winter-squash-pancakes-with-crispy-sage-and-brown-butter Recipes

winter squash pancakes with crispy sage and brown butter

There comes times in every cookbook author’s life that they have a very specific kind of gift to bestow on unsuspecting others — tasty, deeply loved dishes that were dismissed/ejected/left homeless in the editorial process because they didn’t make the cut. The reasons may be myriad; the ingredient, format or flavor felt redundant with another dish or, as happened here, something else about it gnawed at me until I decided it was best to move on without it.

first butternut of the season

I believe we call these rejects. I, however, prefer to call them displacements, and I’m not even sad because this means I get to share it with you sooner. These are my most favorite dinner pancake to date and I loved them as endlessly when I made them for the first time two years ago (it’s true, I am this slow at book-ing) as I did when I revisited them last weekend. Here you use any roasted, mashed winter squash — I’ve made this with both kabocha and butternut but you can use whatever you have or can get — and you whisk it into a quick, thick batter with sour cream or buttermilk, flour, eggs and then, instead of the predictable sugar and pumpkin spice, we add salt, pepper and gruyere or parmesan, if you’re feeling it (no surprise here: we always are) and spoon them into a frying pan just like you were making pancakes on a Saturday morning, if you are the sort of person who does such things.

roasted butternut squash
scoop it out
optional parmesan
mix with a fork
one bowl
easy easy easy
dinner pancakes

Not that anyone asked the details, but this is where I got stuck. Do we serve them with a yogurt sauce? Eh. Some sort of salsa verde? Probably, but they were so mellow, I wasn’t sure they needed anything so sharp. And so I started Googling “savory squash pancakes” and all the way at the bottom of the second page of results, I discovered that someone, the lovely and dangerous* Mimi Thorisson had gotten to my pancake idea first and I was very sad because I like to believe every thought that comes to my head is a special butterfly/unique snowflake, even when the evidence to the contrary mounts. And then right after I was sad, I realized that the recipe had did something mine had not yet — stuck the landing. Thorisson has you finish the pancakes with a bit of sage crisped in brown butter that you pour over the pancakes and it is everything, the perfect coda. It’s also a little crazy — yes, we’re just going to pour some butter over these pancakes like we’ve never heard of arteries — but I find that very little goes a long way and also that there’s absolutely nothing else on top that will be half as unforgettable.

winter squash pancakes

* I had coffee with Mimi, her husband and two of their gorgeous kids a couple years ago and by the end of the hour was so charmed, the spell they cast is so pervasive, I was 100% ready to buy a farmhouse in France. Actually, I still cannot remember why we have not.


One year ago: The Broccoli Roast and Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
Two years ago: Fall-Toush Salad and Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
Three years ago: Lazy Pizza Dough + Favorite Margherita Pizza
Four years ago: Pancetta White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies
Five years ago: Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt
Six years ago: Apple and Cheddar Scones
Seven years ago: Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones and Apple Cider Doughnuts
Eight years ago: Meatballs and Spaghetti and Cranbery Walnut Chicken Salad
Nine years ago: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette and Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Ten! years ago: Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka
1.5 Years Ago: Artichoke Gratin Toasts
2.5 Years Ago: Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
3.5 Years Ago: Bee Sting Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch

Winter Squash Pancakes with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter

  • Servings: 12 pancakes, can serve 3 as a main or 4 to 6 as a side
  • Time: 15 minutes, once squash is cooked
  • Print

I prefer my own winter squash pancake — a little more squash, less flour and an additional egg to help it set — recipe but the crispy sage brown butter is inspired by a Mimi Thorisson version (link to come once site is back online). Thorisson recommends 5+ tablespoons butter but I found even 2, or even “2-ish” makes a finish that trickles over the side of a stack just enough that you can taste and enjoy it but not drown in richness, definitely adjust to your taste.

Finally, I can just about guarantee that you will not regret if you double this recipe. The pancakes keep well in the fridge and can also be frozen.

  • 1 cup (8 to 8 1/4 ounces) roasted and mashed winter squash
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (about 30 grams) finely grated gruyere, comte or parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Butter or olive oil for frying pan
  • To Finish
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
  • A pinch or two of salt
  • A few fresh sage leaves

In a large bowl, whisk squash, yogurt, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper and baking powder until smooth. Add flour and stir until just combined. Batter will be thick.

Heat a large frying over medium-low to medium heat. Coat the bottom with butter or olive oil, or a combination thereof, and spoon in pancake batter, a heaped soup spoon or scant 1/4 cup at a time. Press the back of the batter mound to flatten the pancake slightly. Cook until golden brown underneath, flip and then cook until the color until golden brown on the second side. If this is happening very fast, lower your heat. If you’re worried pancakes have not cooked in the center, you can finish them for 10 minutes in a 250 degrees oven. You can also keep your pancakes warm there until needed. Repeat with remaining batter.

To finish, wipe out frying pan and place butter, a pinch or two of salt and sage leaves back in it, heating over medium. The sage leaves will crisp and the butter will brown in a minute or two so keep a close watch on it. Pour leaves and butter over pancakes and quickly understand why you’ll never have them another way.

To roast squash: For butternut or kabocha, I halve the squash, scoop out the seeds and roast it face-down on an oiled baking sheet that I’ve sprinkled with coarse salt at 375 for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender. I get about 2 cups mashed squash from one 2-pound (i.e. small-medium) whole squash. If yours is already peeled and in, say, 1-inch chunks, it will likely be tender in just 25 minutes (just updated after rechecking my notes).

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106 comments on winter squash pancakes with crispy sage and brown butter

    1. chef_mere

      I feel like a tablespoon or so of nutritional yeast would add a nice cheesy flavor here too without messing with the consistency of the recipe. Its one of my favorite vegan swaps, but also solves the lactose problem

    1. deb

      I don’t see why not. In general, roasted is thicker and has more flavor but as long as the steamed squash isn’t too wet, it should work just fine.

  1. saucypan

    Hi Deb! Finding myself with half a carton of buttermilk left after making a batch of your amazing buttermilk roast chicken (a near weekly staple in this household), I was hoping I could use buttermilk instead of yogurt or sour cream in the pancake batter. You mention it in your narrative, but I don’t see buttermilk listed in the ingredients. Would I use the same 1/3 cup as the yogurt/sour cream, or a little less, as buttermilk is more runny? Thanks!

    1. Rebekah

      Winter squash is a category, and butternut falls under it, so you should be good to go. You can also use acorn, kabocha, delicata, and probably sweet potato or yam, just keeping an eye out for the consistency of the batter. Enjoy!

  2. Yum. Last week I made some squash pancakes (fritters might have been a better name) with ground cumin and coriander. They were fabulous. That recipe called for fried onions, which I imagine would be a welcome addition here too. Gonna try it.

  3. Jennifer

    You’re just inspired my next baby/mama food creation (minus the butter for baby)! It’s a healthier pancake for my little finger food lover (and it doesn’t hurt that he loves cheese!)

  4. Ro

    Hi Deb, like you I’ve been leaning into fall foods lately, so I took a drive up to your “In Season” tab at the top of the site for additional inspiration. Just a heads up — at least on my machine — it’s still leading to photos/recipes of berries, zucchini, corn, and other such summery delights. Thanks for the adorable new take on pancakes…which I’ve been craving!

      1. C

        On a related note, I recall recipe groupings by ingredient (e.g., winter squash) or other thematic tag. I see such links above under “see more,” but is there a more direct way to navigate to them? I tried going to the “Fall” season but didn’t see those groups there.

        1. deb

          Outside of these links, the best way is to go to the Recipes tab up top (on desktop) or menu item (on mobile/tablet) where they’re sorted by general categories, vegetable/fruit, season and more. Is there a way you think it would work better? Definitely open to suggestions.

          1. C

            Ah, thanks. It didn’t occur to me to click just “Recipes”. Would “Recipes by Group” be too cluttery? Or could a little popup explain if a mouse cursor hovered over it?

  5. As a loyal reader of Manger, I probably have saved this someplace already, but if your thoughts are unique snowflakes, my thoughts/intentions are fast-melting snowflakes. So this is a timely reminder, especially as my kid made pancakes for breakfast yesterday and I was torn between thrill at my kid cooking and disapproval at that much sugar for breakfast. Savory pancakes to the rescue! Will try this asap. School vacation starts Thursday, which is perfect for an unrushed breakfast. Merci beaucoup!!!

  6. Ahhh I just picked up some kabocha, you have wizardlike timing (ok fine it’s october and squash is everywhere, whatever, WIZARD). So hyped to make this! I think with a kohlrabi salad on the side.

  7. I was just thinking about savory pancakes! I’ve never made them but these look great.

    Side note, a friend recently showed me something that made me think of you. Have you ever fried an egg on top of a pile of shredded cheese? Frico + fried egg. It’s so good. And the egg doesn’t stick to the pan!

      1. Lesley

        Runny egg dripping down these pancakes would be amazing! (Unless runny egg yolk is a deal breaker for you, as it is for one of my friends, poor thing.)

  8. Jess

    I know this is still new/early, but has anyone tried this with an egg substitute yet? (Or have you, Deb?) My little guy is allergic to eggs, and I am also not eating eggs for the time being, but these look so yummy!! I hear that water + chia seeds is the usual substitute (or applesauce, but I feel that would make these super runny?) – thoughts from anyone who is more experienced at egg-free cooking?

    1. Tunie

      Just made potato pancakes with Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of organic chickpeas) and it worked perfectly! MUCH better than flax/chia egg! Simply stirred a couple Tbls of the liquid into the grated potato batter and it worked flawlessly!

      1. Miriam

        As a mother of a vegan, I’ve tried the pack of “no egg” , from health shops, also a combo from Internet of cider vinegar and baking soda, also the water from chick peas. Any of the above worked fine in pancakes and baked goods. Go for it, these look too good to let a little egg detail stop you!

        1. Astrid

          I’m also allergic to eggs. My favorite egg substitute is a combination of the advise above: 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp aquafaba = 1 egg.

    2. Naama

      My suggestion is a mix of chickpea flour and water: use 1/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup water to subtitue one egg. From my experience of cooking eggs-free dishes for my baby, it works great for all savory dishes, including meatballs and all kinds of fritters!

  9. The famed Israeli restaurant Orna & Ella has a similar dish, one of their signatures pieces, made from sweet potatoes. You can find a variant of the recipe here – the most interesting touch is adding a bit of soy sauce to the batter.

  10. JP

    Will have to try this with some leftover acorn squash in the fridge. None of your pancake or fritters (leek!) have failed me and I can’t wait to try this new version. I do believe that if you leave out the cheese and pepper, it could be served sweet as well, with perhaps a bit of maple syrup, or honey butter. Maybe with some crispy bacon on the side. Yum. Thanks as always, Deb!

  11. Sandy Lentz

    We love winter squash in our household, so I’ve learned a few “processing” tricks to avoid peeling them, especially the butternuts. When I steamed them, I’d cut them into large pieces, scoop out the seeds (and put those out for the squirrels) then put on clean rubber gloves to scoop out the cooked squash. Ahh, but your pictures of the roasting process mean that I’ll never steam again; bigger pieces to deal with and much deeper flavor. Rubber gloves still useful.
    Thanksgiving means Hubbard squash, those oval, warty, pale green monsters that taste best of all. So, when you find one in the market, set it on a rimmed cookie sheet, grab a two-pronged, long-handled “granny fork” and make a goodly number of holes in the squash (to prevent explosions). Roast at 350 until it collapses. Cool, scoop out seeds and flesh, then freeze until needed. Thanksgiving veggies: one down.

      1. Sandy Lentz

        I think so. But it can depend on where the squash is grown, I’ve discovered. I loved acorn squash as a child growing up in upstate New York. Here in northern Illinois, they seem tasteless. Same for the Rutgers tomatoes my Dad grew and loved: in our alkaline soil, little flavor. What the French call “terroir” applies to things other than grapes..

  12. Sarah

    Hi Deb, you mentioned freezing the pancakes… would you recommend freezing the batter or the pancakes after they are made? If the latter, how would you recommend thawing?

  13. JC

    Successfully done with Libby’s canned pumpkin & gruyere! Not for lack of winter squash in my household, mind you, just not willing to part with a couple of Sweet Dumplings I have on reserve. Also, laziness. DELISH!

  14. Suzanne

    So excited to hit the ‘I made this’ button! I made this! And loved it. The flavor reminded me of Mac ‘n’ cheese, in a subtle, good way. Kids did not love the sage, but did eat the chickpeas and spinach I served with it, so dinner was still a win. I want to go down to the kitchen to eat leftovers; am exercising restraint by looking forward to eating them tomorrow. I used one of those little honeynut squash – basically a mini-butternut. I already had it sliced and peeled, and I steamed it with a bit of water in the microwave. Also used dried sage. Yum and thank you! I will make this again.

  15. I also made this with canned pumpkin and subbed about a quarter of the flour with whole wheat. My kids loved it, and my husband said it reminded him of Doritos somehow. Halfway through dinner we started adding just a little maple syrup along with the browned butter, and liked it even more. I may be making this often as a not-so-sweet alternative to my usual fluffy blueberry pancakes.

  16. These were amazing! Used the rest of the butternut squash I had roasted making your Butternut Squash Galette, rosemary chopped in the batter since I didn’t have sage, and served them with arugula & a swipe of sour cream — felt like they had enough brown butter from the cooking. Perfect Monday dinner.

  17. rachel

    Delicious. This was a reject? Well, keep em coming.
    I get something like this at a restaurant. They do savory dinner pumpkin cakes, essentially the same as this but add manchego cheese bits inside with a drizzle of honey, plus salted pepitas and sunflower seeds on top. Salty cheese + honey yuuuum. I think I’ll try a mashup of the two.
    I like the idea of Kabocha squash since I never really cook with it. Butternut can’t get all of the glory!

    1. Kate

      All you’d have to do is substitute whatever herb you do like (rosemary or thyme) or make garlic butter or garlic olive oil, or chipotle butter with a little lime if you like things spicy. I love sage myself but just top it with what you think would taste good. I’m looking forward to trying these!

    2. sparkgrrl658

      i love it but my partner hates it! i agree with kate that rosemary or thyme would be really nice. (just either chop it up very finely or remove the sprig before serving imho.)

  18. Dahlink

    This time of year my kitchen counter is covered with various winter squashes. I love to look at them, and eventually I cook them. A few days ago my husband was looking at a flamboyant turban squash and asked if it was for decoration or for eating. This recipe may seal its fate.

    We also compost like crazy and as a result we have a volunteer butternut squash vine in the herb bed outside the kitchen door. It is threatening to take over the house.

  19. Jeanne

    Yum! So glad to have another savory pancake recipe… there are not enough out there. Now we can choose between swiss chard crepes and winter squash pancakes. :D Thank you.

  20. sparkgrrl658

    yum! a little while back i made your sweet corn pancakes only i made them savory with no sugar and the addition of scallions and they were SO GOOD. i could not stop eating them. and if that was spring & summer, this is the fall & winter version and i’m all about it.

  21. Grandma Almighty

    First Deb, I want you to know that without your website, my Rosh Hashanah dinner would have been very different; I used your brisket recipe, roasted garlic-mustard potatoes, and apple cake. This squash pancake recipe will likely make its debut on my Thanksgiving dinner table. Thanks for all you contribute.

  22. Ginger

    So I’m thinking these might be a perfect little finger food appetizer to take to a party this weekend if made silver dollar size. I’m thinking maybe brown the butter/sage beforehand and then warm them in an open chafing dish (with a little bowl of butter for dipping?) Do you think they’d get too soggy? Would they be all right at room temperature?

  23. clarelj

    Made this and it was delish! Had some apple butter from an orchard trip so spread that on a couple and it worked great too. Was also thinking a small size would be perfect as an appetizer with a dollop of creme fraiche.

  24. Sarah

    I made these for dinner tonight, using a GF flour, and they were fantastic! Definitely double the recipe and make the sage butter. Can’t wait to have the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

    1. Megan M.

      Hi Sarah, can I ask what kind of GF flour you used? Did they have a pretty nice texture? I’d like to make them for a Halloween party but am not sure if the gf texture would go over with everyone, so I might make gf and regular. Thanks!

  25. Jay

    These were very good but took a long time to cook through even though the outside was quite brown. I didn’t like the result when I put them in the oven to finish off. They puffed up and then deflated and looked sad…I ended up putting the last half of the batter in the waffle iron hoping to get a crisp outside and a tender inside. I have a non-electric waffle iron which I put over a low flame; each waffle took about 10 minutes but the result was exactly what I was after.
    This makes me wonder why waffle recipes usually direct us to separate the eggs…because this was perfect without the extra steps (apart from the cooking time which was a bother both for pancakes and for waffles.

  26. Hi!
    First of all, I need those pancakes in my life. ;) I just wanted to say that I’ve been a blog reader for a while, and I adore your writing and your photography. Recently I made a compilation of some of my favourite blogs (which I had to feature yours in!), and you can check it out here:

    Thanks for making your blog so easy to read, exciting, and creative. Hope the rest of your day is amazing!


  27. liltrukr2004

    Hi Deb, I absolutely love the squash pancakes, as we speak, I just finished making them and I’m eating them, absolutely amazing delicious, it’s a keeper indeed.😉

  28. erin

    I happened to have a wedge of roasted squash leftover from dinner last night so I made a half-recipe of these for my lunch today. The yoghurt I used – also leftover – had been seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin and lime, and I was glad of that, or I think these would have leaned a little bland/sweet for my taste. I added a handful of corn and enjoyed the texture it gave, and for serving I decided to take these in a Mexican direction with avocado and lime rather than butter and sage (I’m in South America so the Fall flavors are less appealing right now). The recipe is simple and very good, and I’d certainly make it again but I must rather cheekily confess I’ll likely stick to my Latin-inflected moderations.

  29. galianoboy

    We made these last night using butternut squash, and they were great! (Half a large squash produced 2 cups.) The sage butter was amazing, of course. Served them with farmer’s sausage and Brussels sprouts. Delicious! Thanks Deb!

  30. These pancakes look to die for!!! I did a sage brown butter sauce over some pumpkin raviolis the other day, and it was lovely – even if it clogs my arteries. So I bet it would be even better over something as light and fluffy and pancakes!! These flavors are making me hungry!! Can’t wait to give this one a try!!

  31. April

    Hey friends,

    Made this today with butternut squash and gruyere and mine tasted like Cheeze-Its. Did yours? I was really hoping for more of a squash flavor, but it came out like GRUYEREEEEEE . . . . and a little something to hold it together. Maybe I need to cut back on the amount of cheese?

    1. deb

      Oh no! I used 1/3 cup gruyere in my first test and wanted more. I used 1/2 cup parmesan this time. Perhaps the extra couple spoonfuls of gruyere tipped it?

      1. April

        Thanks Deb. Will try scaling back next time and see if I can find the squash flavor (though my husband was pretty excited to eat cheeze it pancakes!)

  32. Patty

    These look and sound fantastic!!! Has anyone tried to make them with a different flour ie. almond flour?? We are gluten free and don’t want the carbs of the rice type flours…

  33. JP

    As I suspected, this can be made on the sweet side by deleting cheese and pepper and serving with honey butter or syrup. My husband commented on how long the pancakes stayed hot. I am sure this had to do with their sturdy nature…they were on the thick side even after I spread them out on the griddle. One caution- if you use leftover acorn squash like I did, that had been refrigerated, make sure to really mash it up completely. This is a bit more difficult with cold from the refrigerator squash. If you don’t you will get lumps of squash that are not exactly the texture you are looking for. Other than that, they made a delicious Autumn meal for us.

    1. April

      Yum . . . Love the idea of making them as a sweeter breakfast pancake too. We have some fig jam, which I bet would also be good as a topper. I will say that although the batter was really thick, which made me a little nervous about the density of the end product, the pancakes were actually not dense at all.

  34. Megan M.

    Hi Deb,

    Can dry rubbed sage be used in the browned butter, and is there any extra step that needs to be done before doing so? I’m not sure how the flavor in dried compares to fresh. Thanks!

  35. MJ

    Made these last night with a (sadly) watery kabocha. Squeezed the water out after I roasted it, which helped a bunch. Fried them in butter, and could not, in good conscience, serve them with the sage butter (I tried! So hard!). We ate them instead with a buffet of slightly more artery-friendly sauces–greek yogurt, peanut butter, and salata de vinete (creamy Romanian eggplant salad)–and everyone found something to make them happy.

  36. Crystal

    I made these last night with a can of TJ organic pumpkin puree. I used the entire can with 1/2 and 1/2 AP and whole wheat flour. I added 1/4 tsp harrisa to spice up the batter. I made a harrisa (my favorite spice paste at the moment) brown butter to serve on the pancakes. The pancakes were delicious! They will make delicious waffles. Thank you for your delightful recipes.

  37. Erin


    These look great, and I’m thinking my one year old will love them. Will the batter keep well in the fridge? Wondering if I can mix them up Saturday and make them Sunday night (trying to be realistic about how much cooking can really happen during nap time).

  38. Lauren

    Absolutely glorious photo of Jacob. We see Anna frequently these days, but this new “mature” Jacob seldom appears in such utter gorgeous beauty. If the “eyes are the mirror of the soul”, that boy has a delightful future. The pancakes sound good too.

  39. Bruno & Larisa

    Hi Deb,

    Since we had no squash, we made the pancakes with sweet potatoes. They were delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

    Your fans from eastern europe.

    Bruno and Larisa

  40. AW

    Made this because of CSA squash. I was getting tired of the purée options. Surprised to find that it tasted just like sautéed plantains and was very tasty. Would love to find other options for the batter, love the waffle idea but something else that would be both soft and caramelized.

    I used butternut and Parmesan with Greek yogurt.

  41. Liz

    Not a winter squash fan, but a neighbor gave me a butternut from her garden. When this recipe posted, I knew it was destiny. Made this pretty much as written (except subbed in some WW flour), and they were delicious! Used 2.5 T butter, and thought that any more would have been too rich. Thanks, Deb!

  42. theholistickitchen

    Hi Deb,
    I’ve been really excited to try these. Did so today. They weren’t tough at all, but I wouldn’t call them fluffy (and I was super careful not to beat the batter – only gently folded in the flour until just incorporated).
    After cooking them, I put them in the oven to warm, as a test – on a plate, lowest setting (approx. 122℉ – probably should have been warmer, in retrospect). Anyway, the result was not rubbery, but gummy. Not a pleasant texture really.
    The flavor is great and the color beautiful, but not happy serving this texture to guests. Any advice for me??

    1. deb

      I’m not sure anything went wrong, they may just not be to your liking or maybe something happened that they didn’t get much rise. You also might look at more cakey other breakfast pumpkin pancakes; most use less roasted puree than this and more flour, yielding a cakier pancake. You could use squash and cheese instead and nix the sugar and spices.

  43. CarolJ

    This recipe offered me the perfect way to use some leftover roast acorn squash that would otherwise have languished in the refrigerator and also to try out my new bag of King Arthur’s measure-for-measure gluten-free flour. Results were excellent, a tasty and filling supper. I served them with butter and maple syrup, as I don’t care for sage, and I guess if I see a pancake on a plate I have to reach for maple syrup.