I usually make sourdough pancakes a couple of times a week following this recipe, which calls for butter and eggs (I use pastured only for both). Several people on Instagram have asked me for a vegan sourdough pancake recipe and I’ve been working on that this week.
I experimented with many substitutions to my sourdough pancake recipe, beginning with:
- Olive oil and flax meal “egg” (flax meal and water that sits a bit and gels up)
- Coconut oil and flax meal “egg”
The olive oil tasted too strong so I switched to coconut oil but in both versions, the flax meal egg replacer resulted in fairly gummy pancakes.
So I wondered about simply omitting an egg replacer. The unfed sourdough starter, left over from feeding my sourdough starter, Eleanor, is quite sour and acidic. This acid reacts with the baking soda—which I add at the very end—to make the batter puff up and rise.
So I tried more iterations but without an egg replacer:
- Coconut oil and no other changes
- Coconut oil and extra flour
- Coconut oil and a bit of water
- Coconut oil and baking powder
When I made these without the egg replacer, the starter reacted with the baking soda as usual but the pancakes didn’t rise enough to prevent them from being gummy. They needed more volume.
So I added a bit of extra flour to one batch. That resulted in the worst batch—uncooked and pretty terrible (I still ate them…I’ve eaten so many pancakes this week…). Had I mixed flour into the starter and left it overnight to ferment, that would have turned out much better. But I want to be able to make these quickly, without having to wait for the batter to ferment. The whole point of breakfast for dinner is to eat it at dinnertime, not the next morning at breakfast time.
I was getting closer
Then I thought, okay, I’ll try almond flour (finely ground blanched almonds), hoping it would add some volume rather than the pastiness of unfermented flour. It worked! I tried the almond flour version with baking powder and without. I found it worked best without baking powder.
So I went through all of those iterations to discover that the following simple changes worked best to veganize the recipe:
- Use coconut oil for the fat (which I do sometimes anyway)
- Omit the egg and add some almond flour
I am obsessed with cast iron
I cook these pancakes (and anything I can) in well-seasoned cast-iron pans. When I’m finished, I wipe away any little bits of food. To remove larger bits of food, I’ll scrub the pan with a sponge and water. Pancakes never make much of a mess though. For more information on maintaining or reviving cast iron, go here. Whichever pan you use, add oil to it to prevent the pancakes from sticking.
Start with a sourdough starter
To make this and other sourdough recipes, such as sourdough bread, you’ll need an Eleanor of your own. She is a 100 percent hydration starter, meaning she contains equal parts flour and water by weight.
To feed your sourdough starter, you’ll take most of it out of the jar and add in fresh flour and water. The carbohydrates in the flour provide food for the hungry bacteria and yeast in the small amount of starter remaining in the jar. You can read more about starting and nurturing a sourdough starter here. For troubleshooting, go here.
I like to have a jar (or two) of unfed starter on hand. Not only does the tangy flavor make amazing crackers, if anything happens to Eleanor—say, someone accidentally adds all of her to a recipe—I can feed the discard a few times and essentially clone her.
Vegan Sourdough Pancakes
- 1 measuring spoons
- 1 measuring cup
- 1 fork
- 1 rubber spatula
- 1 frying pan
- 1 spatula
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil plus more to oil the pan as necessary
- 1 cup unfed sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator
- 2 heaping tablespoons almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Melt coconut oil in a pan over medium heat and swirl around to coat. Remove pan from heat and allow oil to cool a bit while you move on to the next step.
- In a medium bowl (ideally with a spout) or measuring cup, stir the almond flour into the unfed sourdough starter.
- Pour the melted oil into the sourdough mixture, leaving the pan well-coated so your pancakes won’t stick to the surface. Mix ingredients well.
- Stir in the salt and baking soda. Allow the thick batter to sit for about 3 minutes to puff up. It will approximately double in size and become filled with air pockets.
- Over medium heat, gently pour a scant ½ cup of the batter into the pan for each pancake. Flip after bubbles have formed on the edges of the pancake. Remove from the pan once both sides are golden-brown.
- Melt more coconut oil in the pan and repeat with remaining batter.
- Top pancakes as desired.
39 Replies to “Sourdough Vegan Pancakes”
Wow you had quite the pancake adventure. Thanks for all your experimenting. How about using Garbanzo Bean water as an egg replacement?
I’ve never made so many pancakes! I have tried bean water in a couple of other recipes and it didn’t work well BUT I used the water from chickpeas I cooked in my pressure cooker. My daughter once made meringues with the chickpea water from canned chickpeas and they were pretty amazing. The canned chickpea water might work well in these.
~ Anne Marie
Hi Anne Marie you are a real inspiration x I love Eleanor’s outfit – seeing it has got my creative juices going. i’m gluten free and have been thinking about giving sour dough a go for ages so seeing Eleanor’s outfit reminded me to just do it and have some fun a long the way x happy birthday Eleanor
Thank you Laura. I have made a buckwheat starter and it sprang to life quickly. Enjoy your starter adventures 🙂
~ Anne Marie
Thanks for veganizing your recipe! I’ve been making your pancakes to use up my sourdough starter since I started it a few months ago, and I’ve been using chickpea flour as a very effective egg replacer. I’ve also tried chia seeds once but found that a bit gummy. Just use 1/4 cup chickpea flour with 1/4 extra fluid (soy milk or water) and it works great.
Thanks for the idea and the feedback on chia seeds. I had thought about trying those also. I think I’ll grind up some chickpeas in my grain mill and try that 🙂
~ Anne Marie
Great post 😁
A little off topic – but I have a question:
I have a sourdough starter, but I do not know what her hydration percentage is and therefore, sometimes get a bit stuck when figuring out recipes that state a certain hydration level. Do you know how I can figure this out? Starter Background: I keep my starter in the fridge and only feed once every week 7-10 days or so; using 3/4ths to start the sponge for my bread and feeding the other 1/4th (leave out overnight and then back into the fridge where I think she is happy). This keeps me from having any waste and works great for my bread recipe, but my bread “recipe” is flexible (add more of less water/flour, eyeball the honey and salt, and play with rising times depending on room temp., etc.) – – not sure if other recipes have this sort of flexibility. BTW: I have used this starter to make your crackers and they turn out great, although I have, on occasion had to tinker.
Now that I have gone off on a tangent – my question was – how do I determine the hydration level of my starter? I feed by eyeballing it, about 1/4 cup of flour and enough water, straight from the tap, to make it stir-able.
Hydration is relative to flour:water ratio. If you have a 1:1 ratio, equal amounts flour-water when you feed her, she’s at 100%. Anything less, calculate based on the proportion of water. That’s as close an explanation as you will get, really. For starters recipes I doubt it makes any difference at all.
It turns out a banana works pretty well to replace eggs in sourdough pancakes too! They cook a little quicker than with egg, so you gotta pay attention.
A 100 percent hydration starter has equal parts of water, flour and starter by weight (i.e., not volume). If you don’t have a scale, you’d measure about 1 cup of flour for approximately every 1/2 cup water for equal weight. So for your 1/4 cup of flour, you’d add about 2 tablespoons of water and then maybe a tablespoon of starter. It will be quite thick.
If you want to turn your current starter into a 100 percent hydration starter, even though you don’t know the hydration of it now, I think after a couple of feedings, it would essentially be a 100 percent hydration starter if you follow this formula.
If you come across a bread recipe that’s say, 80 percent hydration, the bread would have 1000 grams flour and 800 grams water. BUT you may not need an 80 percent hydration starter to make that recipe. My starter is 100 percent hydration but my bread is 80 percent hydration at the most.
So you’d have to do some conversions before you feed the starter if you come across a recipe that calls for a starter with a different hydration than yours.
I hope I haven’t made it more confusing!
Thank you! Not more confusing. . very helpful!
Great! You’re welcome 🙂
This is exactly the sourdough pancake recipe I’ve been looking for — thank you for sharing! Love that there’s no need to prep ahead and it’s easily scale-able 🙂 I’ve made these two days in a row and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Hi Anne Marie,
How long can i store the discard in the fridge and safely use it to make pancakes/crackers?
I keep my same jar for months but I regularly add more to it when I feed my starter and I regularly take some out when I make things like pancakes. So essentially, I recycle it. If you don’t add starter to it, it will develop some grey liquid on top, or hooch. You can pour this alcohol off and use the discard as usual. Or you can stir it in and have a runnier discard. But the short answer is many months.
~ Anne Marie
Thank you for the recipe! I just started a sourdough starter (it’s working – woohoo) and wanted to try these pancakes but found that unfortunately, they didn’t rise and were incredibly dense 🙁 any suggestions?? Thank you!
I’m sorry to hear they didn’t turn out. How sour is the discard? It can take a week of feedings to accumulate enough discard that has soured enough to bake something. At that point, the baking soda should react with the sour starter and puff up. When you mix in the almond flour, be sure to incorporate it really well. It can be tricky with thick discard to distribute evenly. I find the almond meal really helps to lighten these up. Also, I’d be sure to add the baking soda (along with the salt) at the very end. Stir it in and then wait for it to puff up. I hope that helps!
~ Anne Marie
Oh my word…now I know what all the fuss is about…I just made these pancakes (while I’m waiting for my first-ever sourdough loaf to finish bulk fermentation) and they are scrumptious! I didn’t have almond flour handy so I used the ground almonds that I freeze after making almond milk and they worked perfectly.
Thank you so much for sharing all that you do – it’s completely changing the way I approach baking! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes 🙂
These were **incredible** pancakes. I loved that it called for mostly discard and not coveted pantry supplies (like eggs or milk etc). It came together rather quickly and disappeared just as fast. What a perfect quick breakfast — yum! I used the discard from a 6-day old starter that I’m patiently growing. Thank you!!
These we’re awesome! Great way to use up discarded starter, super easy and they cook up perfectly. Topped with vegan butter and maple syrup, yum! I’m going to try a savory version next time.
These were so good!! I used wheat flour instead of almond since I was out and used 2 cups of starter since I had a lot. I didn’t double anything of the other ingredients, but it came out delicious!!! 🙂 thank you!
[…] breadmaking instincts). Sourdough pizzas and discarded sourdough pancakes after seeing them in the Zerowastechef webpage have become a staple in my kitchen. Her recipe is vegan and you can make it gluten-free with a […]
I tried these this morning. They are absolutely delicious. And so easy! For years, I have been reluctant to keep a sourdough starter because of the waste. These discard recipes got me started (love the crackers, too!)
Yummm! Just made these for dinner. Thanks for sticking to easy ingredients already in the pantry. Pancakes were gone in 15 minutes.
Hi Anne Marie. Made these over the weekend and threw in some blueberries. Holy wow! These were the best pancakes to have ever graced my kitchen! My only regret is that I don’t have a bigger stomach to eat these all day. If I wanted to make more, is it safe to just double the amounts in the recipe? Thanks for this divine recipe!
I’m so glad you liked them! Yes, you can double or triple 😉 the recipe.
What kind of bowl do you use to mix your sourdough pancake batter? I tried to stop using plastic in my kitchen but when I bake anything other than bread with my sourdough starter, the stainless steel bowl I mix the batter in is super time-consuming to clean.
I usually make them in a large glass measuring cup. First, I measure the starter in there and then add everything else. It is sticky to clean up so I usually let it soak for a bit first as I wash everything else. That way, any crusty batter comes right off.
~ Anne Marie
[…] Sourdough Vegan Pancakes ~ Zero-Waste Chef […]
Best sourdough discard recipe ever! Uses up a LOT of discard and came out so fluffy! Not gummy at all. I did add a little sugar to the batter and it was so good! Love this!
Thank you very much! I’m so glad you like them 🙂
Thank you very much for your recipe, my husband cooked them following your instructions using leftover of our 100% rye sourdough starter. We ate them with date syrup and tart cherries.
Hi Victoria. That sounds fantastic! I’m so glad you liked them. Thanks for the feedback 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this! Our one year old had an egg allergy and I’ve been wanting to introduce him to sourdough pancakes but our recipe calls for egg. Looking forward to giving this a try, it has real potential to open up our breakfast options!
One quick question, do you have a weight for your 1 cup of starter? I find our starter’s density can vary quite a bit. Thank you!
I have a stiff rye starter and this recipe didn’t fare so well. The pancakes turned out gummy and thick. I tossed them in the bin. Just an fyi for others making this recipe.
These turned out wonderful!! So fluffy and the sourdough flavor is perfect! Thank you for sharing! I doubled the recipe, might triple next time for my hungry bunch! I used avocado oil instead of coconut oil. Thanks again for this recipe, I look forward to making again very soon!
Did you add the chickpea mixture to the original recipe or did it replace the almond flour. I’m new to sourdough baking. I’m 5 days into my starter and am excited to find this recipe and your suggestion.
Hello! The original recipe had an egg that I replaced with almond flour. Someone on Instagram recently posted the original sourdough pancake recipe with mashed banana subbed in for the egg and that it worked well but I haven’t tried that myself so I can’t vouch for it. I will the next time I have bananas. I hope your starter is doing well!