Flour Alternatives & Substitutes For Pancakes: How To Properly Cook

5 minute read • by Kaleena Lundmark 08-14-2020


Flour Alternatives & Substitutes For Pancakes


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  • What can you use instead of flour for pancakes?
  • Can Pancake Mix Substitute for Flour?
  • How do you get almond flour pancakes to hold together?
  • How do you thicken pancake mix without flour?
  • How do you properly cook pancakes with alternative flours?

How Do You Properly Cook Pancakes With Alternative Flours?


Pancakes are the ultimate morning comfort food, and eating gluten-free or low-carb doesn’t mean you need to go without. We’ve got you covered with ideas to substitute for flour in pancakes. Read on for our favorite alternative pancake recipes!  

What can you use instead of flour for pancakes?

If you’re trying to stay away from using all-purpose (wheat) flour for pancakes, there are lots of alternative flours out there.  

Below are a few options that work well as a substitute for flour in pancakes:

  • Coconut flour - This super absorbent flour is used in many gluten-free pancake recipes.  You could substitute ¼ to ⅓ cup coconut for all-purpose, but be sure to add more egg since coconut flour absorbs extra liquid.
  • Almond - This is a great option for a higher protein pancake mix.  Substitute 1:1, but like coconut flour, you’ll need to add more egg to hold it together.
  • Almond and coconut - This is the best tasting combination - most of the top-rated gluten-free pancake recipes have a blend of almond and coconut flours.  They work well together because while almond flour doesn’t absorb liquid well, coconut flour does, which leads to lighter, fluffier pancakes that hold together well. To use this blend, use 3 cups of almond flour to 1 cup of coconut flour. With this 3:1 blend, you shouldn’t need to add any extra eggs to hold things together.
  • Gluten-free blend - If you prefer to make your own homemade gluten free flour blend, here’s a simple recipe that works well for pancakes. You can substitute it for 1 cup of regular flour in any pancake recipe. ⅔ cup rice flour, ¼ cup potato starch, 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • Gluten-free flour blends - If you’d prefer a store-bought flour blend to use in your favorite pancake recipe, here are a couple of good choices:
  • Rice-based option: King Arthur Baking Measure for Measure Flour
  • Almond/Coconut Option: Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour

Can Pancake Mix Substitute for Flour?

If you’re not into making your own pancake mix, don’t sweat it! There are plenty of gluten-free pancake mixes on the market, so you can definitely choose one in place of your favorite traditional pancake recipe. HighKey Pancake Mix is a gluten-free and keto-friendly option made with almond flour, and comes in fun and delicious flavors like strawberry, blueberry, and chocolate. They are the perfect way to liven up your breakfast!

How do you get almond flour pancakes to hold together?

Pancakes made with alternative flours, like almond and coconut, are a little more finicky, especially when you’re flipping them. To keep your pancakes all in one piece, try these tips:

  • Add an extra egg - You want your pancake batter to look like, well - batter!  If it’s looking dry, or super thick, adding an extra egg can help hold things together.
  • Avoid too much moisture - Some alternative flours, especially almond flour, don’t absorb moisture well, which can make your pancake batter too runny.  If this happens, try adding a little coconut flour. Start by adding 1 tablespoon, mix it in and let it sit for a minute or two, and add more as needed. 
  • Almond butter - Believe or not, making pancakes using nut butters, like almond butter, works really well. They help hold the batter together, and give the pancakes a rich flavor that is out of this world!  

How do you thicken pancake mix without flour?

If your pancake batter is looking a little runny and you need to thicken it, here are a few easy, no-fail solutions:

Starches - Gluten-free starches are great for absorbing extra liquid without making pancakes too dense. A few good ones to try are arrowroot, tapioca, or potato starch.  Start with 1 tablespoon and add more if you need it.

Coconut flour - Since coconut flour is great at absorbing extra liquid, it works well to thicken pancake batter. Add 1 tablespoon and let it sit for a minute or two to give it time to absorb excess liquid.

Mashed banana or pumpkin puree - Adding pureed banana or pumpkin adds a little flavor and sweetness, and can thicken a runny batter. Try using it to replace half of the oil or milk in your favorite pancake recipe.

How do you properly cook pancakes with alternative flours?

If you’re struggling to get your gluten-free pancakes cooked to perfection, you’re not alone. Since alternative pancake recipes take a little longer to cook, try cooking them at a low temperature for longer. This helps keep them from being undercooked in middle, since gluten-free pancakes are a little denser than traditional pancakes.  

Another easy trick to prevent dense pancakes? Add a little air into batter by mixing it in the blender. Add all your pancake ingredients to the blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Alternative Pancake Recipes

Here are a few alternative pancake recipes you could try:


Pancakes are perfect for a weekend brunch or a weekday morning - there’s never a bad day to whip up a batch of pancakes. There are so many great ways to enjoy pancakes made with alternative flours, so hopefully you’ve gotten a few ideas to get you started. Now that you’ve gotten your pancake inspo, grab your griddle and try one of the recipes above!


  Dana Haddad

Kaleena Lundmark is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food photographer. She also is the founder of The Crowded Table, a website dedicated to helping busy moms make easy paleo meals. You can find her recipes and get inspiration for kid-friendly meals thecrowdedtable.com

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