These easy vegan banana pancakes are here to take your breakfast game to the next level! They are made with just 5 simple pantry ingredients in a single bowl, and are free of added sugar, oil, dairy or eggs. Serve them with sliced bananas and pure maple syrup for a healthy and filling plant-based breakfast.
UPDATE: Since I originally posted this recipe in summer 2020, I’ve tried making these pancakes without chia seeds, and they came out perfect! So feel free to omit chia if you like.
In the past few months the idea of a foolproof vegan pancake recipe has been circling around in my head. I wanted to create a single-bowl vegan pancake recipe with just a few ingredients without the addition of refined sugar or oil.
I wanted to make sure my pancakes were light, fluffy, and full of flavor. I thought of using a mashed extra ripe banana to cut down on sugar and give each pancake a delicious, mouthwatering aroma.
I also decided to add some chia seeds to the pancake batter to make it healthier. Chia seeds make a great egg substitute, so in addition to enhancing my pancakes with omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, chia seeds did a great job binding the ingredients together.
(By the way, I have a whole separate post about vegan egg substitutes including chia.)
Glad to say that my vegan banana pancakes came out just the way I wanted! These pancakes are:
- Super easy
- Light and fluffy
- Made with only 5 ingredients
- Oil free
- Added sugar free
- Dairy free
- Egg free
- Made in one bowl
- Totally delicious!
Why I use an extra ripe banana in these pancakes
What exactly do bananas do for vegan pancakes and baked goods?
When bananas turn from greenish-yellow (under-ripe) to bright yellow with spots (ripe), the starches naturally occurring in this fruit turn into sugars. You’ve probably seen a lot of banana recipes call for ripe, spotty bananas – they add sweetness without the need for more sugar.
I find that extra ripe bananas – really spotty ones that are beginning to get soft – work the best in these vegan pancakes if we want to make them with no refined sugar.
As bananas ripen, they also produce ethylene – an organic compound that makes fruit ripen faster. If you need your bananas to get ripe quicker, put them into a brown paper bag for 2-3 days. The ethylene can’t escape from the bag, and its higher concentration speeds up the ripening.
(You can also put another fruit or vegetable like avocado in a bag with bananas to help it ripen faster.)
Besides the way it promotes ripening, ethylene also gives bananas an unmistakable aroma – I’m sure you know what I’m taking about. Banana pancakes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods just wouldn’t be the same without it.
why I use chia seeds in this pancake recipe
Chia seeds are a true nutritional powerhouse. According to American Society for Nutrition, chia seeds are “an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants”. Vegan diets can be lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, so adding chia to pancake batter, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. is a good idea.
If you’re concerned that black chia seeds will look like a bunch of small black specks in your pancakes, no need to worry! Just look at the pictures in this post – bet you can’t see any specks in my pancakes at all.
If you’re still concerned, you can use white chia seeds instead of black.
Not a fan of chia? The same amount of ground flax seed will probably work just as well, but I haven’t tried that myself yet.
No chia or flax egg at all in your pantry? I have a hunch that it might be OK to skip those completely in this recipe. If the pancake batter seems too thin two or three minutes after you mix it, just add another tablespoon of flour.
By the way, see my post about vegan pantry staples I always have on hand to make sure I can make just about any recipe without an extra trip to the store.
How to make vegan banana pancakes
To make these easy dairy free banana pancakes, I first mash a very ripe peeled banana in a large bowl with a fork until it turns into a smooth puree. Then I pour in non-dairy milk, chia seeds, and whisk to combine.
(You can see the exact proportions and print out the full recipe in the recipe card below).
Once the wet ingredients are combined, I add about half of the flour and all of the baking powder on top. I stir the mixture a few times with a spatula, then add the rest of the flour, and stir again until just combined. A few lumps are OK.
If your skillet or griddle aren’t nonstick, you may want to add 1 tsp of oil or spray the surface with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Next, I drop pancake batter into the heated skillet, about 1/4 cup per pancake. Most pancake recipes recommend not to overcrowd the cooking surface, but if I’m in a hurry, I can fit 2-3 pancakes at a time in my large 12-inch skillet.
Once the pancakes start forming bubbles on top after 1-2 minutes, I flip them and cook another minute or two.
The ingredient amounts listed in the recipe card below are enough to make about 8 medium-sized pancakes.
In our family with two adults and one 2.5 year-old this means three pancakes each for mommy and daddy, and two for baby J. (I often make 4-5 smaller silver dollar-sized pancakes for her instead of two large ones.)
These banana pancakes are delicious by themselves served with some sliced fruit and maple syrup, but if you want to take them to the next level, feel free to add vegan chocolate chips and/or blueberries into the batter.
Chocolate chips: mix in 1-2 tablespoon straight into the pancake batter, or press 4-5 chocolate chips on top of each pancake as soon as you pour the batter into the skillet (i.e. before it starts solidifying).
Fresh blueberries: use up to 1/2 cup, and follow the same tips as with chocolate chips.
Frozen blueberries: Adding frozen blueberries directly into the batter can turn it purple as you mix them in – not super appetizing. If you’re using frozen blueberries, press a few into the batter once you’ve formed individual pancakes in the skillet (before the batter solidifies).
More vegan breakfast recipes from the blog
If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Give it a star rating below, pin it to Pinterest, tag @vegan_runner_eats on Instagram, or leave a comment.
I hope your family enjoys these easy vegan banana and chia seed pancakes as much as mine does!
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