Pancakes are an iconic American breakfast dish that almost everybody grew up eating from time to time. Pancakes originated in the Wild West and were an easy way that pioneers could make a nutritious, filling “cake” using just a cast-iron skillet and simple farm-fresh ingredients.
Unfortunately, though, traditional meals often aren’t quite as vegan as they may seem. If you’re reading this post, you’re probably wondering, “Are pancakes vegan?”
Traditionally, pancakes are NOT vegan, as they contain eggs, dairy, and refined white sugar, all of which are non-vegan. However, pancakes can be made vegan by substituting some of the ingredients for vegan-friendly alternatives!
In today’s post, I’m going to give you the low-down on pancakes, answer all of your vegan-related questions about them, and break down the ingredients used in typical American pancake recipes.
Then, I’ll show you how to make your own homemade vegan pancakes using a few simple ingredients!
Are you ready to start enjoying breakfast again?
Do Vegans Eat Pancakes?
Vegans certainly eat pancakes! Just not the same type of pancakes that other non-vegans eat…
While traditional pancake recipes contain milk, eggs, and white sugar, vegan pancakes are made using plant-based milk, vegan egg substitute, and organic unrefined cane sugar.
What Are Pancakes Made Of? Typical Ingredients Listed
Throughout history, pancakes haven’t changed much. These simple cakes were designed to use simple ingredients that most pioneers and farmers on the edge of society could get their hands on. Fresh milk, fresh eggs, flour, and a little bit of sugar were the only things you’d need.
If they were traveling and couldn’t find milk, then the early pioneers would find a spring and use freshwater instead.
So, to give you a better idea of what to expect here’s a quick rundown of the main ingredients used in traditional American pancake recipes.
1) Wheat Flour
Wheat flour is the main ingredient in all pancakes (including vegan pancakes). It’s 100% vegan, as it’s just ground-up and dried wheat, a type of grass that’s been grown and eaten by humans for thousands of years.
Wheat flour is a great source of whole grains (if you’re eating whole grain wheat flour) and is a good source of simple carbohydrates, which can give you an energy boost in the morning. Also, whole wheat flour has plenty of all-natural plant fiber, which makes it good for your digestion!
Eggs are the first non-vegan ingredient in pancakes and are traditionally mixed into the batter as a source of protein. This, in turn, makes the pancakes more filling than a regular slice of bread. The eggs aren’t just added for protein, though.
The eggs also act as an emulsifier. The combination of fat and protein from the egg holds the flour, sugar, and milk together. This results in a more consistent batter. Lastly, the eggs add a bit of texture and flavor to the pancakes, giving them a thicker consistency.
Sadly, eggs are not vegan.
Although they aren’t exactly an animal (yet), eggs are the result of exploiting captive chickens. Many of these chickens are severely beaten and abused.
Genetic modifications make the chickens so heavy that they can barely walk, and the chickens are kept in overheated, overpacked conditions that are incredibly cruel.
Although sugar is technically a plant-based sweetener (that comes from sugarcane), the refined white sugar that most pancake recipes call for is not vegan. This is because it goes through a refining process where the raw organic cane sugar is filtered through animal bone char.
The animal bone char removes the brown color and the syrupy outer coating of the sugar crystals, resulting in a more baker-friendly product. Unfortunately, this is also the reason why many vegans avoid white sugar altogether.
4) Milk or Buttermilk
Almost all pancake recipes call for milk or buttermilk (hence “buttermilk pancakes”). Like eggs, milk is obtained by exploiting captive female cows.
These females are artificially inseminated, have their young stripped from them and slaughtered shortly after being born, and are nothing more than a cog in the milking machine.
The dairy industry is even crueler than the egg and poultry industry, which is why all vegans abstain from dairy!
Salt is a common ingredient added to most dough and batters, including pancake batter. It helps offset the sweetness of the sugar and gives the batter a richer, more complex consistency.
6) Baking Soda
A bit of baking soda is also added to the pancake batter. This prevents the batter from rising too much when it’s cooked, giving the pancakes their signature flat shape.
How To Make Vegan Pancakes: Step-by-Step
As you can see, traditional pancake recipes use several non-vegan ingredients, making them unsuitable for anybody on a plant-based diet. However, there are a number of ways to make your own vegan pancakes at home, using simple plant-based ingredients.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own vegan pancakes at home, using my favorite recipe. Check it out!
Step 1: Make The Batter
The first step is to make the pancake batter. Fear not, though! This batter is dairy-free, egg-free, and white sugar-free. It’s also incredibly simple to mix. Here are the ingredients you’ll need
- 1.5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 0.5 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar
- 1 Cup Oat Milk (or Your Favorite Plant-Based Milk)
- 0.5 Cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (Not Palm Oil)
To start with, mix the all-purpose flour, water, and milk together in a large mixing bowl. Then, slowly add the baking powder, salt, cane sugar, and vegetable oil.
Pro Tip: Be sure to whisk the batter fully!
The last thing you want is a lumpy pancake batter. If you’re whisking the dough by hand, it will probably take a few minutes of consistent whisking before you get all of the lumps out and have a smooth batter to work with.
Electric whiskers can speed the process up but aren’t necessary.
Once you’re finished whisking the mixture together, you should have enough batter to serve two hungry individuals. You can always double up the ingredients if you’re cooking for more people!
Here’s the full video for the recipe, courtesy of YouTuber Nora Cooks:
Step 2: Cook Your Pancakes
With your batter all whisked up, you’re ready to cook your pancakes! First, heat a large pan or griddle up using medium heat. You don’t want to get the pan too hot, or else you’ll risk burning your pancakes.
Also, use a bit of vegetable oil to coat the pan. This will prevent your vegan pancakes from sticking to the bottom of the pan when you try to flip them.
Using a spoon, pour circles of batter wherever there’s space in the pan. Realistically, you’ll probably cook two or three pancakes at a time.
Once you start to see the top of the pancake bubbling, you’ll know that it’s time to flip them! Gently push your spatula under the pancake and do a quick flip, all in one motion.
If you do it right, it should still be the same circular shape you started with. If not, don’t stress about it, because it will still taste good!
After flipping the pancake, let it cook for another one or two minutes on medium heat, until the other side is firm and golden brown.
Set the cooked pancakes aside, apply some more oil to the bottom of the pan, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter.
All in all, it shouldn’t take you more than twenty minutes to prepare and cook a full batch of pancakes. That’s pretty good if you ask me!
The Verdict – Are Pancakes Vegan-Friendly?
Although traditional American pancakes aren’t vegan, it’s simple and easy to make your own homemade vegan pancakes! They’re delicious, filling, and can also be embellished with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or your favorite dark chocolate chips.
Don’t forget to drizzle a bit of delicious maple syrup on top! Before you do that, though, be sure to read my guide on buying vegan-friendly maple syrup, so you don’t accidentally get a non-vegan maple syrup that’s made with animal fat.