Paleo coconut flour pancakes that are light and fluffy, and made with just a few basic ingredients. A quick and easy, low carb gluten free breakfast!
Baking with coconut flour (and is it low carb?)
Have you tried baking with coconut flour? It’s very different than any other alternative gluten free flour, in behavior, taste, nutritional profile, you name it.
Coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent, but it doesn’t just need moisture. It needs structure. In short, it needs eggs! And since coconut flour absorbs so much moisture, a little goes a long, long way. That’s a good thing, since it’s not cheap.
I have used Let’s Do Organics brand (affiliate link, feel free to shop around!), Nuts.com brand and Trader Joe’s coconut flour, all with good results. If you’re wondering about the nutrition in coconut flour, I was too so I looked it up and it’s very encouraging!
Coconut flour is very high in fiber, but it actually has more net carbs (carbs minus fiber) than almond flour. Generally, coconut flour and almond flour are great partners in Paleo baking, as they balance each other quite well in recipes. In this recipe, though, I lightened up the coconut flour with tapioca starch.
Avoiding the “egg trap”
The main challenge in making a recipe like these coconut flour pancakes is to use enough eggs to be successful, but balance the recipe to prevent the pancakes from tasting like, well, an omelet. I love omelets, but only they should taste like that.
I’ve tried the 2-ingredient banana pancakes (just bananas and eggs!) and the 2-ingredient cream cheese pancakes (just cream cheese and eggs!) and despite my best efforts and positive pancake thoughts, they each taste … like an omelet.
I tried and tried to make this recipe with only coconut flour, and no starch. Not only could I not get much fluff for all my troubles, but I needed another egg to avoid a dry pancake that had to be eaten immediately after it came off the skillet.
Plus the whole business came dangerously close to tasting like omelet-y. Coconut flour does tend to clump. Making the batter in a blender or food processor makes a very big difference in a smooth batter that can be poured and then quickly spread into a round pancake.
If you can have nuts, you should try my almond flour Paleo pancakes. They have a lovely, buttery flavor (of course, without any actual butter) because of the almond flour, and a bit of tapioca flour gives them great texture and helps hold them together beautifully.
These coconut flour pancakes do, indeed, taste smell faintly of coconut. Since that’s a pleasing flavor to most, it shouldn’t be an issue. If you are relatively neutral about the taste of coconut, even, you will most likely enjoy these pancakes.
Ingredients and substitutions
Coconut flour: If you just can’t stand coconut, well then this isn’t the recipe for you. If you’re looking for another similar, lower carb recipe for pancakes, try my Paleo pancakes, which are made with almond flour.
Coconut oil: If you can have butter and you’d like to replace the coconut oil, I’d try using unsalted butter, by weight, in its place. Nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, like Spectrum brand, should work as well.
Nondairy milk: I’ve made these pancakes using light coconut milk (not the thick, canned kind, which is too thick), unsweetened almond milk, and even (*gasp*) whole dairy milk. The results have been largely the same.
Honey: Typically, a liquid sweetener can be replaced with another liquid sweetener of a similar thickness. So honey and maple syrup aren’t generally great substitutes for one another. But if you can find a thick agave syrup, and you’re comfortable using that, I’d give it a try in this recipe.
Eggs: I’m afraid I’m not optimistic that the 4 eggs in this recipe could be replaced effectively with any sort of egg replacer. A “flax egg” or a “chia egg” generally works best when replacing 2 eggs or fewer in a recipe.
If you’d like to try replacing the eggs, I’d actually try using two “chia eggs” and 1/2 cup of smooth applesauce in place of the 4 eggs. No promises, though! You’ll have to experiment.
Tapioca flour: Tapioca flour is a unique starch, as it provides elasticity as well as lightness. It doesn’t have a true equal, but in this recipe arrowroot starch works quite well. Be sure to replace it by weight, not by volume, though.