Lemon Poppy Seed Oat Pancakes {Gluten-Free}

Lemon Poppy Seed Oat Pancakes {Gluten-Free} | A Couple Cooks

Lemon Poppy Seed Oat Pancakes {Gluten-Free} | A Couple Cooks

In the nearly four years that we’ve written this blog, we have never made a pancake recipe (shocking, I know!). But actually, we’re simple breakfast people: me with my whole grain English muffin and PB, and Alex with his wait-until-I-get-hungry-then-eat-massive-amounts-of-yogurt-and-granola.

One of my complaints about pancakes has always been that they are not filling enough: when I do eat them, I carbo-load and then go into a sugar-induced coma, after which I crash, hungry just a few hours later. So, my goal with this recipe was to create a hearty pancake: filling, yet still light and fluffy, as well as gluten-free, since it is the most versatile way to cover a variety of dietary needs.

8 to 10 trial runs later, here’s the recipe! (We’re not sure whether it was 8 or 10, we lost count after a while…) Like this bean burger, we went into major trial and error mode: first the pancakes were too thin, then too thick, then not lemony enough, then not sweet enough. We found the trick is using oat flour (which you can make yourself using a food processor) and combining it with just a bit of gluten-free flour (or wheat flour, if you’re not gluten-free) to keep the cakes light and fluffy.

These cakes would be lovely for a special brunch (especially in mini-version, if serving for a crowd). In fact, we developed the recipe in honor of Fair Trade USA, who is celebrating Mother’s Day this year by hosting brunch recipe contest. If you’re so inclined, would you navigate over to the Fair Trade Brunch Pinboard and vote for our recipe by pinning it? The voting period is May 1-11; only re-pins from Fair Trade’s board will be counted. Thank you so much!

This recipe uses two Fair Trade ingredients: Nutiva Coconut Oil and India Tree Dark Muscovado Sugar. Check out our giveaway with these ingredients and many more from Fair Trade USA!    


Lemon Poppy Seed Oat Pancakes {Gluten-Free}

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 8 large pancakes, 16 small pancakes


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats or oat flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 large lemon (zest + 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice)
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 cup milk


  1. If using oats, make oat flour by placing 1 1/2 cup oats in a food processor and processing until finely ground.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups oat flour, 1/2 cup gluten-free or whole-wheat flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar (if using maple syrup, omit sugar and add 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup with the eggs in the next step).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. Pour into the dry ingredients, then add 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil. Pour in 1 cup milk (¾ cup if using maple syrup instead of sugar), and stir everything to combine. The batter should be thick but just pourable. If not pourable, add a small bit of milk to lighten the batter and stir to combine.
  4. Lightly grease a skillet and wipe off extra grease with a paper towel. Heat the skillet to medium heat. Pour the batter into small circles and fry the pancakes until the bubbles pop on the top. Then flip them and cook until done.
  5. Serve the pancakes warm with maple syrup.


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    April 30, 2014 at 6:54 am

    4 years and no pancake recipe?! WHOA! Well, you totally made up for it with these amazing one…Pancakes are totally mt breakfast life, so I am loving all up on these! Plus, I love that you used Fair Trade ingredients – I LOVE Nutiva Coconut Oil! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    April 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I want these all day, every day!! YUM!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    April 30, 2014 at 9:49 am

    i havent made pancakes in agesssss..love lemon and poppy seed together.

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    April 30, 2014 at 10:51 am

    just a few days ago, my man was like, “why don’t you ever make pancakes?” and i was like, “because you’re gluten free, sillyhead” but now i have no excuse. and i must admit, i’ve been craving a pancake.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I had poppy seed pancakes at brunch this past weekend and have been craving them ever since. This recipe came at the perfect time, I’m trying it out tonight!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    April 30, 2014 at 11:47 am

    What a great combo for pancakes! Ironically enough I was also recently scheming/pondering a more “whole” take on pancakes. My fav pancakes from childhood were made with buttermilk which made them tangy, so I know I’ll love the lemon in these. I laughed at your description of Alex’s approach to breakfast. ;-)

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

    These are proper fluffy pancakes. Love them.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Question – what purpose does the cornstarch serve in this recipe? Thanks. I use it only as a sauce thickener and homemade fries crisp-en-er. Yeah that’s a word.

    • Reply
      April 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Hi! It’s used as a binder to keep the dough from being too runny :)

  • Reply
    Nazia @ This Baker Girl Blogs
    April 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    They look just heavenly!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Love the idea of lemon pancakes, I love it as a topping so I’ll bet I love these too!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    April 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Lemon poppy seed muffins are my favorite, so I can’t wait to give this a try! Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I can’t wait to try these. Of course I love pancakes (I think it’s on the list of questions one answers to even be allowed to immigrate to the US) but also don’t love the after effect of sugar-hard-crash-there-goes-the-rest-of-the-day feeling.
    Also, I think you guys are just wonderful for trying and trying again, thank you for doing that!!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I saw the drizzle, then the pancakes, then the lemons, oh my! My family devours pancakes, which I try to make delicious with whole wheat, oatmeal and fruit. But these look even better! Hello, Saturday? Pancakes calling!

  • Reply
    Tieghan Gerard
    April 30, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    So pretty!! I love a good wholesome pancake. Looks so good and worth a whole 4 years wait!

  • Reply
    Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)
    May 2, 2014 at 2:07 am

    That is one very impressive tower of pancakes! I love lemon and poppyseed anything, these would be ideal for a leisurely weekend breakfast. Yum!

  • Reply
    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats
    May 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    So is it frowned upon if you eat the whole stack in one sitting? Because I’m pretty sure I could down those.. just saying. :)

    Look delicious.. pinned them and love that they are gluten free!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2014 at 12:55 am

    I love lemon cake, lemon bread, but lemon pancakes?!! Wow, never would have thought of that! I would devour these! This is why I love coming to your site. There’s so much creativity!

  • Reply
    Rachel @LittleChefBigAppetite
    May 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Oh yum, these look delish! And so healthy – I can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply
    Sabrina - A Spoonful of Photography
    May 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

    What a lovely combo! They look so super fluffy and absolutely delicious! And I’m absolutely in love with your photography and use of light – just a short glance at the yellow lemons on tastespotting was enough to leave me craving these pancakes ;-)

    • Reply
      May 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Kyla L.G
    May 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Oh my, how delicious! I’m going to have to make them… I absolutely LOVE lemon and poppyseed… and pancakes, of course! They look amazing, great job, guys!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Hello! I just wanted to let you know that these are our absolute FAVORITE gluten-free pancakes!! I’ve made them several times and they are always so good – next day they’re still so delicious … though, to be honest, there usually isn’t a next day! ;)

    Just thought I should ask though … in case I’ve been making them incorrectly all along!? … does GF Flour mean an All-Purpose GF Flour Blend or just any GF Flour – like Brown Rice, Almond, Teff, Sorghum, etc?

    Thanks again for the wonderful recipe – much appreciated!!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I’m not the biggest pancake person, but lemon poppyseed pancakes?! I can get down with that.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    These are delicious! I made a couple of changes for our not-gluten free family (used regular flour), and because I was too lazy to make oat flour. I just used quick oats and reduced the milk a bit, then let them soak to thicken up for 5-10 minutes before cooking.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    I know this is about 4 years old
    But my partner and I just discovered this recipe and can’t get Enough if it!’

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