Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes

By Marley Goldin
on April 20, 2020
last updated on May 22, 2021
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These light & airy whole wheat pancakes are equally delicious and nutritious, because life's about balance, right?
overhead shot of pancakes with powdered sugar

Want a stack of pancakes, but feel guilty about eating breakfast with little to no nutritional value? I got you, babe. These Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes are the answer to your “should I be healthy?” or “should I treat myself?” conundrum.

Pancakes are probably one of the first things I ever learned to make on my own. They’re nostalgic and delicious, but it’s hard for me to start my day with a super unhealthy meal.

That’s why I made it my mission to perfect Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes. That way, even though I’m dousing it in syrup, I’m at least getting in some protein, vitamins, and nutrients in the morning from the whole wheat flour.

It took some tweaking to make sure they weren’t dense, but this recipe will give you super fluffy Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes every time!

stack of four whole wheat pancakes

My husband is a tough critic. A “pretty good” from him is something to celebrate, which makes a “wow this is great” even more special.

I kid you not, Rob, the guy who doesn’t eat wheat bread. The guy who skips over anything marketed as “healthy” on a restaurant menu. The guy who doesn’t give praise where praise isn’t due.

That guy said that these were “THE BEST PANCAKES I EVER HAD”. And I didn’t even put chocolate chips in his (something I do for him when using store-bought mix).

Anyway, my point is, don’t let the whole wheat thing scare you. This recipe is deserving of a happy birthday breakfast in bed. Or a happy anniversary breakfast in bed. Or maybe don’t eat them in bed because, well, maple syrup. But you get it.

How To Get Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes Every Time



Your Secret Weapon

Here’s the secret. It’s all about the whisk! There is purposely a lot of baking powder in this recipe because you gotta have that fluff and rise. But the whisk is what aerates your batter.

You should actually see little bubbles in your batter before pouring it onto your griddle. Bonus whisk tricks: it gets rid of any lumps. Because you can’t call a lumpy pancake light or airy.

I’ll Egg You On

The egg is important here because it acts as a binder. You can substitute a flax egg, but more on that later.

Green tip: Look for pasture-raised eggs (over free-range or cage-free) to support agriculture that is less reliant on chemicals and fossil fuels.

When you’re adding your egg, it’s important to avoid scrambling it. This is easiest if your egg is at room temperature and your milk and butter mixture is not too hot. But if you’re in a rush, just make sure to continuously stir as you add your egg to your milk and butter.

close up of syrup dripping down stack of pancakes

You’re Smooth As Butter

Don’t fear the flip! I know it’s the most intimidating part of making pancakes, but you got this! The key is to make sure you always have a generous amount of butter in your pan, so your pancakes don’t stick and they get a crispy exterior.

Luckily, you have a visual indicator of when it’s time to flip because little air pockets will form in your pancake batter. Slip your spatula underneath your pancake, and flip it over. Try to stay close to the pan. Dropping it from a distance may put you at risk for splatter.

Green tip: Look for organic and palm oil-free butter if you can. Buying organic means you are supporting farms that do not use damaging pesticides and fertilizers, and palm oil production is a huge driver behind deforestation.

Making These Vegan

You can absolutely make this recipe vegan by using any non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and a flax egg. Just make sure if you are using sweetened or flavored milk, you adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

For example, if you’re using a sweetened vanilla almond milk, put a little less brown sugar and a little less vanilla in your pancake mix.

Green tip: Industrial dairy production has a huge impact on the environment, especially because of the amount of land it takes to sustain and its high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your dairy consumption is one great way to reduce your ecological footprint.

Pancake Enhancers (Panhancers?)

This recipe is versatile! It’s absolutely delicious with blueberries or chocolate chips in it. Just stir them into your batter in step 3, or for a more even distribution, drop them directly into your frying pancake after pouring your batter into the pan.

Sometimes I serve them with sliced strawberries or whipped cream or both. Or pecans and peanut butter or even nutella! Do for it!

overhead shot of pancakes surrounded by maple syrup

Subbing the Flour

Whole wheat flour is rich in Vitamin B and folate, and also has more protein and iron than white flour. But if you prefer all-purpose flour, you can substitute it for the whole wheat flour in this recipe. Just add an extra tablespoon. In other words, use 1 cup and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour for this recipe.

The Lighter Side

And lastly, you can use cooking spray instead of butter for a lighter version. BUT these pancakes taste really good with a little crisp on the outside, so you may have to leave them on your pan or griddle a bit longer if you’re using a spray.

These Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes are like biting into a fluffy syrup cloud. And the whole wheat flour provides vitamins and nutrients? You can totally have it all!

For other healthful breakfast ideas, check out these 5 Creative Avocado Toasts, or this Simple Crunchy Coconut Granola.

Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Marley Goldin Course: Breakfast, BrunchCuisine: Vegetarian
Servings

8

pancakes
Prep time

10

minutes
Total time

35

minutes

These Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes are like biting into a fluffy syrup cloud. And they’re nutritious? You can totally have it all!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (cows or unsweetened nondairy)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter + more for griddle (Earth Balance for vegan)

  • 1 large egg, room temperature (or 1 flax egg for vegan)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  • Use a microwave-safe glass measuring cup to measure out 1 cup of milk. Add 3 tablespoons of butter.

    Heat your butter and milk in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is completely melted and integrated into the milk.

    Set aside and take your egg out of the refrigerator to reach room temperature.
  • Whisk together your flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt.
  • Once your butter and milk mixture has cooled, add egg and vanilla extract. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and whisk.Light and Airy Whole Wheat Pancakes Mix | FurloughedFoodie.com
  • Add some butter to your griddle or pan and allow to heat up on medium-high until butter is simmering, but don’t let it burn.

    Pour batter into circles to form nice-sized pancakes and cook until little air pockets form.
  • When you see the little air pockets on your pancakes, it’s time to flip!

    Make sure there is always enough butter in your pan to fry the pancakes and to avoid them sticking. Serve warm with maple syrup.

pro tips

  • You can absolutely make this recipe vegan by using any non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and a flax egg. Just make sure if you are using sweetened or flavored milk, you adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

    For example, if you’re using a sweetened vanilla almond milk, put a little less brown sugar and a little less vanilla in your pancake mix.
  • Whole wheat flour is rich in Vitamin B and folate, and also has more protein and iron than white flour. I haven’t tried this recipe with white flour, but if you do, let me know how it goes!
  • You can use cooking spray instead of butter for a lighter version, but these pancakes taste really good with a little crisp on the outside.

    You may have to leave them on your pan or griddle a bit longer if you’re using a spray.

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