Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

This is one of our base recipes. 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!

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

For fluffy pancakes, learn how to:

Measure Wet vs. Dry Ingredients
Measure Flour Properly
Mix Using The Muffin Method

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 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.

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: can substitute whole wheat pastry flour. You can also substitute regular whole wheat flour, but the flavor, color, and texture won’t be quite as light. If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, you can substitute half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, although this will slightly decrease the fiber content. Spelt flour is also another great whole grain option!
  • Sugar: can substitute honey, maple syrup, or agave.
  • Buttermilk: can 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: can 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: can substitute coconut oil or canola oil. However, there’s just no replacement for the flavor of butter!
  • Vanilla: can substitute ¼ teaspoon of any flavor extract that you like (almond, coconut, lemon).

Base Recipe Variations

This is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Use this recipe as a guide, but don’t be afraid to add extra ingredients, including spices. 

Add any other toppings of your choice – coconut flakes, flaxseeds, nuts, nut butters, fruit, etc. Feel free to mix them into the batter too! Just be careful with thawed frozen blueberries; you can create a purple batter very easily! Gently fold them in after everything else is mixed.

Turn these into whole wheat oatmeal pancakes by adding ½ cup oats to the batter. 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!

Want to make whole wheat protein pancakes? Give this recipe an added protein boost by replacing half of the buttermilk with plain Greek yogurt. If necessary, add more buttermilk or water to adjust the batter thickness to your preference.

Need some pancake recipe inspiration?

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

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Healthy Apple 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. (1

Confused about the pros and cons of gluten? Check out our gluten article that provides evidence-based information about this controversial protein!


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. 

Less Added Sugar than Leading Brands

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 (2). 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.

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

5 from 4 votes
three whole grain pancakes with fresh strawberries and blueberries on a small white plate
Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins

These Whole Grain Pancakes are easy & delicious. Made with white whole wheat flour, they don't look whole grain, but provide all the benefits! 

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Yield: 8 -10 pancakes
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Optional Add-Ins
  • ½ cup fruit or vegetable puree (applesauce, banana, sweet potato, pumpkin)
  • ½ teaspoon – 1 teaspoon spice (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice)
Optional Toppings
  • cup fresh or thawed frozen berries
  • cup chopped fresh fruit
  • cup chocolate chips
  • cup chopped or sliced toasted nuts
  1. Heat a griddle or large non-stick pan over medium-low heat. In a large bowl, gently whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you choose to add some spice, whisk it into this mixture.

  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. If you choose to add a fruit or vegetable puree, whisk it into this mixture. If it looks too thick, add a little more buttermilk (buttermilk thickness can vary).

  3. Add the buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.

  4. Lightly grease griddle or pan with non-stick spray or a little butter. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto griddle to create pancakes. Immediately, sprinkle any desired toppings on pancakes, and gently press toppings down as needed. Cook until tiny bubbles appear on the surface and the edges start to firm up. 

  5. Flip and cook for about 2 additional 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!

Recipe Notes

If the batter looks a little too thick, add more buttermilk. If too thin, add a spoonful of flour. But remember not to overstir!


Toppings can also be mixed into the batter; just be careful with frozen blueberries!

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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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