I started making these pancakes a few years ago, when I happened to have a bunch of sesame seeds lying around. One morning I toasted the seeds in a pan, poured buttery pancake batter on top, and watched the magic happen. I was so pleased with the result—the nutty taste, the crunchy crust, the fluffy center. It all worked so well together.
If you can easily access buttermilk, feel free to use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of the 1 cup of whole milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Either way, when the acid comes in contact with the baking soda, the mixture produces tiny gas bubbles that get trapped in the pancake batter. Those air pockets ensure a perfectly tender, light, pillowy crumb. Meanwhile, the sesame seeds protect the pancakes from overcooking, so they end up extra moist and soft. As soon as they’re out of the skillet, drizzle lots of maple syrup all over your steamy pancakes, then throw a knob of butter on top.
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- Serves 2 to 3
white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
melted unsalted butter or any oil (such as olive, sunflower, or sesame)
1 1/2 cups
sesame seeds (white, black, or a mix), plus more as needed
- Combine the milk and vinegar or lemon juice in a bowl. Let that sit for 1 minute.
- Add the eggs, sugar, butter or oil, and vanilla, and whisk until combined.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl, then add this mixture to the wet ingredients. Roughly whisk everything together until there are no more dry spots (some lumps are okay).
- Heat a nonstick pan or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then drop the heat to medium-low.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds in the pan, and gently shake the pan to evenly spread them out. Let the sesame seeds toast for 1 minute. Pour about 1/2 cup pancake batter over the sesame seeds and let it cook until you see bubbles forming on top of the pancake. Sprinkle some more sesame seeds on the pancake, then flip and cook for 1 more minute.
- Repeat the above step with the rest of the pancake batter, cooking one pancake at a time. (If you notice the sesame seeds in the pan starting to darken too quickly, save those in a jar for later—try sprinkling them over a salad—and add a fresh batch of sesame seeds to the pan.)
- Serve the pancakes right away with your toppings of choice.