Makes 6 Pancakes
Time: 30 minutes
I miss NYC the most during the holidays. Any holiday, really, but mostly on Jewish Xmas. If you’re not familiar with Jewish Xmas, it involves Chinese Food and a movie. I always celebrate with my mom, but your family member mileage may vary.
I’m not sure Jewish Xmas can really exist anywhere outside of NYC. While the rest of the country seems to shut down and sink into a comfy sleepiness, it’s a busy busy day in New York. Restaurants do some of their best business, the movie theaters are packed. You can’t truly experience it anywhere else, I guess it’s like American Mardis Gras in that way. Jewish Xmas without NYC is like Mardis Gras without Bourbon Street.
So what’s that got to do with pancakes?
Well, I started ruminating on the ghosts of Jewish Xmas past. In particular, I was trying to recall all the movies I’ve seen on December 25th throughout my entire life. My memory is painfully shabby, but I thought of one year where it was just my mom and me, and we saw Dan In Real Life starring Steve Carrel and Juliette Binoche. I don’t remember much about that movie except for one thing: the pivotal pancake scene.
Juliette Binoche was flipping these magnificent golden brown creatures on a griddle. I think she was pissed off about something, but all I could concentrate on were those puffy pillows of pancakes, perfectly golden brown, lined up like jewel cushions on display.
Ever since, I’ve been obsessing on a pancake like that. I’ve gotten the size and shape right, but often at the expense of the texture. Too doughy, or undercooked. I think my main failing was that I wanted to see air bubbles as the pancakes cooks, but when a pancake is that thick, it’s just not going to happen, and now I know that is okay.
Since there was no Chinese restaurant open, I set about finally getting these totally right: golden, almost crumpet-like in appearance, billowy and substantial but not inelegant. I used the recipe I’d been tweaking, but I got the brilliant and innovative idea to google “Thick Puffy Pancake” and realized I hadn’t been using enough baking powder. A little adjustment and voila — perfect puffs on pancakeness. The stuff of dreams! It was a true Jewish Xmas miracle.
They’re simple so don’t let these tips intimidate you. But I do want to share some lessons I’ve learned the hard way:
~ Don’t use an electric mixer for the batter. Overmixed pancakes tend to result in a dense pancake. I use a dinner fork to get everything mixed.
~ You have to let the batter rest for ten minutes or so. The vinegar and the baking powder need to react with each other and the gluten needs to settle in and rest.
~Don’t crowd the pan. Even in my big cast iron, I don’t make more than two pancakes at once.
~ Don’t use too much oil in the pan. It will result in a tough exterior. A very thin layer of oil is what you want and a spray can of organic canola oil works perfectly for this.
~ Preheat the pan for a good ten minutes. I use cast iron and put it on moderate low heat (right around 3 on my stovetop), but you will probably need to adjust a little to get the temp just right. Remember, the temp is not set in stone. Lower and raise in tiny increments as needed. Even turning the dial 1/4 inch can result in big changes.
~ Use a measuring cup (with a rounded bottom if possible) to scoop out the batter. And remember to always spray ithe cup between pancakes, to prevent sticking.
~ Once you drop the pancake in, refrain from futzing with the batter too much. But don’t be afraid to delicately nudge the batter a tiny bit with your fingers to get a more circular shape and more even cooking. But the batter should spread a tiny bit and puff up all on its own.
And now let the pancakes begin!
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk (or soy milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center.
Measure the milk into a measuring cup. Add vinegar and ground flax seeds, and use a fork to vigorously mix the ingredients until foamy. This will take a minute or so.
Pour the milk mixture into the center of the dry ingredients. Add the water, canola oil and vanilla and use a fork to mix until a thick, lumpy batter forms. That should take about a minute. It doesn’t need to be smooth, just make sure you get all the ingredients incorporated.
Preheat the pan over medium-low heat and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
Lightly coat the pan in oil. Add 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake, and cook for about 4 minutes, until puffy. Flip the pancakes, adding a new coat of oil to the pan, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Pancake should be about an inch thick, and golden brown.
Rest pancakes on a cooling rack covered with tin foil until ready to serve. To reheat, place pancakes in on a baking sheet covered with tin foil in a 300 F degree oven for 5 minutes or so.
Seriously the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. Sorry Grandma Dot, Mom, and Aunt Billie! – xo
We celebrate JewisXmas in Greensboro North Carolina every year! It has become a tradition for all of as well Chinese and movie. Recipe looks great cannot wait to try it. Thank you so much.
This is the first recipe of yours I’ve tried that was a total disaster. I thought it was me but I’ve never had trouble with pancakes-or one of your recipes-before. I didn’t have the baking powder problem so many here seemed to have-the pancakes just wouldn’t cook through in the middle. Regardless of how I adjusted the heat, they wouldn’t be done in the center. I am so disappointed 🙁
THE BEST VEGAN PANCAKE!!!!!! Thank you Isa
They made it to Germany.
They are great and easy to make .
Thanks and now I got the Veganomicon
I loooooove these pancakes! I like adding a little cinnamon and maple syrup to the recipe! also: Isa’s pancakes must be huuuuuuge! this recipe easily makes 12 decent sized pancakes. thanks for this great recipe, Isa!!!
I have been following this recipe for 3 absolutely delicious years. My son was a year old when I first came across this amazing combo. He’s 4 now and when he asks for pancakes, no other recipe will do. We just LOVE them! Thank you for posting!!!
Absolutely Fabulous! I’ve been making the same from scratch recipe for years using traditional milk, eggs and butter. This version is better! The apple cider vinegar gives the batter a very light fruity smell but doesn’t affect the taste of the finished product. The batter came together light and airy. Waiting the 10 minutes for all the chemical reactions to happen was the key. The pancakes cooked up smooth and fluffy.
Cannot wait to try this recipe with fruit in the batter and maybe experiment with different flours.
With any pancakes the cooking principles are the same. Remember to monitor the heat and don’t leave until the last one is cooked up. (sadly the person making them always eats last. lol) Cast iron is particularly good at retaining heat you may find that as you add each new batch, that you might need to reduce the heat a bit each time. Otherwise they may cook too fast….overcook/burning on the outside and undercooking on the inside. Experiment with that ‘sweet spot’ for your particular pan and stove.
Thank you so much for this recipe!
These pancakes are PERFECT!!! I’ve been using the recipe for fluffy pancakes from Hell Yeah Its Vegan for 3 years and they were good, I didn’t like having to buy spectrum shortening all the time, but they were okay. Needless to say, I am so ecstatic that I came across this pancake recipe and a little surprised that I didn’t find it sooner (I use several recipes from this website regularly). They are the perfect consistency, not thick or heavy, but nice and fluffy. I will be using this recipe FOREVER!!!! Thanks so much!
These are amazing. I made them with oats and stevia instead and added some protein powder. Delicious. Thanks for sharing.
These look wonderful! I have someone coming in town and I’ve been making some items ahead and freezing them to save on time. Would these freeze well?
Has anyone tried making these gluten free
If so do you need the apple cider vinegar
Just tried to use Coconut Flour as a gluten free substitute… Definitely doesn’t work. I have no experience whatsoever cooking gluten free, but was trying to accommodate friends. I suppose I should have done my research.
When I have made these in the past with wheat flour, they’re beyond perfect.
I added cinnamon & a left over sweet potato to the batter! So good! the yield 10 nice size pancakes. My new pancake recipe for sure!! Thanks Isa : )
Isa, when my vegan daughter left for college she took her cookbooks. I usually make the pancake recipe from your cookbook “Vegan With a Vengeance”. Since I no longer had access to that wonderful recipe, I searched online and found your puffy pillow pancakes recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and they were beautiful, delicious, and impressive! I’ve made this recipe three times and the results have been consistently excellent. We serve these for large family breakfasts and they are so good we no longer make vegan and non-vegan pancakes. Everyone loves them and no one has noticed the eggs and dairy are absent. Thank you!
Hi Isa, When my daughter and I became vegan we decided to make pancake Fridays before she goes to school. I’ve made 10 different kinds pancakes and then saw your puffy pillow pancake recipe. These were definitely the most delicious and the most like non-vegan pancakes I have tried. We really enjoyed your story about The exodus we are also a Jewish family from New York City who has the same tradition on Christmas Day. I added a quarter cup of applesauce for a bit more moisture and flavor and it came out well. Really glad that the baking soda flavor is not overwhelming! Keep rocking on!
These are hands down the best pancakes I’ve come across so far–and have I looked!
All my favorite omni humans are under their spell, and so am I. My children, despite having all ingredients for SAD pancakes available, choose to make these instead. My heart melts watching them measure ground flaxseed and almond milk! Boyfriend, who loves and eats all my vegan culinary experiments (bless his heart!) smiles just a little bigger when these are puffing up on the stove. Thank you, Isa, for creating these delicious pouches of love, to share and enjoy with all the special people around us.
i wasn’t really happy with any vegan pancake recipes until i found these!! delicious fluffy with perfect pancake flavor, thanks Isa !!!
LL Read Sheinfeld Rodriguez
BEST PANCAKES EVERRRRRRR… Big Mahalos!
These are the best pancakes, vegan or not! Note that you DO NOT need the flaxseed to make these work. They bind and rise perfectly without it. Definitely needed to add a bit more vanilla, but otherwise, this is a perfect, perfect, perfect pancake! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with us 🙂
I have been trying to make “healthy” versions of thing lately, and then I hate them because they don’t taste good. These were perfect. I did sub 1/4 cup of the flour with whole wheat pastry, and added a scant less sugar than called for. (And then doused them in Earth Balance and maple syrup.) Everything else was following the recipe. These are so good.
Best ever. Tried many different recipes but these are the best. Wish you get all the credit you deserve, since you are one of the pioneers and masterminds in vegan cooking.
I made this recipe over 8 years ago and it popped onto my head last week. This recipe is still good after so many years .