Victory! Gluten Free Pancakes You Can Eat

Ahh, gluten free pancakes.  Gluten free pancakes are my waterloo, my trail of tears, a bad relationship I keep going back to even though I know I’ll get hurt. 
Pancakes haven’t always been my nemesis.  At least pancakes with gluten.  I’ve been making pancakes since I was a tot–first from Bisquick mix with my dad, then from scratch out of the Joy of Cooking and another recipe from a little book on pancakes & waffles.  I cooked pancakes from “just add water” mixes for numerous pancake feeds, taking for granted the ability to arbitrarily add water to the mix until it looked right.  Pancakes were the most foolproof thing in the world, I thought.

And then…I had to make pancakes sans gluten.  Bisquick?  Not an option.  My old standby recipes?  They didn’t work.  (No. That is an understatement.  They were a reliably epic, crushing, horrible failure.)  What the heck was wrong with me?  I can’t make pancakes anymore??  It was like forgetting how to boil water.

So I started looking for a gluten-free recipe.  This one worked a few times.  And then…I couldn’t get it to work anymore, and began producing foul-tasting cakes with mushy centers.  I don’t know what changed.  I bought fresh ingredients, and tried again and again with no luck to replicate earlier successes.

Many more pancake recipes came along.  Vegan pancakes, buckwheat pancakes, pancakes that promised fluffiness and syrup-sopping-ness and pancakes with interesting additions like pumpkin or applesauce.  None of them worked.  They were bitter tasting, or flavorless, or dry, or never cooked through, and some tasted like rotten eggs.  No happy Norman Rockwell-esque family gathered around our breakfast table to joyously drizzle syrup over stacks of flapjacks, like all the photos for failed recipes seemed to promise.

Eventually, J got tired of my pancake-induced meltdowns, and basically forbade me from making gluten free pancakes.  (“Please don’t make pancakes.  You know it will only make you sad.”) 

So when I woke up this morning with a strange desire to make gluten free pancakes for the first time in six months, it was a little weird.  “I’m going to make pancakes for you,” I told J, “but I’m scared they won’t work.”

“I think you can do it,” he replied.  “After all, you haven’t tried making pancakes in Georgia yet.  Maybe it will be different.”

I pulled out a new cookbook, a present from a co-worker.  Super traditional pastries have never really been my style, so the book has admittedly been sitting on my shelf unused for a while.  But if anyone can make a reliable recipe for a gluten free pancake, it’s the Culinary Institute of America…right?

We’ll try to spice these up or change the flour mixture or veganize this recipe later.  Right now, it works.  We had a triumphant pancake breakfast this morning.  Victory has never tasted so mapley-sweet.


Gluten-Free Pancakes
Serves 4
This recipe intrigued me with its insistence on a high-protein flour blend. It’s something I haven’t tried before, and guess what? It’s the secret to fluffy, delicious gluten-free pancakes. The CIA’s mix is soy flour, whey powder, tapioca starch, and white rice flour. I had some garbanzo-fava flour on hand in place of soy and whey. Normally, I loathe bean flours, and would never recommend them for any baked goods. But for some reason, garbanzo flour is great in griddle cakes of all kinds, such as farinata (a savory garbanzo flour crepe) and these pancakes.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 7.7 oz. high-protein flour blend (I used approximately equal parts garbanzo-fava flour, white rice flour, millet flour, and potato starch)
  2. 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  3. 1/4 tsp. salt
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 2 Tbsp. sugar
  6. 2 eggs, whisked
  7. 1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled
  8. 3/4-1 c. 2% milk
  9. maple syrup and butter for serving
  1. Weigh out your flours (about 1 1/3 c. total), and whisk out any lumps. Mix in remaining ingredients. Add a bit more than 3/4 c. milk if necessary to achieve an almost pourable consistency. This will not resemble a traditional batter–if you immediately think it needs 1/4 c. more water, it’s probably perfect as-is.
  2. Heat an electric griddle or your favorite skillet over medium heat, and grease to keep pancakes from sticking. The pan is hot when you flick a bit of water on it and the droplets dance and sizzle.
  3. Dollop ~1/4 c. batter onto hot pan and spread with the back of a wooden spoon to make an approximately 4″ circle. These burn easily, so watch closely and flip when they start to bubble on top, 1-2 minutes. Cook until no raw batter remains in center or oozing from the edges. Raw bean flour does not taste good.
  4. Serve with your favorite toppings and hot black coffee.
Adapted from Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America: from 150 Flavorful Recipes from the World's Premier Culinary College
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