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Johnny Cakes - The Original Road Trip Snack

Johnny cakes have been fueling travelers for hundreds of years, and now it can fuel you and your family with this delicious recipe.

February 5, 2021
Johnny CakesPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Medium
Servings 4-6 people
Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 15 mins
Total 25 mins



  1. In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, water, egg, vanilla and melted butter.
  2. Mix until pancake mixture is smooth.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled cast iron or frying pan over medium-high heat. Scoop about 2 tablespoons each of the batter onto the cast.
  4. Fry each Johnny cake until brown and crisp, flip, and then brown the other side.
  5. Remove and serve immediately with syrup and/or butter.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Johnny Cakes
Serves 4-6
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 117 mg39%
Sodium 650 mg28.3%
Potassium 402 mg8.6%
Protein 8.2 g16.4%
Total Fat 22.1 g28.3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • For a lighter johnny cake you can use seltzer water instead of plain water. It will add more air from the bubbles.
  • Be sure to cook the first side of the cake well or else your cake will fall apart.
  • Combine dry and wet ingredients in different bowls before mixing together.
  • When storing leftovers, try to keep the cakes moist by putting a damp paper towel in the container.
Rate This Recipe

Johnny cakes have been a staple in American cuisine since the Native Americans settled here. Over the years they have had a few names, but eventually evolved to johnny cake.

These little sweet treats are perfect for completing a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner, or an on the go snack. This recipe is made to amp up the original johnny cake to add a depth of flavor that will keep your family or guests coming back for more.

What Is Johnny Cake?

A johnny cake is a type of flatbread that is made of cornmeal. The ingredients are mixed together like a pancake batter and typically cooked on a cast iron pan.

Johnny cakes were brought about by the Native Americans and were a staple food of those Americans moving west as they could be cooked over an open fire in a cast iron pan.

Why Are They Called Johnny Cakes?

As we know from the previous question, johnny cakes were a popular item for people moving west in the United States as they kept well in saddlebags and were easily prepared over an open fire.

It is believed that they were first called “Shawnee cakes” and due to the language barrier some of the settlers slurred the words to sound like johnny cakes and the name stuck.

What Is The Difference Between Pancakes and Johnny cakes?

Honestly the only real difference between a pancake and a johnny cake is that a johnny cake is made of cornmeal and not flour. They are both cooked using the same method and even enjoyed with butter and syrup. You could say that they are brothers from different mothers.

How Do You Make Johnny Cakes from Scratch?

Making a johnny cake from scratch is really no different than this recipe. If you were truly wanting to make a johnny cake from scratch, you need to omit things that the early settlers did not have like baking powder, nutmeg etc.

The big difference is that it will be flat and have less flavor, but it will allow a sample of what an original johnny cake must have tasted like.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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