Everyone loves pancakes, but I wanted to recreate that fluffy restaurant texture at home with real food ingredients. That’s why I came up with this whole-wheat pancake recipe using buttermilk—it’s so good you’ll hardly believe these pancakes are made from whole grains and natural ingredients.
These whole wheat pancakes are rich and fluffy—perfect for a weekend brunch. Or make them ahead and freeze for a quick, healthy breakfast that’s great for busy mornings.
What is buttermilk?
Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that sure does make food taste good! I love it in biscuits and salad dressings and am always looking for ways to use what’s left when I buy it for only one recipe. True buttermilk should be thick like yogurt and adds a nice texture to pancakes. Feel free to fold in your favorite berry (or banana) to this recipe and no matter what, don’t forget to top it off with fresh fruit!
What’s your favorite way to use buttermilk?
Can you substitute milk for buttermilk in pancakes?
Yes, you can! The end result won’t be exactly the same, but it will definitely work. I’d be willing to bet any type of milk (including dairy alternatives) would be just fine in this recipe—there seem to be so many alternatives to choose from these days. So if you’re in a pinch, I say go for it! And let me know how they turn out. :)
You can also make your own buttermilk alternative! Just add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1-cup measuring cup. Then fill the cup up the rest of the way with milk. Give it a mix, and then let it stand for about 5 minutes. Since this whole wheat pancake recipe calls for two cups of buttermilk you’ll have to do this twice (or double it in a larger container), but it works great!
Tips for making this homemade buttermilk pancake recipe with whole wheat flour
Whole wheat flour is substituted for white flour at a 1:1 ratio in recipes. You then make whole wheat pancakes the same as any other pancake recipe … simply stir, pour, cook, flip, and eat! The main difference is that whole-wheat pancakes are naturally a little darker so be careful when judging the doneness.
Just make sure your pan isn’t too hot and you flip them when the batter bubbles to keep your pancakes from burning.
I don’t have whole-wheat pastry flour, what can I substitute for buttermilk pancakes?
Any regular whole wheat flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour. The pastry flour is milled from a lighter wheat making it softer in recipes like pancakes. If you don’t normally like whole-grain recipes but haven’t tried baking with whole-wheat pastry flour, I strongly recommend giving it a try! You can order it online, or if you can’t get some I recommend at least trying white whole-wheat flour instead (which is still 100% whole-grain).
Healthy alternatives to sugar for baking (and pancakes!)
If you haven’t already noticed, this recipe calls for honey instead of sugar. Honey is one of my favorite swaps because it’s a more natural alternative to refined sugars.
For something a little less sweet, homemade applesauce will also work in this recipe; replace it one for one. Berry sauce is also delicious if you want a fruity flavor. (It also makes a great pancake topping!)
Finally, one trick I love is just adding some pure maple syrup in place of sugar. It’s good in most recipes, but it’s a perfect fit as a sugar alternative for homemade pancakes since you’re likely serving them with a little on top!
Troubleshooting homemade whole wheat buttermilk pancakes
How do I get fluffy pancakes?
Let your ingredients warm up to room temperature before starting—this helps your pancakes be light and fluffy. You can also pre-whip the eggs before adding them to the mixture and sift your dry ingredients so there’s more air in the recipe.
Why are my homemade pancakes rubbery?
You probably overmixed the batter. Mix your pancakes by hand until the ingredients are combined, but not overmixed. It’s OK if there are some lumps in the batter.
Help! The butter is burning in my pan, how do I stop it?
Turn down the heat or add a small amount of oil to the pan with the butter.