“Water Only” Pancakes

I love pancakes.  They have always been a breakfast item of choice at least once a week in our house.  You can make a lot of great pancakes and waffles following regular recipes and substituting rice milk or almond milk for the cow’s milk in the recipe.  Unfortunately right now we are Milk, Soy, Chocolate, Rice, and Nut free with a few more suspects on the list.  That pretty much eliminated all milk substitute options for us so I’ve been trying to make recipes using water in place of milk. It doesn’t always work, let me tell you and I often do find the texture and taste to be a bit off.

I made this recipe at least 4 times before I decided it would be good enough to continually grace our breakfast table.  Hannah sure didn’t mind these experiments as long as there was syrup for dunking these creations.   The first time I tried making “water” pancakes, the end results were tasteless.  I thought about what milk brought to the pancake party.  Protein, fat, salt, sugar, water?  I haven’t found a replacement for the protein but I started adding a little extra salt, sugar and fat (canola oil) to my recipe to stand in for the milk.  Is this necessary?  Well, it seemed to help the taste, especially the salt.  I added some vanilla in and that really brought the flavor closer to the old pancakes I made.   I think the end result is pretty good. Make sure to follow some rules to help yours turn out well.

*Don’t overbeat the batter.  It is okay for it to have lots of lumps.  Overbeating = tougher pancakes

*Flip pancakes only one time and don’t pat or push on them with the spatula.  That just squashes the nice fluffy pancake you just made.

*Don’t forget to experiment yourself with a little more/less flour or water. We like big fluffy pancakes at our house but you can alter the batter to make them what you like.

*Don’t judge your pancakes by the first ones in the pan.  I always think of these as the practice pancakes.  They always seem to improve after those first ones, as if the first batch seasons the pan a bit.

Water Only Pancakes


1  1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 egg

1 cup + 2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon canola oil

(Canola oil to grease pan)


Into a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Stir.  In another bowl (I use a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup), stir together the egg, water, vanilla  and oil.  Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it just comes together. It should be slightly lumpy so don’t overmix.  Heat a nonstick skillet or pan over medium heat.  I spray mine down with some canola oil using an oil mister.  When the pan is hot pour a small 1/4 cup of batter and spread out slightly.  Cook until bubbles appear and a just a few begin to pop, about 2 minutes.  Flip pancake and cook on the other side 1-2 minutes more.  Makes 8-10 pancakes.

For a twist on the same old thing we sometimes add fruit or my favorite, apples and cinnamon.  Slice half of an apple, core removed,  into thin little pieces. I  add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnanmon to the batter.  Cook as usual.


4 responses

    • Hope they help you! Have you tried any milk substitutes yet -like almond milk, rice milk or coconut millk? I do find pancakes with milk substitutes to be a little less tempermental than the water ones but I made the water ones for a LONG time before I found a milk subsitute we could use in our house. Plus it is nice to have when I do run out of rice milk.

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