Johnny Cakes


I was recently introduced to Johnny Cakes as I watched an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They are a famous Rhode Island tradition. When I saw the episode, I knew I needed to try this cross between pancakes and pan-fried mashed potatoes. Corn meal is used, so the added texture was a bonus!  Turns out the kids and I loved them! Try them with maple sugar or a little jam on top.



  • 2 cups fine-ground yellow or white cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • butter (for the pan)


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sugar and salt. Pour in boiling water and mix until you form a paste.
  • Gradually add in milk and stir, stopping occasionally to check the consistency of the batter. It should feel like thin mashed potatoes. (You may not need all the milk, or you may need a little more than 1/2 cup to get the right consistency)
  • In a cast-iron skillet or on a griddle, melt 1 tbsp butter. Spoon tablespoonfuls of the batter onto the skillet, spreading them out to about a 2-inch diameter. Cook on each side until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Make sure you have a generous layer of butter on the bottom of the skillet or griddle when making these so they soak up the flavor.
  • Serve warm with syrup or your favorite pancake toppings.


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