The easiest (vegan) pancakes

The easiest vegan pancakes

This post was created in partnership with Mountain Valley.


It’s 5AM and we stayed up watching Stranger Things until just past midnight last night so, needless to say, today is probably going to be a two-mugs-of-coffee kinda day (or maybe a go-back-to-bed-after-I-post-this kinda day*). Although, initially, I wasn’t too psyched about adding another TV show to my nightly roster so soon after finishing up all six seasons of Game of Thrones (!), I’ve got to admit: there’s something kind of nice about crawling into bed at 9PM – with the laptop and my man – and watching a new show together. Since we spent a decent portion of the past two months watching (me) and re-watching (him) GoT before hitting the pillows, I’ve gotten used to a nightly ritual that contains some shared screen time. And despite the fact that I typically prefer to spend my final waking hour catching up on the latest on Grist (sidenote: this plus all the sad faces) or reading how-to articles for things like getting scratches out of stainless steel and mastering the art of caulking (homeownership 101, yo), I’ve been really enjoying our late-night television dates.

But let’s talk about rituals for a minute because, as things get crazier around here, I’ve found that sticking to an established routine makes things seem just a little less overwhelming than what they really are. While I don’t have a solid nightly ritual just yet, I’m pretty adamant about sticking to my morning ritual – one that kicks things off with a big mug of coffee and an even bigger glass of water, and is reinforced with a hearty and wholesome breakfast. I’m a creature of habit so it should come as no surprise that I scarf a nutrient-dense waffle more often than not. Except lately. Because lately the main event of my morning ritual has been heavily dependent on pancakes. Ones that are piled high and doused in syrup – which is totally unlike me because hearty and wholesome, remember?

I was always a pancake person growing up but, as an adult, the convenience of waffles lured me to the other side. Waffles are easy, require less active-time, and are generally more forgiving than their flat-sided counterparts. Pancakes, though – pancakes require technique and a watchful eye. And there’s a part of me that’s come to love that about them even though pancake-making is far more time consuming than waffle-making. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think I’ve always been a pancake person at heart but, for a brief moment of time (ahem, damn-near a decade), my laziness got the best of me.

So I’m curious: are you a pancake person or a waffle person? I’ve found that people have seriously strong feelings about pancakes and waffles, and rarely do they ever have equal feelings toward both so I would love to hear your thoughts. Regardless of which side you’re on, here’s my plea: if you’re a waffle person, you need to make these pancakes. And if you’re a pancake person, you obviously need to make these pancakes. Because the addition of starch gives these things just enough structure to ensure they don’t crumble within a few minutes of being drenched in syrup. And swapping part of the liquid with sparkling spring water** adds just the right amount of lift to create vegan pancakes that rival the box-mix (SUP BISQUICK) pancakes from my childhood.

Oh, and while you’re here, I’d also love to know all about your morning/nightly/middle-of-the-day rituals because 1) I’m nosey and 2) I’d really love to know more about you guys because I’ve felt weirdly distant from this space lately. But more on that later because it’s 8AM, which means it’s time for pancakes.

*I actually fell back asleep before I got around to hitting publish (HAAAAAA).
**If you live in Denver, you can now have Mountain Valley water delivered straight to your door (!!!) which is pretty much the best thing ever because one look in our pantry and you can tell that I’m a big fan of buying things in bulk – and lemme tell ya, buying in bulk is way more fun when you don’t have to go to the grocery store and put all the stuff in your cart then head home and schlep it up two flights of stairs. ;) For a limited time, the local supplier is offering a BUY 2 GET 2 deal which means you can have two cases to drink and two cases to use to make pancakes! If you don’t live in Denver, you can head here to see if your local supplier is offering a similar deal.

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Notes: From time to time I’ll replace 1/4 cup of the all-purpose unbleached flour with whole wheat and it makes for a very similar end result (I’ve not tried replacing the entirety of the flour with a more wholesome variety so proceed at your own risk and know that the texture WILL be compromised). While the starch isn’t 100% necessary (I’ve successfully made these pancakes without it), it does help to act as a binder so I’d definitely use it if you have some starch (potato or corn) on hand. Feel free to use coconut sugar, maple sugar, or whatever sugar your little heart desires. But, at the end of the day, processed sugar is still processed sugar, babes. For thinner pancakes, add an additional two tablespoons of almondmilk. For gluten-free pancakes, replace the flour and starch with 150g of your favorite gluten-free flour blend. For more ways to cook (and bake) with bubbly water, head here.

This post was sponsored by Mountain Valley, supplier of my favorite bottled water that comes straight from a spring that’s tucked deep into the Ouachita (WASH-ah-taw) Mountains. All opinions are my own, and I think Mountain Valley rules.

THE EASIEST PANCAKES

1 cup (140g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
, optional (see notes above)
1 tablespoon (12g) cane sugar
1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1/2 cup (102g)  Mountain Valley sparkling spring water
1/2 cup (112g) unsweetened almondmilk
1 tablespoon (12g) suncoco oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)

You’ll also need
Coconut whipped cream
Fresh peaches, blackberries, etc.
Granola

Pecans (or your favorite nut)
Flaked coconut
Pure maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch (if using), sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the sparkling spring water, almondmilk, and oil; whisk just until combined.

Heat a stovetop griddle or large frying pan over medium-low heat and lightly grease with oil. After a few minutes, check to make sure the pan is hot by flicking a few drops of water on it; if it sizzles, you’re good to go (if not, wait a few minutes longer). Stir the batter with a spatula to deflate it, then pour it on the pan in 1/4 cup measurements (using a stainless steel scoop makes this super easy). Cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

Stack pancakes on a plate and top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream followed by fresh fruit, granola, pecans, flaked coconut, etc. When you’re finished piling those toppings high, douse that stack in syrup because I’m a firm believer that it’s the only way to eat ’em.

Yield: 8 4″ pancakes (enough for two)

The easiest vegan pancakes

41 Comments

  • Reply Lauren 8 September 2016 at 8:26 AM

    I have been eagerly awaiting this post as though I’m not the non-vegan, waffle lover that I am, ever since you started posting about these pancakes to social media a week ago. I can’t wait to try it with my morning black espresso.

  • Reply Katrina 8 September 2016 at 8:31 AM

    Pancakes are the damn best!! These are wonderfully easy and are definitely a solid option after watching Stranger Things all night. I watched that show in two days and I don’t even care!! lol I can sleep later…

  • Reply Ashley 8 September 2016 at 8:42 AM

    I used to like pancakes but switched to waffles when I went vegan because vegan pancakes are the worst. They’re always super thin and dense or too fluffy (there is such a thing) and quick to turn mushy once the syrup is added. But I think you just raised the vegan pancake bar with these, Ladycakes! I’m going to try them this weekend and will report back to let you know if I turn into a pancake lover. ;)

    And omg game of thrones! I’m a recent convert too and can’t believe it took me so long to come around. I just ordered the books. Goodbye social life!

  • Reply Becky 8 September 2016 at 9:26 AM

    Ashlae, another great post and I felt compelled to leave a comment.
    Firstly, I’m a pancake person!
    Second, I too am a big fan of routine and I believe that small things done everyday make a big difference over time. And it’s so true, those things become much less intimidating as they simply become a key piece of the day.
    I’m a big runner, so my day usually starts early and with coffee. That first hour before I head out for my run has become one of my favourite parts of my day. I take my pup out for a quick walk, do a few warm up drills, read a devotional and just generally prepare for my day/ catch up on Twitter. It’s so quiet out that I feel like I got a head start!
    I’m excited to hear your news in October, good luck & congratulations with this new venture!

  • Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker 8 September 2016 at 9:29 AM

    Ok first off, I’m a waffle person ALL the way, because I still haven’t found vegan pancakes that are as good as their non-vegan counterparts (but these are probs going to change that, obvi). I also like all the nooks and crannies waffles have, but pancakes soak up the gobs of syrup I pour all over them like WHOA. Second, I’ve been terrible as of late, but morning ritual for me is gym/meditation/breakfast/coffee/race around to get ready for work :) (but always making time to play with my cat, duh). These are lovely lady! xo

  • Reply Laura 8 September 2016 at 9:43 AM

    I’m the only person I know that likes the pancakes and waff’s with equal measure. Next time I treat myself to some full-on all purpose flour, it’s going to be these *heart eyes*. Also, my morning routine is all matcha, all the time lately (after some warm lemon water). With the fancy whisk, and the slow heating up of some homemade almond milk. I really savour it before I get to gettin’ my pump on ;)

  • Reply Rossi @ A Baking Girl 8 September 2016 at 11:15 AM

    First of all… TOTALLY A PANCAKE PERSON.
    Secondly, I used to hate running, and I hated running even more when it was the morning. But after years of running and about a year of doing it primarily in the mornings cause of classes, I love my morning run. It’s a time to think and have totally to myself and to bang out some embarrassing music or a killer podcast. I don’t always want to do it when I’m still lying in bed, but once I’m on the road I love it

  • Reply Rachel 8 September 2016 at 11:36 AM

    When I was a kid, we had waffles almost every Friday night. My brothers would come home with their friends and we’d all sit down together – such an amazing ritual.

    Today, routines are still a crucial component of my day, from oatmeal + fruit + tea in the mornings to 10 minutes of meditation before starting work to working out right after the work day ends. Those things keep my head clear and my body nourished! For most of my life I read a book every night before bed, but lately it’s switched to tv shows with my fiance – I would like to get back to books but the cozy together time is awfully nice too!

    (I might actually love pancakes and waffles the same amount. I love the crisp peaks and valleys of waffles, but I love the fluffy softness of a perfect pancake. I just made a great set of pancakes from Alton Brown for a Labor Day camping trip.)

  • Reply Lauren 8 September 2016 at 11:39 AM

    Pancake person for sure! I ALWAYS mess up waffles (don’t even ask…) but find pancakes really easy and quick. A love a good vegan version and I’m WAY excited to try your recipe. Quick question: can you buy Mountain Valley in store anywhere? I’m a Denver local.

    • Reply Ashlae 16 September 2016 at 9:44 AM

      Hi Lauren –

      You can snag MV at Whole Foods or Natural Grocers. WF only carries the 1L bottles, while NG stocks both the 500mL and 1L bottle. :) Hope you love the pancakes!

  • Reply Lauren 8 September 2016 at 12:35 PM

    I’ve also got to say, I love waffles and pancakes in roughly equal measure. Waffles feel more like you can eat them without a soak in sugary syrup, but if you hit the brunch table craving sweet, then it must be pancakes. Sadly closed now, the best local restaurant offered “strawberry waffles”, which were a decent waffle covered in strawberries and whipped cream from a can. The magical thing about them was that, over time, I got to know the owner and all his kids who worked there as servers, and they started serve my waffles with special designs (pokeball waffle – delicious).

  • Reply Lisa 8 September 2016 at 12:47 PM

    My husband says I’m the only person he knows who uses a waffle iron enough to justify owning it. I make your buckwheat waffle for one ALL THE TIME.

    You’re blowing my mind with the sparkling water addition to pancakes. I wonder what some of the baller La Croix or Polar flavors would add? LIKE THE COCONUT?!

    Routines: I love the idea of them, but as soon as I think I have one, it falls apart. The only one I stick to fairly consistently is coffee + morning pages (from the Artist’s Way) first thing in the morning. I’m also a big fan of David Allen (Getting Things Done) – I do his weekly check-in every Friday morning, and it keeps the overwhelm at bay.

  • Reply Harry 8 September 2016 at 1:10 PM

    Rituals are really important and I’ve heard great things about Stranger Things so I can see why you guys would check it out. GOT is a fantastic show too! I’m probably rare in saying this but I like pancakes and waffles just the same so I’m up for trying a recipe with either.

    – Harry Bowden

  • Reply Suzanne 8 September 2016 at 2:15 PM

    I’m in the same boat as Lisa, can’t stick with a darn routine to save my life. I blame my kids. ;)

    This is totally unrelated but I absolutely love your home. I would love to see more of it one day! Are you posting a kitchen reveal soon?

  • Reply Marie O 8 September 2016 at 2:18 PM

    Your pictures keep getting better and better! I love the colors and composition… Will definitely try these pancakes, they look scrumptious :)

  • Reply hannah 8 September 2016 at 2:43 PM

    For starters, PANCAKES, obviously. In middle school, my bff and I (still bffs by the way and she now lives in Denver!), had a constant argument going around pancakes vs. waffles. She felt so confident about her waffle argument that in 8th grade speech class she actually delivered a persuasive speech on waffles and their obvious domination over pancakes. It was a riot. I honestly think it’s a “how you grew up” thing, though, because today, even though I can see how magical and awesome a waffle can be, something deep inside me just feels a happy warmth when face to face with a stack of fluffy pancake goodness. I’ve made more than my fair share of vegan nutrient-dense discs with banana, buckwheat, blueberries, oats, spelt, lemon zest, etc., but they always taste like “a really delicious breakfast that current Hannah would make,” rather than “pancakes from my childhood.” So yes, I will be making these.

    I LOVE MOUNTIAN VALLEY. My husband likes to say it’s the wettest water out there. Creepy? When I tell him about the Colorado home delivery, we might consider relocating…

    As far as routines go, our morning routine is something I treasure dearly. Wake up at 5:55, hit the snooze between one and three times, eat a couple bites of fruit, workout (lift, cycle, or yoga), he makes coffee, I make breakfast/pack lunches, shower, and carpool to our places of employment. Weekends are groovy in many ways, but part of me loves the structure of that daily routine. It keeps me sane.

    I cannot waiiiiiiiiiiiit to make these while trying to actually relax this weekend :-) xo

  • Reply Lynnette 8 September 2016 at 3:30 PM

    I don’t have a waffle maker so my preference has always been pancakes for breakfast. Ricotta pancakes, buttermilk pancakes, pancake parlour mix pancakes, sour cream and chives pancakes… all kinds of PANCAKES! Have never thought to add sparkling water to pancakes but I guess if it makes Scones taste amazing, they why not pancakes? Love this post and the fact that you went on two Epic TV show binges. Well done on completing GOT, now you have to wait eons before the next one is out. If you are after another epic show, I would suggest Outlander.

    Routines are so important. I completely agree that it just makes things less overwhelming especially because you know it will be there and it has your back. My morning routine is to wake up, snooze, then try to wake up, then it is a cup of tea with a splash of milk for me and two types of breakfast on weekdays, toast with avocado or honey and butter or eggs done whichever way is fastest. Not much of a structure but the routine is there and I am always out the door at 7.30am no matter what. Night time routines are great, at the moment we have silly TV on so I have been watching Survivor Australia, The Bachelor and Married at First Sight every night except Fridays! (Date night!) haha.

    Will make these pancakes. Curious as to what Vegan pancakes are like, you might just find a convert in me. xx

  • Reply Dawn 9 September 2016 at 5:25 AM

    Totally love pancakes, though don’t seem to eat them often enough. Though I am considering splurging on a waffle iron, seem to have a natural curiosity for waffles having never grown up eating the stuff. Routines are essential for me otherwise there is a tendency to be overwhelmed with stuff, you took the words right out of my mouth. Just recently I started a psychocalisthenics routine in the mornings which I have to say is working wonders for my stamina and posture. Morning coffee during the week definitely counts in the waking routine, after psychocalisthenics. I’m living in the 2nd highest coffee consumption per capita in the world, Sweden, so you gotta drink the stuff black with no sugar!

  • Reply Megan 9 September 2016 at 5:58 AM

    Can french toast be a preference in this match up? That was our Sunday morning treat growing up, and while I love waffles and pancakes neither has the same nostalgic cache as french toast.

    Do you think this batter could handle hanging out in the fridge overnight? I’ve kept up a nice cold brew routine and am loving having less to do in the mornings.

    I have very few habits, which does seem to make things feel more crazy as you get busier and busier. But, I love flossing and brushing my teeth at night. I have this really strong mental association between flossing and really taking care of myself, just for myself. I started during a really tough break up (routine swooping in to save the day!) and have kept at it since. It closes out the day with a nice quiet time that I feel so good about. So, yep, flossing…

    • Reply Ashlae 16 September 2016 at 9:47 AM

      Hi Megan –

      I’m not sure how it would keep in the fridge overnight but now I’m dying to know. Will try it this weekend and report back.

      PS – Big Y E S to French toast.

  • Reply The Wooden Spoon 9 September 2016 at 8:00 AM

    Oh, homeownership. Thanks for linking those two articles- they are literally on my to-do list this weekend. Sigh. At least there’s pancakes!

  • Reply Nicole 9 September 2016 at 12:57 PM

    I love BOTH pancakes and waffles, but often opt for pancakes because lugging out the waffle iron is just too difficult. ;) I made these pancakes for me and my son this morning and they were awesome. My son is 15 and has become a picky eater (he used to eat anything I put in front of him, but, teenager) and he asked if there was anything “weird” about the pancakes he needed to know before taking his first bite. Hah. But, he loved them! Even after I told him they were vegan. Nice work, Ashlae!

  • Reply Lacey 9 September 2016 at 2:25 PM

    I have a morning ritual that keeps me sane too. I honestly look forward to it when I go to bed, even though it means a 4:20 (or 4:30 or 4:45 or even 5) am wake up call. I get up when everyone else is still sleeping and it’s dark and quiet and peaceful. I make myself a cup of Aeropress coffee while I put away the dishes that have dried from dinner the night before and then sit on the couch with my coffee and half a banana with pb or almond butter and read blogs or browse the internet. Having some quiet time devoted to relaxing just makes everything so much better.

  • Reply Baked Vegan 9 September 2016 at 8:33 PM

    I’m definitely a pancake person! I love making kale pancakes every weekend.. So delicious! Every night I love to watch YouTube videos while doing some ab exercises, watch some reality TV, and take bong hits lol :)

  • Reply Sheena S. 9 September 2016 at 11:19 PM

    Team Pancake, always and forever. Looking forward to giving these a try.

  • Reply MK 11 September 2016 at 6:46 AM

    Every morning: rolled oats with sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup, topped with whatever fruit is seasonal in Southern Ontario. I also always make my bed. (Little things?) And way too much coffee, because I’m a barista and have to dial an espresso machine as soon as I get to work.

    Pancakes forever, especially super-thin and made with buckwheat. Hell yeah.

  • Reply Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen 11 September 2016 at 6:52 AM

    I can’t choose between pancakes and waffles! Although growing up I was definitely more of a waffle person – my mom always made the best waffles from her Fannie Farmer cookbook. Now I love both but it’s a struggle to actually find a morning to make either. We don’t have enough time in the mornings on weekdays, and on weekends we’re often out of town visiting friends and family. I’m going to bookmark these and hope we find a day soon though!

  • Reply Clem @ the vegan cookie fairy 11 September 2016 at 11:00 AM

    I made these for breakfast and they were a huge hit with the Mister! (And me, too.)

    I added the peaches in the batter as the pancakes were cooking rather than on top of the finished pancakes. That way they caramelised a little when they cooked. 10/10 would recommend.

  • Reply cynthia 12 September 2016 at 12:06 AM

    These are SO dreamy, Ashlae! And it’s too funny that you’ve posted about waffles v. pancakes, because I’ve always been such a pancake person — something about that soft fluffiness (bordering on squishy once I’ve doused it in maple syrup) just gets me every time. BUT I juuuust gave in this week and bought a waffle maker after being torn for too long by its one-use-ness (but amazingness) and I’m SO EXCITED for this new and foreign terrain. But I have a feeling that I’ll always have a soft spot for pancakes, especially with ones like these on the horizon. Love them.

  • Reply Marta e Mimma 12 September 2016 at 1:42 AM

    I’m totally a pancake person, probably because I’ve too many stuff and I can’t ever find my waffle iron while, on the other way, a pan is always by the hand. Plus, the very first real waffle I ate in my life – years ago, actually – was way too sugary. So yep, I’m a pancake lover! Morning routine? Warm lemon water, cup of hot green tea (even if it’s summer, I NEED my good old hot cup of tea) and then something like overnight oats or avocado toast.

  • Reply Mara 13 September 2016 at 8:02 AM

    Team pancake always and forever. I’ve eaten a lot of vegan pancakes in my 10 years of veganism and these are by far the best I’ve ever had. I didn’t think a little starch and fizzy water would make much of a difference but apparently I was wrong. ;))) Sadly, my other half is not on team pancake. Do you have any idea if the batter could be used in a waffle maker?

    • Reply Ashlae 16 September 2016 at 9:49 AM

      Hi Mara –

      Yep! I’ve used the batter with my traditional waffle plates but wouldn’t recommend it with a Belgian-style waffle maker. However, I prefer them as waffles when made with 1/4 cup less almondmilk and only 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

  • Reply immaEATthat and That and THAT – Yeah…Immaeatthat 14 September 2016 at 1:02 AM

    […] fluffy. […]

  • Reply Ashley 15 September 2016 at 12:32 PM

    I made these GF and with coconut la croix (the only sparkling water I have), and they were so delish. I used date caramel instead of maple syrup and it was a heavenly meal. Making them again tomorrow for breakfast =)

    • Reply Abby 18 September 2016 at 6:10 PM

      Hey Ashley! Which GF flour blend did you use this time? I’m excited to try them but know that GF and vegan things can be really gummy depending on the flour you use.

  • Reply Meg 20 September 2016 at 8:27 AM

    Team pancakes or team waffles? Is that a thing?! Do I have to decide? I’m so torn! Haha. I just posted a savory waffle recipe today but ugh, me + pancakes go way back. These look awesome, Ashlae! I’m also a ritualistic morning person with my coffee + water except I try to drink the water first since *they* say it’s important. Haha.

  • Reply Tahnee 30 September 2016 at 5:39 PM

    This was my first attempt at making vegan pancakes from scratch and they were so easy to make! I’m super happy with the end result. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe. x

  • Reply Cook with Tina 10 October 2016 at 8:46 AM

    Definitely love these vegan pancakes! On top of that, the pictures are making the pancakes much more appetizing!

  • Reply Rose 17 October 2016 at 11:25 AM

    Hi! I just made these pancakes and despite your warning about texture being compromised if using straight whole wheat flour I went ahead and did it. I’m happy to say you’re wrong! (That sounds way nastier than its meant to be…) These turned out gorgeous! Light. Fluffy. Delicious. Will definitely be making them time and time again. Thank you!

    • Reply Ashlae 17 October 2016 at 11:50 AM

      Hi Rose –

      Ha! Happy you like ’em. But if you do a side-by-side taste test you’ll notice the texture isn’t nearly as nice as the ones made with all-purpose flour. ;)

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