Whole Wheat Orange-Cardamom Pancakes

Overhead shot of a stack of whole wheat pancakes on a white plate with a piece taken out of the stack.

Sometimes I can’t sleep at night because I’m too excited about breakfast

Specifically, Saturday morning breakfasts that last until lunch and involve cooking in your pajamas. 

Those breakfasts always feature pancakes, because pancakes are the one meal I enjoy just as much now as I did when I was five. Because pancakes are easy and make the house smell like melted butter.

Because sometimes, pancakes can be healthy and worthy of freezing to enjoy during the week.

I never really appreciated that last point when I was five, but I’m sure my mother would have.

Stack of whole wheat pancakes with a bite taken out of it and a fork going into the stack.

These 100% whole wheat pancakes, lightly spiced with cardamom and heavily spiked with orange (juice, zest, and extract), are the kind of thing both five-year-olds and their parents can agree on. 

In fact, they’re probably the only thing both parties can agree on. 

Overhead shot of whole wheat pancakes ingredients.

Let’s make whole wheat pancakes

If you don’t have orange extract, use the zest of two oranges instead of one. The bright flecks of zest scattered throughout the toasted-brown pancakes is one reason this recipe is so special.

According to America’s Test Kitchen, 100% whole wheat pancakes can be fluffier than white flour pancakes because of their low gluten content. When you mix the gluten in white flour with a liquid, the gluten strands tighten up and cause the pancakes to become flat and dense. 

Whole wheat pancakes, on the other hand, have less gluten so you don’t have to worry about tightening strands when you mix the batter. 

You can mix with abandon. 

Up-close side view of whole wheat pancakes batter in a white bowl with a wooden spoon.

Here’s another trick to thick, fluffy pancakes- thick batter. This recipe starts with 1 ½ cups orange juice per 2 cups of flour; depending on how much flour you measure (everyone has a different way of measuring 1 cup), you might need more if it’s too thick. 

Just make sure it’s not a thin, pourable pancake batter. It should be more like a scoopable, plop-able batter. 

Scoop and plop the thick batter onto a pre-heated, well-buttered skillet (I use a combo of butter and neutral oil- the oil has a higher smoke point so it will prevent burning), flip and transfer the pancakes to a platter for serving. 

Always taste one (or three) hot off the skillet while you’re making the next batch. 

Up-close side view of whole wheat pancakes on a white plate with maple syrup.

There is no form of sugar in these pancakes because I intend to drown them in maple syrup. If you don’t like maple syrup or you’re not using it, add about 1 tablespoon of sugar to the batter. 

The leftovers are great to freeze for a quick and easy breakfast during the week. I especially like them re-heated in a toaster oven and slathered with creamy almond butter. 

It’s great to fall asleep looking forward to Saturday pancakes, but it’s even better to bring that energy into Monday morning. 

With a freezer full of healthy, delicious, whole wheat pancakes, you can go to bed on Sunday night with a satisfied, excited smile.

Whole Wheat Orange-Cardamom Pancakes

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

100% whole wheat pancakes are great to freeze and enjoy as a quick, healthy breakfast during the week. The kind of breakfast you'll go to bed excited about.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter or neutral oil (such as canola)
  • Salted butter and pure maple syrup, for serving



In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, orange juice, zest, extract and oil. Add the orange juice mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. If the mixture seems too thick, add orange juice until you achieve desired consistency- the batter should be thick and just barely pourable. The thicker the batter, the thicker the pancake.


Heat a large (10 or 12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of butter or oil (or a combination) and heat until it sizzles. Using a ¼ cup measure or ladle for each pancake, pour batter into the pan. Cook on one side until bubbles appear on top, then flip and continue to cook until both sides are golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet (this helps the edges stay crisp while you make the rest). Repeat with the remaining batter, adding 1 ½ tablespoons butter or oil to the pan for each batch.


Transfer to plates, dot with butter and drizzle with maple syrup. Or, eat them right off the wire rack while you make the next batch. Best served right away!


  • 375 Calories

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    Whole Wheat Orange-Cardamom Pancakes — American Home Cook | My Meals are on Wheels
    October 5, 2019 at 9:24 am

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