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Brown Sugar Pancakes with Brown Sugar Maple Syrup

Brown Sugar Pancakes with Brown Sugar Maple Syrup

I suspect that one of the reasons that pancakes are usually kept fairly simple – plain or buttermilk seem to make up the vast majority of pancake recipes – is that pancakes are such a great way of serving maple syrup. It’s easy to save the bulk of the flavor for the syrup. But it is also easy to infuse a little more flavor into basic pancakes and doing so only improves breakfast, making the pancakes a little more interesting.

These pancakes get a little flavor boost from the addition of brown sugar. I used a bit more sugar than I typically would in a pancake recipe to bring it out, so the resulting pancakes are sweet and fluffy, as well as very soft and tender. They really are on the cake-like side of the pancake spectrum, and are all the more delicious for it. Still, the brown sugar flavor is relatively subtle on its own, if you want to take the time to make a batch of regular pancakes (as I did!), it is easy to see how much the flavor really stands out when you compare these to a plainer version.

To enhance the flavor even more, I made up a special syrup to serve these pancakes with. The syrup is a mixture of brown sugar, butter and real maple syrup. It tastes vaguely like pralines, and does a wonderful job of bringing out the brown sugar flavor – as well as the flavor from the butter – in the pancakes. It is best served warm, as the sugar may crystallize if the syrup sits too long at room temperature.

Both the syrup and the pancake recipe can be halved quite easily if you don’t want to make a big batch.

Brown Sugar Pancakes
1/2 cup brown sugar (pref dark.)
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups milk, any kind
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together brown sugar and butter. Stir well, then set aside to cool slightly.
in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking power and salt. Pour in eggs, milk and vanilla extract, along with brown sugar mixture and stir until well combined. No streaks of dry ingredients should remain.
Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, until a drop of water skitters around when dropped on the surface. Lightly grease with butter or oil, and drop pancake batter by 1/4-cup measures on the pan. Cook until pancake is slightly dry around the edges and small bubbles form in the batter (bottom will be browned). Flip and cook for another minute or so on other side, until bottom is browned.
Serve with Brown Sugar Maple Syrup (below).

Serves 4-6

Brown Sugar Maple Syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Serve warm, with brown sugar pancakes. This recipe can be halved if you don’t need quite so much syrup.

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  • Sarena
    February 22, 2009

    You teased me with the IHOP pancakes, which I can’t have (since I am lactose intolerant). So, I am definitely making these! They look so good!

  • Jenn's Baking Chamber
    February 22, 2009

    I love pancakes and this picture is mouthwatering!

  • Dani
    February 22, 2009

    i play with my pancakes all the time… adding different things, but i never thought about brwon sugar… next time for sure 🙂

  • Anonymous
    February 22, 2009

    Oh, wow!! Those look unbelievably good. I have had pancakes on the brain lately. And, here I am, now inspired to make your beautiful pancakes this morning!

    I just posted a retro recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes, (which I infused with the flavor of orange zest) and Orange Honey Butter, should you be interested.

    Thank you for the inspiration!!! I’m off to make breakfast!


    ~ Paula

  • Alisa - Frugal Foodie
    February 22, 2009

    ooh, I love brown sugar anything! Those pancakes look beautiful too.

  • Paula Maack
    February 22, 2009

    Okay, for some reason I screwed up, and my last comment (above) displayed as anonymous. I hadn’t had my coffee yet, what can I say?

    Anyhow… I just made a batch of the best pancakes ever, and it was inspired by your post. I made a few modifications however, and for the first time in my life I ate the entire plate of pancakes (I usually only eat 1/3 of my plate).

    Here’s what I did:

    I melted 3 tablespoons of butter with three tablespoons of brown sugar, and cooked it for a few minutes to get a nice caramel flavor (but nowhere near the caramel point). I then added it to the batter, and stirred through.

    Then I added the baking soda at the end, and let the batter sit for about five minutes until it was full of bubbles and stood up like a fluffy mousse.

    I poured three tablespoons of canola oil into my skillet, and added 2 tablespoons of butter to that. Once the butter fats separated and began to sizzle for a minute, I scooped a pancake worth onto the pan and cooked as usual.

    Meanwhile, I had cut-up pineapples that I generously sprinkled with about a cup of brown sugar, and placed in a Pyrex dish under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until the sugar and pineapples caramelized.

    I poured the pineapples and brown sugar caramel sauce over the pancakes, and served with a dollop of creme fraiche, and warmed pure maple syrup.

    The crisp, juicy, caramelized pineapples complimented the way the pancakes were caramelized at the bottom. Creme fraiche was the ultimate accent. Rum sauce would be wicked on top, but the maple syrup made it. It mixed with the brown sugar and pineapple juices beautifully. And, no crystalization.

    Although, on my second pancake, the brown sugar that caramelized on the bottom sort of crystallized, and it tasted like the burnt brown sugar candies that See’s has in their Chocolate Nuts & Chews box. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? It was pure heaven!!

    I thought you should know about what I did, since I won’t blog on it, and I felt the need to share with you the extraordinary results you inspired. You just have to try what I did.

    Thank you so much!!!! You rock!

    Now I have to get some exercise before the OSCARS. Yikes – a whole plate of pancakes! With bacon, no less!! Gods it was amazing!!!


    ~ Paula

  • Stephanie
    February 22, 2009

    Sounds delicious!!!!

  • Louis
    February 23, 2009

    My mom used to make syrup for pancakes. This looks like a similar recipe.

  • Sofia
    February 23, 2009

    I made these for brunch today… another fabulous recipe, Nicole! They were perfectly fluffy and not too sweet.

  • Elyse
    February 23, 2009

    Oh wow! These look so perfect and delicious! I love brown sugar-anything, but pancakes? OH WOW! This is a breakfast I wish I could have on this dreary Monday morning. I guess I’ll just have to save it for the upcoming weekend!

  • zana
    February 23, 2009

    I made these last night and they were so good! Even my youngest son ate them and he usually doesn’t eat pancakes. They were good even without any syrup. Thank you! This will be my ‘go to’ pancake recipe from now on.

  • Vittoria
    February 23, 2009

    We love flavored pancakes! Sometimes we do apple cinnamon, or almond, or even gingerbread. Always a hit.:)

  • Gen
    February 24, 2009

    Hi Nicole, your recipe sounds amazing. I have a question: Can I make the batter at home first then bring it to a friend’s house to make the pancakes? Will the result be the same? I figured making the batter beforehand would be easier than carting all the separate ingredients around.

  • Vernon
    March 18, 2009

    I love eating buttermilk pancakes, but I’m going to have to try these out too.

  • Molly
    March 28, 2009

    Made these for breakfast on Saturday – they were so good! Thanks!

  • Heater
    May 5, 2009

    This is going in my bookmarks, can’t wait to make them

  • Sarah
    May 30, 2009

    I made these this morning. I added lemon juice, a bit more baking powder and vanilla, and also banana slices right before they bubbled up to be flipped.


  • gobeaches
    July 28, 2009

    Wow! It is yummy. I like it.

  • Matt
    August 21, 2009

    Nothing like a good stack of pancakes in the morning 🙂 My favourite.

  • philadelphia tummy tucks
    November 26, 2009

    Brown Sugar is healthier than the white one. Am sure the pancakes tastes awesome. Imma make some soon.

  • me
    March 24, 2011

    Good. I wanted to have these and i was looking for a recipe. I found one! And it’s the perfect one. Thanks! Very helpful.

  • Ursula
    June 5, 2011

    these were incredible. Total hit!!!

  • Ivy
    July 10, 2011

    Your pancakes look amazing! I can never get kine that fluffy and thick without it being undercooked…

  • Christian P.
    June 18, 2013

    I just made this pancake recipe for dinner (had a sweet tooth 😉 plus I love breakfast for dinner!) and has to immediately come back here to comment on how amazing they are! Hands down best pancake recipe I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a bunch! Thanks for sharing.

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