Recipes > Breakfast > Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

whole grain pancakes base recipe on a plate topped with blueberries and strawberries

This is one of the base recipes in our Whole Life Meal Plan. Pre-made pancake mixes can be enticing for their simplicity, but homemade pancakes are super easy, AND you get to control the ingredients that go into your body! These healthy whole grain pancakes are made with 100% whole wheat flour, giving you a boost of fiber that traditional pancake mixes 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!

Learn How to Make the Base Recipe

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

For fluffy pancakes, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for Fluffy Healthy 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 overstir! Too much mixing can result in tough pancakes which is 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. If too thin, add a spoonful of flour.

Have you ever noticed how the first pancake or batch looks splotchy? It’s 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.

Don’t have time to make the batter in the morning? Whisk the batter together the night before and give it a gentle stir in the morning. Now all you have to do is heat the griddle and get cooking!

If using nuts, toast them for best flavor.

If you have kids, invite them to help you make this recipe. It keeps them distracted from their hunger while they help cook, and they have fun measuring, mixing, and sprinkling! Older kids can even help flip the pancakes!

Ingredient Substitutions

  • 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 as light. You can also substitute half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, although this will slightly decrease the fiber content.
  • Sugar: substitute brown sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave. Mix liquid sweeteners in with the wet ingredients.
  • 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. To make vegan whole wheat pancakes, use soy milk. To make whole wheat protein pancakes, replace half of the buttermilk with plain Greek yogurt. If necessary, add more buttermilk or water to adjust the batter thickness to your preference.
  • 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 or until thickened.
  • Butter: substitute canola, avocado, or melted coconut oil. However, there’s just no replacing the flavor of butter!
  • Vanilla: substitute ¼ teaspoon of any flavor extract that you like (almond, coconut, lemon).

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Keep it simple or spice it up!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavorful pancakes.

  • Mix-ins to YOUR Taste:
    • Diced Fresh Fruit: use apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, or whatever sounds good to you. Soften diced apples in the microwave (~2 minutes) with 2 Tablespoons of water.
    • Fruit or Vegetable Puree: use applesauce, mashed banana, pumpkin puree, or mashed sweet potato.
    • Oats: use old fashioned or quick oats. Do not use uncooked steel cut oats. This will create a slightly thicker texture, but you may like the added nuttiness that oats add. If too thick, add more buttermilk. Plus, with the added oats, you now have multigrain buttermilk pancakes!
    • Rehydrated Dried Fruit: use raisins, cranberries, blueberries, diced apricots, figs, dates, or whatever sounds good to you. Cover with hot or boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain liquid before folding into the batter.
    • Spices: use cinnamon, pumpkin spice, apple pie spice, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, or allspice. Use smaller quantities for stronger spices. Whisk in with the dry ingredients.
  • Toppings to YOUR Taste:
    • Fresh or Thawed Frozen Fruit: use berries, apples, pears, peaches, bananas, cherries, or any other fruits to your taste. Slice or dice into bite-sized pieces. Be careful with thawed frozen blueberries; you can create a purple batter very easily! Gently fold them in after everything else is mixed.
    • Chocolate Chips: use mini, regular, or dark chocolate chips. We recommend dark chocolate for best nutrition.
    • Toasted Nuts, Seeds, or Coconut Flakes: use almonds, coconut, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, or whatever sounds good to you!

If adding fresh or thawed frozen fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, seeds, or coconut flakes, mix into the batter, drop onto the pancakes on the griddle, or sprinkle on top after cooking.

Need some pancake recipe inspiration?

Use this base recipe as a guide, or check out some of our favorite variations!

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Healthy Apple Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Vegan Spelt Pancakes

Banana Oat Pancakes

Strawberry Banana Pancakes

Equipment Recommendations for Easy Whole Grain Pancakes

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!

Are whole grain pancakes good for you?

These ones are! This whole wheat pancake recipe is full of nutritious ingredients that will keep you satisfied and energized for hours: whole wheat flour, low-fat buttermilk, 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.

Confused about the pros and cons of gluten? Check out our gluten article!


The words butter and milk imply that this liquid is a high fat, creamy beverage, but actually, buttermilk doesn’t contain any butter! It was traditionally the liquid left behind after churning butter, but nowadays, food manufacturers have altered the process by culturing and fermenting milk to create a sour-tasting end product. Therefore, buttermilk contains many of the healthy nutrients found in milk: calcium, protein, and B vitamins. 

Low 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. This entire recipe only contains 1 Tablespoon of added sugar, which is just over 1 gram per pancake! Adding fruit puree to the mix can also increase the sweetness of the recipe, while also providing beneficial nutrients.

Learn more about hidden sugars in this article!

Serving Suggestions

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 whole grain pancakes from scratch 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 whole grain 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 more healthy breakfast ideas?

Check out these other delicious base recipes:

Homemade Granola Base Recipe

Kefir Smoothie Base Recipe

Overnight Oats Base Recipe

Healthy Baked Oatmeal Cups Base Recipe

Greek Yogurt Smoothie Base Recipe

whole grain pancakes base recipe on a plate topped with blueberries and strawberries

Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

This is one of our base recipes. These whole grain pancakes are easy, nutritious, and delicious. Made with white whole wheat flour, they look like regular pancakes, but provide all the benefits of whole grains!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -10 pancakes


Base Recipe

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix-ins to YOUR taste

  • ¾ cup diced (½") fresh fruit
  • ½ cup fruit or vegetable puree
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup dried fruit, rehydrated
  • ½-1 teaspoon spice(s)


  • Heat a griddle or large non-stick pan over medium-low heat. In a large bowl, gently whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and optional oats and/or spice(s).
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, butter, egg, vanilla, and optional fruit or vegetable puree. If it looks too thick, add a little more buttermilk (buttermilk thickness can vary).
  • Add liquid ingredients to the flour mixture. Using a spatula, stir to combine. If adding optional diced fruit or dried fruit, gently fold in. Do not overmix.
  • Lightly grease griddle or pan with non-stick spray or a little butter. Pour ~¼ cup batter onto griddle to create pancakes. Immediately sprinkle any desired toppings on pancakes, gently pressing toppings down as needed. Cook until tiny bubbles appear on the surface and the 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 ~170° F until ready to eat. Enjoy!


If the batter looks a little too thick, add more buttermilk. If too thin, add a spoonful of flour. But remember not to overmix!
Scroll to the ingredient substitutions section of the article for more ideas on how to change this recipe to your taste!

Toppings to YOUR taste

  • Fresh or thawed frozen berries
  • Diced fresh fruit
  • Dark or mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped or sliced toasted nuts or seeds
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Nut or seed butter
  • Maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • Dash cinnamon
Check out these recipes for flavor inspiration!
Apple Cinnamon
Vegan Spelt
Banana Blueberry
Strawberry Banana
Banana Oat
Keyword Easy Whole Grain Pancakes

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. WineGuy22

    Super yummy with chocolate chips in them! A good way to eat on weekend mornings 🙂

  2. Maneck j Bharucha

    I added walnuts with chocolate chips and whoa it was a delicious dinner…. not a typo I loved it for dinner

  3. Morgan

    This is my go-to pancake recipe! The pancakes turn out perfect and fluffy every time. I always add the optional cinnamon and love them with bananas and walnuts.

    1. So glad that this recipe turns out well for you! We love to hear how our readers customize recipes to their taste – bananas and walnuts are delicious additions! Chef Lindsey is a huge cinnamon fan too and always adds a heavy pinch to her pancakes!

  4. Linda

    My family loved these for breakfast. I added 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed, 1 tsp cinnamon and approximately 1/2 cup each finely chopped (peeled) apple and mashed banana. They were a little dense, but moist making them easier for my mom to swallow.

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