These Vegan Vanilla Chai Pancakes are SO fluffy, dairy-free, oil-free, and even refined sugar-free too. A homemade mix of chai spices and vanilla bean paste truly give these healthier vegan pancakes the perfect spicy sweet kick.
What flavors are in Chai?
If you've never tried chai before, it is actually the Hindi word for tea (source). While Chai is traditionally made by mixing black tea with spices, we are making these pancakes with the spices commonly found in chai but not the tea itself.
The common spices you will find in Chai are cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, cloves, pepper, coriander, and nutmeg. However, for this recipe, we are focusing on using cardamom, cinnamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
I first started adding chai spices to my recipes when I made my Chai Pecan Granola and since then have also made the most delicious Vegan Brown Sugar Chai Cookies! When paired with vanilla, the flavor combination is just perfect.
Ingredients & substitution ideas
While the full list of ingredients are in the recipe card below, here is a quick recap of what you need to make these eggless & dairy-free vanilla chai pancakes. Also, I've included a few substitution ideas to help make these pancakes allergen friendly so you can make them nut-free, gluten-free, or evenly naturally sweetened.
- I used almond milk, but you can use oat or rice milk to make these chai pancakes completely nut-free. It is just a 1:1 substitution.
Apple Cider Vinegar
- Helps to make a vegan buttermilk and is really important to interact with the baking soda in this recipe for fluffy pancakes.
- Just sub for lemon juice if you can't find ACV)
- This is the only sweetener we use in this recipe and it keeps these pancakes completely refined sugar-free.
- Can be subbed for any liquid sweetener like date syrup (makes these pancakes naturally sweetened) or agave.
Vanilla Bean Paste
- I used Taylor & Colledge Vanilla Bean Paste for this recipe which gives these vanilla bean pancakes the best vanilla flavor possible! I actually originally partnered with them to create this recipe and had to share here because these pancakes so much!
- To sub for vanilla extract just sub for double the amount (3 tsp vanilla extract)
- Make sure to measure in grams for the best results!
- While I haven't personally tried this recipe with other flours, subbing for spelt or whole wheat flour would definitely work in this recipe.
- Cornstarch helps to reduce the protein amount in these pancakes and makes them so much lighter and fluffier.
- If you can't find cornstarch just sub 1 Tbsp cornstarch for 2 Tbsp flour
- Star anise (optional)
- dash of ground pepper (optional)
- This recipe uses BOTH baking soda and baking powder for pancakes that are perfectly fluffy!
Tips for fluffy vegan pancakes
When it comes to pancakes, a lot of that perfect texture comes down to how you cook the pancakes! This is a ONE BOWL pancake recipe so making the actual batter is pretty easy. I first discovered many of these tips & tricks when making my Vegan Chocolate Chip Pancakes and wanted to share them with you here!
Don't cook pancakes at high heat
This is my #1 tip for perfect pancakes. I find that if you cook pancakes too quickly or at too high a heat, they don't cook through. You definitely want to cook pancakes on a hot skillet or griddle, but not so hot that the bottom burns before the middle has time to cook.
It may take a little experimenting with your oven stovetop (as electric and gas van vary!), but just remember low consistent heat is best for making pancakes.
How to tell when pancakes are ready for flipping
If you've never made vegan pancakes from scratch before here are three key signs your pancakes are ready to be flipped:
- The batter looks a bit dried out on top and the edges of the pancakes look fully cooked
- The bottoms are golden brown
- The uncooked side has a decent amount of bubbles on the surface
Don't smush pancakes
I know I am SO guilty of this, but for truly fluffy chai spiced pancakes resist smushing them down with your spatula after flipping. This gets rid of some of the air bubbles that form and essentially deflates pancakes making them more dense.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
I personally haven't tried it, but if you do I recommend using a 1:1 GF Flour mix such as Bob's Red Mill. Almond, Coconut, or other flour alternatives will not work 1:1 in this recipe.
My pancakes are gummy: This is likely because you over-mixed the batter and too much gluten formed. When making any no oil pancake recipe, make sure to just mix the ingredients until JUST combined and no streaks of flour remain.
My pancake batter is too thin/watery: Double check that your baking powder/baking soda is working. If it is old or expired, the batter will not rise at all. Also, did you make sure to let the pancake batter rest at least 5 minutes? This helps to thicken the batter by allowing the cornstarch and flour to soak up some moisture and gives the baking soda/baking powder time to start working.
How do I store leftover pancakes?
Yes, cooked pancakes can be stored as leftovers!
To store leftover pancakes in the fridge add them to a closed container and layer them between sheets of parchment paper so they do not stick together. Make sure not to add any toppings before storing like extra maple syrup. They will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave on on the stove top.
If storing leftovers in the freezer, follow the same method of storing them in a container between sheets of parchment paper so they do not freeze together. They should keep about 3 weeks stored this way!
I truly hope you enjoy this Vegan Vanilla Chai Pancakes! They are SO delicious, easy to make, and make the perfect weekend breakfast or brunch treat. This recipe makes the perfect amount of pancakes for two-three people, but can also easily be doubled to serve more. Enjoy!
Looking for more vegan breakfast recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites!
- ⅔ cup almond milk (can be subbed 1:1 for any milk)
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (90 grams)
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (9 grams, can be subbed for 3 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 cup+ 2 tbsp flour (135 grams)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (8 grams)
- ½ tsp baking powder (2 grams)
- ½ tsp baking soda (3 grams)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (or cloves)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp star anise (ground, optional)
- pinch of black pepper (⅛ tsp or less, optional)
- First, add the milk and apple cider vinegar to a mixing bowl and let sit 5-10 minutes until milk "curdles" and becomes a vegan buttermilk.
- Then add in the maple syrup and vanilla bean paste and whisk to combine.
- Next, add the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and optional anise and black pepper. Whisk until a smooth batter forms.
- Let the pancake batter rest at least 5 minutes before cooking to get truly fluffy pancakes. *DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP*. The batter may seem a little thin but this resting period allows the flour and cornstarch absorb some liquid.
- While the batter is resting, heat your pancake cooking surface on low/medium heat (I use a cast iron pan, but a griddle is also perfect). Spray the pan with non-stick oil or lightly coat with vegan butter. Then, use a soup ladle or measuring cup to spoon about ¼-1/3 cup of pancake mix per pancake onto the hot surface. It's very important the surface is hot before adding any batter, or the pancakes spread too much.
- Let each pancake cook until the edges look dry, bubbles begin to form on the uncooked surface, and the bottoms are golden brown. Then use a spatula to flip the pancakes.. Cook the next side until it is golden and the batter in the middle has completely cooked through. Each side should take around 3-5 minutes when cooked at low/medium heat.
- Repeat until all the pancake batter has been used. Make sure to lightly grease the cooking surface between each pancake so they do not stick to the pan. This recipe makes 5-6 medium sized pancakes.
- Serve immediately topped with a plant-based yogurt or extra maple syrup. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 2 pancakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 492mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 1g
ShortGirlTallOrder occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although shortgirltallorder.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.