These classic thin French pancakes are incredibly easy to make, have only three ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard, and are every bit as good as dairy and egg-laden versions. Delicious with lemon and sugar, fresh fruit, or maple syrup, and particularly wonderful with a very quick chocolate sauce.
Every year, on pancake day, I eat crêpes. In fact, when I was younger I didn’t think there was any other type of pancake. And every year I wonder why I don’t eat them more often.
These soft, thin, crêpes are an ideal canvas for a whole variety of toppings and flavour combinations, sweet or savoury. Lemon juice and sugar is absolutely classic – I’m not sure it was until I saw crêpe stands selling enormous pancakes filled with all manner of tempting things that I realised there were other ways to eat them (clearly I was not a particularly imaginative child). And while even the thought of that combination of fresh, tart lemon and sweet, crunchy sugar still makes my mouth water, I have bravely expanded my horizons and present to you a recipe for a really quick and easy peanut butter and chocolate sauce, which makes an equally appetizing accompaniment.
How to make easy vegan crêpes
As you might expect from the title, the method for these pancakes is really rather easy. Traditional crêpes would be made from flour, milk and eggs, but unlike in cake recipes, the eggs aren’t doing much work in terms of binding the pancake together. What they are doing is adding a little moisture, softness, and richness, and this can easily be replicated with a splash of oil.
All you need to do is measure out some plain flour, add some non-dairy milk of choice (I used oat milk), a pinch of salt, and a little light oil. I used olive oil, but vegetable or sunflower oil, avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or melted vegan butter would all be fine. Whisk the ingredients together and there you have your crêpe batter. It should be quite thin – somewhere between the consistency of single and double cream.
I don’t tend to add sugar to my crêpes, though you can if you wish. I quite like the contrast of the deliciously sweet toppings with the slightly savoury pancake.
Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and once hot, add a drop of oil or vegan butter and use a pastry brush to spread it so it just coats the bottom of the pan. It is a widely accepted rule of pancake making that the first one will always turn out rubbish, so think of it as a test run to establish now much batter you need for each crêpe – for my medium sized frying pan I used about 75ml per crêpe, or a scant ⅓ of a cup.
Pour the batter into the center of your frying pan and quickly swirl the pan around so the batter coats the bottom. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the edges of the pancake start to curl up slightly, then flip (there is no shame in using a spatula for this, I’d rather have edible pancakes that extravagantly flipped pancakes). You can see in the photo above that the pancake is only starting to brown a little – if your pancakes are too dark in colour they won’t be soft and pliable. Cook for another couple of minutes on the other side then transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the crêpes.
The quick chocolate sauce is also incredibly easy, and you can make it while the pancakes are cooking. Simply add some nut butter to a small bowl (I like peanut, but any will work, or even sun-butter for a nut-free option), sieve in the cocoa powder, add the maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and a couple of tablespoons of non-dairy milk, and whisk everything together. If you want something more similar in consistency to chocolate spread, then start with 1 tablespoon of milk and add any extra in increments until the mixture is smooth, glossy and spreadable. I wanted something with pourability so I thinned it out a little more. You can add a dash more maple syrup or a little more salt as you please.
Then it’s just a case of spreading or drizzling the sauce liberally over your crêpes. I like to cover the crêpe in sauce, before rolling it up and sprinkling on a few extras. Some sliced banana goes wonderfully well, as does a scattering of crushed salted peanuts.
There are plenty of options for toppings, and you can use whatever you happen to have in the cupboards. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Keep it simple with some lemon juice and demerara sugar
- Go fruity with fresh berries and melted dark chocolate
- Sweeten the deal with maple syrup and a knob of vegan butter
- Get whipped with vegan squirty cream and chopped nuts
- Tart up your crêpes with some raspberry coulee and grated vegan white chocolate
- Go nuts with nut butter and sliced banana
Of course, there’s always the excellent option of putting as much sauce, jam, chocolate, cream, chopped nuts, sugar, and fruit as you have on the table and so everyone can make their own perfect personalized pancakes.
Please let me know if you give these a try! You can comment below, use the star rating at the top of the post, or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @greedybearbakes.
Easy Vegan Crêpes With A Quick Chocolate Sauce
Classic French crêpes, vegan style!
For the crêpes:
- 125g (1 cup) plain flour
- 270ml (1 cup + 2 tbsp} non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 tbsp oil + extra for frying (e.g. olive, vegetable, sunflower, melted coconut, melted vegan butter)
- pInch of salt
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
For the quick chocolate sauce:
- 1 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tsp maple syrup (or agave / brown rice / golden syrup)
- 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
- pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together 125g flour, 270ml non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp oil, and a pinch of salt until completely smooth. The consistency should be somewhere between single and double cream, and you can add a splash more milk if it looks a little thick.
- Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, and once hot, add a drop of oil or small knob of vegan butter. Swirl or use a silicone pastry brush to coat the pan. Add a small amount of batter to the pan (about 75ml or a scant ⅓ of a cup was about right for my medium frying pan) and swirl so the batter coats the bottom of the pan. After a couple of minutes, when the edges of the pancake are starting to crisp and curl up, flip the pancake and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. The crêpe should be turning light golden brown in places. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean tea towel while you cook the rest of the crêpes. (The first one almost always turns out rubbish so don’t be disheartened!)
- To make the sauce, add 1 tbsp peanut butter, sieve in 1 tbsp cocoa powder, and add 2 tsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp non-dairy milk and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth, and add a little more milk if necessary until you have a pourable sauce. Taste and add a little more maple or salt. For a chocolate spread consistency, start with 1 tbsp non-dairy milk, adding a little more at a time until it’s spreadable.
- Serve the crêpes immediately with your choice of toppings – see the blog post for ideas!