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Bacon Pecan Cornmeal Pancakes with Whipped Salted Maple Butter

Cancel your brunch reservation NOW.

Cornmeal pancakes topped with bacon, pecans, and whipped salted maple butter on a white plate.

Hoping to whip up a restaurant-worthy brunch at home? Make these cornmeal cakes. Topped with a cloud of whipped salted maple butter and a confetti of crispy bacon and toasted pecans, a stack of these pancakes as classy and impressive as they are simple to make.

Brunch at home is back in fashion, but cooking one can still be pretty intimidating. It’s hard to believe that home-cooked food can reach the classy or just plain crazy over-the-top vibes of restaurant brunch food. Fortunately, creating brunch-worthy pancakes is very simple. Here are my top tips for taking an everyday stack of pancakes to restaurant brunch mode.

1. Mix up the basics. Pancakes might seem straight-forward, but a few ingredient tweaks can easily elevate the flavor to something extra special. Swapping half of the flour for cornmeal and using buttermilk instead of milk gives these pancakes a cornbread vibe that’s almost reminiscent of a southern hoe-cake.

A ramekin of whipped salted maple butter drizzled with more maple syrup.

2. Pile on the toppings. Restaurant pancakes are often loaded with mix-in’s and toppings, and while we might not typically venture beyond a few blueberries or chocolate chips in our typical homemade pancakes, these extras aren’t difficult to do at home. In this case, a handful of toasted pecans and crispy bacon crumbles bring the fun to these corn cakes.

3. Add an extra special condiment. Everyone loves a flavored syrup or fancy butter, and—spoilers—they’re not actually that tricky to make. This whipped salted maple has three ingredients and takes 2 minutes to whip up, but looks and tastes so luxurious that it will transport you straight to a brunch restaurant.

If you’re hoping to prep ahead (because let’s face it, even weekend mornings can be a little crazy), the pecans can be toasted and chopped ahead of time, and the bacon can be pre-chopped so it’s ready to go straight into the pan. The dry ingredients for the pancakes can also be combined and store in an airtight container so they’re ready to whisk into the egg and buttermilk. I do not recommend making the batter entirely in advance (it will thicken as it sits and lose some of its lift in the pan). Likewise, whipping the butter in advance won’t really save you any time; once it’s refrigerated, the butter will solidify and lose that fantastic whipped vibe that makes it so special.

A stack of cornmeal pancakes topped with bacon, pecans, and whipped salted maple butter on a white plate.

Lightly sweetened cornmeal pancakes topped with crispy bacon, crunchy pecans, and dollops of salted maple butter. A platter of these beauties and you’d never know you weren’t sitting in a brunch restaurant. Oh, except you’re still in your pajamas, and you didn’t just wait 30 minutes for your first mimosa.



Bacon Pecan Cornmeal Cakes with Whipped Salted Maple Butter

(Makes 8)

Cornmeal pancakes topped with bacon, pecans, and whipped salted maple butter on a white plate.

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, divided

2 tbsp. real maple syrup, plus additional as desired

½ tsp. kosher salt, divided

4 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

½ cup (60 g.) all-purpose flour

½ cup (60 g.) cornmeal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 large egg

¾ cup buttermilk

Nonstick cooking spray for greasing the pan

½ c. pecans, toasted and chopped, for serving

Special equipment: 1 pan, 1 nonstick pan or griddle


In a medium bowl, beat 8 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt until soft and creamy. Set aside.

In a medium pan, spread out bacon into a single layer. Set over medium heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 5-6 minutes. Stir to flip bacon, redistribute evenly around pan, and continue to cook until crisp all over, 3-4 minutes more. Remove bacon from pan to a plate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. In another larger bowl, whisk the egg until blended. Whisk in buttermilk and melted butter until combined, then whisk in dry mixture. The batter may be slightly lumpy.

Cornmeal pancakes in a nonstick pan.

Heat a large nonstick or griddle pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Use a ¼-cup measuring cup to pour 2-3 circles of batter into the pan. Cook until the pancakes are puffed on top and browned on the bottom, 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until risen and cooked through, 1-2 minutes more. Remove to a plate and set aside. Repeat with remaining batter for a total of 8 pancakes.

Serve topped with creamy maple butter, crispy bacon, toasted pecans, and more maple syrup as desired.

Cornmeal pancakes topped with bacon and pecans on a white plate with a ramekin of whipped salted maple butter.

Originally published October 1, 2023.

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