Johnnycakes are, in my opinion, are a must have recipe in every household. Not just because they’re awesome, but because, they are a true American dish with a history that dates back to the Indigenous people of North America who depended on corn for food.

“(Johnnycakes)…are a true American dish…”

Johnnycakes grew in popularity in the 1700’s. It is believed that the dish was shared with the early European settlers and through their travels, they took it up and down the east coast of the colonies and even into the Caribbean.

Johnnycakes are also known as Hoecakes, which is believed to be a southern term derived from the method of cooking the cakes on a flat iron pan called a Hoe. Cool right? So if the history doesn’t convince you to add this dish to your menu, then know this, they are also very inexpensive to make and more filling than pancakes or waffles.

Speaking of pancakes, despite what you may have been taught, Johnnycakes are not as closely related to pancakes as popular culture would have you believe. They are more closely related to a hot cereal like grits or oatmeal. Why? Simply put, no egg. Pancakes are typically made up of three major ingredients: flour, milk and eggs. Not Johnnycakes, they are made up of cornmeal, water and a bit of butter.

Like many cereals, breads and cakes, the health challenge with Johnnycakes is that they are mostly simple carbs and fat. Being cornmeal based is not much better when it comes to carbohydrates, although, cornmeal is a great gluten free alternative and also edges out wheat flour in the vitamin and mineral areas as well. So while a bit better and less fat due to the omission of egg, traditional Johnnycakes can be a less than great choice; even before butter and syrup is added to round out the dish.

“… we have kept all the great heritage of Johnnycakes with far less to worry about…”

This is where our recipe will change things. We have kept all the great heritage of Johnnycakes with far less to worry about when it comes to the amount of sugar, carbs and fat.

Our version substitutes half of the cornmeal with flax seed meal to reduce carbs, added a hint of Stevia and replaced the light cream with almond milk. Flax seed meal preserves a lot of that classic corn meal texture and it has very little affect on blood sugar, you can have the best of both, great taste and better health.

Nutritionally speaking, our version cuts calories by 25%, total carbohydrates by 30% and sugar by 70%. Check out the comparisons below.

Johnnycakes nutritional comparison
Our Johnnycakes recipe versus the classic high sugar and high carbs version

I mentioned earlier that traditional Johnnycakes were a less than great choice even before you lay on your condiments. While our version is much better, you can still ruin them with tons of butter and syrup for example.

Welcome Pumpkin butter to the party.

Autumn is a great time of year for many great flavors: Apple, Pumpkin, Maple and other uniquely seasonal flavors that can drastically enhance your choice of flavor options.

Fruit butters are an under-appreciated condiment in my experience. They are highly seasonal, full of flavor and compared to syrups and even some jellies, a far better nutritional choice. You can ditch the butter, jams and jellies!

“(Pumpkin butter is)…a far better nutritional choice. You can ditch the butter, jams and jellies…”

Pumpkin butter has massive amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium, all critical elements for supporting diabetes and overall good health.

Our Pumpkin butter retains all the flavor and health benefits of the classic pumpkin butter, without the sugar. Looking at the comparison below, it’s a win-win.

Pumpkin butter nutritional comparison
The nutritional comparison of our Pumpkin butter recipe versus the classic version


Johnnycakes and Pumpkin butter

A great diabetic friendly Johnnycakes recipe with no sugar added Pumkin butter
Servings 4 1 cake
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins



  • 1/2 cup Cornmeal white or yellow
  • 1/2 cup Flax seed meal
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Granular Stevia
  • 3/4 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 tablespoons Butter unsalted
  • 1/3 cup Almond milk plain, no added flavor or sugar

Pumpkin butter

  • 1 15 ounce can Pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup Granular Stevia
  • 1 teaspoon Maple extract
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1/2 Peeled and pureed, medium Apple or 1/3 cup unsweetend applesauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin spice mix or see recipe below

Homemade Pumpkin spice mix

  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Clove
  • Pinch Ground Allspice
  • Pinch Ground Nutmeg


Recipe for Johnnycakes

  • In a bowl, combine Cornmeal, Flax seed meal, Salt and Stevia together.
  • Boil water and butter together to melt butter.
  • Add boiling water and melted butter to the dry ingredients and combine.
  • Warm the Almond milk and then add to corn meal and water mixture.
  • Using a large oiled griddle or pan over medium-high heat, scoop or spoon out portions of the batter and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately or hold warm.
  • NOTE: If the batter gets too thick, add a bit more hot water to the desired thickness.

Recipe for No sugar added Pumkin butter

  • In a small to medium size pan, combine the Pumpkin, Stevia, Maple extract and water together. Set aside.
  • Peel the half Apple. Using a blender or stick blender, puree the Apple together with the spice mix. If using Applesauce, then simply combine together with spice mix.
  • Add the pureed Apple mixture or applesauce mixture together with the pumpkin mixture.
  • Heat over medium heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. The pumpkin will darken in color and thicken while cooking.
  • Once cooked, serve immediately.
  • Pumpkin butter can be stored for up to 7 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy.


Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Breakfast, butter, cornmeal, flax seed meal, Johnnycakes, Low Carb, pancake, pumpkin

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