Simple 100% Whole-Grain Gluten Free Pancakes

sourmilk (13)

photo by vsimon

I have played with many kinds of whole-grain gluten free flours over the years. Well, some are not technically called grains. By definition, grains contain 3 parts. The germ, where the baby seed is. The endosperm holds food for the developing seed. And the bran, a protective covering.

All grains are seeds, but not all seeds are grains. Some nutritious gluten free seeds are treated like grains in baking and cooking. Buckwheat and quinoa are examples. For our purposes here, I lump all these flours into the whole-grain category.


When I meet a new flour, I start by making pancakes. Just the one flour in a basic recipe so I can see how it behaves, note the taste and texture. Pancakes are popular, quick, easy, and not a huge investment of time, effort, or ingredients. It is a good place to start.

Basic recipe 

This recipe is adapted from Best Buckwheat Pancakes on The gluten is gone and a bunch of fat. It is xanthan and other gum free. It works with or without dairy.

Dairy free if need be

I am not a fan of commercial dairy substitutes. They are often thin, tasteless, or taste awful, and are expensive. I use fruit juice instead. Apple, apricot juice, or pineapple work well. The natural sugars in the juice may make the pancake brown quicker. Just watch them and turn down the griddle if it burns too fast.

Fruity Toppings

We serve our pancakes with loads of fruit sauce. Most often pureed raspberries from our garden because we have so many. I like to add walnuts and whipped cream to make these a filling meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A hit of dark chocolate chips doesn’t hurt either. You won’t be hungry in an hour.

Blueberries and real maple syrup are lovely too. Or cooked sliced apples and brown sugar. Cranberries and pears during the holidays are nice.  

100% Whole-grain Gluten Free Pancakes

Serves 2

2/3 cup whole-grain gluten free flour, see notes below

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sugar, optional

½ tsp salt, optional

1 cup buttermilk, soured milk, or juice

1 egg

2 tablespoons oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and soda. Add sugar and salt if desired.

In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk (or other liquid), egg, and oil.

Add liquid mixture to flour mixture, whisk until smooth.

Preheat and oil griddle. Ladle enough batter onto the griddle to make a 3-4” pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the surface. Flip and cook a few minutes more.

I put a cookie sheet in the oven and preheat my oven to about 200 degrees. The finished pancakes keep warm while I finish cooking the rest of the batter. Everyone can warmly eat at the same time.

Here is what I found about each flour.

Which I go back to over and over? And which one’s I don’t like?

Clink on the links to more info for some of the flours.

And I caution you to use only certified gluten free flours. Trisha Thompson did a study of naturally gluten free flours that were contaminated during processing. You will pay more, but can be assured of gluten freeness if the product is certified.

Amaranth is mild flavored and moist, unpleasantly gummy. I don’t use this for pancakes anymore. It works well as part of a crisp topping though.

Buckwheat gives a dark thin pancake. It is best with sugar and salt added. This is our go to pancake flour.

Corn Flour makes a thin pancake with good corn flavor. I have tried adding 1 tablespoon to the batter for more texture, but it was not noticeable. And some sprinkled on top is not noticeable either. You could try adding 3-4 tablespoons if you want some extra crunch.

Masa harina is made from corn treated in a solution of mineral lime water. This loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn, making the nutrient niacin more digestible. It comes in several grinds. Use finely ground masa harina for pancakes. It is beautifully yellow and has pleasant corn flavor. You will get a thick batter, but thinnish pancake.

Mesquite does not work. The flour has amazing flavor of cocoa and spice. But it thins out so much you cannot flip it. And it is so naturally sweet it burns. You do need to mix this one with another flour to be successful. Mixed 50-50 with brown rice flour works well. There is no need to add salt or sugar to batter.

Millet makes a light gold batter and a really tender and fluffy pancake. Adding 3 tablespoons whole millet gives a nice crunch.

Montina has pretty, thin brown flecks. This is one of my favorite flours too. I use 100% Montana flour, not the packaged blend.  You can make bigger pancakes because Montina is very high in soluble fiber and that helps it hold together. There is a shortage of Montina this year due to a small crop. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Oat flour is often heavy. I don’t use it for pancakes. Instead I reserve it for fruit crisps and the finest gluten free chocolate cake ever. See Beautiful, Gorgeous, Awesome, Gluten-Free, 100% Oat flour Chocolate Cake.

Quinoa flour can have a strong soapy flavor. I love quinoa grains, but not the flour. I don’t use it for pancakes.

Sorghum is lighter in color and mild in flavor, a good choice for those who don’t like dark pancakes. It is easily available and reasonably priced.

Teff is dark and delicious. I love this flour too, but it is pricy. It has a natural affinity with chocolate. I do too.

Timtana tastes grassy and needs lots of sweet and spice to hide the flavor. I don’t use it for pancakes, but did enjoy pumpkin muffins made with it.

Note: I use a different recipe for almond flour. It is adapted from Elena Amsterdam. I omit the vanilla extract, stevia, and arrowroot powder. But double the water. There are dairy free and delicious.



charcoal waffle ornament

Would you like some coal with that Christmas? photo by vsimon


I have gotten really good at making charcoal.

And become a danger in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked at the stove as I was reducing apple cider. There was a thick column of smoke leaving the pan. The pan and it’s contents  immediately went outside, leaving a trail of smoke behind me, stinking up the kitchen. The heavy stainless saucepan was salvaged later, with a lot of scrubbing.

Surprisingly, the smoke detector didn’t go off.

Today it was waffles. I am using up my formerly vast collection of gluten free whole-grain flours. These were going to be Quinoa Cocoa Waffles. But I had only a little of quinoa flour left, so I had to mix in the rest of the teff flour, and then some amaranth flour to get the necessary 1 cup measure.

I made 4 squares without incident. We put a chocolate chips into each well and kept them warm in the toaster oven. The bittersweet chocolate got all nice and melty. We slathered peanut butter over the liquid chocolate. It got all nice and melty too. Vince put some  maple syrup (real of course) on his waffle. I skipped it since I didn’t want the extra sweetness.

Meanwhile I put the remainder of the batter in the waffle maker and sat down to enjoy a lovely lunch while we watched FoodTV.

You can guess what happened.

Two shows and an hour later I got up to do the dishes. Darn, I could see that the waffle maker was still plugged in. There was only the faintest acrid smell. And I was afraid to open the lid for fear of another column of smoke. The ceiling is white, I’d like to keep it that way.

Inside was a nice piece of charcoal though. And I did check the smoke detector.


charcoal waffle photo by lsimon

And BTW, the other waffles were delicious.