What's for Breakfast? Whole Wheat Pancakes

One of my goals after my month of Plastic Awareness was to eat less packaged cereal. And lately, cold cereal with milk just hasn’t been filling us up enough anyway. Anyone with kids also knows that breakfast for dinner is always a good idea, and a pretty painless way to have a Meatless Monday too! So I’m writing a series of posts featuring my favorite breakfast recipes.

I like to make pancakes at least once a week.  Here is my favorite whole wheat pancake recipe with some variations. (Note: this post is an update and expansion of this post from last June.)

Whole Wheat Pancakes

White whole wheat flour
1 cup
2 cups
3 cups
4 cups
½ teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 ½ teaspoons
2 teaspoons
Baking powder
½ teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 ½ teaspoons
2 teaspoons
Baking soda
¼ teaspoon
½ teaspoon
¾ teaspoons
1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons
¼ cup

Oil or butter
2 tablespoons
¼ cup
1/3 cup
½ cup
1 cup
2 cups
3 cups
4 cups
Butter for greasing pans

  1. Mix wet and dry ingredients separately. Then combine. Do not overmix. 
  2. After mixing, let the batter sit for at least 10 minutes, so the whole wheat flour has time to absorb the wet ingredients. During this time, also begin pre-heating your cast iron pan(s) with a little oil in them (cast iron requires a slower, longer preheat than Teflon pans). I use my Le Creuset cast iron plus my Lodge Logic preseasoned griddle so that I can make 7 to 8 pancakes at once (see photo below). 
  3. After 10 minutes, your batter should be pretty thick, which is how I like it. If you prefer thinner batter (and thinner pancakes), just add a bit more buttermilk. Your pan is hot enough when a drop of water sizzles/dances on top. Then add some butter to grease the pan. Use scant 1/4-cups of batter. Flip when bubbles start to form on the top or the bottoms are golden brown (take a little peek with your spatula). Add more butter between each batch. 
  4. Delicious served warm with maple syrup or whipped cream and fruit.

I grind my own flour from hard white berries. If you can't do that, I like King Arthur's or Trader Joe's white whole wheat flour (actually the same product). I've also used the Whole Foods brand. Store whole wheat flour in the fridge or, better yet, the freezer unless you will be using it up quickly.

For the double recipe, I can get away with the lazy, one-bowl approach. I whisk together all the dry ingredients in a bowl, make a little well in the middle, dump all the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and try to mix them together a bit (breaking up the egg yolks) before mixing the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. For fluffy pancakes, remember to mix as little as possible, leaving some lumps and streaks of dry flour.

For the triple and quadruple recipes, I recommend mixing the wet ingredients separately before adding them to the dry ingredients, which, sadly, does result in one more dirty mixing bowl. Another downside to the larger batches is that it can be difficult to avoid over-mixing, particularly if using honey. The upside to making the large batches is leftovers! For a while I was making the quadruple recipe, but it was really hard to avoid the over-mixing, so I'm back to the triple recipe most of the time. 

Pancakes keep well in the fridge for about a week or can be frozen for much longer. If you want to freeze the pancakes, place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer and allow them to harden before stacking in a container or tossing into a reusable food bag (thank you, Heidi). I rarely freeze pancakes because we easily use up even a quadruple batch in less than a week.


Replace the sugar with about the same amount of honey and add the honey with the wet ingredients.  When using honey, decrease the oil and/or buttermilk slightly to compensate for the extra liquid. For example, when making the triple recipe with honey, I use about ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup oil, and 2 2/3 cups buttermilk. You can always add a little more buttermilk if the batter is too thick.  Use the same measuring cup for the oil first then the honey, and the honey will slide right out. You can also use less sweetener or no sweetener and just add extra maple syrup on top. I like to use a little sweetener because then my kids will eat them cold straight out of the fridge as a snack (with no syrup).  The big downside to using honey is that it is much harder to incorporate evenly than sugar (which can be whisked together with the dry ingredients), especially since you are trying not to over-mix the batter.

Replace the buttermilk with yogurt or a combination of yogurt and milk (if your yogurt is very thick). When I’m short on buttermilk, I’ve also made up the difference with a bit of milk or whey (from straining homemade yogurt). You could also make this recipe with milk or whey instead of buttermilk. But I have to tell you, speaking from experience, all buttermilk makes the very best fluffiest pancakes.

Replace some of the wheat flour with other whole grains such as
  • stone-ground corn meal
  • quick oats, finely ground rolled oats, or oat flour (ground up oat groats)
  • wheat germ
  • buckwheat flour

I’ve tried 1 cup wheat plus ½ cup each corn meal and wheat germ, for example. I also like 1 ½ cups wheat plus ½ cup buckwheat. I once tried 1 cup wheat and 1 cup buckwheat, but that was a little too much buckwheat for me.  All wheat is probably my favorite, but sometimes you need a little variety in life. [Update 6-24-14: I now almost always use 3 cups white whole wheat and 1 cup quick oats. I find the oats make them a little lighter.]

What's for Breakfast?


  1. What can you replace the buttermilk with if you have lactose issues?

    1. You know, I've tried substituting yogurt and cow's milk for buttermilk and nothing has ever made pancakes quite as high and fluffy. Having said that, I'm sure you could use soy milk or almond milk and they would taste yummy. But it's hard to replace buttermilk. I would use a little less of any other liquid and see how much the batter thickens up after the flour absorbs the liquid. I like my batter nice and thick -- makes thicker fluffier pancakes : )


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