orange peel and apple chunks on a cutting board, small apples and a glass measuring cup half full of orange juice

Cooking breakfast or brunch for a bunch? You can use a mild, fruity, or fruit flavored extra virgin olive oil in a basic pancake recipe. Or try my sugar-free apple-orange pancakes, which are so tasty they can be eaten plain, without syrup (or with maple syrup, honey or all-fruit spread). Of course, many variations are possible; I mention one below.

I make this triple version of a basic pancake recipe for my family of four, cooking up all the pancakes at once, and then freeze about half of them (or what survives the first meal) to defrost in the fridge and microwave later. The second meal is always smaller than the first, because this is the one food every member of my family enjoys!


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups apple processed into raw sauce (preferably from organic apples)
  • Zest of one orange (preferably organic)
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (or not fresh—any orange-ish juice will work)
  • 1 to 2 cups milk (I use low-fat organic; start with 1 cup and add as much as you need)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons mild, fruity, or citrus flavored extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups of flour (I use about half whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (more or less, as desired)


Preheat a non-stick skillet, perhaps coated with a very thin layer of olive oil on a paper towel, at medium high heat (not higher than recommended for your skillet).

Beat eggs and put them in a fairly large bowl.

Wash apples well, leaving the peel on (for the nutrients and fiber), and turn them into raw applesauce in a food processor (without cooking or adding anything else—it’s not necessary). You could use prepared applesauce, but I prefer fresh apples, especially during apple season. Add the applesauce to the eggs.

Wash an orange well, dry it, and grate off the orange color, adding that orange zest to the other ingredients.

Squeeze the juice out of the orange (and perhaps another) until you have ½ cup of juice. (Or use juice from the store.) Add the orange juice to the other ingredients, along with 1 cup of the milk and the olive oil. Beat the wet ingredients until well blended.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix until lumps disappear. If the batter is very thick, you may need to add a fair amount of additional milk. This recipe makes thick, moist pancakes thanks to the apple, but you don’t want them so thick the center stays excessively soggy.

When your skillet is hot enough that drops of water bounce around on it before they disappear, try cooking a test pancake to see if you need more milk to thin the batter enough for the pancake centers to cook well.

Once you have the batter about right, pour about ¼ cup of it onto the skillet for each pancake. Turn pancakes after they puff up and fill with bubbles (when the bottom should be nicely golden). Bake the other side until it is golden brown. (If pancakes brown too fast, before the center is cooked enough, reduce the heat slightly.)

Quicker Variation

If you don’t want to make the raw applesauce or use store-bought applesauce but do want a fruity pancake, use an olive oil condiment with citrus flavor added (such as Biolea’s Nerantzio or Lemonio), eliminate the apple, and use a total of 3 cups of milk and orange juice combined, for example 2 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup orange juice instead of 1 cup milk, applesauce, and orange juice.

Vegetarian Dishes

Desserts, Sweet Snacks, Breakfast Items



Other Main Dishes