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Gluten-free Pancakes, hold the xanthan gum

Gluten-free Pancakes, hold the xanthan gum

Gluten Free Pancakes, no xanthan gum

These gluten-free pancakes have no xanthan gum in them. Zero. Zip. But it’s not because xanthan gum is evil. It’s because it tends to make pancakes, well, gummy. These are light and fluffy pancakes, the way they should be. And I made them with a simple, gum-free gluten-free flour blend. Nothing fancy. Looking for more recipes for gluten free pancakes? Try these gluten free fluffy chocolate chip pancakes. Or these gluten free cornmeal pancakes.

About that xanthan gum: It seems there are two schools of thought. Those who think xanthan gum is the devil’s plaything, and those who think you can’t possibly bake gluten-free without it.

Gluten-free pancakes, no xanthan gum

In memory of Rodney King (dead at 47, poor guy), I say, can we all just get along?

Gluten-free pancakes, no xanthan gum

In some recipes, xanthan gum is truly a pain in the keister (I had to look up how to spell that). Like pancakes. There are plenty of tips and tricks for making gluten-free pancakes with a xanthan-gum containing all-purpose gluten-free flour (super hot griddle, working at the speed of light), but it can be tiresome.

I’m finally man enough to admit that.

Gluten-free pancakes, no xanthan gum

And when you use a xanthan gum-containing gluten-free flour blend, forget it if you want to try to make some nicely-shaped pancakes by doling out the batter in a squeeze bottle (all I did was lop off the tip to widen the opening).

So I did what I generally am loathe to do. I stepped away from my beloved all-purpose gluten-free flour in favor of using 3 component flours instead, and left the xanthan gum on the shelf. I’ve been test-driving this blend in other recipes, and will report back.

This much I know, though. It’s a great pancake blend. Thinly pourable, these pancakes cook super fast, and you can even cook them a few moments longer until they’re soft on the inside, warm and a bit crispy on the outside. The end result is a more traditional pancake that is never gummy (ew). If you prefer them a bit thicker, just add the buttermilk slowly and hold some of it back.

Gluten-free Pancakes, hold the xanthan gum
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 4
Traditional gluten-free pancakes, with a xanthan-gum free flour blend
  1. Heat a griddle to medium-high.
  2. In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the buttermilk, butter and egg, mixing well after each addition until there are no lumps.
  3. Pour or ladle the pancake batter onto the hot griddle in whatever size you like. Once the pancakes form bubbles on the top and appear mostly dry, flip them and cook until lightly browned on the other side. Remove from the griddle and repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Serve warm.

And remember – if you cook your pancakes on an electric griddle (and I have a sweet little number that’s technically a crepe-maker, but I can use it for whatever I want because I’m the boss of it), you never have to heat up the kitchen even one little bit.

Gluten-free pancakes, no xanthan gum


P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I really & truly appreciate your support, as it allows me to keep the blog going and going!

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  • Donia

    I definitely agree! I do use xantham gum, but I have found that for recipes that don’t need to have that gluten-chew to them, the gum is not needed. In fact, as you say, it makes for a gumminess. Think of those recipes with wheat flour where they say, “Be sure to not overmix.” Gluten-free muffins and pancakes can actually turn out better than their counterparts! No need to feel like a lesser citizen! ;) As you’ve also previously mentioned, you have to keep adding liquid to it because it turns into cement. Gum-free pancakes and muffins just seem to turn out better for me. Will definitely try your recipe above! Thanks!!!

    • I find that there are very few categories of recipes that don’t need xanthan gum, Donia. Pancakes just happens to be one of them. I find that baked goods that are made without xanthan gum become stale more quickly, though, so there’s that.
      xoxo Nicole

  • I drew a a Snidely Whiplash face on my container of x-gum.

    x-gum = not so evil. But true, it doesn’t need to go to every single party. Sometimes it should stay on the shelf and wash its hair.

    I love the crispy edges on pancakes. Now I want some.

    • A face, Lisa? I’m not ready to go that far just yet, but I wouldn’t mind it at this point if I could buy an otherwise-all-purpose gluten-free flour blend that didn’t have xanthan gum in it, just so I could choose to omit it without blending my own flour. You know how I really don’t like to blend my own flour. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jennifer

        Authentic Foods has a xanthan gum free gf flour blend. It is the Classical Blend. I love it! I can’t have xanthan gum, it makes me very sick, so I am trying to find good xanthan gum free blends and then just add guar gum as neccessary. Glutino’s Gluten Free Pantry also has a gum free all purpose mix that I have been happy with. I just bought King Arthur Flour’s ap mix, but haven’t tried it yet. Orgran uses guar gum, but theirs has a funny taste to it that I don’t like!

  • Lauren

    I wonder if anyone uses arrow root poweder instead of xantham gum?

  • I don’t fall into the love-or-hate camps regarding xanthan gum. I just use it with discretion. Less is more in most recipes. I think most flour mixes come with too much of it included. That xanthan gum just sucks up the liquid in your recipe, which can make it problematic for getting the right amount of liquid. And it thickens something terrible. It’s a disaster in most pancake recipes, but if there’s something that you want to be more than a half-inch-thick disk then xanthan gum can come in handy for helping the dough hold its structure while baking. I’m curious to see what you come up with in your xanthan-gum-free experiments!

  • This is so timely a post for me because normally I’m fine with xanthan gum, never really notice any after taste or gummy texture (my husband notices both, sigh) but for the first time ever while eating your delicious chocolate chip cookies (from your fab cookbook) I did ! It was a strange burning in the back of my throat, not awful but not pleasant either (though it certainly didn’t stop me from eating them!). Have other people noticed this? So it’s really great to see a pancake recipe without xanthan gum, but at the same time I’m relieved Nicole that you’re not ready to ditch it especially since I just invested in another 5 lb bag of Better Batter :) Looking forward to more recipes with and without the X!

    • Oh, don’t worry, Dana! I’m not planning to stop using Better Batter. :) It’s still a fabulous option, and great for almost every purpose. Ever since I started testing other commercially available gluten-free flour blends, though, I’ve been more and more willing to experiment. If nothing else, I hope it leads to readers’ making informed choices. Interesting that you are having an issue with xanthan gum. It’s definitely the case that it doesn’t agree with everyone. Few things do agree with everyone, though!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Michelle

    My 12 year old made these for the family for dinner tonight, using the Authentic Foods flour blend and they were lovely, light and tender. They were also easy enough for a very distracted pre-teen to make totally independently!

  • When I first started cooking/baking gluten free, I thought gums were necessary in everything – as I’ve learned/experimented more, I typically only use it in goods where I feel gluten is a key component to the conventional version (like bread, homemade pasta, etc.). But for things like cake and pancakes where ppl often try to prevent its development? I hold it too – besides I think GF pancakes usually come out better than gluten ones anyways, and yours look perfect :)

  • Michellle,
    Nicole thank you for the recipes my friend.
    As always I do apperaciate them.
    I hope that you and the family are well and that you are having much
    success with Your New Book.


  • Krista Barber

    I really like King Arthur’s gluten free all purpose flour for when I don’t want xanthan gum, plus I can always add it if necessary. I just wish it came in a larger package. I really don’t have the time to mix my own flour blends and finding a really fine ground flour is difficult. I’m afraid to try and make my own flours, I think I’ll end up with it being to coarse or end up with a butter when I use nuts.

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