Sunday Brunch: Marion Cunningham's Oatmeal Pancakes Recipe

Sunday Brunch: Marion Cunningham's Oatmeal Pancakes Recipe

I've been in a little bit of a weekend breakfast rut since discovering a recipe that reliably produces my ideal buttermilk pancake. With its 24 varieties of hotcakes, Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book finally convinced me to approach the griddle more creatively. So far my favorite variation is a sweet, simple oatmeal pancake—moist, pebbly-textured, and perfectly flavorful even without syrup or fruit. Cunningham suggests serving warm homemade applesauce on the side.

Note: You may use old-fashioned rolled oats or steel-cut in this recipe. I liked steel-cut. Buttermilk powder will work, but real buttermilk is better. To use buttermilk powder, soak the oats in water overnight, then add the powdered buttermilk (follow manufacturer's guidelines for amounts) along with the dry ingredients in step 2. The pure taste of oats and butter is terrific, but you could also experiment by adding quarter-teaspoons of cinnamon or ginger or smaller amounts of nutmeg and cloves.

  • Yield:3-4


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup uncooked oats, steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for the griddle


  1. 1.

    Stir buttermilk and oats together in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, and up to over night.

  2. 2.

    After oats have soaked, put egg in large mixing bowl and beat vigorously with wooden spoon until uniform in color and consistency, about one minute. Beat in brown sugar until homogenous. Thoroughly stir in both flours, baking soda, salt, butter, and oat-buttermilk mixture.

  3. 3.

    Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat until a drop of water dances across the surface. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter and spread across surface with paper towel (there should be no visible butter). Drop batter onto griddle by scant quarter cups. When bubbles form on raw surface of pancakes and begin to burst (this may take 90 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness/size of your griddle and burner), use thin spatula to check that underside is lightly browned and flip. Cook until second side is lightly browned and pancakes are cooked through, about 90 seconds longer. Serve immediately, unadorned or accompanied by maple syrup or warm applesauce if desired.