Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes (low-carb, gluten-free)

Much like pizza, pancakes are one of those things that dieters, even low-carb dieters, refuse to give up. There are alternative pancake recipes all over the web, and I've probably made them all. Ultimately, this is what I've settled on as the most realistic alternative. It is based on coconut flour (which I briefly wrote about here) and uses whipped egg whites to create lift and fluffiness. I served these with a homemade blackberry compote, which I made by following these instructions except I substituted blackberries for raspberries and cut back on the sweetener.

Serves 2

  • 2 eggs, separated (make sure not to get any drops of yolk in the white)
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites or egg substitute (or 4 fresh egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup almond milk + 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs unflavored or vanilla protein powder 
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (use a finely-milled brand such as Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of cinnamon (optional)
  • Sweetener to taste if using unsweetened protein powder (optional; I used a packet of stevia)
  • Butter or oil for greasing the pan
  1. Beat the egg whites that came from the whole eggs with a big pinch of salt. Use an electric mixer with whisk attachment to beat the whites until they reach soft peaks. Set aside.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, egg yolks, liquid egg whites, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl and whisk well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, protein powder, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter mixture, being careful not to deflate the whites (here is a video that shows the procedure for folding egg whites).
  4. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-low. For each pancake, spray lightly with oil or grease with a bit of butter. Pour a quarter cup of batter into the skillet, shaking lightly to distribute batter (it will be slightly mounded up due to the beaten egg whites). Cook until bubbles are visible on top, then flip the pancake over and cook until the other side is golden brown. Serve immediately.


ilovefetacheese said...


Erica said...

Let me know if you do...whipping the egg whites is totally the key!

Anna said...

you master you!!! i love love love it, aha! whipped whites and buttermilk! boom boom, ah! :-D

Erica said...

@Anna I'm on a huge buttermilk kick lately!

Andy said...

Just curious if you can answer a question for me...I've been making choc pudding (out of a package...I know, not the best choice) using almond milk instead of milk. It doesn't set well and after reading this pancake recipe, I was curious if adding lemon juice would help. Not sure how the food chemistry works but hoped you might know. Thanks and love the blog!

Anonymous said...

How many pancakes does this make? I usually make a lot and freeze them. Also do you think I could add oatmeal and bluberries? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Love! Very good! Greased pan with coconut oil though - made them especially tasty. 2 packets of splenda did the trick. Used almond milk and 1.5 tsp of vinegar.

Belenda said...

I have made so many of your recipes and love all of them. Except these. I doubt it's the recipe either - it's me - wanting the dense, spongy taste of my old buttermilk pancakes. One of the things I so miss about low carb. These were egg whitey, which I'm sure is the "fluffy" part of the recipe. I guess that's it...they are just too fluffy with no umphhh. On the other hand, the syrup and oopsie roll french toast is dead on for me - two thumbs up on that one. Which is weird because it's egg whites too. I swear - it's just me today (wanting real pancakes)....

Erica said...

@Belenda: No worries! I agree that gluten-free pancakes -- especially grain-free -- will never quite live up to the chewy, fluffy wheat kind. I have had some good luck using beef protein isolate as the protein powder in the recipe, as the collagen lends chewiness. I buy it unflavored and unsweetened from

Jaime said...

I just had to share that I just made these for my breakfast, and I'm impressed. I subbed coconut milk for the buttermilk and used cinnamon roll protein powder. I halved the recipe because I was just cooking for myself, and it made the perfect amount. The pancakes themselves had the perfect fluffiness I've been lacking from "healthy" pancakes. They even cooked up awesome! Also, reading the comments, I investigated this "Oopsie Roll French Toast", and I'm excited at the prospect. Now to find lactose free cream cheese... Thanks!

Collette Lezama said...

Hi there, the cinnamon protein powder that you use, does it have wheat and gluten? Also, what brand are you using if it is paleo friendly? Thanks, C

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