This recipe combines teff flour and gluten-free flour for perfectly fluffy, light and sweet pancakes that have no cane sugar. With teff flour and simple ingredients you’ll have a stack of fluffy pancakes for breakfast today. Or freeze them for an easy make-ahead breakfast.
Is Teff Gluten-Free?
Teff is technically a seed and is gluten-free. But it acts much like a grain. When ground, it becomes a flour just like flours ground from grains. It’s a tiny, tiny brown or ivory colored seed shaped like a chia seed but more the size of a poppy seed. See teff below in the the lower right of the photo.
Teff has a wonderfully nutty, yet mild flavor that makes it perfect for baking. It is more commonly grown in Ethiopia, India and Australia. Teff is the base for Ethiopian injera flatbread.
Being gluten-free, I am always looking for ways to expand my diet beyond rice, which is the base for most gluten-free breads, flours and baked products. Teff is higher in protein than many grains and is a good source of iron and fiber. I use the brown version of teff but, ivory teff flour is also available.
Teff is naturally gluten-free. But, if you are highly sensitive to gluten or have Celiac Disease, I recommend going with a gluten-free teff. This will help you to avoid any cross-contamination issues. Nuts.com’s Teff Flour is a good gluten-free option which is manufactured on a dedicated gf line.
I combine teff flour with a gluten-free flour blend to be sure that the pancakes are fluffy and hold together nicely. Without the xanthan gum binder in a gluten-free flour blend, the pancakes would be a little crumbly. My go-to gluten-free flour for baking is King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour.
Eggs help to make gluten-free baked goods fluffy and rich. It is best if your eggs are at room temperature. You will be adding melted butter to the batter, and if the batter is super cold, the butter will seize up into tiny little chunks. Cold eggs can go into a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temp.
Teff flour will inhibit the rising and lightness of pancakes. So you’ll separate the eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks. Fold the fluffy egg whites into the batter to make it light and airy.
You have a few choices for the liquid. Buttermilk adds a wonderful tangy flavor to these pancakes. It is my first choice but if you are dairy-free, use your favorite milk substitute like coconut, hemp, rice or soy milk with a teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar. Otherwise regular low-fat or full-fat cow’s milk will work too.
This recipe uses maple syrup as the sweetener. The maple flavor is a great pairing with the nuttiness of teff. Other liquid sweeteners like agave or my brown sugar based agave syrup substitute will both work.
The rest of the ingredients are just the basics – baking powder, vanilla, salt and some melted butter to add a little bit of rich flavor.
Quick Pancake Batter
This recipe will work without beating the egg whites separately. The pancakes will not be as fluffy, but they will still be airy and nicely risen. So if you’re in a rush, you can skip that step. The pancakes will look like the ones pictured below.
Can you Freeze Pancakes?
Yes! These pancakes can definitely be frozen. Stack them with a piece of parchment or wax paper in between and seal tightly in a zip top bag. Reheat them in the toaster oven (at 300°F if you have temp control) or the toaster for a quick, easy breakfast.
Of course the classic maple syrup and butter is always a good idea. But here are a few other yummy options:
- Add a little zing to your pancakes with my spicy maple syrup.
- My sweet and salty honey butter spread adds a nice salty dimension.
- Put an amazing grown up spin on these pancakes with a DIY, homemade bourbon maple syrup.
Teff Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 c buttermilk, milk or dairy-free milk substitute add 1/2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar if not using buttermilk
- ¼ c maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, powder or bean paste
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ c teff flour (ivory or brown)
- ½ c gluten-free flour blend, King Arthur Measure for Measure recommended
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
- Heat the milk/buttermilk for 20 seconds in the microwave to bring it to room temperature. I heat it in my glss measuring cup.
- Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a small mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and the yolks into a larger mixing bowl. Note: Any small bits of yolk in the whites will inhibit foaming of the whites.
- Add the milk/buttermilk, maple syrup, vanilla and salt to the egg yolks and beat until well combined.
- Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Add the flours and baking powder to the milk-yolk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to combine.
- Add the melted butter and stir with a wire whisk until smooth and combined.
- Add ⅓ of the egg white to the batter and mix in. Gently fold in the remaining egg white 2 additions.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over high heat for 1-1½ minutes or until a little splash of water sizzles and evaporates within 2 seconds. I do not recommend greasing the pan.
- Turn the heat to medium high.
- Ladle about 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake onto the pan. Cook until the batter bubbles & pops and the outside edges begin to set – about 1-1½ minutes. If the bottom browns much faster than that, turn down the heat.
- Flip gently and cook another 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is brown.
- Transfer cooked pancakes to a wire rack and if necessary, keep warm in a 250° oven.
- These pancakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat them in the toaster or toaster oven.