast experience.
  • Use freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest instead of the lemon juice and lemon zest in the syrup if you love orange.
  • If citrus isn’t your thing, feel free to serve these pancakes with butter and real maple syrup (still an absolutely delicious choice).
  • Pour the gingerbread pancake batter into your waffle iron. Now the lemon syrup can soak into every little waffle pocket! Heaven. 
stacked bites of gingerbread pancakes on a fork, drizzled in lemon syrup.

Serving this recipe for Gingerbread Pancakes

These gingerbread pancakes are good by themselves, but they’re BEYOND good with this lemon syrup. This is an excellent breakfast on its own, but if you’re making them for a big family or guests and you want to add some protein, I recommend these Creamy Make Ahead Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd. You can keep the pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to serve breakfast.

Ginger Pancakes Storage

These pancakes will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, but putting them in the freezer immediately preserves their flavor much better.

You can lay them out on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper and let them hang out in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. Then remove them from the baking sheet and pop them into ziplock bags or tupperware for an easy-to-reheat breakfast anytime. 

(If you skip the baking sheet step and just put them into a ziplock, they may stick together and it’ll be hard to reheat just one.)

stacked gingerbread pancakes shot from above with butter, lemon zest, lemon syrup, and lemon slices on a plate.

How to store Lemon Syrup for Pancakes

Lemon syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you’d prefer freezing it, it can last for several months. You can put it in a tupperware or ziplock (label it, future you will thank you!) as you prefer.

Gingerbread Pancakes Recipe FAQs

What is the secret to good pancakes?

I used to struggle with pancakes. Then I learned how to make the best pancakes ever. Now, I’m here to share the secrets with you (I guess they’re no longer secrets, whoops). 
1. Don’t use a pancake mix. Seriously. Don’t. I know that the ingredient list is longer, but you can keep a few baking staples on hand and have insanely good, stuff-of-your-dreams pancakes anytime you want.
2. Don’t over-mix the batter. If you need an arm workout, go lift weights (or come carry my toddler around). Over-mixing batter is a fast way to make pancakes tough.
3. Use buttermilk. It adds an incredible complexity of flavor with the tiniest bit of tang. With all the fluffy sweetness in a pancake, you need a little somethin’ somethin’ to contrast.
4. Don’t turn up the heat too high. Don’t get impatient! Pancakes are a weekend thing. You’ve got to keep them on medium heat, watch them until little bubbles are rising all over, THEN flip them. Burned-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside is not the goal. 

Why are my pancakes chewy and not fluffy?

Here are ways to avoid sad, chewy, flat pancakes (and get fluffy ones instead). 
1. Use milk (or buttermilk), not water. Preferably use whole or at least 2% (you need the fat!), though 1% or skim will still work.
2. Don’t over mix the wet and dry ingredients. If you over-mix, then you fell victim to one of the classic blunders! (Name that movie!!)
3. Activate your baking soda with an acid. This recipe uses buttermilk. 
4. Drop the batter onto the griddle only when it is very hot. Test it by sprinkling on some water droplets. They should immediately sizzle.

What makes pancakes rise and fluffy?

Fluffy pancakes require a leavening agent, like baking soda or baking powder. Most pancakes use baking powder because baking soda requires some kind of acid to activate it. Since we have buttermilk, which is acidic, we’re using baking soda…AND baking powder. Lots of leavening, lots of fluff.

Is it better to cook pancakes with butter or oil?

Whether you use butter or oil is completely up to you. I use butter or nonstick spray interchangeably when greasing my griddle or pan. Butter is delicious, but nonstick spray or a lightly flavored oil like vegetable oil or canola oil don’t detract from the flavor of the pancakes at all. I also use melted butter IN the pancakes (so we’re already getting that buttery flavor). 

Should you let pancake batter rest in the fridge?

It’s up to you! This recipe for gingerbread pancakes requires no resting time between making the batter and cooking the pancakes. However, if you’d like to make it ahead, you can refrigerate it as long as overnight and enjoy hot pancakes in the morning. 

More Breakfast Recipes to Try

Best Pancakes Recipe I’ve Ever Made << sometimes you just can’t beat a classic! 

German Pancakes Recipe (Dutch Baby) << a puffy, delectable, and easy breakfast that you can make with the blender.

Banana Macadamia Pancakes << take yourself on a mental vacation to Hawaii with these pancakes and homemade coconut syrup to boot.

Deep Dish Buttermilk Pancake << why stand over the griddle all day when you could make one BIG pancake??

Peach Pancakes by The Healthful Ideas

Sourdough Pancakes with Hibiscus Syrup by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Can’t get enough gingerbread? Me neither. Here are more sweet recipes with loads of ginger.

Chocolate Chunk Gingerbread Cookies << gingerbread + chocolate = BFFs.

Nutella Stuffed Gingerbread Cookies << creamy, dreamy Nutella tucked inside a super soft and flavorful gingerbread cookie. HEAVEN. 

Frosted Peppermint Gingerbread Bars << All your favorite flavors of Christmas, wrapped up in one big pan of easy-to-share (and easy to make!) bars.

Grandma Prudy’s Classic Gingersnaps << this one is a huge family favorite!

Homemade Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting << a super moist cake with all your favorite warm spices (and that rich frosting). 

Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies << no snappy gingersnaps for you? These ginger cookies are SOFT, sweet, and chewy.

Ginger Molasses Sandwich Cookies with Buttercream Frosting << Now take those same soft soft cookies, and add vanilla buttercream….yes please!

Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake << a classic English dessert drenched in buttery caramel sauce.

Gingerbread Roll from Saving Room for Dessert

Gingerbread Loaf with Cinnamon Glaze from Happy Foods Tube

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Ginger Pancakes with Lemon Syrup

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Total: 9 minutes
Servings: 15 Servings
Spiced with traditional cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, these fluffy Gingerbread Pancakes are drizzled with a fresh lemon-buttermilk syrup. Christmas morning, I got your back. 


For the lemon syrup

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice, fresh, buy 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3-5 teaspoons lemon zest, plus more for garnish

For the pancakes:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg , + 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • butter , or nonstick spray for frying


  • Start with the lemon syrup: In a 2-quart saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add lemon juice, 1/2 cup buttermilk, and sugar. Stir occasionally over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda. The mixture will bubble up and foam like a science experiment (this is why you need a larger pot).
  • Add the lemon zest and stir. It will take a few minutes for the foam to calm down, just stir it every now and then. Let rest while you get the pancakes ready, or keep it on low.
  • For the pancakes: In a medium bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, egg + yolk, butter, and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Heat your griddle or skillet to medium. (350 on my griddle)
  • Grease the pan with butter or nonstick spray, just enough to coat it.
  • Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form the pancakes. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until bubble have formed all over the top. Then flip with a spatula and cook until light brown, another 2 minutes or so.
  • Serve with warm lemon syrup. Sprinkle each serving with lemon zest.


Keep the first few pancakes warm by placing them on a cooling rack placed on a baking sheet, in the oven at 170 degrees F (the warm setting).
You may have leftover syrup. This is not an apology. DRINK THAT STUFF.


Serving: 1pancake | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 416mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 521IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 313
Keyword: Gingerbread, lemon, Pancakes, syrup
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 5 stars
    Love Love Love this recipe and make it in to waffles every christmas morning for my family.
    This year a bit different and hoping I can get your feedback and advice.
    Cooking this year will involve one gestational diabetic. I plan to swap out the flour for almond flour and use a baking sugar alternative, will stick with the rest of the ingredients as is.
    My question, how do I figure out the nutritional details AND can I expect anything different from either the waffles or the syrup with this swap???
    Thank you for making our christmas mornings (and several other times of the year) such a yummy start to the day!

    1. Hi Stella! Great idea making this batter into waffles – sounds amazing, no wonder it’s become a Christmas tradition for your family :-) Almond flour can usually be swapped in 1:1 for all purpose, and I’m sure your baking sugar alternative has instructions on a substitution ratio. You can search for a free online recipe nutrition calculator to determine what your modified recipe looks like. We’ve never tested the pancakes or the syrup with ingredient swaps, so feel free to come back and let us know how your version turns out! Enjoy and Merry Christmas :-)

  2. I know this recipe is older and most of the comments are from 2014 but I thought I’d add my two cents since I did something most of the other reviewers didn’t do: Actually made the recipe!

    Let me just say… OH, MY!

    I had some already made up pancake mix so I just followed your guidance on amounts of spices to add. My tester pancakes (to see if the pan is hot enough) was deliciously spiced and my home smells like Fall.

    I could NOT stop licking the spoon when I was stirring down the syrup. I probably won’t ever make my own syrup again after this, as it was easy enough (I had to make buttermilk first, then zest like 4 lemons and squeeze them all by hand, which was tedious and had me laughing out loud). The foaming monstrosity that became the syrup once the soda hit it made me glad I switched from a regular-sized saucepan to my instant pot on your recommendation of a larger pan. Took almost an hour for all the foam to go down enough to bottle it. I used a funnel and just poured it into some repurposed maple syrup jars and put it in the cabinets. It won’t last long enough to go bad and I cannot WAIT to try it on the actual pancakes tomorrow.

    Great recipe. Going on my favorites stack as well as being added to my Mabon cookbook.

    1. Hooray, so glad you enjoyed the recipe Stephanie!! I know, whenever I make homemade syrup I wonder why I buy it at the store. it’s so good. Thanks so much for commenting with a detailed review, you are awesome!

  3. Wow.. it looks soo yummy.. can’t wait to taste it..
    I am from India.. i don’t think I ll be able to find Molasses here, can u plz suggest me any other alternative for this.

    1. Hey Hepzibha! Can you find dark corn syrup? If not you could replace with honey or maple syrup, though any of these will change the flavor a bit. But it will still be delicious! I hope it works out for you!

  4. You totally nailed gingerbread week and these pancakes? Pure gingerbread perfection and ’tis what I’m going to make for breakfast today and on Christmas morning :) They look and sound exactly of what my gingerbread dreams are made of! That pic of Charlotte and her cousin are the best! <3!

  5. Holy cow, Karen. That is the most glorious stack of pancakes I’ve ever seen! I’m coming to your house for breakfast this weekend.

  6. Gingerbread!! I am actually scratching my posts I had planned for next week because of an intense gingerbread craving over the weekend! Gingerbread and lemon sound lovely together- who would have though? PS- my husband is also super excited about U2, just glad I didn’t get woken up to hear about it!

    1. I’m OBSESSED right now Alex!! It’s kind of ridiculous. If you are having cravings just stop by my place, you are guaranteed to find something. :) Can’t wait to see what ginger lemon combo you come up with! Best ever!

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