Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes {dairy-free option}

These gluten-free pancakes get nutty flavor from whole-grain sorghum flour, tangy buttermilk, and a splash of vanilla. With tender, fluffy middles and crispy edges, these pancakes are easy to whip up for breakfast or brunch. See the recipe for dairy-free, vegan, blueberry, and other options. 

Stack of Gluten Free Pancakes

I’ve been working to develop the perfect gluten-free pancake recipe for two years (!) After making (and eating) batch after batch, making tiny tweaks each time, I’m finally 100% happy with the recipe. I’m so excited to finally share my favorite gluten-free pancakes with you!

I’ve been making a double batch of these on Sundays, and then storing the extras in the fridge for a quick breakfast during the rest of the week. They make a nourishing canvas for all of the amazing late-summer fruit in season right now.

Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe - close-up with seasonal fruit

The Quest for the Best Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe

This recipe began with one that I found on Food52 back in 2016 for extra-fluffy buttermilk pancakes. The trick, they said, was to separate the egg and stir in the egg white at the end. I was skeptical, but I swapped in gluten-free flours and took the recipe for a spin. I wasn’t sure the technique would work with gluten-free flours. But the resulting pancakes were DELICIOUS – largely thanks to a whopping 10 tablespoons of butter!

I wiggled ingredients up and down to make the recipe work gluten-free as well as it could. Not that I have anything against butter, but even I couldn’t pour quite so much into breakfast, so I took the butter down by 40%. And when I was happy with the results, I tried a batch with and without the egg separated. Turns out I couldn’t detect a difference after all!

But these pancakes cook up thick and fluffy regardless. Their outsides are crisped in ghee, the centers are tender and delicate, and the salty/sweet levels make these gluten-free pancakes super flavorful.

Ingredients for gluten-free pancake recipe

Making batter for Gluten Free Pancake Recipe

Healthier Gluten-Free Pancakes with Sorghum Flour

These gluten-free pancakes taste similar to a classic pancake recipe – mild, slightly sweet, and with a bit of tang from buttermilk. But they’re a bit healthier than most.

These pancakes get whole-grain goodness from sorghum flour, which is high in antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. Sweet rice flour holds them together, meaning they don’t need any xanthan gum or starch. They’re sweetened with maple syrup and free of refined sugar. They get protein from sorghum flour, egg, and buttermilk, helping you feel satisfied long after breakfast.

I like to top a small serving of pancakes with a pile of fresh fruit, a scoop of Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of hemp seed and maple syrup. This balances the decadence of pancakes with nutritious components I can feel good about eating anytime.

Making batter for Gluten Free Pancake

Stirring in butter for Gluten Free Pancake batter

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Pancakes

Many gluten-free pancake recipes start with a premade gluten-free all-purpose flour or pancake mixes. But I prefer creating my own flour blends for each specific recipe. This allows us to:

  1. experience the unique tastes and textures of gluten-free flours
  2. minimize and/or eliminate gums and starches
  3. skip the search for a specific flour brand
  4. avoid making a mega batch of flour mix that you may or may not like

Just two flours are needed for this gluten-free pancake recipe, plus a handful of other ingredients:

  • Sorghum flour makes up the majority of this recipe. In addition to sorghum flour’s health benefits listed above, it boasts a mild, nutty flavor that reminds me of Cream of Wheat.
  • Sweet rice flour a.k.a. glutinous rice flour is made from a sticky type of rice and helps these pancakes hold together without any additional starches or gums.
  • Maple syrup sweetens these pancakes, making the recipe free of refined sugar. You can also use sorghum syrup if you happen to have any on-hand for some double sorghum action.
  • Buttermilk moistens the batter and adds a bit of tang and tenderness. If you don’t have any on hand you can thin yogurt with milk.
  • Egg adds proteins that help fluff up the batter as the pancakes cook and create structure.
  • Baking soda promotes spreading and browning.
  • Baking powder helps the batter rise.
  • Salt sharpens the flavors.
  • Vanilla adds sweet, floral complexity.
  • Butter adds richness and promotes browning.

Thick batter for Gluten Free Pancake Recipe

How to Make Gluten-Free Pancakes

This recipe is super simple to make, with a few mixing tricks turning out the fluffiest pancakes.

  • First, whisk or sift together the dry ingredients: flours, leavening, and salt. I like to sift because my leavening is always clumpy and I shudder at the thought of biting into a chunk of baking powder or soda. [Insert scream emoji]
  • Next, gently whisk together the wet ingredients except for the butter: buttermilk, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla. Try not to over whisk the egg; keeping the proteins in the white in tact help fluff up the pancakes.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir a few times until they’re halfway combined: about 8-10 stirs.
  • Add the butter and stir until just combined and no flour or butter streaks remained. You want the batter thick and lumpy for the fluffiest cakes.
  • While the batter sits for a few minutes getting extra thick, heat a wide skillet or griddle over medium heat. These pancakes like to cook low and slow, so decrease the heat to medium-low or low once the pan is hot.
  • I prefer ghee for cooking pancakes because it has a super high smoke point, but another high-heat cooking oil will work too. Coat the pan with a thin film of ghee or oil. Drop scoops of batter into the oil and cook until the bottoms brown. Flip gently to keep them as fluffy as possible and cook until golden on the second side and cooked through.

Pouring maple syrup on Gluten Free Pancakes

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pancakes

These gluten-free pancakes can easily be made dairy-free too. Just swap out the butter for plant butter (I like Miyoko’s Creamery best). In place of the buttermilk, use a plant yogurt (I like Forager cashew yogurt) thinned with plant milk (I prefer fresh almond milk or oat milk). See the recipe notes for measurements!

I haven’t tried making these vegan yet, but I plan to give these a go with the above substitutions, and aquafaba or Just Egg in place of the egg. I’ll update the recipe notes when I do!

Gluten Free Pancakes on a plate

Buttermilk Substitutes

I don’t recommend using the lemon juice + milk trick here as the result is not as thick as buttermilk and will produce thinner cakes. Instead, thin yogurt with milk until it’s the consistency of heavy cream or buttermilk. You can use a European-style yogurt, which you won’t need to thin as much. Or start with a thick Greek yogurt and add extra milk.

Gluten Free Pancakes for breakfast

Substitutes for Sweet Rice Flour and Sorghum Flour

Look for both of these flours with other gluten-free flours at health food stores or order them directly from Bob’s Red Mill. Sweet rice flour aka glutinous rice flour can often be found at Asian markets.

In place of sweet rice flour, you can use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. This is based on sweet rice flour. Or try regular rice flour mixed with a small amount of tapioca flour.

In place of sorghum flour, use an equal amount of oat, teff, or buckwheat flour – measure by weight for the best results as all of these flours weigh differently. Be sure your flours are certified gluten-free if you’re highly sensitive.

How to Make Uniformly-Sized Pancakes

I like to use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to easily scoop my batter into the pan in equal-sized globs. It makes quick work, plus it’s tidy, and it ensures pancakes that are the same size. I used a heaping #24 scoop to make these.

Gluten-Free Pancake Bliss

Top these pancakes with your favorite seasonal fruit: berries in the spring, stone fruit in the summer, sauteed pears or apples in the fall, and citrus in the winter. I prefer a scoop of yogurt on my pancakes since there’s enough butter in there already. A flurry of hemp seed makes a pretty finish. And don’t forget the maple syrup.

Gluten Free Pancakes with yogurt, syrup, and hemp seed

Looking for more gluten-free pancake recipes or waffle recipes? Try these:

Got extra buttermilk? Try these recipes:

Got extra sorghum flour? Try these recipes:

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free pancake recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

pouring maple syrup over a stack of gluten-free buttermilk pancakes
5 from 2 votes

Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes with Sorghum Flour & Buttermilk {dairy-free option}

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Start your day off right with these nourishing pancakes! They're crispy on the outside with fluffy, tender middles redolent with the flavor of nutty sorghum flour. See the variations below for dietary substitutions and other options.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 3 servings

Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • ¾ cup (90 g) sorghum flour
  • ½ cup (75 g) sweet white rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (235 ml) well-shaken buttermilk (add 2-4 more tablespoons if you want more thin, crisp pancakes)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) butter, melted
  • ghee or neutral high-heat vegetable oil (such as sunflower), for cooking

For serving:

  • maple syrup
  • seasonal fruit
  • Greek yogurt
  • hemp seed

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the sorghum and sweet rice flours with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a measuring pitcher or bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and quickly stir with a flexible spatula until halfway combined; 8 to 10 strokes. Pour in the melted butter and quickly but gently mix until the batter is just combined and no butter or flour streaks remain. Some lumps are ok. Take care not to overmix the batter or it will become thin and the pancakes will cook up flatter and more tough.
  • Set the batter aside for a minute or two to thicken. Meanwhile, preheat a wide skillet or griddle over medium heat. I prefer well-seasoned cast iron or ceramic nonstick. When the pan is hot, lower to medium-low or low.
  • Coat the hot pan with a thin layer of ghee or oil. Drop the batter by ¼ - 1/3 cups into the hot oil. Cook on the first side until the bottoms are golden, 2-3 minutes. Gently flip, taking care not to deflate the pancakes. Cook on the second side until the bottoms are golden, 2-3 more minutes.
  • Remove the pancakes to a wire rack. When you’re ready to serve, reheat any cooled pancakes in the hot pan. Alternatively put them in a low oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings. I like mine piled high with fresh seasonal fruit, a big dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of hemp seed, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Pancakes can be made ahead and warmed in a hot skillet or toaster oven when ready to serve. They will keep for up to 4 days airtight in the refrigerator.

Notes

VARIATIONS
Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes
Gently stir 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter.
Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Pancakes
Omit the buttermilk and use ¾ cup plant yogurt and ¼ cup plant milk (or as needed to create a thick batter). Use vegan butter in place of dairy butter. Cook the pancakes in sunflower oil.
Vegan Gluten-Free Pancakes
Try ¼ cup aquafaba or Just Egg in place of the egg (disclaimer that I haven’t tested this yet, but when I do I will update the recipe!) as well as the dairy-free substitutions above.
Gluten-Free Teff Pancakes
Omit the sorghum flour and use ½ cup + 3 tablespoons (90 g) teff flour.
To Freeze Pancakes:
These pancakes keep well refrigerated for up to 4 days. To freeze, place cooled pancakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until firm, 20 minutes or so. Remove from the pan and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

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12 thoughts on “Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes {dairy-free option}”

  1. These were lovely! They cooked up nicely and tasted great.

    I did a vegan variation with the following substitutions:
    -2 tbsp flax meal with 3 tbsp water in place of the egg
    – 1/2 c so delicious coconut yogurt (that’s all I had)
    – 1 c oatly milk
    3/4 tsp xanthan gum

    I also subbed Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour for the sorghum and rice flours, as that is what I had on hand.