Whole Wheat Apple Cider Pancakes (Healthy Breakfast)


Last week, I decided to give myself a break. I was finding blogging and other work-oriented endeavours very frustrating and I needed some time away from it all. Oh, I still posted, and I commented on other blogs here and there, but I also tried not to obsess so much. This is easier said than done sometimes. Often, the more I tell myself not to obsess, the more I actually obsess. But Friday provided me the perfect opportunity to give myself a little distance and a little perspective. It was an incredibly beautiful day, so after a challenging speed workout at the track, I took my girls apple picking. I’ll tell you what – it was just what the doctor ordered. We had a lovely time picking a small bag of apples, along with a couple of pumpkins and some flowers to decorate our front stoop. I also took the opportunity to buy a bushel bag of the orchard’s “seconds”…less-than-perfect apples which are inexpensive and perfect for canning a wackload of applesauce.

I spent much of the drive home in that golden haze that comes with sunny autumn weather, dreaming of what I would make with my apple hoard. Besides applesauce, I had visions of crisps and fritters and other apple delicacies…all of which I can’t eat. Before diabetes, I ate apples daily, which is said to be a prescription for keeping the doctor away. Not in my case, sadly. For such a crisp, healthy fruit, apples are surprisingly high carb. These days, I only ever eat half of one at a time, and never in any sort of sugary, carby treat. But fresh apples and apple-y treats are one of the great joys of fall, and I am not about to deprive my loved ones with fully functional pancreases of these joys.

By the time I arrived home, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. At this particular orchard, you are awash in the smell of freshly-baked cider donuts from the moment you arrive. I would swear on my life that they deliberately vent out their bakery right into the parking lot to send you into an apple cider donut tizzy. The smell is unbelievable! I thought maybe I could create something similar in pancake form, by adding apple cider right into the pancake batter, along with some chopped apples and cinnamon.

The Results: From all accounts, including kids and husband, these were a hit. They certainly made my kitchen smell a little like the bakery at the orchard, all apple-cinnamon-y goodness! I was a little afraid that the apple cider would do something funky to the batter so I did do some milk too. But they held together beautifully and were nice and fluffy and thick. I will say, because I made them with whole wheat, they were more filling than regular pancakes. My son with the hollow leg stopped after one and a half. Not that this is a bad thing! I actually made twice the amount I am going to give you in the recipe, simply because we like to pop them into the fridge or freezer for easy breakfasts. My kids have been enjoying them all week.

One word of note…make sure you cut up the apples into small pieces to put on top. I started off with larger pieces but that way made them harder to flip and you didn’t get good apple coverage in each pancake.

Whole Wheat Apple Cider Pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur white whole wheat)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 cup apple cider
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped small
vegetable oil for greasing the pan

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, butter and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and then add in cider. Stir until just incorporated and a few lumps remain.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brush with vegetable oil. Pour batter onto skillet by 1/4 cupfuls into circles. You will only be able to fit 3 to 4 pancakes onto the skillet. Sprinkle each pancake with about 1 tbsp of chopped apples.

Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip carefully and cook until bottom side is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with oil as needed.

**If you want to keep the first batches of pancakes warm while you cook the others, preheat your oven to 200F and set a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Place cooked pancakes in a single layer on wire rack while working with subsequent batches.

Makes 10 to 12 4-inch pancakes.

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  1. Parsley Sage says

    I'm so envious of your autumn :) I've never been apple picking but I bet its an absolute blast. Especially when its with your itty bitties! Love these pancakes. I swear I can phantom smell them right now…


  2. Audra says

    These look delicious! I just went to an apple orchard myself and I know exactly what you mean about the smell of the bakery. I'm sure the aroma in your house was just as amazing.

  3. Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny says

    Oh wow I love everything about this post! They sound amazing!! I made your taco pasta skillet last night and it was a HUGE hit in our house! Made it for a bunch of boys before they went to hockey haha :)

  4. RavieNomNoms says

    YES PLEASE!! Apple cider is amazing and totally in season right now. I love how you used this. Such a great pancake to have during the Fall. Even the color looks like Fall :-)

  5. Cookin' Canuck says

    I can see why these were such a hit with your family. Not only do they look and sound delicious, but there's something so satisfying about picking the apples yourself and then making a wonderful dish from them.

  6. Island Vittles says

    Harvest time is my favourite all year…apples, pears, root veg, it`s all coming in right now…I need a big stack of your glorious pancakes to fuel me through the canning marathon I`ve been on for the past 3 days! Theresa

  7. The Mom Chef says

    A break is always a good thing. If it helps you create recipes like this one I'm all for them. I am so happy that the pancakes got so fluffy with that much cider. I'm going to try these ones. After 1 1/2? Really? Let's see if whole wheat works on Dudette.

  8. nancy@skinnykitchen.com says

    what a terrific post. It's hard not to totally obsess when you have a recipe site! Your pancakes sound wonderful.

  9. The Slow Roasted Italian says

    Oh my gosh, these look amazing. I love pancakes, these are going on the list for a pancake Sunday! YUM!

  10. Ali says

    Looking forward to waking up to such a treat. The pancake not only sounds healthy but looks so delicious, Love this post.

  11. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says

    I can see why those would be so loved by your family, they sound amazing with the cider and cinnamon in the batter. Great tip by the way to freeze them for later.

  12. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says

    I try to give myself a break from blogging and tweeting etc on the weekends. Sometimes you just need a break from all the delicious food pouring out all over the place! These would be the perfect Breakfast for the weekend.

  13. Erin says

    Great pancakes! Glad you had such a great time at the orchard. I am hoping I can take my son there on Sat. Something special to do while hubby is in Colorado. You deserve a break!

  14. Gina says

    So glad you had some time to yourself. I wish we had apple picking here, even with all the farms there are no apples, boo. This pancakes sure do look great. Hope you have a great rest of the week.

  15. Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty says

    These look so, SO good! Just… good through and through. Someone else posted a cider doughnut recipe lately and I'm full of apply, cidery thoughts!

  16. Jeanette says

    Glad you took a break and enjoyed the day. Love these healthy pancakes made with whole wheat flour! Great idea using apple cider – I'll have to give this a try.

  17. Stephanie says

    Delicious! I love apple buckwheat pancakes too, if you want a change from wheat. I usually just use buckwheat flour but I've seen recipes for starting with whole buckwheat and using a blender.

  18. Priscilla - She's Cookin' says

    Isn't it crazy how this blogging stuff can be so consuming! Glad you took a break to enjoy a beautiful day with your kids :) These pancakes look scrumptious – I can imagine the tantalizing aroma! I love the idea of adding cider to the batter – it actually might have lightened it up since you used WW.

  19. janet@cupcakestocaviar says

    These sound great! I love pancakes and enjoy finding new uses for apple cider. Gotta try these!

  20. Charlie says

    These pancakes must be sooo good with the apple cider! It's been a while since I've had pancakes and you've made me crave some :).

  21. Kim - Liv Life says

    Flipping through foodgawker these pancakes leaped off the page!! Gorgeous shots, and I am certain my kids would polish off these pancakes in the morning! Love it!

  22. Nami | Just One Cookbook says

    Your time off story made me want to have another time off. lol. I've never tried apple picking. You got me thinking of family outing one day at an orchard… just need to find where we can pick. I am loving this recipe and can't wait to try!

  23. Nava Krishnan says

    Beautiful and I am also slowing moving to using wheat as it healthier, lovely outcome and will the honey on top, is so tempting.

  24. Curt says

    Yes indeed, sometimes you just need to take a break. But it's hard to pull away.

    Sounds like you won on this one. Great recipe!

  25. Farmgirl Gourmet says

    They sound fantastic Carolyn. A must try for sure. We have an orchard near us too that makes Pumpkin Donuts and you can smell them from a 10 mile radius. It's incredible! So I know what you mean. :)

  26. Sandra says

    Now I want to go and pick apples. Pancakes are a trigger food for me and I know I'll be adding extra minutes to my workout once I taste these.

  27. naomi says

    Great recipe. I love the idea of apple cider pancakes. I can totally see why they were a hit with your family! I love your tip for freezing them too.

  28. bridget {bake at 350} says

    Hey Carolyn!

    Your pancakes look absolutely delicious! Perfect for fall….if it ever makes it to Texas. 😉

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog! :)

  29. Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook says

    Anything that tries to recreate apple cider donuts is a big win in my book. Love that these are a healthier breakfast option, because I can see myself over indulging in them. Great recipe! Going to add to my apple round up if you don't mind :)

  30. Sandra says

    Yea, we all need a little break from blogging..it takes time and we find our self's exhausted, but I am glad that you are back.
    Your pancakes are beautiful, and look very very tasty!!!

  31. Diane {Created by Diane} says

    Carolyn these look fabulous, no wonder they were devoured. Apple picking sounds like a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

  32. tartedujour says

    I boy these look good! I'm envious of your apple picking… that is one pleasure we never get to do down here in south Florida. I good break important now and then… recharging is a must! Thanks for the great recipe!

  33. christine says

    this is the ultimate fall breakfast! thanks so much for sharing; i'm putting this one on the top of my to-dos :)

  34. Kate@Diethood says

    Mmmmm they look delicious! I have a crazy desire to make these right now. at 10 pm. :) I may test this recipe in the next few days … I also went apple picking and have lots of apples to bake with!

  35. Alida says

    My son is a huge pancake fan, so I am always looking for healthy pancake recipes. These look delicious and are perfect for the season. I can't wait to make them for him!

  36. foodblogandthedog says

    These sound lovely, I bought a box of persimmons yesterday really cheap so was looking for recipes. This sounds perfect but I don't know what to add instead of the cider, shall I just add more milk?

  37. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme says

    Wow, these sound so lovely! I've been looking for a good whole wheat pancake recipe for an idea I have and I think I've found a good starting place!

  38. Maria @ Crispy's Cafe says

    Oh my gawsh…I love flavored pancakes. Someone should open a flavored pancake store and this would most definetly be there.

  39. Sharyn Dimmick says

    Beautiful photo and delicious-looking pancakes. If you want them lighter in texture and still healthy, buy yourself some whole wheat pastry flour, which is more finely-milled than white whole wheat. — Sharyn

  40. Peggy says

    Yeah, I think all of the bakeries at apple orchard are strategically placed! The smell of apple donuts is just intoxicating isn't it?! These pancakes look amazing and sounds like the perfect breakfast =)

  41. Tiffany says

    The height on these pancakes is amazing! Is it from the apple cider vinegar? I never get pancakes that fluffy!!!!

  42. Fresh and Foodie says

    When I make pancakes, I usually use whole wheat flour. Really diggin' the addition of apple cider in these — nice idea.


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