My tasty Caribbean johnnycakes are a must-have on the islands of the blue sea; they're one of the most beloved dishes. This yummy, simple recipe can be enjoyed for breakfast or lunch. —Moria T
Test Kitchen Notes
This shallow-fried flatbread recipe requires no yeast for proofing, so there's no need to wait hours for the dough to rise. These breads are perfect on their own with a little sea salt, honey, and butter for breakfast, or for dipping into soups, stews, and sauces. Also, try serving them as a side dish at your next barbecue or as the base for an open-face sandwich if you ever run out of bread. You simply won't be able to resist the crispy outside and soft, buttery, flaky inside. Made with all pantry ingredients, you'll find yourself reaching for this versatile, fun recipe over and over again.
Different versions and stories about the history of johnnycakes can be found throughout the Caribbean, as well as the American South (where they're also called hoecakes) and New England, and they were also made by Native Americans, though the American versions tend to incorporate cornmeal into the dough and are known as "cornmeal pancakes." Reportedly, johnnycakes were originally called "journey" cakes because of their durability and were easy to make on the road and take on the go.
The recipes for johnnycakes are as varied and diverse as the many countries and people that continue to enjoy making them. And the more you make them, the more you'll want to experiment, using this recipe as a base. Try mixing in some cornmeal with the flour, as the Southerners do; or adding milk, buttermilk, or coconut milk instead of water; or baking instead of frying; you can even stuff them with meat, cheese, or fish. You'll soon discover why these sweet treats are a staple all throughout the Caribbean. —The Editors
- Prep time 1 hour
- Cook time 10 minutes
- Serves 4
all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
2 to 4 tablespoons
2 1/2 tablespoons
unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups
vegetable oil, for frying
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingertips.
- Add 1 cup of water to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead with your hands, sprinkling the surface with more flour as needed, until smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a towel. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- After dough has rested, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil.
- Form small balls of dough with your hands. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into circles with a rolling pin or the palm of your hand. Be sure to not make them too thin.
- Pierce each piece of dough with a fork or sharp knife several times and then drop in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown.
- Let drain on napkins or paper towels.