The Anatomy of a Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly Pancake
Today is a long read, but totally worth it. We’ll be sharing all the tips and tricks you need to make your gluten free, allergy friendly pancakes shine. I feel that it’s important to know the how and why behind cooking and baking gluten free and allergy friendly. The more you understand the inner workings, the more successful your creations will be.
Cooking and baking gluten free can be really hard at first, which is why using a boxed mix may be in your best interest. The upside is that someone else has figured out all of the ratios. The downside is the cost, and that not all mixes are created the same.
For example, just about everyone who is gluten free loves King Arthur GF cake mixes. Other cake mixes? Totally hit and miss.
Flour and Gluten Free Flour For Your Pancakes
We’ve heard from so many people that their gluten free foods never taste good. There are a lot of reasons this can happen. It’s very important to remember that wheat is special. Any product claiming to be a 1:1 replacement that isn’t a flour blend won’t serve you nearly as well.
When creating your gluten free flour blend, you’ll need to mix the weights. Learn more about this in our Gluten Free Flour Article.
One of our favorite combinations: sorghum, millet, oat, arrowroot. Our sorghum and millet are superfine flours, as those produce better results. Our oat flour is Purity Protocol organic. Learn more about gluten free oats in this article.
Tiger Nut Flour (not a nut, but a tuber) is an awesome substitute for those who can’t have oats. You can read all about tiger nuts here.
Another combination I like is simply sorghum, millet, and arrowroot. Often times the oat is added when I want a specific texture, or extra depth in the flavor. For example, I add oat flour to coffee pancakes for added depth.
Related Article: Gluten Free Flour
Eggs and Egg Free Pancakes
There are so many egg substitutes available these days, and several infographics that make their way around the internet. Here’s the sad truth about egg replacers: they don’t all work the same.
For example, peanut butter is considered an egg substitute. You know where that works best? In peanut butter cookies.
Bananas are also listed as an egg substitute. Yup, you guessed it. Great for banana bread. I will say, bananas are good in muffins too, but will impart a banana flavor on your muffins.
Both flax (meal) eggs and chia (seeds) eggs are great options, and don’t mess with the flavor.
It’s important to know that eggs can lift, moisten, and bind. The whole recipe should account for these three items if eggs have been removed. You can a little extra milk or oil for the moistening. Adding extra baking powder or baking soda with an acid can help in the lift department.
Related Recipe: Mini Pancake Stack
Milk and Milk Free Pancakes
This is so easy peasy. Milk is a 1:1 exchange. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, you can use any plant based milk alternative. The only thing you’ll have to account for is any extra flavor your milk of choice brings to the table. For example, hazelnut milk may clash with some recipes.
The only time you’ll need to think through a milk substitute is if a recipe calls for buttermilk, or whole milk. For a buttermilk substitute, you’ll use plant based milk + an acid. Let the mix sit for at least 5 minutes before using.
For a whole milk substitute, you’ll need to add a little extra oil to your recipe.
Related Recipe: Rose Pancakes
Wet to Dry Ratio For Your Pancakes
This is one of the more important things to keep in mind when making gluten free pancakes. You’ll need to remember that not all gluten free flours work the same. For example, coconut flour absorbs much more moisture than any other gluten free flour option. Often times you’ll start with 1/4th the amount of flour called for if you’re using coconut flour. Yes… it’s like that.
When you’re creating your batter, you want it to be runny, but not milk/water runny. Your batter needs to have some body to it. You can watch this Easy Cooking Video for a batter example.
How to Cook Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Pancakes
If you’ve ever made pancakes before going gluten free (or allergen free), the good news is, the process is the same.
We like to use a non-stick pan for our pancakes. I’ve seen people use well heated stainless steel with oil with good results as well. This is not a method we personally use, but have fun experimenting.
Our non-stick pan is heated on medium heat, then a little dairy free butter is added to the pan. The kids are convinced that pancakes tasty FAR superior when there’s butter in the pan. You can also use coconut oil, or another low-flavor oil for your pan.
The batter goes into the pan, and I generally scoop it in with a measuring cup. I try to make medium sized pancakes, which makes flipping them over much easier. Allow the batter to sit and cook, and watch bubbles form. When quite a few bubbles have formed, that’s when it’s time to flip. You’ll also notice that the rim of the pancake starts to look more dry.
After the flip cook for anywhere between 1 and 4 minutes. The cook time will vary based on ingredients, size, pan, etc. If you like pancakes a little under-cooked in the middle, cook for a short time.
Bubbles Forming on Pancakes
Rise aka Leavening Agents For Your Pancakes
If you’re able to have corn starch or potato starch, baking powder is a great leavening agent for pancakes. For those of you who can have eggs, 1 – 2 tsp should be enough. If you’re egg free, you’ll need up to 4 tsp.
Baking soda + an acid is another reliable rising agent. An example of this is 1/2 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
Either way, you’ll want to mix your rising agent into the dry batter. With the acid, that should be added with the rest of the wet ingredients.
Look at The Fluff!!
How To Make Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes
This is what you really came to see, right? FLUFF. Getting a fluffy gluten free pancake is a big deal in my opinion. We’ve made pancakes for years that are gluten free, but it’s only recently that we’ve tapped into their true fluff potential.
The secret? Baking Powder + Baking Soda + Acid
It takes all three working together to get the ultimate fluff. You know what else helps: mixing by hand instead of with an electric mixer.
Related Recipe: Ultimate Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes
Paleo Diet Considerations
For the Paleo diet, you’ll still need the basics: flour, egg, milk, rise, flavor. In the case of flour, here are the options:
- Almond (and other nuts)
- Tiger Nut (tuber, not a nut)
- Sweet Potato
- Other “exotic” flours that are grain free
For eggs on a Paleo diet, eggs are allowed. If you are egg free, a flax (meal) egg is a great substitute. As mentioned above, milk will be a 1:1 exchange.
The flavor on a Paleo pancake can be just as creative as everyone else’s pancakes. You can use items from your spice rack, fruit, coffee, 100% dark chocolate chips, and much more.
Finally, there’s the rise on your Paleo pancakes. You’ll either need to use baking soda + acid, or Paleo baking powder which uses cream of tarter. We general avoid the latter because none of like the taste of cream of tarter.
Related Recipe: Paleo Pancakes
Considerations for Corn Free Pancakes
The good news if you’re corn free: the basic rules of thumb all apply. The key in your case will be sourcing safe-for-you ingredients. We have a list of corn free products you can look into trying.
If you’re corn-lite, you’ll find this to be pretty easy. You won’t be able to purchase flour blends most likely, and will need corn free baking powder.
For those of you who have a severe corn allergy, you will need to source super clean and brand specific items to create your pancakes. Corn derivatives are everywhere in the food industry, so be very careful.
Related Recipe: Zucchini Pancakes
AIP Paleo Pancakes
In the case of AIP Paleo pancakes, I personally take the road less traveled: waffles. While you can work really hard to adapt recipes for AIP and your specific needs, the waffle is simply easier to make.
AIP Waffles also don’t struggle being egg free either. I’ve found they work really well, and taste delicious with a little maple syrup and fruit.
Which Sweetener to Use in Your Pancakes
If you saw our recent article: Sugar & Sweeteners, I’m sure you know all about cane sugar free options. The nice thing about sweetening pancakes (and waffles) is that a little sweetener goes a long way. You use both granulated sweeteners and liquid sweeteners with good results. Keto/zero calorie sweeteners are also an option, so long as you balance your wet to dry ingredients.
If you’re using dates as a sweetener, I’d personally opt for date sugar over sate syrup or chopped dates. Date syrup can pretty dark in flavor, and chopped dates will leave you with a chewy pancake.
Related Article: Sugars & Sweeteners
How to Make Flavorful Pancakes
Before you select your flavoring agents, you must first select flours for your blend. Here are some flour notes.
Mellow Flavored Flours: Arrowroot, Sorghum
Flours With Depth: Buckwheat (yes, it’s gluten free), Hazelnut, Oat, Tiger Nut (remember, it’s not a nut)
Flours With Specific Notes:
- Cassava (can leave a fruity/funky after taste)
- Coconut (make sure you like the taste of coconut)
- Millet (can taste a lot like corn)
After selecting your flour, you need to select a milk. The same general rules apply. Sample your milk, and if it’s very strong in flavor, question if it will clash with your ingredients. For example, I wouldn’t choose hazelnut milk and lemon flavoring. However, there are no fast and hard rules here. Go with what tastes good to YOU.
Finally, seasonings, spices, fruits, extracts , and oils. These are the powerhouses of flavor when making your pancakes. If you opt for oils, make sure they are food grade (think lemon oil, peppermint oil, etc.).
It’s rare that we don’t use vanilla extract in our recipes. You can use ground vanilla, or vanilla bean scrapings. The only time you should skip the vanilla in our opinion is when you’re allergic or intolerant to vanilla.
Common items to flavor pancakes:
- Chocolate Chips
- Herbs such as Rosemary
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT: Don’t forget the salt. Both sweet and savory recipes need some salt for balance.
Related Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
How to Use Fruit in Pancakes
Fruit can be used in pancakes both fresh and freeze dried. We don’t recommend using frozen fruit or dried fruit. The only time we’ve used frozen is in the case of blueberries, and we ran them under warm water to thaw before using in the pancakes. If you opt for freeze dried fruit, crush it, then fold it into your batter.
Sometimes, you may prefer to use the “sprinkle” method when adding fruit to your pancakes. To do this, add your batter to the pan. Next, sprinkle small pieces of fruit on your pancake batter. You’ll need to move quick, as you want the bubble to form after the fruit has been added. Flip the pancake as normal, and enjoy.
Sprinkling Blueberries on Pancakes
Storing Your Pancakes (or Waffles)
When you’re making top 8 allergy free pancakes and waffles, you can store the batter in the fridge for several days to make them fresh each morning. The rise will be effected, but it’s not the end of the world.
With waffles, I love to make up to 20 at a time, then freeze them. To thaw them, place them on the countertop for about an hour. Waffles freeze and thaw wonderfully. Pancakes are hit and miss.
You can also freeze pancake batter for future use. This is something we use to do a lot of with very good results.
Related Recipe: Savory Waffles
Pancakes Vs. Waffles – What’s The Difference?
In a nutshell, waffle batter is basically pancake batter that’s a little thicker, and with oil. Most waffle recipes call for 2 – 4 TBSP of oil. Yes, it’s that easy.
You can convert any of your favorite pancake recipes into waffle recipes by keeping this in mind. We have a Waring Pro Double Waffle maker that we simply adore. It makes two waffles at once, and with a house full of teenagers, that’s totally a needed kitchen appliance.
Related Recipe: Pumpkin Waffles
We’ve come to the end of a long pancake journey. I thank you for making it this far and learning all about how to make delicious gluten free pancakes. If you’re in need of more resources, consider joining RAISE. We also have six cookbooks you may enjoy.