Grain-, Gluten-, and Guilt-Free Pancakes | Chris Kresser
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Grain-, Gluten-, and Guilt-Free Pancakes

by Chris Kresser

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If you love pancakes but are on a gluten-free diet and are tired of eating pancakes that taste like cardboard and have a texture like hockey pucks, check out this recipe!

I’ve never been the kind of guy who insisted on eating only “breakfast food” for breakfast.

When I first switched to a Paleo-type diet, I wasn’t the one asking “But what do I eat for breakfast?” Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time in Asia and other countries abroad that have entirely different ideas about what to eat in the morning.

For example, in Indonesia a typical breakfast might have been some fish, vegetables, and rice. In Thailand it was much the same. Even here in the U.S., I’ve been known to eat everything from steak and potatoes to chicken bone-broth soup to yuca patties with sausage and sauerkraut.

Still, there are times when I just want some pancakes! And especially now that I have a young daughter, there’s just something about the Sunday morning ritual of pancakes and bacon that I didn’t want to give up entirely.

What I don’t want is to eat a lot of nutrient-poor wheat flour, or even gluten-free flour, and to feel like I need to take a nap after breakfast—which is often how I feel if I eat typical or grain-based gluten-free pancakes.

With this in mind, I’ve been experimenting over the years with several different pancake recipes. My criteria were:

  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • No sugar in the batter
  • Delicious
  • Fluffy, light texture
  • Kid-approved (even kids that aren’t on a gluten- or grain-free diet)
  • Easy to make

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve finally come to a recipe that meets all of the criteria above. My wife made them for our daughter’s preschool class and the kids gobbled them up and asked for more. These are kids that typically eat pancakes made from wheat flour, so that was high praise indeed!

What I love about these is that they are mostly plantains and eggs, with only a little bit of flour (cassava and tiger nut). That means that eating these pancakes is not much different from a nutritional perspective than eating scrambled eggs and sliced plantains. I still wouldn’t recommend eating these pancakes for breakfast every day, but there’s certainly no need to feel guilty about having them once a week!

Here’s the recipe. Note that we use the same batter to make waffles as well.

Chris’s Grain-, Gluten-, and Guilt-free Pancake & Waffle Batter


Ingredients

  • 2 large, unripe (as green as possible) plantains, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup cassava flour (Otto’s Naturals is a good brand)
  • ¼ cup tiger nut flour (Organic Gemini is a good brand)
  • 3 tbs oil (either olive oil or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

Add all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If batter is too thick, add ¼ to ½ cup additional almond milk. If too thin, add ⅛ to ¼ cup cassava flour.

Heat iron skillet or pancake griddle at medium temperature for 3 to 4 minutes. Brush skillet or griddle with oil (again, coconut or olive oil works well) and pour approximately ⅓ cup of batter for each pancake. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Optional: add blueberries or other fruit to the pancakes while they’re on the griddle, before flipping the first time.

Serve with butter, ghee, coconut oil, and either fresh fruit, maple syrup/honey, or both.

Makes approximately 8 large pancakes, or 8 to 10 waffles.

Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments section!

105 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. Hi Chris! This recipe looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it. I love baking with cassava flour. I noticed the comment about not eating paleo flours, such as almond, coconut, and cassava often, however, I find that they are easy ways for me to get more calorically-dense food in me as I am struggling to gain weight and find it hard to eat a lot because I fill up very fast. I also include a variety of nuts and seeds and nut butters, coconut oil and butter, fruits, and a lot of starchy vegetables in addition to some non-starchy vegetables in my diet. I also eat some legumes and pseudograins like quinoa. It seems like my body has a hard time digesting meat and I notice that it fills me up to the point where I wouldn’t be hungry the rest of the day, and therefore, would not be able to get the nutrition in that I need if I include it as a regular part of my diet. Foods that are broked down/cooked more just seem to agree with me better. Will this cause more problems for me down the road? I’ve never had any issues with blood sugar before, and like I said, I am trying to gain weight, but want to do so in a healthy way. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

  2. Bravo, Chris! My kids, 13 and 12, liked these–the first grain free pancakes they have ever liked. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  3. I finally got the weird (and expensive!) flours to make these. The flavor wasn’t so bad, but the texture is unbearable/inedible! I think it’s the tiger nut flour: it has little crunchy bits that feel like you’re eating sand. I bought the brand Chris recommended, and I blended it for a long time in my Viramix, but still icky. Oh well. You’ve been warned. Maybe next time I’ll just omit that and use all cassava flour instead.

  4. A nice and easy way to make your kids get more vegetable is to add vegetable powders to the pancakes. They become more of a meal insted of a “Cake” but the kids still think they taste good!

  5. I made this with a ripe banana and a very ripe plantain (that was what I had in the house). It was sweeter and I didn’t use as much maple syrup. I guess it doesn’t have nearly the same amount of resistant starch though…

  6. I do not like these pancakes. They remind me of a piece of bland whole wheat bread with the sides cut off. But keep posting new recipes. It’s fun trying something new.

  7. I have been reading the comments and the question was asked a few times but not addressed – “is there an egg replacement”. Does anyone have a suggestion for an egg replacement? Pancakes have been off our family’s list due to eggs, gluten and grains. It would be great if this could be a possibility with an egg replacement that can still allow a somewhat fluffy pancake.

    Thanks!

  8. I have been making something similar for a while. Except, I ferment the plantains first. So, I cut up 3 green plantains, and puree them with 1/2 cup water and let that batter sit on top of the fridge for 24-48 hours depending on house temperature. That creates an all purpose batter that I can store in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. I have never had it go bad, so I’m sure it’s longer than that.

    For pancakes, I beat up 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of the batter. I also add, but each one is optional, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp collagen powder (for added protein and I think it helps the texture), 1/2 tsp baking powder. You could add a sweetener, but I prefer to let each pancake eater sweeten it how they want on the plate. Then I thin it to the desired consistency with water or any type of milk. This also makes great crepes or waffles (for waffles, make it thicker and add 2 tbsp extra light olive oil.)

    If you don’t want eggs, you can just skip them. You could do some baking powder or baking soda and vinegar (just look up vegan egg substitutes). They will be thinner and rubbery, but still tasty.

    They don’t stick at all and hold together nicely. You can store them in the fridge, and just reheat in a pan with water. They are dry if not reheated, and can’t really be packed for lunch, etc.

    I also use this batter for cupcakes. It’s great as the binder for fish, etc. cakes, meatloaf, and latkes, too.

    I generally just make sure there’s always some batter in the fridge and can grab it to make something when I want. Very handy.

    • Becky, this is a great idea, to ferment the batter, and also to use it for fish, meatloaf, etc. thank you!

    • I am not clear on how you make the batter…is the batter you refer to just the fermented plantains mixed with water? Do you add the dry ingredients and eggs when ready to use?

      • Yes, the “batter” is the fermented plantains and water. I add other ingredients as necessary when I’m ready to cook.

    • I actually have now discovered that it’s easier and better to reheat in the toaster oven.

      Also, this works great with any legumes and grains (and combo of). I try to have them all be sprouted. You’d have to soak them for about 6 hours in a minimum of water to just get them wet, then grind. Most legumes will need a good bit of flavoring and salt. You can do savory flavorings like garam masala, onion, Old Bay, etc. The legumes (aside from chick peas) tend to make delicate pancakes, but eggs and/or rice and/or collagen will fix that.

  9. That is just what I am looking for! I have been a pancake monster and my kids love it also. We always have pancake every morning but I started to worry on how much guilt I am carrying whenever I eat pancake. Pancake topped with honey is just the best. I have been experimenting on this for about a month now. Sure, I found a lot of ways and alternative ingredients in making pancakes. They are, of course, very healthy and guilt-free but the taste just doesn’t impress me. I can still remember when I tried making pancakes out of green leafy veggies. Can you imagine that? My kids freaked out when they tasted it, so am I. That was indeed one big mess. Maybe there’s still a way of using green leafy veggies as ingredient but I’m just not gifted with the talent of turning it into some tasty pancake. Hopefully this recipe you shared would work at last.

  10. For those that don’t have cassava flour or tiger nut flour, as well as no coconut milk on hand–
    I did these mods to the recipe, with good results!

    -Sub Cassava Flour for 1/4cup+2tbsp coconut flour, and 1.5tbsp Corn Starch (not quite paleo, I know, but tis what I had on hand)

    -Sub Tiger Nut flour for equal parts Almond Meal

    -1/2 cup Cashew Milk, Add in 2 extra tsp Olive Oil to make up for loss of fat from sub
    (I used the initial 3tbsp melted coconut oil for main recipe)

    -Added 1 tbsp Flax Meal and 1 tbsp Wheat Germ

    About 2-3 on each side at medium heat did these great. I even had used frozen blueberries (thawed for 45 seconds in the microwave and drained) and unripe chiquita bananas.
    I initially heated my pan to medium high, then turned it down to medium after I dropped the first batch in the pan. They do definitely need to be watched a little for donenes.

    I hope this helps anyone trying to substitute for the less conventional ingredients. I’m planning on having arrowroot flour or tapioca starch to sub next time at the grocery store today

    • love your comment! I had researched for a bit for subs for those and ran out of time. Subscribed to these comments in case someone else came up with my answer. And you did! Thank you!

  11. I make pancakes with buckwheat flour, eggs and milk, you could use almond milk, no faffing around with all those other ingredients, kids love them

  12. I believe this is helping of lot of people this diet but I believe it’s the toxins in flour and sugar etc that are making people sick. In particular sulfites, chlorine, etc.

    Good on you all for sharing because it is in sharing that the truth will come out. Like the story of the loaves and the fishes if no one shared there would be no miracle.

    • I totally agree! First, I thought I was gluten intolerant, but then I realized that when I am back in Europe, I hardly have any symptoms! Then I hear that here in the US they soak grains in Roundup right before the harvest! It’s the quality of the grains I believe, not the grains themselves. I grew up in the Netherlands, with bread for breakfast and lunch, never had a problem, until I moved to the US!

  13. Hi all. We use fully rippened plantain, tastes sweet but doesn’t require any more insulin for my diabetic wife than if she used green plantain.
    Are there any detrimental reasons To using ripe plantain if it doesn’t spike her blood glucose?
    We also fry slices of plantain in coconut oil
    Thks alfred

  14. Why did you say people shouldn’t eat them every day?

    I use Paleo Mom’s very similar recipe and eat a small serving every day as part of my breakfast (along with meat, egg yolks, and fresh fruit). It’s a simple, quick, and satisfying meal.

    • If they are part of a nutrient-dense breakfast, it would be fine to have a small amount every day. But if you/kids are only eating the pancakes, and having them with syrup or honey, and not eating meat/higher protein foods or fruit/vegetables with them, then I would not suggest eating every day because there are more nutrient-dense meals that could be consumed.

    • Yes, same question. Why not eat the pancakes daily or two or three times a week. The recipe is simple thank you, pancakes are delicious – one of my favorite food. D

  15. Cassava flour has a very high glycemic index. These pancakes may be good if you need a gluten-free alternative, but from a paleo/carb/glycemic standpoint, you might as well eat regular pancakes.

  16. You only need two ingredients for perfect paleo pancakes – just blend one banana (green or ripe) with one egg and fry in small patties. A tablespoon of nut butter and cinnamon/berries can also be added if desired

      • Tim
        Thanks. I when to the link you gave. I have been cutting the same way you do but I’ve gone further and scored the plantain quarters while still in the skin and then was prying each chunk out. Very tedious. I’ll try “rolling” the quarter out instead of cutting further.
        Nice website. I’ll take a further look at what you are up to.

    • I gind it easier to get a smooth consistency when I cook the plantains before blending. Just trim off the ends and put them into a big pot of boiling water. Remove when you can easily put a knife through the plantain. When you take them out let them cool for a bit and then the peel falls right off.

    • First of all, don’t put them in the fridge once you get them home. If so, you can pretty much forget peeling them, except with a knife. I’ve had good luck with cutting the ends off, scoring them lengthwise once (or twice on opposite sides for really tough ones) and getting the end started with the end of a spoon, then just peeling it off with the sides of my thumbs. I try not to use my thumbnails or they are sore for a few days.

    • First of all, less, sugar, but for the pancake, if they’re very green, you get a thick delicious one, but the more ripe they are the more they spread out in the pan and the harder they are to turn over. I add a little stevia to the batter.

    • That would be so that you are getting a starchy food and not a sugary one. The starches in plantains convert rapidly to sugar as they turn yellow. Pancakes require a starchy base.

      There’s a company called WEDO Gluten Free that makes a nice green banana flour, and I hear it has recently been changed to carry an organic label. A good alternative if you don’t want top bother with peeling plantains.

  17. Just an FYI for anyone who may be Celiac or just sensitive to gluten…..one of the most common cross-reactivity foods is tapioca… derived from cassava root . A Cyrex array can confirm this sensitivity.

  18. hi Chris, which almond milk do you use or generally prefer? .. most of them have “natural flavors” (MSG?).. and other additives – thanks!

  19. Hey Chris-

    Why the plaintains instead of bananas? I enjoy banana and egg pancakes Just fine. Am I missing something by not using plaintains?

    Karin D.
    Mountain View, CA

  20. Instead of the flour I use about 3/4 cup of almond pulp from my almond milk. It’s true I have to cook them a bit longer- 5 minutes on each side- to get a texture that is satisfying. However they turn out great.
    2 green plantains, 4 eggs, 3/4 cup almond pulp, little salt, vanilla, baking soda. I also like cinnamon and ground cardamon. I usually have to thin the batter a bit with almond milk or water.

  21. Birch Bender’s makes a great Paleo Pancake mix and you just add water. I cook so much from scratch it’s nice to have something like this that tastes great. I’ve learned to cook them on medium low and for a decent amount of time so they are firm and not mushy in the middle. All 3 of my young kids love them…they are sweetened with monk fruit so you don’t even need to add syrup if you are watching the sugars. Just some grass-fed butter!

  22. It seems like a very good recipe, however I still can’t have eggs. What is a good substitute for eggs?

  23. It looks like a great recipe. Sadly, my body is highly reactive to eggs and bananas (in spite of the fact that i LOVE both of these foods) so I avoid them experience inflammation and gastric distress. I am also sensitive to almonds but can replace with another nut flour.

  24. Chris, I just joined your mailing list because I discovered your cure for GERD. After FIVE YEARS of taking Prilosec, and still having to eat Tums in the middle of the night, I’ve been Prilosec-free for 10 days now. I cannot express how much I appreciate your free guide. I look forward to more recipes and health tips. THANK YOU!!!!

  25. This is pretty much a take on Paleo Mum’s perfect paleo pancakes just with extra flour and almond milk. The other way I mix it up is using one green plantain and one that’s just turning yellow (without the black bits) which is just very slightly sweeter – when blended it makes the mix runnier so I add a cup of coconut flour. I then pour in frozen blueberries and frozen sour cherries and make a deep pancake that looks like a pizza. Total heaven, and a weekend ritual.

  26. My pancake recipe is:
    1 banana & 2 eggs per person
    For up to 4 people (4 bananas, 8 eggs) 1/2 ripe avocado (must be soft) and 1 T of any nut butter
    Cinnamon and other spices to your liking.

    Mix in blender and cook in your favorite fat.

    Even my husband who balks at all our Paleo or GAPS foods loves them. My daughter eats them plain.

  27. This may seem like a daft question but I find it really difficult to peel green plantains – how do you do it? I find that when they’re green the skins adhere to the flesh strongly.
    Thanks!

  28. Chris,

    Have you managed to make any without nut ingredients. We’ve got anaphylactic nut allergies in our family. I have not yet been able to find a recipe that tastes good!

  29. This recipe looks great, but it does contain almond milk. My daughter is highly allergic to all nuts, and I always assumed almond milk wouldn’t be allowed for her, am I wrong about that? Is almond milk ok for people who are allergic to nuts? And what is a Tiger Nut?

  30. I make Plantain Pancakes all the time! My recipe, however, does not use all those additional flours, nor any kind of milk; One green plantain, two eggs, 1.5 TBSP coconut oil, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vanilla, dash of salt, 1 tbsp honey (optional, but without the honey, they taste a little odd). mix in a blender, cook like regular flour pancakes. Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit. This recipe makes 3 restaurant-sized pancakes.

    • My favorite has 3 ingredients: for each person 1 banana to 2 eggs plus cinnamon. Cook in coconut oil.

    • I used to make with only plantains, and still often do, but found the cassava and tiger nut flour add a desirable texture.

    • I use a very similar recipe, but I live alone and one pancake is very big and filling for me so I put in my vitamix:

      1/2 very green plantain
      1 egg,
      pinch salt
      About 1/4 tsp. baking soda
      About 1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
      A few drops of stevia.
      Blend til smooth and cook on med. heat in lots of homemade grass fed ghee.
      Top with chopped mango or other fruit of your choice and a little maple syrup or honey.

      I’m lucky, I live in Mexico and green plantains are easier to find…mangoes, too!
      I’ve learned to buy a few plantains when I find them, cut them in quarters so they’re easier to peel, then freeze them until I need them. Better to thaw them before you blend them.

  31. Hi, Do you know the protein to carb ratio of these? I actually need to make sure I get enough carbs due to adrenal fatigue. Thanks!

    • Not sure, but you could go to NutritionData.com or MyFitnessPal.com and input the ingredients and find out. If you do, please post the results back here!

      • I don’t think that web nutrient references are going to tell the whole tale. Heating the raw plantains is at some likelihood of converting their resistant starch to available.

        Anyone concerned about net carbs on these (and I would be) probably needs to check actual blood sugar response once or twice. No_rise=no_problem.

  32. Chris , it’s nut’s the nonsense out there today there is no truth as a great man of God predicted for our modern times Isa 59 : 15 Niv bible .Carbs are the body’s main source of fuel not protein or fat , this a scientific fact . You want to eat bread and pasta and potatoes , not red meat or pork .

    And you have to eat carbs [ bread] with protein [ fish] or you eventually go into Ketosis [ an acidic blood Ph ] which is bad .

    The Paleo diet is terrible, and everyone is following it to their destruction , unbelievable .

    • You might want to read the following study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2129159/ which includes the statement, “In ketosis, the blood pH remains buffered within normal limits.” As well as, “During very low carbohydrate intake, the regulated and controlled production of ketone bodies causes a harmless physiological state known as dietary ketosis….. the effects of ketone body metabolism suggest that mild ketosis may offer therapeutic potential in a variety of different common and rare disease states. “

    • Perhaps your time is better spent on a different website more aligned to your beliefs. Take care

    • So why quote the bible and scientific fact? There’s an oxymoron! Oh and yes I will stick with paleo since it has given me my health back (I ate a very clean, but high carb diet before).

      • What your missing or don’t know is that there are a lot of Scientists that are Christian. Science is the study of God and how everything was created.

      • There was once a controlled trial and the conclusion was:

        “If an animal has hooves that are split into two parts, and if that animal also chews the cud, then you may eat the meat from that animal. Some animals chew the cud, but they don’t have split hooves. Don’t eat these animals. Camels, rock badgers, and rabbits are like that, so they are unclean for you.”

        But we can cherry pick passages from this study all day long and make it say whatever we want!

      • Ever heard of the genetic fallacy? You just committed one. All ideas should be evaluated for their truth content, regardless of the source.

    • The beauty of these is that they are not only grain- and gluten-free, they are also nut free. Nothing wrong with nuts, but many people can’t tolerate them.

      I personally don’t love the texture of almond flour, and prefer these pancakes for that reason.

  33. Hi, This sounds pretty good.
    So would coconut flour or almond work with this? That is what is available to me at time.

    • yes. I’ve used other nut flours and coconut flour. The texture varies slightly. I think the trick is to cook them long enough.

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