Lemony Yogurt Pancakes Lighten up Breakfast
Photo: Liz Rueven

Lemony Yogurt Pancakes Lighten up Breakfast

Here’s a recipe for Shavuot that elevates the humble pancake to a delicious functional food. In June Hersh‘s home, they are a Sunday favorite, with a batter that requires a few extra steps but lightens up these breakfast griddle cakes significantly.

The secret ingredient is yogurt.

Hersh knows more about yogurt than most. She takes a deep dive into the history of yogurt in her latest book,* Yoghurt: A Global History. “Yogurt was born in the Middle East when mother nature and bacteria teamed up with fresh milk to create this tangy, tart powerhouse,” she explains.

Shavuot pancakes June Hersh
Photo: Liz Rueven

She discovered “many connections between this rich nutrient dense food and Jewish history” while researching this fascinating volume. She now “makes yogurt weekly, readily using it as a topping in place of sour cream, a substitute for mayo to emulsify salad dressing or to add texture and tang when baking.”

“If you make your own yogurt, then you know that by simply straining it, you get whey- that yellowish liquid that is a bonus of the process. Feel free to sub in some whey for milk or water in most recipes. It provides that extra umami and makes these pancakes protein packed.”

I freely admit that I have not made my own yogurt but I did whip up these Lemony Yogurt Pancakes. If you’re looking for a tasty project with kids/teens who love to separate eggs, beat whites into gorgeous peaks and then fold it all back together, this is a great one.

We loved these pancakes so much that we froze the leftovers for a lazy Sunday morning that’s sure to call out for pancakes made from scratch. If you steer clear of packaged mixes we think this recipe may become your go-to.

I used this recipe to make a simple strawberry coulis, using frozen strawberries and adding about an inch of fresh ginger root (quartered so you can remove later) into the simmer. It’s a quick route to a homemade drizzle. If you choose to strain the strawberries (they get kind of mushy) be sure to set aside and enjoy with… you guessed it: more yogurt.

Shavuot pancakes June Hersh
Photo: Liz Rueven

*Kosher Like Me readers may access a 20% discount when ordering June Hersh’s latest book, Yogurt: A Global History.  Simply enter the code YOGHURT21 at checkout.

Eating anything and everything dairy has long been a tradition on the Shavuot table. Some attribute the custom of eating dairy to the reference of Israel as the Land of Milk and Honey. Some prefer to link dairy to this joyful holiday when we received our Torah, including the complex laws of keeping kosher.

In case you’d still like cheesecakes and kugels after eating these heavenly pancakes for breakfast, take a look at some of our fave dairy recipes:

Hadassah Cheesecake roundup covers all bases from the much loved NY style cheesecake to an unbelievably dairy- free cheesecake. 

If you love everything mini, try these cheesecake bites with jammy fruit toppings. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll only eat one.

If you’re a diehard dairy kugel lover, check out the recipes under the heading Holidays>>> Shavuot in my index (see the banner across the top of the page). I love them all but if I had to choose one I’d go for the Ricotta Kugel with Tart Cherries. But that’s just today’s whim.

Start with breakfast. I think you’ll love these Lemony Yogurt Pancakes.

Shavuot 2021 begins at sunset on Sunday, May 16 and ends at sundown on Tuesday, May 18, so there’s plenty of time to add to your dairy line-up.

Let us know what you’re planning to whip up. And happy holiday.

Thank you, June Hersh, for your inspiration and recipe. All text in quotes are credited to June Hersh.


  1. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. I experimented and found that yogurt is a great addition and a great substitute for recipes that call for milk or buttermilk, including baking, French toast and omelettes. Plus, great for the gut as my son has IBD. Although I don’t make my own yogurt, I use a fresh yogurt such as Calf & Clover Creamery, which I buy at the Westport Farmer’s Market.

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