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whole grain buttermilk pancakes recipe

February 18, 2011

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Packaged pancake mixes confuse me.  The idea behind packaged food is to provide the consumer convenience.  That is, it should be more convenient for you to use a boxed pancake mix than to make pancakes from scratch.  But let’s think about this one.  When you use a packaged mix, you need to measure the mix, measure the different liquids you will be adding to the mix, crack eggs, mix it all together, grease your griddle and cook the pancakes.  So basically you are paying a premium so that you don’t have to measure the baking soda, baking powder and salt.  And you have to take whatever else the manufacturer decides is necessary to add in there, such as preservatives.  Sure, you can buy a mix with dehydrated milk powder and dehydrated eggs, so that you’re only adding water, but really, you can do better.  A lot better.

First of all, you can make absolutely delicious pancakes very easily without a mix and with more nutritious ingredients.  I love using whole wheat pastry flour for this which is lighter than whole wheat flour, but still still milled from the whole grain, so nothing important has been removed and you still keep all the fiber, protein and nutrients.  More importantly, the pancakes don’t taste whole wheat-y or feel heavy.  Gluten-free people — do not fret.  I make pancakes twice per week and if the kids are getting wheat in their lunchboxes, I always make gluten-free pancakes for breakfast by substituting GF oat flour, brown rice flour and buckwheat flour for the wheat.  They are just as tasty and just as “normal” as wheat flour pancakes, although the buckwheat imparts a slight lavender color to the batter.  Also, don’t be put off by the buttermilk.  If you don’t have it, substitute half yogurt and half milk and the pancakes will turn out the same.

For those of you who think pancakes are strictly for the weekends, I have excellent news.  You can make your batter the night before and keep it refrigerated until the morning.  I was always taught that the leavening agents lose their potency if the batter, dough or whatnot is not cooked immediately.  Not so.  I actually did a side-by-side test with 12-hour old batter and freshly made, and they both rose equally.  If cooking pancakes on a weekday is positively out of the question, then make a huge batch on the weekends and freeze them with pieces of wax or parchment paper in between each one.  Just promise me you won’t use a microwave to reheat them!

Pancakes are a winner breakfast in our house because everyone can customize his or her own pancakes without creating more work for me.  After I pour batter on the griddle, the kids come over with their favorite add-ins.  Daughter #1 likes raspberries or diced strawberries; Daughter #2 prefers diced bananas; Mr. Picky chooses mini chocolate chips; and the Husband drops in blueberries.  The key here is to wait until the batter has set slightly on the griddle so that when you add your fruit or chips the batter doesn’t spread and thin out.

If you decide you love these pancakes and you will make them regularly, by all means quadruple the dry ingredients, combine well and store your “mix” in the pantry in a glass container with directions:  ”Use 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon of mix for pancake recipe.”  Now that’s convenience!

Update 1/30/12:  I accidentally mismeasured the buttermilk today and used 2 cups, so I decided to use 2 cups of flour as well, but keep all the other measurements the same.  The pancakes were still light and fluffy, but just a bit more substantial.  The kids liked them a lot.  So if you like your pancakes a little heavier, you can adjust those measurements accordingly.

whole grain buttermilk pancakes

serves 4-5

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour or whole spelt flour*

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ¾ cups buttermilk**

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Melted, unrefined coconut oil or more butter for brushing the griddle (melt the coconut oil in the same small saucepan you used to melt the butter)

  1. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees or medium heat.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl or 4-6 cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and melted butter until well blended.  (A blender can do this easily, too.)
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Lumps are okay!
  5. Brush the griddle with coconut oil and spoon about ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle.  Allow to set for a minute or two before adding blueberries, chocolate chips or diced banana to the surface, if desired.  When bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake and the edges become slightly dry, flip it over and cook until done, another minute or two.  Maintain the heat on medium-low or 400 degrees.

*Gluten-free:  substitute ¾ cup buckwheat flour and ¾ cup brown rice flour for the wheat flour.  Or you can use GF oat flour, too, such as ½ cup oat flour, ½ cup buckwheat flour and ½ cup brown rice flour.

**No buttermilk?  Sub half unsweetened yogurt and half whole milk.  Or use 1 ½ cups milk, omit the baking soda and use 2 teaspoons baking powder instead.

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38 Responses to “whole grain buttermilk pancakes recipe”

  1. […] would say that pancakes or waffles are dishes that most people have made at some point in their life.  Like boiling water […]

  2. Hiya! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.

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  3. Lauren says:

    Pamela, my family LOVES these pancakes, they are a weekly staple in our house. But I have noticed that I consistently have lumps of raw flour in the pancakes once they are cooked. Am I doing something wrong? Is that just the nature of whole grain flours?

    • Pamela says:

      I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong necessarily, and some lumps are ok. But perhaps you should whisk your flour mixture to break up any lumps and then stir your liquid mixture in a little at a time to make sure you incorporate all the flour. The only thing you need to be careful of is not over mixing your batter — you don’t want tough pancakes!

  4. Jenny S. says:

    I love this recipe. We have them almost everyday. I was wondering if I could add some items to this like maybe grounded up flaxseed, hemp etc. What do u think would be a good addition without altering the taste too much of your recipe? And what amount would u recommend? Thank you Pamela!

    • Pamela says:

      Absolutely! I would start with a conservative amount of ground flaxseed, like 2 Tablespoons and see if you still like them. Hemp seeds are fantastic, but the texture will be a little more noticeable if you’re concerned about the kids. I tried chia in the pancakes once, and my picky son wasn’t thrilled. You can also add things to the pancakes on the griddle before you flip them, like a sprinkling of cooked quinoa or millet. I LOVE doing that!

  5. When i make my pancake batter the night before i notice the pancakes are much flatter the next day –its like the batter thins out..how do i fix this or am i the oly one wtih this problem

    • Pamela says:

      I have read elsewhere that this can occur, but I haven’t noticed it. Technically the leavening agents’ powers start to wane once they have been mixed. If it bothers you, then make your dry mix the night before and your wet mix the night before and don’t mix them together until the morning!

  6. Pia says:

    One more thing, can the waffles be gluten free ( and dairy free) what would the flour measurements be? Thanks!

    • Pamela says:

      For waffles, copied this from a previous comment: “I like a variation on the recipe: 2 c. wwp flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 c. buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 6 Tbs. melted butter, 1 Tbs. maple syrup” To make them gluten-free, there are endless options to sub for the 2 cups of wheat flour. 2/3 cup GF oat, 2/3 cup brown rice and 2/3 cup of buckwheat flours will work. Millet flour can be subbed for one of the flours, too! If you want to make this with almond milk, follow the suggestions in my last comment!

  7. Pia says:

    Hi, is there a way to make these pancakes without yogurt? I am dairy free and use almond milk but wondering if u have to have the soy yogurt with the almond milk ( or hemp milk)…not something I regularly have in my fridge. Also, what can I do for waffles too( with no dairy). Thank u Pamela!

    • Pamela says:

      Sure! I copied this from the bottom of the post: “Or use 1 ½ cups milk, omit the baking soda and use 2 teaspoons baking powder instead.” Use almond milk in place of regular milk. They don’t turn out quite as browned, but who cares?!

  8. Stephanie says:

    these are my pregnancy obsession!! with chocolate chips! we can’t get enough over here….

  9. Leslie says:

    I decided to try these pancakes out since so many people in the June class told me how great they are! I made my buttermilk with plain greek yogurt since that’s what I had in the fridge and they turned out well! I had trouble cooking the pancakes with strawberries inside…is there a reason for this? The ones with blueberries turned out perfect!

    • Pamela says:

      Hi Leslie, I make these weekly and here is what I’ve learned. Greek yogurt, although it worked out well for you, tends to make the batter a little thick for my taste. That may not be ideal if you’re adding a wet fruit like strawberries. Doing half yogurt and half milk or hemp milk works perfectly, as does kefir. Slice the strawberries thinly or dice them up. Pour the batter on the griddle and allow the pancakes to set a bit before adding the strawberries. Then drop them on the surface of the pancake and push them in a bit before flipping. Hope that helps!

  10. Lora says:

    My kids love these pancakes! Can I use this same batter to make waffles?

    • Pamela says:

      Lucky kids! For waffles, I like a variation on the recipe:
      2 c. wwp flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 c. buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 6 Tbs. melted butter, 1 Tbs. maple syrup
      Enjoy!

  11. Lisa says:

    Which brand/kind of coconut oil do you use? I’ve seen different ones and never knew which one to buy. I’m new to using coconut oil, but have read up on it’s many healthful benefits. Also, thank you for taking the time to put together such a well thought out, easy to use website. I really appreciate it! I can’t wait to try so many yummy recipes!!!

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks, Lisa! Whatever brand I buy, I get the unrefined oil. I very often use Whole Foods’ 365 brand. I have also used Dr. Mercola’s, Spectrum, Nutiva and the one sold on the Radiant Life website — all good. The only brand I bought and didn’t like was by Tropical Traditions — funky flavor. In general, when you cook with coconut oil, it doesn’t make everything taste like coconut. It just gives the dish a subtle sweetness, which is why I love using it for pancakes, French toast and baked goods. Coconut oil has more of a coconut flavor when you use it raw.

  12. Barbara says:

    I forgot one other idea: Since we use almond milk now and do not drink milk anymore,I buy the shelf stable boxes of whole milk. Natrel brand sold in half pint size 3pk. This works perfectly with my lemon juice trick! I tried the almond milk and also buttermilk powder but neither worked well.

    • Pamela says:

      I made these for some dairy-free folks and I used a combo of half hemp milk and half soy yogurt in place of the buttermilk and it worked great! But so helpful for everyone to know if something didn’t work well for you. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know. Thanks!

  13. Barbara says:

    We enjoyed these when you posted last winter,so since I found it again,I am going to serve it for guests this weekend! {I am old fashioned so thanks for the adobe versions which are nice to print/write extra ideas etc. When you get a chance(haha) you mentioned you would go back and fix older recipes.PrettyPlease? and Thank you!}
    Being southerners we add chopped pecans to the batter for both blueberry and banana versions! Also if needed you can add 3/4TB of fresh lemon juice to the milk and set aside to thicken for the buttermilk. Using 350 degrees on electric griddle works best and weirdly the 2nd batch is always better! Your Applewood bacon is finally here in our town and so good!

    • Pamela says:

      So much great information, Barbara! Thanks for sharing! Yes, I have a few more recipes to redo and then we should be all set. I agree about the second batch of pancakes!

  14. Jenny S. says:

    These are so easy! I make the batter in the evenings so it’s ready to go in the morning. Then I make them and keep them in the fridge for the rest of the week. I am so happy that my girls are getting a great start in the morning. Thanks again!

  15. Amanda says:

    Wow, these were phenomenal. I actually don’t usually like pancakes and i ate three. SO good and the kids and hubby all gobbled them up. I added some mashed banana to the second batch I tried and they came out great but I found I had to cook them at a slightly lower temp for longer to cook through.

    • Pamela says:

      I, too, am not a pancake person, but I love these, especially with a dollop of yogurt and berries. That makes sense about the mashed banana. Sometimes we add diced or sliced banana to the pancakes once they have set a bit on the griddle. Those cook the same rate as without. Thanks!

  16. Marty says:

    Thank you for providing a gluten-free version! Since I’m also vegan, I’ll try them with an egg substitute. I’m new to your website, love it.

  17. Sharda says:

    I made these last weekend and the “customizability” was a big hit. And the best part, the kids ate them with no maple syrup or anything on them. I was surprised! The hint of maple makes them just a little sweet. My favorite pancake recipe ever (and I’ve been making pancakes since I was 8).

    • Pamela says:

      Now that you mention it, my kids don’t use maple syrup on the pancakes either! How cool that you’ve been cooking since you were 8 — love it!

  18. Daya Pillan says:

    I make these pancakes all the time and my family loves it. I made it this weekend for my kids and their friends and they ate a ton.

  19. Isabella says:

    I made the pancakes on Sunday. They were easy to make! My son and my husband loved them with chocolate chips and my daughter and I loved them with strawberries. Thank you for another delicious treat!

  20. Kristi says:

    My kids inhaled these this morning. They were delicious. Thanks!

  21. Lisa says:

    I received this recipe from a breakfast class you taught last year and I have made them once a week since then. My family loves them!

  22. sonia says:

    Yes, this is the mother with the habit of buying boxed pancake mix. Thanks to Pamela, I
    now make them from scratch. She first made them in our family home in Utah. We
    couldn’t believe how easy and how tasty they were, best part, no preservatives!

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