Recipe Connection: Soaked 100% Whole Grain Pancakes (Camping Variation)

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Easy Fluffy Whole Grain Pancake Recipe
One of my goals last winter was to find our family’s “go-to” pancake recipe.  We had pancakes we enjoyed, but I never had a standard, don’t-even-have-to-think-about-it recipe that I could grab…well…without thinking, you know?  If you have some of these recipes in your cache, you’ll know how reassuring it is.

It was important to me that our favorite pancakes also be healthy, which caused a problem at times.  Cardboard.  Sometimes whole wheat pancakes taste like cardboard.  Other times they become too floppy, a little like those gel toys that kids like to throw at walls and they stick.  The ones all mothers have nightmares about?  Not so good in pancake form either.

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Imagine my glee when I found a recipe that was 100% whole grain, 100% healthy, super easy, soaked to reduce phytate problems, AND was divinely delicious.  I started with the recipe at The Nourishing Gourmet, but because I don’t have dairy allergies in my family, I altered it a bit.

The Best Pancakes Ever
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Note: Ingredients often use affiliate links to Amazon and Tropical Traditions, but obviously you should shop for the best price and try to keep your dollars local when you can.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 40 pancakes
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour* ($0.75)
  • 1 c. buttermilk or milk or yogurt** ($0.10)
  • 1 c. water
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar ($0.05)
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil (can add this in the morning if you'd rather melt your coconut oil in the pan you cook your pancakes in) ($0.30)
  • 4 lightly beaten eggs ($0.40-1.00)
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Mix flour, buttermilk/milk/yogurt, water, vinegar and coconut oil
  2. Leave on counter for 12-24 hours to soak
  3. Just before cooking add eggs, baking powder, baking soda and salt
*This recipe works with all regular whole wheat, is much better with half whole wheat/half pastry flour, and is best with all pastry flour. Pastry flour is more expensive, so I like to go ½ and ½ most of the time.

**Because you're adding vinegar to the milk, it's a "fake" buttermilk of sorts and hasn't had a problem sitting on my counter overnight. Raw milk would be safest for this though if you choose to use milk. You can also use the dairy choice in place of the water for even richer pancakes. i have tried all three options, and I think the milk is the best one, but I often use homemade yogurt.

Cost: $1.60-2.20, depending on your eggs

These pancakes are so thick, yet light and fluffy, probably because of the bubbly reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda.  You can’t taste the vinegar in the final product, by the way, just the pancake-y goodness.

Here’s how they look on the griddle:


Camping Pancakes?

I told you last week in my camping menu plan that I was test-driving these as a camping food for the first time.  I made up the soaked portion (half a batch) the morning we left in a glass jar and stored it with our dry goods overnight.

I premeasured the dry add-ins, and we always pack eggs anyway for our famous camping breakfast sandwiches.
I premeasured the dry add-ins, and we always pack eggs anyway for our famous camping breakfast sandwiches.

I added the remaining ingredients in the morning plus a little water to thin it out and shook the batter up in the jar.

They were, of course, better than ever.  Everything tastes better when you’re camping!  (See more pictures of our trip here and here.)

img_7506If you don’t have a tailgating grill like this, you could also make pancakes on a griddle and rack over the fire.  We just took the easy way out this morning (hungry kids = faster method).

Gluten-Free Version Available!

UPDATE 2014: I’m super thrilled to share this new gluten-free version of our favorite pancakes. It works for camping, too, and it doesn’t use a lot of starchy flour, which is great. For the best camping pancake disaster ever, you’ve got to read this post though.

What is Soaking Grains?

It’s almost unfair to be posting soaked recipes before I’ve covered why I’m “soaking my grains”.  I know some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, but many of you are lost!

At a later date, I’ll go in depth into the science behind soaking grains and give you some Monday Missions on this subject, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s a healthier option to make your grains more digestible.  It breaks down phytic acid, a compound that draws minerals out of your system and hinders the absorption of the minerals in your grains.

UPDATE:  Here is the post on Why Soak Grains?

Completing the Breakfast

Pancakes, of course, need something on top.  If you’re using real maple syrup (and you should be!), here are 5 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Real Maple Syrup, since it can be pricey.  For some high-nutrition protein next to your pancakes, try the Best Scrambled Eggs Ever.

If you’re looking for more breakfast inspiration as you get into the routine of school time, Musings of a Housewife also posted on healthy breakfast ideas last week, and see the Breakfast Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as MOM.

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64 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Thanks for this recipe! I’m pretty new to soaking; I’ve done bread and tortillas but haven’t tried pancakes or anything else yet. I’ll be trying these.

    Also, your link to the post about stretching maple syrup took me to your error page.

    • Katie says

      Mary Ann,
      Thank you so much for pointing out that link. I had it incorrect in a bunch of places, so it was a big help for you to bring it to my attention. It works now!

    • Katie says

      I’ve tried that recipe, too – excellent with spelt and oats, great with spelt and barley, too, but they’re a bit more floppy than we like. I LOVE the added cinnamon, though!
      Thanks for sharing – Katie

  2. says

    I have more of a question than a comment. I have several quick bread recipes that call for vegetable oil. I had been using expeller pressed canola, but now I’m hesitant about that. I tried melting coconut oil, but some of the ingredients were cold and it clumped up and the bread seemed much heavier. Any other ideas?

    • Katie says


      This has got to be the million dollar question when it comes to fats. I struggled (am struggling?) with it, too, because sometimes it’s a pain to take the time to melt butter or coconut oil when you have that bottle of canola just ready to be poured…
      That said, here are some suggestions for you:
      1. If you use melted coconut oil and get it blended/mixed in FAST, like the second you add the ingredient, it often doesn’t solidify and goes much better.
      2. Melted butter is a great option.
      3. A light (virgin?) olive oil is another possibility. You just don’t want it to affect the flavor of your quick bread.
      4. I like to use some applesauce in place of the oil in quick breads just because the fats are so expensive now that I’m using the “good stuff”.
      Hope that helps!!! –Katie

      • says

        Thanks, Katie.

        You’ve suggested pretty much the same solutions I’ve come up with on my own. What are your thoughts on canola oil, and doesn’t olive oil lose some of its health benefits if it’s not EVOO? I tried the soaked zucchini bread recipe from Nourishing Traditions this weekend and it flopped terribly. Not sure exactly where I went wrong, but next time I’ll try to follow the recipe as close as possible. I think I’ll try the pancakes tomorrow (soaking tonight). Hopefully they will go easier and restore my courage. I’ve cooked and baked for years, but the properties of soaked grains are very different than what I’m used to, and the flavors are different, too.
        .-= Laurie N´s last blog ..Beanie Goodness – Wrapping up the Season =-.

  3. says

    Thanks for the great post and the explanation on soaking. The basic benefit is enough for me; if you don’t soak your whole wheat then it won’t be as yummy as it could be;)

  4. says

    I would love for you to join me at for Crock Pot Wednesday. It’s easy, fun and economical! Come on over and check it out. I’ve enjoyed your camping recipes. I also tried the maple syrup link but did not get it to work.

  5. Olivia Wasik says

    I don’t know Katie. I made half ground oats and half ground buckwheat pancakes for my nieces this weekend and they proclaimed these were the best pancakes ever! :)

    I accidentally found out that oats produce a similar pancake like spelt. Perfect since two of my brothers and one of my nieces are Celiac. They do take a little more time in the pan to rise, but they are a favorite for Ryan and I. Of course they are soaked in yogurt since they are a take off of Nourishing Traditions’ recipe.

    Your camping trip looks like it was fun. I won’t even sent photos of our patio party. By party, I mean that we ripped in all up and added to it. Lots of hard work, but it was nice to see my family.

  6. says

    My family loves pancakes. Whole wheat pancake are even better. THANKS!!! for the recipe.
    Wow I remember being a girl scout and camping. One year my sister and I went camping with a troop and my sister team made breakfast. They made pancakes and we had lots of fiber in those pancakes; like sticks and leaves.


  7. says

    Love all these camping posts. Makes me want to head outdoors! Sorry I am late, checking in with all the chefs…busy week getting the kids back to school. Thanks so much for stopping in at Momtrends and sharing.

  8. Katie says


    I’ll tackle canola in depth over the next month or so as “A Fat-Full Fall” series kicks off. I’m still learning a lot about it myself.

    As far as EVOO vs. virgin olive oil goes, see this post for lots of helpful info: and the one it links to at the end.

    I think Sally Fallon is a great nutritionist but not so good at baking, myself. I hear a lot of poor reviews on the baking recipes in NT. Try recipes from blogs that have been adapted for soaking; I’ve had much more luck with them. I hope the pancakes are awesome for you!

    • says

      LOL – glad I’m not the only one who is struggling with the recipes. 😉 I’ve finally accumulated the equipment/raw materials to do more of this type of thing (grain mill, stoneware, sources for “real” food), but I ended up with a zucchini-filled volcano in my mixing bowl and two rubbery bricks when I was done. Pancakes should be much safer. 😉
      .-= Laurie N´s last blog ..Beanie Goodness – Wrapping up the Season =-.

    • Katie says

      Brook, Melted butter would work great, or refined coconut oil which has some of the benefits of the unrefined c. oil but w/ no flavor. Also, you cannot taste the coconut in this recipe – it’s so little oil with so many other things!

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing this easy camping recipe. It would be helpful for me since I don’t want to spend alot of time cooking during the trip. Pancakes for breakfast even on the road is a nice idea. 😉

  10. says

    I’m trying these right now, thanks for the recipe! Here’s a question: if you use buttermilk, is the vinegar actually necessary? The buttermilk is already cultured, so it contains the necessary acid to break down the phytates. I was just wondering what you thought about that. I’m new to the soaking thing. Can’t wait to see how these turn out =)
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..days with my boys =-.

    • Katie says

      You are exactly right. Buttermilk would be the necessary acidic medium. I think the ACV helps them poof up w/ the baking soda myself, though, so I don’t think I’d leave it out on that account. :) Katie

  11. Marie Beausoleil says

    I keep struggling with this, because of the dairy product. How is it okay to put dairy products out on the counter all night?

    My kids and I are allergic to cow’s milk, but we can use goat milk and I made up a batch of goat milk yogurt. Is it really safe to leave that and the grains on the counter for 24 hours?

  12. says

    Katie, I have made these pancakes now several times. Each time~ a huge hit. We love them and they probably top our list as the best pancake recipe. Every now and then I swap for another favorite that uses Kefir, but this morning these did the trick for the entire family! Thank you. Your website is a real blessing for me as I seek to be a good steward and feed my family real food!

  13. Sarah W says

    Made these for the first time and I think they are the best “healthy” pancake recipe I have made so far. DH approved. :)

    • Katie says

      Laurie – how cool! I’ve never tried it with waffles. I’ll have to remember this when we finally sell our house and get our waffle maker out of storage…so cool that it just works with no changes or anything! Thank you for sharing! :) Katie

      • says

        Thank you for sharing the original. I love the ideas behind NT, but a lot of the recipes fall short on flavor. It’s great to have an online community of like-minded people to swap recipes that have been tried on families like mine. :-)

  14. heidi says

    I’m not following. Do you use buttermilke or the vinegar solution? If buttermilk, can you soak it on the counter overnighight or in the frig? Also, does homemade buttermilk smell more sour than store bought? I made some but it smells, well, like sour milk……I know storebought smells sweeter and more mild. Thanks.

    • Katie says

      When I use buttermilk, I still use the vinegar – tastes great in the final product! Yes, homemade buttermilk definitely will smell like sour milk a bit. No worries! :) Katie

  15. Rachel says

    I was a little bit confused about the comment with leaving the milk out overnight. Would you suggest soaking with pastuerized milk overnight, as long as vinegar is added, or is that not a good idea? Thanks!!

  16. Faith says

    Does the batter freeze well? I am just cooking for my husband and I, so 40 pancakes is completely unnecessary!

    • Katie says

      Sorry I missed your comment for so long; it got totally buried. I don’t know about the batter freezing well, but the pancakes themselves freeze and reheat great (or in the fridge for later int he week) and I also often make a half batch when we don’t want leftovers. Enjoy! :) katie

    • Katie says

      No, but that might add some fluffiness, you think? Do let me know if you try it; I love having variations on my recipes! :) Katie

  17. Julie Harding says

    I just made these for the first time & my daughter was begging for waffles. I decided to do some in the waffle iron & some as pancakes so I could cook them twice as fast & they were both amazing. I’m partial to waffles, so I think I liked those a bit better. I’m about to make up another batch for tomorrow morning.

    • Katie says

      Oy, my apologies for letting your comment get lost in the fray as I released a second edition of my snacks book…

      Your answer is this: sprouted flour does not need to be soaked. Sometimes you need a special recipe for sprouted, but I can’t imagine it not working in this one. Let me know how they turn out if you try it! (I’ve got these pancakes soaking right now for the first time in ages, yum!)
      :) Katie

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      The recipe is correct! Bread products don’t really need a sweetener, especially when most folks douse them in maple syrup anyway. 😉 The virgin coconut oil really does impart a hint of sweetness, too. They’re wonderful! :) Katie

  18. Stefanie Potts says

    I was just wondering, I started a batch of these earlier than I should have…how Lon can they soak on the counter before the batter goes bad? It will end up being about 36 hours.

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Whoops, I didn’t catch you over the weekend, but basically, 36 hours is usually ok, but you might end up with over-sour taste that folks won’t like as much. With any soaking recipe, if you ever realize you started it too early or just can’t make the recipe on time, just put the soaked part in the refrigerator until you can catch up to it. Usually even an extra day to 3 days is just fine as long as the soaked part stays chilled.

      Hope they turned out okay! :) Katie

  19. Stefanie says

    Thanks Katie! They actually ended up being the best batch yet so I’m glad I didn’t scrap them! Thanks for the helpful advice, I will definitely resort to the refrigerator next time if I run into this problem again! I began to do that instinctively before I sought help but wasn’t sure if it would inhibit the soaking process or not. Good to know I have that option! Thanks again!

  20. Christina says

    Hi, This recipe sounds yummy however I can not have apple cider (or any apples for that matter) vinegar is there another vinegar I can substitute?

  21. A Key says

    We have milk allergies in this household so I was wondering if almond milk with added vinegar would have the same benefit as milk for the soaking process in your recipes?

  22. Colleen says

    Once you add the eggs and such before cooking do you need to cook all of the batter? If, I keep it cold do you think it would keep for the following morning?

    • says

      I suppose it would keep – but you’ve already mixed the leavening and the vinegar, so you’ll lose lift overnight. May not make a huge difference with pancakes, but if it were me, I’d make them all and just reheat the finished pancakes a bit the next morning. :) Katie

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