I feel like I probably don’t need to tell you how amazing pancakes are… these fluffy, squidgy discs are pure breakfast joy, or indeed any other time of day that you fancy pancakes. And despite traditional recipes requiring milk and eggs, it is not at all difficult to make a vegan version that is indistinguishably good.
I refer to these specifically as American pancakes because firstly, that’s what they’re called, and secondly, growing up the generic term ‘pancake’ always meant those delicious flat crepes that you would have doused in lemon juice and sugar on Shrove Tuesday. I still do, although I’ll sometimes mix it up with melted chocolate, banana, and salted peanuts, because I’m an adult and I can do what I want. Occasionally we would have scotch pancakes (similar to american but smaller and a little sweeter) and have them toasted and smothered in butter, but aside from that, the wonder of american pancakes didn’t grace my palate until slightly later in life. I was so glad that they did.
Part of the wonder of pancakes is that they provide a canvas for a whole variety of toppings. You could go savoury with tofu scramble, vegan sausages and lashings of ketchup, sweet with berries, banana, and nut butter, or a bit of both with vegan bacon or smoked tofu drowned in maple syrup. My absolute favourite is pancakes with blueberries, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, almond butter and salted caramelised pumpkin seeds. The only way it could be more millennial is if I added avocado and ruined it’s prospects of ever owning a home…
To make vegan buttermilk, all you need to do is add vinegar to non-dairy milk. I like to use a richer milk such as soya or oat, but you could also use a good quality nut milk. Whisk cider vinegar into the milk and leave to curdle for 5 mins or so. In the meantime, measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl, then whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until you have a silky smooth batter, just a touch thicker than double cream. You can add a little more milk if your mixture seems too thick.
Then it’s just a case of frying them up! Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, add a little oil or vegan butter (I use Naturli Vegan Block) and use a pastry brush or piece of kitchen paper to spread it around the pan so it’s coated with a thin layer. It is an undeniable law of pancake making that the first batch is always rubbish, so however big your pan, start with one small pancake. When this is lovely and golden you know that your pan is hot enough for the rest.
How big you like your pancakes is, of course, personal preference, but for a medium-ish pancake roughly 10 cm across, I generally use just under a quarter cup measure (about 3–4 tbsp or 50ml of batter). You can spread the batter a little to help it form a neat circle but you don’t want to spread it too thin, else you’ll compromise its puffiness. Once you can see bubbles forming and bursting on the surface of the pancake, it’s time to flip. If your pan is at temperature it should only take 1–2 minutes on each side.
Stack them as precariously as you dare, pile on whatever toppings you chose, and you have yourself the best possible start to the day.
Please let me know if you try these out! I’d love to see what topping combos you go for. You can comment below, or tag me on Twitter or Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes
The fluffiest American pancakes made with vegan buttermilk
Vegan, Nut-free, Soya-free option
For the pancakes:
- 350ml non-dairy milk (a richer milk such as soya or oat works best)
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 240g self-raising flour*
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- oil or vegan butter for frying
My favourite toppings**:
- 200g coconut yogurt
- 125g blueberries
- 4 tbsp almond butter
- 150ml maple syrup
- caramelized pumpkin seeds (40g pumpkin seeds, 2 tsp maple syrup, pinch of salt)
- Measure out 350ml non-dairy milk into a jug and add 1 tbsp cider vinegar. Mix and set aside while you measure out the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl add 240g self-raising flour (see notes for plain flour substitute), 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp sugar and ½ tsp salt. Mix 2 tsp of vanilla extract in with the milk, if using.
- Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a drop of oil or a small knob of vegan butter, and spread with a pastry brush or piece of kitchen roll until it just coats the bottom of the pan.
- Add the milk mixture to the flour and whisk until smooth – it should be ever so slightly thicker than double cream, and if it looks a little too thick, add some more milk 1 tbsp at a time.
- Once the pan is hot, add a small scoop of batter – the first pancake is always dodgy so best to just do one and make it small! Once bubbles start to form and burst on top, flip the pancake and cook for another couple of minutes on the other side. When it’s cooked it should be beautifully golden brown. Repeat with the remaining pancakes (I use just under a quarter cup measure for a medium sized pancake). You can put a tea towel over the ones that are done to keep the heat in.
- If using my topping suggestions, other than gathering the ingredients, the only thing that requires any additional cooking are the pumpkin seeds. Once you’ve used up all the batter, add the pumpkin seeds to the frying pan where they’ll start to blister and pop after a minute or so. Take off the heat and add 1 tbsp maple syrup and a small pinch of flaky sea salt, and stir – the maple syrup should bubble and start to stick to the pumpkin seeds. Once the seeds are fully coated transfer to a small bowl and sprinkle as a finishing flourish on your pancakes.
*If you only have plain flour, use 230g, and an extra tablespoon of baking powder.
**You can. of course, add any topping you choose. You could go savoury with vegan sausages and tofu scramble, or avocado, cherry tomatoes and chilli flakes. You could go full on american-style with vegan bacon and maple syrup, or pile with fresh fruit, yogurt and seeds. Or, if you are my little cousin, ignore all other options and simply tip half a bottle of maple syrup on your plate so that your pancakes become fully saturated.