This is a variation of our whole grain pancakes base recipe. Don’t let the word “healthy” scare you away – these apple pancakes are delicious and full of flavor! Made with 100% whole wheat flour and fresh apples, these healthy apple pancakes give a boost of fiber that traditional pancakes don’t usually provide. We use white whole wheat flour to keep the color light and the flavor mild. Trust us, your kids and family won’t even notice!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For perfectly fluffy pancakes, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Fluffy Healthy Apple Pancakes
Be sure to measure the flour correctly. Fluff, spoon, and level! Packing it into the cup will result in a dense pancake.
Don’t peel the apples! Not only does it make the pancakes more nutritious, but it also cuts down the number of steps – less work for you!
Don’t skip the step to microwave the apples; they won’t soften enough on the griddle if you do not microwave. Save the cooking liquid just in case you need to thin the batter.
Don’t overstir! Too much mixing can result in tough pancakes – not what you want when trying to make light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Stir gently until all ingredients are moistened; the batter should be slightly lumpy. If the batter looks a little too thick, add more buttermilk or cooking liquid from the apples. If too thin, add a spoonful of flour.
Have you ever noticed how the first pancake or batch looks splotchy? It is all about the pan! It takes time to distribute heat evenly across the pan’s surface. Oftentimes, you need to adjust the heat as you cook multiple batches. Also, be sure not to coat the pan with too much butter – excess will lead to splotches. Use as little as possible.
Don’t flip the pancakes too early! Wait until you see bubbles start to appear on the surface and the edges start to firm up.
If you have kids, have them help you make this recipe. It keeps them distracted from their hunger while they help cook, and they have fun measuring and mixing! Older kids can even help flip the pancakes.
- Apple: any variety will work. You can also substitute diced pear, but don’t microwave, as pears are softer than apples.
- White Whole Wheat Flour: substitute whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour. You can also substitute regular whole wheat flour, but the flavor, color, and texture won’t be quite as light. You can substitute half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, although this will slightly decrease the fiber content.
- Brown Sugar: substitute white sugar or sugar in the raw.
- Cinnamon: substitute pumpkin or apple pie spice.
- Buttermilk: substitute kefir or homemade buttermilk. To make your own buttermilk, combine 1 cup of milk with 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the milk to curdle. If you want to make vegan whole wheat pancakes, use soy milk.
- Egg: substitute a flax egg or ¼ cup fruit puree. To make a flax egg, mix 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseeds with 3 Tablespoons water. Let sit for 10 minutes until thickened.
- Butter: substitute coconut oil or canola oil. However, there’s just no replacement for the flavor of butter!
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Add toasted nuts for apple nut pancakes -– walnut or pecan pieces would taste best.
To make apple cranberry pancakes, add some dried cranberries, but consider rehydrating them first. Place dried cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water; let soak for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. This extra step will soften their bite!
Need some pancake recipe inspiration?
Use our whole grain pancakes base recipe as a guide, or check out some of our favorite variations!
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!
- Mixing Bowls
- Dry Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- ¼ cup Portion Scoop
- Wide Turner/Spatula
Are apple pancakes good for you?
This pancake recipe is full of nutritious ingredients that will keep you satisfied and energized for hours: whole wheat flour, apples, and low added sugar.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, trace minerals, and phytochemicals. Replacing refined grains (i.e. white flour) with whole grains (i.e. whole wheat flour) may reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. (1)
Confused about the pros and cons of gluten? Check out our gluten article that provides evidence-based information about this controversial protein!
Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? It certainly can help! Apples contain prebiotic fibers which support good gut health. (2) Apples also contain phytochemicals such as quercetin and catechin which may play roles in cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. For most nutrition, leave the peel on. (3)
Less Added Sugar
High sugar consumption is not good for health, and in general, most Americans eat way too much. Men should aim to consume less than 9 teaspoons (~36 grams) of sugar per day, and women should aim to consume less than 6 teaspoons (~24 grams) of sugar per day. (4) This entire recipe only contains 1 Tablespoon of added sugar, which is just over 1 gram per pancake!
Learn more about hidden sugars in this article.
Hold the pancakes in a warm oven (170 ºF) or the warm setting in a microwave until ready to eat. Serve with Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts/nut butter, or a side of scrambled eggs for a balanced breakfast full of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
How to Store Leftover Pancakes
Want healthy apple pancakes every morning? Cook once, and eat all week! Multiply the recipe by your desired final yield, cook, and cool. Place cooled pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Frozen apple pancakes are great for a quick “reheat and eat” breakfast. For best quality, place cooled pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet, freeze for 1-2 hours, then place in a freezer-safe container. This helps prevent the pancakes from sticking to each other. Reheat in the microwave or toaster until warmed through.
Want the convenience of a pre-made pancake mix so that you can make healthy pancakes whenever you want? Make your own high fiber pancake mix recipe at home by whisking together the first 5 ingredients. Store in an airtight container in the pantry.
Want some more recipes featuring apples?
Check out these other delicious recipes:
Cinnamon Apple Granola Clusters
Healthy Apple Pancakes
- ¾ cup diced apples, ½" pieces (~1 medium apple)
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Dash salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat diced apples and water for 2 minutes until soft. Drain water, but reserve to thin batter if needed. Set apples aside.
- Heat a griddle or large non-stick pan over medium-low heat. While griddle is heating, in a large bowl, gently whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. If it looks too thick, add a little more buttermilk (buttermilk thickness can vary) or the reserved water from the apples. Add the buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Whisk until just combined. Gently fold in diced apples. Do not over mix.
- Lightly grease griddle or pan with non-stick spray or a little butter. Pour ~¼ cup batter onto griddle to create pancakes. Cook until tiny bubbles appear on the surface and edges start to firm up.
- Flip and cook ~2 more minutes. You might need to lower the heat as you cook additional batches. Hold in the oven on a warming setting or about 170° F until ready to eat. Enjoy!