Easy Johnny Cakes Recipe

Forget your go-to pancake recipe and think a little outside the box. There's no time like the present to bust out a new recipe, and Johnny cakes will definitely please a crowd. Johnny cakes look like a pancake, they smell like a pancake, and if they could talk, they'd probably talk like a pancake — but there is a pretty distinct difference between the two. Johnny cakes include cornmeal in the batter, whereas traditional pancakes do not. The cornmeal adds a light and sweet flavor, taking the Johnny cake to a new level.

Recipe developer Jessica Morone came up with this wonderful recipe that is perfect for your lazy Saturday morning. " I love pancakes, and these Johnny cakes are like even better pancakes because when you add the cornmeal to them, they resemble cornbread pancakes, and the flavor is amazing," Morone shares. She notes that the presence of cornmeal is indeed what sets Johnny cakes apart, both literally and in terms of flavor. If you're a fan of cornbread, then this recipe is definitely for you — so let's dive right in.

Gather the ingredients for the Johnny cakes

Johnny cakes are filled with flavor, which means you need your fair share of ingredients. Be sure to pick up all-purpose flour, yellow cornmeal, baking powder, and salt to start. Then, add eggs, buttermilk, water (which you should have at home), honey, bacon grease or melted butter, and vegetable oil.

"Some Johnny cake recipes don't include a sweetener. And some include sugar, but that can cause the cakes to end up tasting grainy," Morone notes. "I put honey in these because you get the little bit of added sweetness, but you don't have to worry at all that the batter will be grainy." 

Whisk the dry ingredients

To get things started, you will need a large mixing bowl. Begin adding the "dry ingredients," including the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to combine.

Mix the wet ingredients

You will need to grab a medium-sized mixing bowl for the wet ingredients. Then, go ahead and toss in the eggs, buttermilk, water, honey, and bacon drippings (or melted butter). Continue to stir well until everything is combined. Easy peasy, right?

Combine the wet and dry ingredients

Now, it's time to mix the wet and dry ingredients together, which is pretty standard in most baking recipes. Just pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ones and continue whisking together until combined. Now, your Johnny cake batter is ready to go!

Start cooking the Johnny cakes

To cook the Johnny cakes, select a 12-inch nonstick pan or a cast-iron skillet for best results. Turn the heat to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the skillet.

Once the pan and oil get hot, use a ¼ measuring cup to measure the Johnny cakes and make the perfect sized pancake. You should be able to cook two to three Johnny cakes at a time comfortably.

Flip and continue cooking

Continue cooking until golden brown on the bottom and then flip, cooking the other side until golden brown. "Besides just checking the bottoms to see if they are golden, you can tell when these are ready to flip because the edges will be firm, and the cakes will have puffed up more than they were when you put the batter in the pan," Morone suggests. 

She also gives another tip for cooking. "The batter is very easy to put together, so the only place you have to worry about making mistakes is when you are cooking them. If your burner is too hot, the bottom might burn before the cake is actually cooked, and if your burner is too low, these will take a while to cook, Morone notes. "Medium-low heat should be a good temperature, but if you notice the cakes burning, turn your burner down, and if it takes more than 5 minutes per side to cook these, turn your burner up a little."

Last but not least, add the finished Johnny cakes to a plate and repeat until no batter remains.

Serve and enjoy

Like pancakes, it's best to enjoy a stack of Johnny cakes when they are fresh off the skillet. "These are great topped with butter, syrup, fruit, or honey," Morone shares. "You can serve these as a breakfast with things like eggs and bacon or on their own."

Anything left? Be sure to keep it! "You can store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days," Morone notes. We hope these make a great new breakfast tradition for you and yours.

Easy Johnny Cakes Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
Switch things up from traditional pancakes and opt for these cornmeal-infused Johnny cakes instead.
Prep Time
Cook Time
johnny cakes on plate
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup bacon grease (or melted butter)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, for frying
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  2. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, water, honey and bacon drippings until combined.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined.
  4. Heat a 12-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the skillet. Once the pan is hot, use a ¼-cup measuring cup to drop 2-3 portions of the batter into the pan.
  5. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, then flip the johnny cakes over to continue cooking until the other side is golden brown.
  6. Once fully cooked, transfer them to a plate and repeat the steps with the remaining batter until there is no batter left.
  7. Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.
Calories per Serving 285
Total Fat 15.3 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 53.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 31.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 3.7 g
Sodium 222.4 mg
Protein 5.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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