Pancake Fridays: Lemon Bar Pancakes

Do you remember that blurry brunch spread I posted? And the mysterious pancakes?

Well. Here they areeeeee.

Lemon bar pancakes.

I’ve had these on my grand pancake idea list for a long time, but I’ve skipped over them again and again because I always think: but how can I make them ACTUALLY taste like a lemon bar?

I thought about adding lemon juice and zest to a regular pancake, then maybe pulverizing some slivered almonds and adding them for some buttery nut crunch. I thought about making a Momofuku-style crumb and adding it to the pancake to give an actual shortbread-y flavor. I thought about making lemon jello (ew), randomly.

None of those are the right answer. The correct answer is: lemon curd!

Also shortbread crumbles.

I only had a vague idea what lemon curd even was, but then I discovered how easy it is to make. Almost as easy as this microwave custard. (I don’t usually condone the microwave, but…) You mix together sugar, butter, lemon juice and an egg and…um, you have a very sugary-smooth lemon jam. No one said it was health food, but it IS easy.

Spread thinly (it’s powerful stuff, no need to be lavish) on these lemon-scented pancakes and doused in shortbread crumbles…

BAM. You have lemon bars. In pancake form.

Oh, and the shortbread crumble? Putting it IN the pancake batter was a bad idea (burned pancake bottom city). But layered on top of the lemon curd was a really GOOD idea.

Again. Not health food. You probably shouldn’t eat these for breakfast.

But I’m not going to stop you.


These aren’t the most lemony-lemon pancakes ever, partly because I didn’t have a lemon zester. Which means if you don’t have one, you can make these too! You just need a lot of lemons.

It’s best for all liquid ingredients in the curd and pancakes to be at room temperature before using. Also, make sure to follow the lemon curd instructions–the  first time I did it, I accidentally dumped everything together and ended up with tiny bits of what looked like cooked egg white in the curd. E-yew.

These pancakes are mostly nutritionally devoid, so I would recommend going all in and using all cake flour or all-purpose flour in these (don’t even try for that whole wheat). Make them, enjoy them, then come back for healthy pancakes (I promise that flax will be involved!) next week.

Lemon Curd

1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Whisk sugar and egg together until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Microwave for 1 minute, stir with a wooden spoon, and repeat until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of spoon (my double batch took about 6 minutes, but this can take anywhere from 4-10 minutes depending on your microwave).

Refrigerate until until firm. Can be stored up to three weeks.

Shortbread Crumbs

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or piece of parchment.

Whisk together the sugars, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the oil, vanilla and lemon juice on low speed and combine until the mixture clump together. Try to keep the mixture in clusters but if you need to create one giant clump to incorporate all the flour, that’s fine.

Break the dough up into small clusters and spread in a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 18 minutes. Break up occasionally with a wooden spoon if you think you need, but I didn’t. They should be nearing crunchy when done; they’ll harden slightly as they cool and will turn delightful sandy consistency if kept in a refrigerated tupperware overnight. Let cool before using.

Lemon Bar Pancakes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, separated and at room temperature
3 tablespoons browned butter, melted and cooled (can use regular unsalted melted butter)
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1.5 large lemons for me)

Whisk together flours, sugars, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the egg yolk to buttermilk and lemon juice. Stir wet into dry until barely combined, then stir in the melted butter. Last, add the egg white and stir until just combined (lumps are good!).

Preheat a lightly greased pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Cook pancake batter 2 or 3 tablespoons at a time. These pancakes cooked a little more quickly for me, about a minute on each side before the tops got taut and bubbly–flip and cook for another minute, then remove from heat.

You can serve these warm or at room temperature, spread with lemon curd and bejeweled with shortbread crumbs 😉

What’s the best day of the week? PANCAKE FRIDAY!

Pancake Fridays: Cornbread Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Peanut Butter Carrot Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Pumpkin Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Tarte Tatin Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Tres Leches Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Whole Wheat Pear and Chocolate Pancakes

50 responses to “Pancake Fridays: Lemon Bar Pancakes

  1. Wow! These pancakes sound so amazingly delicious… I love anything lemony, and I actually have a batch of lemon curd sitting in my refrigerator as we speak! Thanks for sharing your amazing pancake recipes. You’re really inventive!

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    • Aw thank you! I’m glad you like them 🙂 I’m more of a chocolate person myself, but I do love a good lemon bar and I think these are a pretty great interpretation 🙂

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  8. These look awesome. I love anything with lemon! Nice idea on the lemon curd and I can sub the dairy ingredients with vegan ones … thanks so much for sharing this.

      • I’m sure they’ll be good. I make vegan chocolate cupcakes all the time and they are simply wonderful! It’s a standard recipe I found online, but I add avocados to reduce the oil and I also add 1tsp of instant coffee … got that tip from Ina Garten 🙂

  9. Hi Erika! I had to check these out, because lemon anything, is always a home run for me. I have to make these! I absolutely love lemon bars and this looks like a great twist.
    I may employ my lemon zester and add some zest too… Mainly because my lemon zester is like an extension of my right arm. I would put lemon zest onto an old shoe and swear it would probably taste good, lol. So on these beauties it would probably be super yummy.
    Awesome post, love the pics here too 🙂

    • Ooh awesome! I tried zesting a lemon with a grater last night and did NOT have success. But I imagine these would be way more awesome with zest, so please do let me know how they turn out if you try them!

      Thanks so much 🙂

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  11. Erika your food styling is spot-on here and your plates/linens are adorable! Such “fun” pictures to go along with these creative little pancakes! I am a HUGE sucker for lemon bars. They are so simple, but incredible in taste and texture. I’ve bene known to eat more than 3 at a time. I have to make something like this!

    • Thank you so much Sally! That means a lot coming from such a great photo guru 🙂 And so true–lemon bars really aren’t that complex to make, but they are so super addicting! Do you have a fav lemon bar recipe? I’d love to see it!!

    • Haha these are a rather spicy (or should I say sour..) twist on regular pancakes. It was nice to change things up rather than topping these with another pour of syrup. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  12. I enjoy anything with lemons; especially lemon bars. These pancakes are remarkable! I love the shortbread crumbs with yogurt and the lemony curd!

    • Lol Leah they DEFINITELY are! I was making these and was like, um one should not start off their day with these. Sugar highhhh. But that’s okay. Thanks so much ❤

    • Thank you!! I’m not normally a huge lemon fan, but one of my friends wouldn’t stop going on about lemon bars…which made me crave them! Haha. But yes, lemons are great. Have you ever had a meyer lemon/meyer lemon anything?

      • You’re welcome 😉 I LOVE lemons. Lemon tarts are my very favorite. Tart and sweet YUM! I have had a key lime pie in Miami which is made with Mayer lemons from Joe’s Stone Crab. It was soooo good that I got some dry ice and brought it back on the plane with us 🙂 Crazy but true 🙂 My lemon obsession 🙂

        • Hahaha love it!! Once I brought back some apple tarts from this bakery called Poilane in Paris in tupperware all the way back to California. The things we do for dessert! Glad I’m not the only one 🙂

          • Damn right! I have smuggled many food items and never declared them 🙂 Damn those customs, I won’t let my goodies go unless I am forced 🙂 I think I will smuggle this amazing butter on our next trip to Paris..let’s see how that goes 😉 I already have a plan he he

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