Ok ok, I know that’s a big statement there in that title. But let me tell you, since I found out about my allergies almost two years ago, I have been trying and trying (and trying again) to master a decent pancake recipe and it hasn’t been easy.
Dairy free pancakes are fairly simple – miss out the egg and swap your milk and they shouldn’t taste a whole lot different. The key thing being that they still act like normal pancakes and rise up to give that fluffy texture we all know and love. Take out the gluten however and immediately you’ve got yourself flat, chewy pieces of cardboard that won’t rise in the slightest and that no amount of syrup can rescue.
Back at the beginning of my GF pancake experiments, I made these chocolate banana versions. They were ok as a healthy alternative and weren’t too chewy so overall were a tasty alternative. BUT they didn’t really rise and therefore to me, still weren’t that pinnacle of fluffy American style pancake that I’d known and loved for years.
A bit more experimentation, and finally I had the winning recipe which changed my life for the better (because let’s face it life without pancakes is not one any of us want to be living), and I’ve been meaning to share it with you ever since. No better time than on Pancake Day hey?
Ok so what changed? How did I go from flat chewy cardboard to thick fluffy parcels of pancake heaven?
Two things. Firstly, every pancake recipe in the land will tell you to use plain all purpose flour. If you are making gluten free pancakes DO NOT LISTEN. Use self raising flour, AND add a teaspoon or two of baking powder too because you need the rise.
Secondly, you need a rising agent. In my recipe, I use a teaspoon of white wine or apple cider vinegar but I’m guessing sparkling water or even bicarb and water might work the same way. This recipe doesn’t use eggs (I could, I’m not actually vegan, just dairy free. But now that I’ve found a winning combo I’m not messing with it) and you need something to react with the gluten-free flour and make sure you get a thick mixture and those all-important bubbles forming. When you add the vinegar you’ll immediately see a reaction – this starts working on the flour so that when you mix all together with your milk, what starts as a thin liquidy mixture quickly thickens up. If you do find it too thick, you can always add a little extra milk, but I find keeping the mixture quite thick ensures a really good rise for your pancakes, so it depends whether you prefer a bigger flatter style or a small thick style.
And that’s it, those two little changes and all American style pancakes can once again be part of your life. This recipe is so simple too, which means whipping up a batch on a Sunday morning will take no time at all. I use maple syrup instead of sugar (although I have substituted sugar in if I’ve run out and they work fine with that too) which I think adds a little something to the taste and means you can almost call them healthy… until you add all the toppings!
You can add various things to the mix if you wish – I added blueberries to the first batch, which made them extra moist and delicious when topped with more fruit, yoghurt and maple syrup. But my daughter has a soft spot for chocolate chip ones, so most weekends I’ll add a handful of dairy-free choc chips to the mix before cooking to make them extra special.
And for pancake day, feel free to go all out with a very indulgent stack like the above chocolate chip batch – adding cream, chocolate chips, marshmallows and raspberries. When it comes to toppings, anything goes right?
Anyway enough chatting and on to the recipe, because I’m sure after all that you are more than ready to get your pancake day feat underway.
My Ultimate Gluten and Dairy Free (Vegan) Pancake Recipe
(adapted from this vegan recipe to make them Gluten free)
What you’ll need
90g Gluten Free self raising flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
3 tablespoons of maple syrup (1 tablespoon sugar also works if you have no syrup)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of white wine or apple cider vinegar
120ml almond milk (or any dairy free alternative you like)
1 handful of blueberries or chocolate chips (optional)
How it’s done
1. Measure out your flour and place in a jug (I prefer a jug to a bowl as it’s easier to pour the pancake mix into your pan but a bowl works just as well)
2. Add your baking powder, cornflour, then maple syrup and oil
3. Add the teaspoon of vinegar and as you start to see it react with the flour, add your milk and mix with a spoon
4. Once all combined and the flour has been mixed in, the mixture should have thickened up (you can add more milk if you need to to get it to the desired consistency, I like mine thick)
5. Add your chopped blueberries or chocolate chips if you wish and mix well
6. Heat a little oil in a (good non stick) pan on a medium heat
7. Once the oil is heated pour a dollop of pancake mix into the pan in a circular shape, and spread out to the desired size (I like to keep mine fairly small so that they are nice and thick)
8. When bubbles begin to appear on the pancake mix, flip over and cook on the other side for a few minutes until golden brown
9. Remove from the pan and place under a tea towel to keep warm. Repeat until you’ve used up all of your mix (you should get around 5-6 small pancakes with this mix so double if you’re cooking for more)
10. Smother with the toppings of your choice and enjoy!
Do let me know if you try these, they are now a weekend favourite in our house!