These best whole wheat pancakes provide a dose of heart-healthy whole grains, a pillowy texture, and a complex flavor. Serve with maple syrup, honey, butter, or even on their own!
Why is it that often only the white flour pancakes are fluffy? I’ll occasionally order them while out or even make them at home, but I’ve been wanting a pancake that I can make at home and feel good about (so I can make them more often, of course). I think I've finally found it with these best fluffy whole wheat pancakes.
I was reminded that it was possible while eating American (don’t ask..) pancakes in Amsterdam on our trip a few weeks ago. They were sturdy enough to handle some creative toppings, but also light and fluffy in a way I wasn’t used to seeing with other wheat pancakes.
When I got home I worked on creating such a dish. I wanted the strength and fluffiness and to enhance the flavor of the pancake alone so they could be enjoyed with less toppings or even just by themselves.
Best Whole Wheat Pancakes: The Method & Madness
- The flour: Pancakes made with 100% whole wheat all-purpose flour come out dense and heavy. This is due to the flour’s high protein content. We have two ways around this: use whole wheat pastry flour or part white all-purpose flour and part whole wheat flour.
- The flavor: By adding vanilla extract, just a bit of sugar, and buttermilk we can create a flavor that compliments toppings but also stands on its own. The buttermilk helps tenderize the pancakes, too, making this a great buttermilk whole wheat pancake recipe, too.
- The leavening agents: most standard pancake recipes will have around 2 teaspoons of a leavening agent (most often baking powder) per 2 cups of flour. My goal was to go for 3 teaspoons of a combination of baking soda and baking powder for 1.5 cups flour. This creates the loft in the batter. I reached this goal by adding extra baking soda instead of additional baking powder as baking soda works by reacting to acids (i.e. buttermilk).
The result: the fluffy whole wheat pancakes that are light, nutty, and ever so slightly sweet.
Are whole wheat pancakes better for you?
Yes, they have more protein, fiber, and whole grains than their white flour pancake cousins! They both are good for the soul, though. 🙂
Also, if you're looking for a healthy pancake alternative to banana pancakes, these fluffy whole wheat are a great healthy pancake without bananas in the recipe, too.
What type of flour is best for pancakes?
When it comes to choosing flours to bake or cook with it all comes down to the amount of protein in the flour. For pancakes, you want a flour with a mid-level amount of protein. If you have too much protein -- like in a bread flour -- the cakes will be stiff and dense feeling. If too little -- like in cake flour -- they will be too soft and fragile. The happy medium and best flour I like to use is whole wheat pastry flour. A mixture of ½ whole wheat all purpose flour and ½ white all purpose flour substitutes in just fine, though.
How many carbs are in whole wheat pancakes?
Approximately 55 grams of carbohydrates are in 2 of these whole wheat pancakes. The same serving also has about 11 grams protein and 9 grams fat, making it the perfect long run or workout recovery food with how diverse it's macros are. In fact, I love making these pancakes after my Sunday long runs! I'm sure they'd also be delicious after a hard bike ride or an early morning hike!
Can you make & store your own whole wheat pancake mix?
Yes! In fact, I encourage it. What is better than to have your own healthy (i.e. no weird 'mystery' ingredients) pancake mix on hand?! Just double the dry ingredients in the recipe by whatever interval you desire, mix them up, and then store in a marked glass container or zip plastic bag. When it comes time to make the pancakes, just mix 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons of the whole pancake mix with the room temperature wet ingredients (see notes below) and breakfast is ready for the griddle!
- Bob’s Red Mill has a great whole wheat pastry flour (also available at Whole Foods) that I love. You can also get away with going half and half on the white all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, though. The pastry flour pancakes will be a bit more tender than the all-purpose blend pancakes, but the blend pancakes are still delicious and not too heavy.
- What’s better than making these on a weekend and enjoying the leftovers throughout the upcoming week? These keep covered in a fridge for 2-4 days or stacked with parchment paper in between in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to a month. Just pop in the toaster on low to reheat.
- See cooking notes below the recipe on how to make your own buttermilk!
Light and fluffy pancakes that boast the benefits of whole grains. Make sure to let the batter rest before cooking your pancakes.
- 1 ½ c. 180 g whole wheat pastry flour OR ¾ c. (90 g) white all purpose flour and ¾ c. (90 g) whole wheat flour;, spooned and level if measuring in cups
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 ½ c. room temperature 2% buttermilk (see cooking notes for how to make it yourself)
- 1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted and brought back to just above room temp
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- Coconut oil or canola oil, for frying
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar with a spoon until well blended.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, butter, and egg until the egg is fully incorporated and the milk is just starting to get frothy. Whisk the flour in by thirds until the flour dissolves into the batter, but no further.
- Set batter aside for 5-10 minutes, or until getting puffy and developing air bubbles. This is where we are letting the batter develop its lightness!
- Preheat griddle or non stick pan over medium- low to medium heat then oil your pan. Pour the batter onto the griddle in ¼ cup portions. Cook for 1-2 minutes (exactly one and a half minutes was perfect for me), or until air bubbles form and pop on top of the pancakes. Flip, cook another 1-2 minutes and then move to a dinner plate or small rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.
- Continue cooking rest of pancakes on griddle, moving them to the oven once cooked.
- Serve warm with syrup or honey, butter and whatever toppings (or not) you desire!
To make your own buttermilk: add 1.5 tablespoons white vinegar to a 2 cup measuring cup. Add milk and fill to the 1 ½ cup line. Stir gently with a spoon for 10 seconds and then let sit for 5 minutes, or until starting to curdle.
Serving Size2 pancakes
Amount Per Serving Calories 336Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 34mgSodium 468mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 5gSugar 5gProtein 11g
This nutrition breakdown is an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
Special Notes on Ingredient Temperatures:
- It’s annoying, but you’ll want to make sure your refrigerated ingredients are brought to room temperature before cooking. It’s not just because I’m being difficult, though. Having all the ingredients the same temperature helps them to incorporate more evenly and get a better rise in the batter. I promise you’ll be glad you did it.
- To quickly bring ingredients to room temperature: place eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 5-10 minutes. Put the buttermilk in the microwave on 30% heat for 20 seconds at a time until it’s no longer cool to the touch.