Whole Grain Buttermilk Pancakes Add Nutrients to a Classic Breakfast

Do you ever go grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon? It’s not pretty.

Vertical image of a stack of pancakes with maple syrup and berries in a white shallow bowl, with another dish of flapjacks in the background, on an unfinished wood surface, printed with orange and white text in the upper third and at the bottom of the frame.

A few days ago, I was weaving in and out of aisles at the supermarket, repeatedly cornered or trapped by someone’s cart, or worse, by those two women who planted themselves in front of the entire yogurt section, chatting with sour faces that never once looked my way for the solid five minutes that they’d commandeered the dairy case.

You know the ones.

By the time I’d finally made it past them and to the baking aisle, my mindset was reduced to pure self-preservation: Flour. The only other thing I needed was flour.

There were people on my right and people on my left, with one couple edging towards me quickly. I scanned the shelves.

No whole wheat pastry flour, but there was white whole wheat flour! That’s similar, right? I grabbed a bag.

While I waited in line at the checkout, a surly balding man cut in front of me, pretending not to see me or my shopping cart that were mere inches away from him. And would you believe it, I let him.

Vertical image of a maple syrup being poured from a glass bottle to the left of the frame onto a stack of pancakes in a white shallow bowl with fresh berries, with another plate of flapjacks in the background, on an unfinished wood table.

That grocery store broke me, I tell you. Turns out, though, that the experience wasn’t entirely bad.

Because white whole wheat flour? It’s different from whole wheat pastry flour in that it has more protein (13% compared to pastry’s 9% per serving) and comes from a different version of the grain (hard white spring wheat rather than soft white winter wheat).

It offers all the fiber and nutrition of traditional whole wheat, but with a milder flavor and lighter color.

It has a finer grind than regular whole wheat flour. It makes a good substitute for white all-purpose flour. It’s said to be great in breads, cookies, bars, and so on. You can even grind your own at home using a home grain mill.

Also, it makes a great pancake.

Vertical overhead image of a white plate of pancakes with fresh blueberries and raspberries, topped with maple syrup, with another plate of flapjacks at the top right of the frame, on an unfinished weathered wood surface.

A few hours after I got home from the store, I was absentmindedly watching an episode of something on Hulu when someone mentioned pancakes. You can blame the rough morning if you’d like, but that’s all it took: I had to have pancakes.

Five minutes and one Google search later, I was looking at 101 Cookbooks, the same site that brought me this maple blueberry coffee cake and this chocolate cake. I whipped up a half batch of Heidi’s favorite pancakes right on the spot.

These super-simple pancakes are thin and cakey, absolute perfection when a little overdone and topped with butter and maple syrup.

I can eat about six of them in one sitting, no problem, and that’s saying something. And while I happily ate forkful after forkful, I kept thinking that if all miserable Sunday afternoons at the grocery store brought things like this, they wouldn’t be so bad.

Vertical closely cropped oblique image of a stack of whole grain pancakes in a white shallow bowl with a piece cut out and sitting on a fork, with blueberries, raspberries, and maple syrup, and another stack of flapjacks on a plate in the background, on an unfinished wood surface.

I halved the recipe, and despite burning a couple at the beginning (the first pancake’s never perfect anyway, right?), I had enough to push me past full, with a plateful left for the next day.

As written below in my own version, this recipe makes about 6 large pancakes, 15 medium ones, or a bunch of little silver dollars (which is what I ended up liking best).

Feel free to double it up to your liking, and enjoy a delicious and satisfying breakfast, or breakfast for dinner at the end of a hectic day.

These might even inspire you to try other alternative flours for your next pancake party. Good morning, einkorn and rye!

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Horizontal image of a stack of pancakes in a shallow white ceramic bowl, with syrup and fresh berries, and another plate of flapjacks in the background, on an unfinished wood table.

Whole Grain Buttermilk Pancakes

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 large pancakes 1x


Give breakfast a healthier makeover with these simple whole grain pancakes, topped with pure maple syrup and fresh berries.


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅛ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing skillet
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup, fresh berries, or your favorite toppings (optional)


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter.
  3. Slowly stir wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. There should still be a few lumps remaining.
  4. Heat skillet or griddle on medium heat and lightly grease with butter. Once hot, pour ¼ cup of batter onto skillet.
  5. Cook for a couple minutes, until bubbles form on top and start to pop. Flip, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pancakes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Keywords: buttermilk pancakes, whole grain, whole grain pancakes, buttermilk, pancakes

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients

Measure out all of your ingredients.

Horizontal oblique image of a blue ceramic bowl of flour, a clear glass bowl of melted butter, a glass bottle of buttermilk, a brown egg, a plastic bottle of vanilla extract, a clear glass bowl of sugar, and a white ceramic bowl of baking powder and salt, on an unfinished weathered wood surface.

While buttermilk will give the best flavor, in a pinch you can substitute 1 cup of milk or non-dairy milk alternative mixed with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using.

Step 2 – Combine Ingredients

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set it aside.

Horizontal closely cropped overhead image of a medium-sized glass bowl of a dry flour mixture with a spoon to the left, and a smaller glass bowl of a liquid milk and vanilla extra mixture to the right with a wire whisk, on an unfinished grayish-brown wood surface.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter.

Step 3 – Mix Wet Ingredients into Dry

Overhead horizontal image of beige batter in a clear glass mixing bowl with a spoon handle sticking out to the right, on a weathered unfinished wood surface.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix. There should still be some lumps in the batter.

Step 4 – Heat and Grease Skillet or Griddle

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease with butter. You could use a grill pan on the stove, an electric griddle, or your favorite large frying pan.

Step 5 – Cook

For each pancake, pour ¼ cup of batter onto the hot skillet.

You can determine whether the skillet is ready by dropping a splash of water on the griddle. If it starts to bubble and “dance,” then you’ll know it’s hot enough.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the bubbles that form on the top start to pop. Flip, and cook another 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown.

Vertical image of two white plates of pancakes, one in soft focus in the background, and one in sharp focus in the foreground, with scattered blueberries and raspberries, on a wood surface that has not been stained or varnished.

If the first one doesn’t come out perfectly, don’t sweat it. As you continue to cook, adjust the heat and add more butter as needed.

Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately, with fresh berries and pure maple syrup, or your choice of toppings. For a fruitier alternative, drizzle with a fresh strawberry syrup.

Note: To keep the pancakes warm until you’re ready to serve, you can heat your oven to 175°F and place the cooked ones in the oven on a baking sheet.

What is White Whole Wheat Flour?

Since we’re frequently told to eat more whole grain products and less white flour, the term “white whole wheat” can seem like an oxymoron.

While whole wheat flour contains more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined, white flour, it can result in heartier, heavier baked goods. Not necessarily the characteristics you want in a pancake.

White whole wheat flour solves this problem, as it’s 100% whole wheat, but made from a different variety of the grain that’s naturally lighter in color and milder in flavor. As a result, you get all the nutrition of whole wheat with a lighter texture and flavor that you want from a pancake.

Have a recipe that calls for whole wheat flour? These two flours can be used interchangeably.

Want to amp up the flavor? Be inspired by our coconut orange silver dollar pancake recipe!

And if you need to be completely gluten free for your meals, you can still enjoy a homemade breakfast with our recipe for coconut flour pancakes.

Horizontal image of a stack of pancakes in a shallow white ceramic bowl, with syrup and fresh berries, and another plate of flapjacks in the background, on an unfinished wood table.

Here are some more recipes featuring white whole wheat flour to get you started:

Are you a fan of heartier pancakes, or light and fluffy flapjacks? Share your opinions in the comments below, and be sure to give this whole grain breakfast recipe a rating after you give it a try!

Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 23, 2010. Last updated: March 1, 2022 at 16:52 pm. With additional writing and editing by Kelli McGrane and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

34 thoughts on “Whole Grain Buttermilk Pancakes Add Nutrients to a Classic Breakfast”

  1. And now I need, NEED, to make pancakes. When you mentioned that you had made them, I was too busy to make them too, but I think that I might have some free time tonight….. They look wonderful! (And yes, WF on a Sunday = scary!)

  2. I know exactly what you mean about grocery shopping on a Sunday. I try to avoid supermarkets on weekends at all costs: but I’m not alone. Yesterday I went to the supermarket and it was so packed that I waited in line for 30 minutes. My ice cream was half melted by the time I paid for it, but I didn’t have the heart to leave it. – UGH!

  3. Hmm your experience sounds like shopping here on a Sat. Because just about everything is closed on Sundays, Sat. is the day for the mad rush at the store. I’ve never heart of white whole wheat flour before – it sounds really interesting! Next time my husband is away and I can cook delicious glutenicious things all for myself, I will have to try these pancakes 🙂

  4. oh my, grocery shopping on sundays is kind of awful here too but i somehow end up doing it every sunday anyway. I’ve never been closed off from the yogurt case though, that would have broken me as well.

    I’m jealous of your whole foods, we don’t have one here and I miss shopping there. oh and now I’m in the mood for pancakes.

  5. I’ve noticed so much lately that common courtesy has started to disappear, and no more so than when I’m at the grocer. I’ve come across people just like you did who stand in the aisles -often right. in. the. middle.- blocking access, people who walk around loudly talking on their cell phones (which I can’t stand no matter where I am) and all manner of rudeness and disregard. I may be overly sensitive, but at the same time, what happened to respect?

    But for me as well, a good pancake would make a morning like that virtually disappear. Heidi’s site is always good for soul-soothing foods.

  6. i haven’t had traditional pancakes in ages, shanna. and lately, i’ve been wanting them something fierce. now, with this — well, thanks a lot, is all. also, grocery stores on sunday — i usually stay away until late sunday afternoons, and even then, madness.

  7. I also had a Whole-Foods-frustration kind of Sunday…. no creme fraiche! At least you soothed yours over with pancakes afterwards. Me? A Larabar (PB&J!) on my way to a different grocery store!

    Great post, thanks for sharing

  8. That was me on Saturday at Whole Foods, later in the afternoon.
    Crowded, crazy, busy.
    And I also bought some whole wheat flour, contemplated some blue cornmeal but thought my husband might not appreciate the changes in his Johnny cake.
    Question for you Shannalee.
    Have you worked with quinoa flour at all?
    I am intrigued about this ingredient after looking through a book at our Chapters.
    I do cook with quinoa but I need to read up more on this versatile grain if I want to bake with it.

  9. I’ve been making these pancakes all the time. This is one of my favorite recipes, so I can understand how you feel. Happy pancakes.

  10. shannalee, had i been with you, i would’ve, on your behalf, stepped up to those ladies and had them move over if they waffled past the acceptable few minutes. i would’ve then told surly, balding man where he could go and it would not be to the head of the line. i would’ve always kicked his ass on his way out too. i’m a sunday grocery shopper myself, but i usually go in with a plan, to divide and conquer. lists are split between myself and roommate and we make a point to be in & out within 30 minutes.

    i’m not a pancake fan so forgive me, however, i am interested in the white whole wheat flour you picked up. i’m always on the lookout for different flours to use for my baking.

  11. Yes! Pancakes have been on my “to-make” list for a while now. For some reason I never find time for them! Several months ago, I nearly had a nervous breakdown at a Trader Joe’s and since then I avoid grocery shopping on Sunday like the plague. Way too stressful!

  12. That’s exactly how I get inspired to eat/cook. All it takes is a mere mention of an ingredient or a dish and I’m all over it. Working at Williams-Sonoma, I am around food all day and my cravings frequently change from minute to minute. My head going through the kitchen ingredient rolodex in my brain to determine if I have what’s needed to make the dish I’m craving at that moment.

    I avoid grocery stores on weekends, period. Working retail, my weekends are not set, always fluid, so I find a way each week to get to the market, avoiding the masses which makes the experience much more pleasant in most cases.

  13. I was at Whole Foods on Sunday too! Sunday night, though, and the place was nearly empty. Totally different than the Saturday after I left your house, when yeah, my experience was totally like yours, with a million samples of different foods thrown in. (I can’t turn them down!) I’m glad you found something good despite the chaos.

  14. It’s true. White whole wheat flour is a revelation. I’ve successfully subbed it in for all purpose use at our house, and it’s absolutely delicious.

    As for Sunday afternoons at the grocery store… the only time I can hack that is during football season, when it seems everyone else must be at home watching the game!

  15. I have never used White whole wheat flour.. I guess I will have to make a trip to whole foods to find it and then make these pancakes! I dont know if I will be able to wait til Sunday though : )

  16. White wheat flour is simply white all-purpose flour. They use the name ‘wheat’ to imply something healthy. All flour is wheat flour but whole wheat is rich in the bran part of the wheat grain (thanks to they way it’s processed).
    If you have all-purpose flour, you can reduce the protein content, thus increasing starch, by adding cornstarch. Or mix 70% cake flour and 30% bread flour. Or simply add a small amount of cake flour to all-purpose flour.

  17. Caitlin, A girl after my own heart. It is always a good time for pancakes.

    Antonietta, What!? So Mondays can be just as bad. Boo.

    Jenn, I think it’s so quaint when rural towns practically close down on Sundays. And you’re in Switzerland, right? Didn’t know that happened there! BUT I never thought how that would impact Saturday errands. Yuck!

    Lisa, Ha! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said I wouldn’t do this again, but somehow I end up back there, too!

    Kate, You make such a good point. There is definitely a lack of respect out there. And to that man who cut in front of me: aside from the fact that, obviously, I WAS THERE FIRST – what happened to ladies first anyway?

    Jacqui, You are welcome, ha! And madness is right. That is the perfect word.

    Sprout, Ha. Whatever it takes, right?

    Celeste, I have not used quinoa flour, but I’m curious about it. I did make quinoa for the first time last month, and it is definitely going to have to grow on me. The flour might be different though. If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

    Kickpleat, Right? So glad you agree!

    Oh Lan, If only you had been with me! I could have used your gumption.

    Peggy, Yep! According to King Arthur’s site, “We routinely substitute white wheat for 100% of the all-purpose flour in cookie, muffin, brownie, pancake, and other recipes where the difference won’t be noticeable. Like, don’t make an angel food cake with it; but gingerbread? Chocolate chip cookies? Cinnamon muffins? Go for it!”

    Sara, Oh my goodness, a few months ago, I stopped at the TJ’s in Lincoln Park, and it was a ZOO. Even worse than Whole Foods this weekend. Lines like 15-people long, easy. Crazzzzy!

    Fran, That must be so fun to work at Williams Sonoma! All kinds of inspiration all the time!

    Amanda Mae, We do indeed! Yours look so impressive!

    Alicia, So what you’re saying then is I need to go late at night. Ugh, I know you’re right. I think I will just do that from now on (I hope).

    Lo, Ha! Oh I was there on Superbowl Sunday, I actually remember that, and it was crowded then too!

    Tim, Glad you enjoyed that, ha.

    Kristen, Definitely don’t wait until Sunday, for your own sake! Ha!

    George, Actually I don’t believe that’s true. Whole white wheat flour is different. According to an article from USAToday.com, for example, “Confusingly, it’s called ‘white wheat,’ made from a naturally occurring albino variety. But the resemblance to typical bleached flour stops there. Fans say flour made from white wheat has all the nutrition and fiber of whole wheat without the taste that some find unpleasant.”

  18. I just discovered your lovely blog, and I’m an instant fan! Your photos and prose are great, and I’m really admiring the site design too.

    Re: white whole wheat flour…love it! I used it in this weekend’s batch of yeasted waffles. Subbing half your AP flour for white whole wheat makes for the right combination of tenderness and heartiness.

  19. it is for reasons like Sunday at Whole Foods that I try to do my grocery shopping at off hours. like 7 am or 2 in the afternoon. less traffic. i like to wonder around and look for fun new things. its better than shopping for clothes, because all sizes fit perfectly!

    have you tried almond flour? I hear its even better for you than the whole wheat flour. don’t know much about it, but I am curious to learn more.

  20. i know what you mean about sunday grocery shopping. nightmare! for me? weekdays in the evening around 8pm. sounds weird but it works, hardly anymore there. grocery shopping a la solitude! i also use whole wheat all-purpose and i LOVE it

  21. I love pancakes. They always make everything better; even bad grocery shopping days. Also love using white whole wheat flour, it’s so easy to swap out with pretty much any recipe.

  22. Oh, girl. I am so with you on this one. If anyone even mentions a pan or a cake I start craving them.

    I LOVE white-wheat flour. I wish I could find somewhere around here where I could buy it in bulk (like I do my regular flour), I’d consider switching to it almost entirely.

  23. I love how you turned a frustrating experience into a positive one. Last week I was in the kitchen with my fiancee’s family and his mom and I were cooking home made bread. She handed me what was meant to be yeast, but it wasn’t. I didn’t know the difference and hours later the dough never rose. Instead, we made flatbread and it was great.

  24. Maddie, Thanks so much! Glad to know about your blog now too – and that’s great you’re already a whole white wheat flour fan!

    bodelou, 7AM! That is actually pretty brilliant. And since I’m kind of an early bird lately, I don’t see why I shouldn’t try that sometime! Also love what you said about all sizes fitting, ha!

    Allison, Now I have tried weekday evenings, strictly around 6 PM, and I have to say: the place is dead empty. That’s good thinking!

    Jacqui, Oh good! Another positive vote for this flour! Thanks!

    Hannah, Right? I don’t know what it is about pancakes specifically, but it happens to me a lot! And PS if you see this comment – where do you buy your regular flour in bulk? I should look into that with specialty flours… I wonder if buying online would make sense.

    Susan, How clever of you guys! A good attitude is one of the best things to have when baking, especially when things turn out differently than expected. I wonder what the not-yeast was!

  25. I so wanted pancakes the other day, but my mother was making french toast already. I said I wasn’t hungry b/c I didn’t want french toast at all, I wanted pancakes. Well, then I was supposed to get breakfast w/ the bf, but the water heater broke, so we ended up going to Menards to get a new one, then him and my dad spent a couple hours installing it… Needless to say, by the time we finally left, it was 5 hours after I woke up and I was starving so bad and my fav place to get pancakes was closed.
    I managed to have them the next day though. I kinda want some right now, w/ chunks of cooked cinnamon apples….mmmmm……

  26. great post, but I got lost on the first lines… “two dark haired women….” would it had been different if it was 2 blonde women, two redheads??”??? didn’t think so.
    Now to those pancakes.Tried them, and they were so great!!!

  27. Shanna, another great post!!! I want some pancakes now. Maybe Elena and I will whip these up for breakfast…I will definitely let you know how they turn out; better than the Graham crackers??….hahaha

  28. Niki, I’ve so been there with delays that end up being wayyy longer than you’d expected. Pancakes with cooked cinnamon apples sound like they’d be a real treat! I don’t think I’ve ever had that!

    Ann, Ha! Well, speaking as a brunette, I can assure you I meant no offense by it. It was just a description. Like the balding man in the checkout. He’d still have been rude with a full head of hair or a leather jacket or gym shoes. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the pancakes!

    Elizabeth, Gosh, I sure do hope these turn out better for you!! It’s hard to go wrong with pancakes, I think, though, so hopefully that will help. If I fail you again, I don’t know what I’ll do.

  29. It’s such a bummer when a grocery store breaks you. It’s happened to me, too. When someone cuts in front of me? I don’t say thing. I just play the conversation in my head. I’m very convincing and forceful, yet kind. Ish.

  30. Kendra, I know! I just read about your CostCo visit today – someone really cut in front of you, while you had Sam in a stroller!?


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