Best Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes {Recipe}

Best Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes {Recipe}

This quick recipe makes fluffy and light vegan buttermilk pancakes, and requires only 7 simple ingredients.  They’re so easy and so delicious!

Looking for a classic stack of buttermilk pancakes, made without eggs or dairy? You’re in for a treat with these vegan buttermilk pancakes. They’re simple (no flax egg needed) and extra fluffy, with all the flavors of the classic buttermilk pancakes you know and love.  The secret is using homemade vegan buttermilk.  Vegan buttermilk is made with combo of your favorite non-dairy milk and vinegar, and this key ingredient gives these pancakes their irresistible light & fluffy texture.

5 TIPS FOR PERFECTLY FLUFFY VEGAN BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

1. DO MIX ALL THE DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER WITH A WHISK.

This will guarantee you don’t have any pockets of baking soda in your pancakes.  If the baking soda is evenly dispersed in the batter, it will rise beautifully and you won’t end up with any bitter baking soda-y bites.

2. DON’T OVER-MIX THE BATTER.

If you mix til the point of a perfectly smooth batter, you’ll overwork the gluten in the flour and they’ll be tough and chewy. Mix just until most of the flour has been absorbed by the liquid ingredients but you should see some lumps.

3. DON’T LET THE PANCAKE BATTER SIT.

You want to use the batter as soon as it’s combined and take advantage of all those glorious CO2 bubbles from the vegan buttermilk and baking soda reaction. If you’ve read the opposite before, it’s likely because the other pancake batter is made with baking powder, which takes more time to activate.

4. DO USE A JUST RIGHT HOT PAN.

I can’t emphasize this one enough. Have you ever noticed the first few pancakes in your griddle are “flops” and just don’t look great? That’s because the pan isn’t hot enough! Don’t be afraid to fire up the heat to medium-high in the beginning. You will want to turn it back to medium after a few minutes. On my stove, I alternate between medium-high heat and medium-low heat, with the majority of the cooking time set to medium. When the pancakes are browning too quickly, turn it down. When they’re looking flat and pale in color, turn it up. You’ll get the hang of it!

5. DON’T FLIP MORE THAN ONCE.

Resist the temptation to flip more than once and please, oh please, don’t smoosh or pat your pancakes with your spatula while they’re cooking.  You’ll know the pancakes are ready to flip when they’re covered in tiny bubbles and those bubbles begin to pop.  Use a thin but sturdy spatula for flipping precision.

vegan buttermilk pancakes

VEGAN BUTTERMILK PANCAKE INGREDIENT & SUBSTITUTION NOTES

  • Flour – All-purpose flour is great.
  • Baking soda – Make sure your baking soda is fresh.
  • Salt – Adds flavor
  • Sugar – Adds sweetness. Substitute coconut sugar if you prefer.
  • Almond milk – You’ll use unsweetened in this recipe as there’s already sugar added to the batter.  If you only have sweetened, just reduce the sugar to 1 tablespoon.  Use coconut milk, oat milk or soy milk (or really any non-dairy milk) if you prefer. 
  • Apple cider vinegar – almond milk + apple cider vinegar = vegan buttermilk.  You can also substitute an equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice.  The vegan buttermilk is key to making these pancakes fluffy. The chemical reaction between the vegan buttermilk and the baking soda gives them their fluffy texture.
  • Oil – This adds richness and tenderness to the pancakes.  I like to use avocado oil, but any neutral-flavored oil will do.
  • Vegan butter – For cooking (or substitute more oil), and for serving (optional)
  • Pure maple syrup – For serving. Warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds to take the chill off if it’s been stored in the refrigerator. You don’t want to pour cold syrup over your hot pancakes!
ingredients you need to make vegan buttermilk pancakes

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

This recipe makes about 9 four-inch pancakes and serves 2-3 people.  Double the recipe if you’re cooking for a larger crowd.  The batter is easy to whip up and it’s mixed by hand. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees if you want to keep them warm while you cook.  

1. MAKE VEGAN BUTTERMILK 

Add apple cider vinegar to almond milk and stir.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes. It will curdle slightly and thicken a little.

2. STIR TOGETHER DRY INGREDIENTS

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar and whisk well to combine.

3. WHISK LIQUID INGREDIENTS

In a small bowl, combine oil and vegan buttermilk.

wet ingredients and dry ingredients

4. MAKE PANCAKE BATTER

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula, until almost fully mixed.  You want to error on the side of undermining.  Lumpy batter equals more tender pancakes!

vegan buttermilk pancake batter

5. COOK THE PANCAKES

First, start by heating a large pancake nonstick griddle, cast-iron skillet or electric griddle over medium heat and wait until the griddle is nice and hot.  You should feel the heat coming from the pan when you place your hand a few inches above. 

Coat the bottom of the pan with a little move avocado oil (about one teaspoon).  

Using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon and about a quarter cup of batter, scoop onto hot skillet, letting the batter fall into somewhat organized circles.  They will begin to bubble quite quickly if the pan is sufficiently heated.  Wait until the edges begin to set and little bubbles form and begin to pop on the surface of each pancake.  

When you suspect they’re ready to flip you can “peek” by lifting the corner of the pancake with your pancake spatula.  If it’s golden brown, you’re ready to flip. If it’s still light and blonde looking, give it another minute or two (you may want to turn up your heat to medium-high, temporarily).  Flip all pancakes and cook on the other side for another 1-2 minutes, until browned and cooked in the middle.  

Remove pancakes in batches as you go, and repeat with remaining batter.

cook vegan buttermilk pancakes
cook the other side of the vegan buttermilk pancakes

6. SERVE PANCAKES

Serve pancakes in stacks, with vegan butter and plenty of pure maple syrup.   Fresh fruit also makes a lovely addition, especially fresh berries.

vegan buttermilk pancakes

MIXING THINGS UP

  • For vegan blueberry pancakes, gently fold in 1 cup blueberries to the finished pancake batter.
  • For vegan buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes, gently fold in 1/3 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips into the batter.
  • For vegan buttermilk whole wheat pancakes, substitute whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour.
  • For gluten free vegan buttermilk pancakes, substitute your favorite gluten-free flour 1:1 in this recipe.

CAN I PREPARE THE BUTTERMILK PANCAKE BATTER IN ADVANCE?

No, unfortunately not. You can pre-mix the dry ingredients and pre-mix the liquid ingredients and store them in airtight containers overnight.  But, once you mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, it’s go time!

When the baking soda and the vegan buttermilk are combined in the batter, the leavening agent in the baking soda is activated by the buttermilk to create carbon dioxide.  Bubbles of gas are caught in the batter as it cooks and this is what makes the pancakes fluffy.  Letting the batter sit will result in dense, flat pancakes. Try this homemade buttermilk pancake mix for a time-saving alternative or to make buttermilk pancakes ahead of time.

best vegan buttermilk pancake recipe

HOW TO FREEZE & STORE LEFTOVER PANCAKES

Inevitably, I end up with 2 or 3 leftover pancakes every time!  But, they are easy to freeze and reheat well for future weekday breakfasts or snacks on the go. 

To freeze, place in ziplock bag, separating each layer with parchment paper. These will keep up to 2 months.

To reheat, place frozen pancakes in toaster or microwave for 30 seconds on high heat.

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Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes

Fluffy and light vegan buttermilk pancakes requiring only 7 simple ingredients. This recipe makes about 9 four-inch pancakes and serves 2-3 people.  Double the recipe if you’re cooking for a larger crowd.  The batter is easy to whip up and it’s mixed by hand. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees if you want to keep them warm while you cook.  
Prep Time17 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Keyword: vegan buttermilk pancakes
Servings: 2.5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened or your favorite non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil plus more for greasing griddle
  • pure maple syrup and vegan butter for serving

Instructions

  • MAKE VEGAN BUTTERMILK: Add apple cider vinegar to almond milk and stir.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes. It will curdle slightly and thicken a little.
  • STIR TOGETHER DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar and whisk well to combine.
  • WHISK LIQUID INGREDIENTS: In a small bowl, combine oil and vegan buttermilk.
  • MAKE PANCAKE BATTER: Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula, until almost fully mixed.  You want to error on the side of undermining.  Lumpy batter equals more tender pancakes!
  • COOK THE PANCAKES: First, start by heating a large pancake nonstick griddle, cast-iron skillet or electric griddle over medium heat and wait until the griddle is nice and hot.  You should feel the heat coming from the pan when you place your hand a few inches above. 
    Coat the bottom of the pan with a little more avocado oil (about one teaspoon).  
    Using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon and about a quarter cup of batter, scoop onto hot skillet, letting the batter fall into somewhat organized circles.  They will begin to bubble quite quickly if the pan is sufficiently heated.  Wait until the edges begin to set and little bubbles form and begin to pop on the surface of each pancake.  
    When you suspect they’re ready to flip you can “peek” by lifting the corner of the pancake with your pancake spatula.  If it’s golden brown, you’re ready to flip. If it’s still light and blonde looking, give it another minute or two (you may want to turn up your heat to medium-high, temporarily).  Flip all pancakes and cook on the other side for another 1-2 minutes, until browned and cooked in the middle.  
    Remove pancakes in batches as you go, and repeat with remaining batter.
  • SERVE PANCAKES: Serve pancakes warm, in stacks, with vegan butter and plenty of pure maple syrup.   Fresh fruit also makes a lovely addition, especially fresh berries.

Notes

Note: If using sweetened non-dairy milk, reduce sugar in batter. 


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