Say goodbye to soggy pumpkin pancakes! These simple, fluffy, tasty pancakes are about to become an all-time family favorite. Brace yourself: This isn’t just another low-carb pumpkin pancake recipe. It’s the ultimate low-carb pancake recipe. Keep reading to find out why!
Tips for making the Fluffy 5-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes
Two words are all it takes to explain why these pancakes are so fluffy even though they contain no leavening agent: Whey protein. Yup, the batter contains whey protein, the ingredient that makes baked goods “cakey” and fluffy and helps bind them together. (The trick is not to use too much of it, or the result will be dense and dry.)
In terms of mixing: You only need to mix the ingredients until they are well combined and the batter is slightly fluffy, no longer. I tried a couple of versions in which I beat the mixture until it was extremely fluffy with a stand mixer; the batter was like foam! (And what a delicious foam it was!) But it didn’t make good pancakes. So I’d recommend using a handheld mixer to combine the ingredients. Beat for no more than one minute to prevent your batter from becoming too foamy.
One more tip: when you fry these pancakes, please use enough butter. What’s “enough”? Here, enough is an ample amount of butter. Personally, I use some 2 tablespoons of butter per pancake, but 1 tablespoon might be enough (and I’ve used 1 tablespoon in the nutrition info calculations). If you want to get that crispy surface and rich flavor, butter is a must. So don’t skimp on it!
Now let’s take a look how to make these perfect pumpkin pancakes. It’s surprisingly easy!
Just place all the ingredients into a (deep and narrow) mixing bowl.
Then quickly mix until well combined and a bit fluffy, about 1 minute.
Grab your pancake pan (5-inch = 10 cm recommended) and be prepared to fry the pancakes.
Heat the pan over medium-low heat.
Place a good pat of butter in the pan.
Let it melt.
Pour 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the pancake batter into the pan.
Cover with a lid.
When the top of the pancake has set, flip the pancake.
Fry until done, about 1 minute.
Then repeat with the rest of the batter…
…until you’ve got a nice stack of fluffy pancakes! Remember to mix the batter thoroughly before each addition into the pan.
My Fluffy Pumpkin Pancake experiments
I conducted my first experiments with this recipe a long time ago. Needless to say, they were more or less failures. Mostly, the pancakes were far too mushy. Then they were too flat. Or they didn’t hold together well. Or they simply tasted plain awful.
I tried using both grated fresh pumpkin and pumpkin puree. With grated pumpkin my pancakes were real disasters; the pumpkin stayed raw while the surface of the pancake got too brown. I was pretty disappointed, because I really wanted to recreate the amazing Pumpkin Fry Bread I tried when I visited Florida in 1988. Good heavens it was delicious! So I wanted to create my own grain-free, sugar-free version. At the time I had no clue what kind of pumpkin the recipe used, but finally I concluded that it must have been pumpkin puree.
So I continued my experiments with pureed pumpkin. Plus, sticking to 5 ingredients was quite challenging. The process might have been easier if I’d been able to add other bits and pieces, but I was determined to achieve the ultimate result—with just 5 ingredients.
First, I had used powdered erythritol. That worked well, but it was a bit blaah and lent the pancakes a cooling aftertaste. So I reduced the amount of erythritol and added some vanilla stevia. But now I had exceeded my 5 ingredient limit! Then I realized that one of my absolute favorite sweeteners, Sukrin Gold, might work well here. I tried it, and the flavor was just perfect! A brown sugar substitute was the perfect match for pumpkin and warming autumn spices.
As for the texture: It got way better when I realized that whey protein powder adds a fluffy texture and helps the pancakes hold together. Soon I realized that I didn’t need any leavening agent to make fluffy pancakes.
But I wanted to go extreme with the fluffiness. I had my 5 ingredients (pumpkin puree, vanilla-flavored whey protein, eggs, sweetener, and pumpkin pie spice), so a leavening agent would have been a sixth ingredient, and that would have been too much. What to do.
Then it occurred to me that mixing the batter with a stand mixer might make it fluffier, since it would incorporate lots of air into the batter. So I put all the ingredients into the bowl of my stand mixer and let it beat for 5 minutes.
Voilà! The batter was really fluffy and also super delicious! I was delighted. Excitedly, I started frying pancakes with my small pancake pan. My biggest concern was whether the pancakes would still be that fluffy after frying.
Well, the foam was extremely difficult to fry. You can imagine what it’s like to spoon foam into a pancake pan. The foam kept its shape when frying—but I didn’t get meringues. Weirdly, the result was both gummy and fragile. It was a far cry from super-fluffy pancakes I was hoping for.
At this point I got really desperate and was about to give up. Then it occurred to me that maybe the trick was to mix the ingredients only until combined and half a minute more, making 1 minute in total—not for so long that the batter became a thick foam.
So I conducted another experiment in which I beat the ingredients for just one minute with my electric mixer. The batter looked good—and it made perfect pancakes! I was so happy. I’d gotten what I wanted: perfect, fluffy pancakes with just 5 ingredients!
Then, when I was writing this blog post, it occurred to me that this batter might also work well for waffles—and maybe donuts, too! In my book Low-Sugar, So Simple, I have a recipe for a batter that makes either pancakes or waffles. Maybe this recipe would work equally well? And maybe I could even try to make donuts with a donut maker? What a great idea—in theory, at least! But would it work in practice?
Not for donuts. They were completely flat, ridiculous-looking thin rings! But they made acceptable—if slightly flat—waffles. I had omitted the pumpkin pie spice and added vanilla — and my family gobbled them up with strawberries and whipped cream!
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||55.3 g||101.2 g||10.3 g||1185 kcal|
|Per pancake if 6 pancakes in total:||9.2 g||16.9 g||1.7 g||197 kcal|
Tips for variation
These pancakes are perfect as they are, so there is really no need to vary them. I don’t recommend using any protein powders other than whey protein, since it guarantees a perfect texture and fluffiness level. (Well, you might try egg white protein if you want a dairy-free version, but I bet plant-based proteins won’t work here: They don’t usually produce a fluffy result.)
Naturally you can play with different spices. If you have your own favorite pumpkin pie spice mixture, by all means use that. Or, if you want to keep things simple, pure Ceylon cinnamon certainly works, too. Nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, ginger, allspice, cloves… all sorts of warm, autumnal spices and seasonings like these also suit well.
You can also try vanilla in variety of forms, like vanilla stevia, vanilla extract or its finest incarnation: scraped seeds from a vanilla bean which produce a fantastically rich flavor. My son loves these pancakes when they’re made with vanilla extract!
If you want to make it fancy, how about adding some sugar-free chocolate chips to the batter? Or grated sugar-free white chocolate? (Pumpkin and white chocolate is a match made in heaven. For proof, check out this recipe for my Pumpkin White Chocolate Truffles!)
And don’t forget you can use this batter to make waffles as well. They won’t be that fluffy, but they’ll certainly be delicious! (When making waffles, the same rules regarding butter apply: Don’t skimp on it! It adds a delicious richness.)