What’s better than a hot, warm stack of pancakes to start the day off with? A favorite of adults and kids alike, nothing says cozy like a fresh batch of pancakes, preferably with a couple hot cups of coffee (of course, the coffee’s not for the kiddos!) Coffee or not, if you’re tired of your bowl of typical bowl of oatmeal or cereal, protein pancakes are a delicious treat to enjoy that is a bit more healthful than pancakes made with refined white flour, butter, eggs, and milk.
What Are Protein Pancakes?
Protein pancakes have taken over the health food world the last couple of years. If you’re not familiar with protein pancakes, they are basically a healthier version of pancakes that uses a higher protein source in place of higher calorie or starchy sources of carbohydrates, but that cook up with the same fluffy consistency. Omnivores and some vegetarians use eggs with combinations of either brown rice flour, coconut (which is naturally high in protein), or almond flour, and some people even use whole oats or protein powder in replacement to flour. Or, simplistic individuals may simply opt for a banana and egg, commonly referred to as Two Ingredient Protein Pancakes. The principle of protein pancakes is to make them more filling than typical pancakes and also healthier at the same time. But obviously, we don’t need eggs to do that, now do we?
Why You Don’t Need Eggs to Make Them
Protein pancakes are, as you can imagine, very popular with bodybuilders, fitness buffs, and health food nuts everywhere, which is likely how eggs came into the equation. However, they don’t have to be made with eggs at all, despite the myth that eggs are the only binding agent available or the best protein source. Like any baking recipe that you use a vegan replacement for, pancakes are no different. Considering all the wonderful substitutions available for eggs in a recipe, you have many different options to choose from.
Optimize Special Ingredients to Replace Eggs (and Even Flour)
Though you can use egg replacement powders in some recipes, I don’t suggest them in protein pancakes as they seem to be a bit drying in nature and don’t add that moist, fluffiness you’ll get from whole food alternatives. I also suggest trying out different plant-based protein powders in place of flour. This won’t only ramp up the protein content, but also help keep you fuller as well. Some of these, such as hemp protein, are especially fiber-rich and nutty, so they’ll work even better towards binding your recipes together and adding a viscous texture. This is perfect to replace gluten flours such as all-purpose flour, (which typically contain wheat or other glutinous ingredients) to make your pancakes thicker.
Top 5 Easiest Egg Replacers:
Here are five ingredients that work perfectly to replace eggs in your protein pancake recipe. Try a few options out until you find one that you enjoy, and check out the recipe below to get you started!
1. Mashed Banana
A common replacement for eggs in baked goods, such as cookies and breads, is mashed bananas. They’re so often used since they offer a natural binding texture to recipes, perfect for protein pancakes. Use 1/4 mashed banana in place of each egg in any protein pancake recipe you may find.
2. Canned Pumpkin
A delicious egg replacement, is of course, the wonderful superfood, pumpkin! If you’re not tired of pumpkin yet, then use it in your protein pancakes ASAP! It’s completely delicious and so easy to use. Include 2 tablespoons pureed pumpkin in place of each egg in your recipe.
3. Apple Butter
Applesauce is often used to replace eggs in baking recipes, but since apple butter is a little bit thicker, it makes a much better substitute in pancakes. Go with plain apple butters, instead of those that include excess sugar (which negates the health profile protein pancakes have to offer.) Using apple butter gives your protein pancakes a deliciously sweet taste, all without the need for sugar whatsoever. Use 2 tablespoons apple butter per egg called for in your recipe.
4. Chia Seeds or Chia Flour
Chia seeds or chia flour (ground chia seeds) are one of the best ingredients to use for a couple reasons. First, they replace eggs perfectly, and two, they can even replace some of the flour in a typical pancake recipe. Use chia flour to replace flour and eggs, and chia seeds to replace eggs alone. For example, if you’re looking to replace 1/3 cup flour and 1 egg in a recipe, use 1/3 cup chia flour (also known as milled chia or chia bran) instead, and 1/3 cup water or non-dairy milk. Because the chia is ground here, it offers many binding properties, it takes care of the flour and egg all in one. Use one tablespoon of chia seeds combined with 3 tablespoons of liquid, for each egg called for. Because the whole seeds aren’t quite as binding as the flour form, they will replace eggs beautifully, but not both flour and eggs.
5. Flax Meal
Ground flax, also known as flax meal, is a great replacement to eggs and flour in your recipes as well. They’re also much easier and tastier to use in pancakes since the whole seeds are a little gummy on their own. Ground flax can be used as a direct replacement to flour in whatever recipe you use and you can eliminate the eggs altogether since flax is a natural egg replacement. Use equal amounts of ground flax and liquid in your recipe, or even opt for a mashed banana, pumpkin, or apple butter in place of the liquid to make them extra thick and creamy. There are some other options you can also use, as you’ll see below. Now, it’s time to decide how you’ll make your pancakes. Below are three categories that you’ll need for your recipe. Choose one ingredient from each category to make your pancakes and feel free to switch out different ingredients depending on what items you prefer. Experiment with them all to see which ones you like the most!
- Plant-Based Protein Powders (such as hemp, brown rice, pea protein, or a protein blend)
- Coconut Flour (or grind your own unsweetened shredded coconut to make your own)
- Flax Meal (Ground Flax)
- Chia Flour (Milled Chia)
- Almond Flour
- Rolled Oats (which may reduce the need for some eggs as well)
- Oat Flour
- Chia Flour (equal amounts of flour called for, which will also replace the egg(s) in the recipe)
- Psyllium Husk Powder (makes an awesome grain-free thickener)- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon of water = 1 egg
- Chia Seeds +3 Tablespoons water = 1 egg
- Mashed Banana (1/4) = 1 egg
- Apple Butter – 2 Tablespoons = 1 egg
- Non-dairy yogurt- 2 Tablespoons = 1 egg
- Pureed Pumpkin – 2 tablespoons = 1 egg
- Nut Butter– 2 tablespoons = 1 egg
- Pureed Carrots, Butternut Squash, or Prunes (1/4 cup = 1 egg)
- Pureed Dates or Raisins (1/4 cup= 1 egg)
- pureed silken tofu (1/4 cup = 1 egg)
- Non-dairy milk
- Chilled Coffee
- Non-dairy kefir (to replace buttermilk)
- Non-dairy yogurt (which will make your pancakes extra thick, though you may need to add a bit of water or non-dairy milk to thin it out)
You can combine these in several different ways, depending on the recipe you’re going for. You can also include some add-in’s, which include:
- Berries (blueberries are great)
- Chopped apple pieces
- Spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, etc.
- Vanilla extract (highly recommended)
- A healthy sweetener, like stevia, if not using a banana or other sweet fruit
- Vegan chocolate chips (for those Saturday morning indulgences)
- Coconut shreds
- Cocoa powder (which you could also use as a flour replacement
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to protein pancakes. Here’s a sample recipe to get you started:
Basic Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan Vanilla Bean Protein Pancakes
- 1/3 cup coconut flour (or use 1/3 cup plant protein powder if you don’t like coconut flour)
- 1/3 cup ground flax seeds (or you can use oats, almond flour,
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (to make them fluffy)
- 1/3 cup water or non-dairy yogurt or kefir to make them creamier
- 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin, 1/2 a mashed banana, or 1/4 cup apple butter (= 2 eggs)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or better yet, use 1/2 tablespoon ground vanilla bean powder
- spices of your choosing: cinnamon is nice here, along with ginger and cardamom
- touch of sweetener, such as 1-2 packets of stevia or 1/2 teaspoons liquid stevia
- Mix the flours or protein powder, ground flax, and baking soda together. Stir and add any spices like cinnamon, along with powdered stevia packets if using.
- Next, add the milk, yogurt or kefir if using (or water), pureed fruit, and vanilla extract to your blender or even a food processor. Blend or process. Optionally, you could just combine them in a bowl and use a hand mixer.
- Add the dry ingredients to your blended wet ingredients and stir until no more lumps can be found.
- Coat a skillet with some coconut oil, non-stick spray, or use a non-stick skillet or griddle. Turn on medium-high heat.
Using two tablespoons of the batter at a time, dollop the mixture out onto the skillet or griddle. Allow it to cook until the bottom edges start to turn golden brown. Carefully flip and cook for one more minute on the other side. Remove, put on a plate to cool, and repeat until there is no more batter. 6. Top with your favorite jam (such as blueberry, raspberry, etc.), some maple syrup, or for a lower sugar alternative, try xylitol-sweetened maple syrup.
This recipe makes enough for 4 small pancakes. Half, double, or even triple it, depending on how many pancakes you want to make. You can also keep these in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag, for on the go breakfasts, snacks, or alternatives to bread for a sandwich.* To get creative, check out some of our favorite pancake recipes and try making them into protein pancakes by subsituting the flour with a higher protein source. Also, try out our delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Protein Pancakes as another option. Not a pancake fan? Turn this recipe into waffles instead by just pouring the batter in your waffle maker!
Comment below if you have any other favorite protein pancake ingredients so we can all try out your ideas too! Happy protein pancake making!
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Lead Image Source: Chocolate Chip Cookie Protein Pancakes Other Image Source: Heather McClees