Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes


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whole wheat pancakes on a white plate

Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes are made with just six ingredients and only one bowl for mixing. They use all whole wheat flour and are lightly sweet and super fluffy!

Even great recipes sometimes get made once and are promptly forgotten about. At our house where I’m constantly looking for inspiration and trying new things, my family always complains that I make something they love and they never see it again. So it’s truly a special recipe that gets made every week at our house (okay, that’s not totally true, sometimes we alternate with Healthy Blueberry Pancakes). These whole wheat pancakes are our weekly recipe. I make double batches which produces enough pancakes to freeze and warm up in the toaster all week long.

whole wheat pancakes on a white plate with a fork

These pancakes are just a bit sweet so they need no other topping than a spread of butter, though no one ever complains about a bit of maple syrup. Plus the whole wheat flour means that everyone is getting a bit more nutrition than standard pancakes made with all purpose flour. 

Even if you’re not the homemade breakfast type, try these pancakes! They’re incredibly easy and so delicious.

ingredients for pancakes in a white bowl

Ingredients for Whole Wheat Pancakes

  • Buttermilk – I know that buttermilk isn’t something that everyone keeps on hand (though around our house, we make these pancakes so often that we always have it), but it’s inexpensive and definitely worth grabbing on your next run to the store. The subtle tart flavor really makes these pancakes taste great! If you don’t have it – no worries – see below for an easy substitute. 
  • Whole Wheat Flour – These use entirely whole wheat flour which can be found in the baking aisle next to the all purpose flour. If you don’t use it often, store it in the freezer and it will stay fresh for a looooong time and be ready anytime you want to make these pancakes (or these whole wheat waffles).  
  • Eggs – You’ll need 2 large eggs.
  • Light Brown Sugar – Dark brown sugar works just fine too. I’ve also made this with white sugar, and it came out great. 
  • Cooking Oil – Any type of oil you would use in baking or cooking will work great here. I use vegetable, canola, grapeseed, or avocado oil, depending on what I have on hand.
  • Baking Powder – The baking powder is what helps these pancakes to bake up tall and be extra light and fluffy. The recipe requires 2 Tablespoons – it will seem like a lot, but it’s right!

(How sweet are these little notes that come with our favorite local eggs?)

eggs in an egg carton

Substitute for Buttermilk

If you don’t have buttermilk, replace 2 cups of buttermilk with 1 ½ cups milk, 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice, and ½ cup plain yogurt. The yogurt and the vinegar / lemon juice thicken the milk and mimic the sour flavor of buttermilk. 

adding buttermilk to bowl of pancake ingredients

How to Freeze Pancakes

After making the pancakes, allow them to cool completely. Place them on a sheet pan – it’s okay if they overlap slightly. Transfer the pan to the freezer and freeze for 2 to 3 hours. Once pancakes are frozen solid, move to freezer bags. Seal tightly and freezer for up to 6 months. 

Pancakes (and waffles) are freezer rockstars. Just take out as many as you need and warm them up in the toaster or under the broiler for a couple minutes.

light and fluffy pancakes on a white plate

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whole wheat pancakes
4.39 from 13 votes

Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

Don't let the fact that these pancakes are made entirely from whole wheat flour fool you - they bake up as light and fluffy as any I've had.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • Skillet
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) cooking oil (vegetable, canola, grapeseed, or avocado oil)
  • 2 cups (475 milliliters) buttermilk (see note)
  • 2 cups (250 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Beat eggs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Beat in canola oil and buttermilk until evenly combined. Add dry ingredients all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  • Ladle batter onto a hot, oiled griddle or skillet until bubbles form on the surface. Flip to the other side and cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve immediately, with butter and syrup.


Recipe adapted from "Black Jack Flapjacks" by the Black Jack Inn and the Paradise Cafe in Lawrence, Kansas.
Don't have buttermilk? Replace 2 cups of buttermilk with 1 ½ cups milk, 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice, and ½ cup plain yogurt. The yogurt and the vinegar / lemon juice thicken the milk and mimic the sour flavor of buttermilk. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 308mg | Potassium: 833mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 227IU | Calcium: 308mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.50
Calories: 469
Keyword: easy breakfast recipe, easy recipe, freezer-friendly breakfast, healthy breakfast recipe, kid-friendly recipe, whole wheat
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.39 from 13 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. I made these today and they turned out very bitter. Any idea what might have contributed to the bitterness? I thought it may be the charring of the sugar so I tasted the batter and that in itself was bitter 🙁

    1. Hi there – you are the first person to tell me they had this problem, and I’ve never experienced it myself in many years of making this recipe. You’re right though – something must be off because these pancakes certainly shouldn’t have any amount of bitterness to them. I would definitely recommend trouble shooting your ingredients – perhaps the buttermilk was bad, the flour old, or the baking powder expired?

  2. I had to let you know my husband and I loved these pancakes. Since we switched to grinding whole wheat berries we have been on the look out for good whole wheat recipes, and I can now say we found the perfect pancake recipe for our family.

    1. Tiffany – thanks so much for letting me know! Glad you liked the pancakes, and i’m so impressed that you’re grinding your own wheat berries – that’s definitely something I’d like to try in the future!

  3. Oh emmm gee! I made a half batch of these and it was perfect! Yum! I actually used soy milk and vinegar to make a vegan buttermilk and it was great. Next time I’ll try to replace the egg with a “flax egg” to see if I can make this recipe completely vegan. Sooo excited!

    1. So update.. A flax see I great, but to retain the fluffiness add a small amount of baking powder. For every cup of flour, use a 1/4 teaspoon. But! This will only work if you use buttermilk (or a buttermilk substitute, like milk and vinegar). The baking soda needs that acid to have a reaction.

      1. Kesha – great! So good to have all of these variations available to others – thank you for writing back in!

  4. I love this recipe! It’s easy!
    I made these today and they were lighter than regular pancakes I usually make!
    Thank you for sharing, my grand babies have another food to brag about! Lol

  5. I generally don’t write comments, but these pancakes are nice and fluffy. I had a bag of whole wheat flour and wanted to use it. I am so glad for the buttermilk alt recipe because I didn’t want to go out and it worked perfectly. One thing I would do differently next time, is to use less sugar, or use a plain yogurt.

    Thank you so very much for this recipe. Love it.

  6. You are an angel Jess, as these pancakes are clearly god-sent; thank you so much for sharing!! I am in the maintenance phase of a lower-carb diet and very deprived of the good, comforting foods like this!!! Ohhhhh I made them (with some alterations to suit my still lower-carb, sugar-free eating rules) and ohhhhh they tasted like heaven….
    -Granular Splenda instead of brown sugar;
    -Coconut Oil (as I did not have Canola);
    -Low-carb “mock” buttermilk – made of Unsweetened Almond Milk, White Vinegar and Sour Cream;
    -2 tsp ground Cinnamon (only because I have a soft spot for cinnamon).

    They were so unbelievably fluffy and yummy and aromatic, I actually happily had 2 of them them plain, while they were hot, with my coffee!! Okay, and then I tried an extra one with homemade low-carb chocolate spread (no words to describe how satisfied I was – anyone that has been on a low-carb diet would know what I mean and that I am not exaggerating at all when I say that my taste-buds felt RE-BORN!!)

    Next time I will experiment with turning the recipe completely wheat-free by replacing wholewheat flour (with, perhaps, a mix of almond/coconut flour or almond flour/vanilla-whey protein??)

    Millions of thanks again!!

    1. Bubble – thanks so much for letting me know, AND for your adaptation! It’s always so nice to know what other variations will work!

  7. Yum … Just tried these in NZ without buttermilk but put in the milk and vinegar. Whole family loved them, and they were really filling. Thanks for sharing 🙂