Weeknight Cooking

Love Overnight Oats? Give Overnight Oatmeal Pancakes a Whirl

October 27, 2017

I love pancakes. I really do. But whenever I eat them for breakfast, I find my stomach rumbling an hour or two later. And then I have to eat more pancakes. It's a vicious cycle and one that usually leaves me unsatisfied and on a sugar high.

Enter these oatmeal pancakes! They combine the fill-you-up ability of oatmeal with the stackable, indulgent appeal of pancakes (plus, they're a justifiable excuse to ingest more maple syrup). They feel special because, well, pancakes, which are typically associated with weekends and brunches and leisure, but they also have the staying power to fuel you through a day of meetings or algebra or pilates. They are the breakfast equivalent a day-to-night outfit; practical, yet fun—and, similarly, all you need to make them happen is a wee bit of advanced planning.

Look at those elegant yogurt dollops! Photo by Julia Gartland

The reason you can achieve this level of pancake greatness, even on the busiest of weekday mornings, is because of one smart move: The night before, you mix together equal amounts of buttermilk and rolled oats in a big bowl and leave it overnight in the fridge. During this time the oats absorb the liquid and go all plush and soft, becoming a hearty base for your pancakes while staying moist.

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This also means that in the morning, all you have to do is take out the softened oat mixture, add in a few eggs and some melted butter or oil, then stir in your dry ingredients. You could even pre-mix the dry ingredients the night before and leave them on the counter to reduce your morning prep time. Et voilà! From zero to soft, lacy-edged, golden pancakes in just five minutes.

This recipe is adapted from Molly Wizenberg, who in turn adapted them from the Inn at Fordhook Farm. We're huge fans of Wizenberg over here, and this recipe is yet another reason to join her fandom (if you haven't already). I made the recipe a little more "health food aisle" by subbing in whole wheat flour for all-purpose and coconut oil for butter, but either way would be delicious. I also added brown sugar because I think brown sugar + oatmeal are a dynamic duo. Wizenberg instructs you to combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding, but I didn't because laziness and things turned out fine

Wizenberg suggests adding blueberries if you're so inclined, but I found I liked them best plain, topped with a dollop of yogurt and a slightly indecent amount of maple syrup. Bananas would be good too, either sliced on top or added to the pancakes as they cook so that they transform into golden, bananas foster-like specimens. Or nuts! Or chocolate chips!

Need yet another reason to make these bad boys? The batter stays good for up to two days (though they won't get as much of a rise after that time), and the leftover pancakes are excellent, even at room temperature. Just seal them tightly in a plastic bag and reheat, if desired, in a dry skillet. Wizenberg claims that the leftovers make an excellent snack for when you wander home a wee bit tipsy, and I personally can attest that yes, they do.

Do you have any tips or tricks to get more (and better) pancakes in your life? Tell us in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Abigail October 29, 2017
Would you make any modifications to the recipe to go for waffles instead of pancakes?
Abigail October 29, 2017
Would you make any modifications to the recipe to go for waffles instead of pancakes?
judy October 28, 2017
Great idea. downside of pancakes is that they take so long to cook enough for everyone. Recently I came across a sheet pan recipe. I use my standard buckwheat pancake recipe, spread it out on a sheet pan and bake for 1-18 minutes at 350 with great success. Cut in serving sizes. They freeze beautifully and are great in the toaster. Spread with jam and out the door! Thanks for another idea to try!