You might know them as a fluffy syrupy and overall indulgent breakfast treat, but did you know that the list of notable pancakes on Wikipedia actually has almost 100 varieties from cuisines all over the world? Since it’s National Pancake day (that was established by IHOP) we went full international and picked out the veganized versions of traditional pancakes from African, Asian, European, and South American cuisines for you to enjoy. Take a trip around the world with our selection of sweet and savory pancakes and pick a vegan pancake recipe that will expand your culinary horizons and improve your breakfast repertoire!
We kick off today’s list with a classic French pancake recipe for crêpes Suzette – delicate crepes cooked in a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, orange juice and zest, and Grand Marnier liqueur on top, all flambéed together to perfection.
Puffy pancakes, anyone? These adorable Danish treats are called æbleskiver (which literally translates to “apple slices”, although apples are not commonly used in present-day versions). According to one origin story, they’ve been around since Middle Ages as a way to save up the last apples of the year’s harvest, since it was impossible to store them – hence the name “apple slices”. These days it’s a common Christmas season street food. Inside Sprout offers 2 recipes in 1: basic and orange & cardamom aebleskiver, so be sure to check them out!
Get nostalgic with Pia of Balanced and Real who shares a veganized recipe of her favorite childhood treat of Svenska pannkakor – incredibly light, soft, slightly sweet, and paper-thin pancakes, that are actually almost crêpe-like. Serve them with toppings of choice or go for the classic ones like jam and nuts (as pictured).
Crumpets can be found somewhere at the intersection of English muffins and classic pancakes. They owe their perfectly round shape to ring molds and puffy surface with lots of pores to yeast. Finish them off with a classic combo of vegan butter and marmite for the ultimate crumpet experience!
Boxty, being a traditional Irish pancake, is made of potatoes, and just 5 more ingredients. It has a light crispy outer layer and soft pillowy almost gnocchi-like interior, according to Deirdre of The Fiery Vegetarian, who’s a food blogger from Ireland. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Make way for the oven-baked giant pancake! That’s basically what a Dutch baby is – and despite its name, it has nothing to do with babies or the Netherlands. It is believed to be introduced in the first half of the 1900s at Manca’s Cafe in Seattle and was inspired by a German recipe for pfannkuchen (more on that below). These days it’s a crispy and flaky baked vegan pancake that makes a perfect weekend brunch option!
Dutch pannenkoeken, on the other hand, are the real deal (as in, they’re really from the Netherlands). They’re perfectly positioned between pancakes in crepes in terms of thickness, usually made quite large (up to 1 foot in diameter!), and are typically covered with different ingredients like treacle (syrup made of sugar beets), appelstroop (an unspiced Dutch variety of apple butter) or powdered sugar.
German pancakes are known as pfannkuchen, where pfanne stands for “pan” and kuchen for “cake”. This is the dish that is believed to have inspired American Dutch baby pancakes. Similar to Dutch pannenkoeken, pfannkuchen are generally thicker than French crêpes, but thinner than American pancakes, and can have fruit incorporated into them – in this case, apple slices.
Isa & Julia of Zucker & Jagdwurst have many pancake recipes on their blog, but this one definitely stands out. It’s a Southern German pancake soup known as flädle! The flädle are made as plain crepe-style pancakes, then sliced into coils, and then served in a clear soup (vegetable stock, in this case). An easy and affordable vegan pancake recipe worth trying!
If you’ve never heard of kaiserschmarrn, it’s an Austrian specialty that’s probably best described as a scrambled fluffy pancake. This rich, fluffy pancake is torn into pieces and caramelized in brown sugar is usually served with a plum compote called zwetschgenröster but you can go with whatever fruit preserve that you have on hand, it won’t take away from the experience!
Nalisniki are a classic stuffed pancake dish with origins in Ukraine and Belarus. What makes them stand out is their small size and tender filling, traditionally made with cottage cheese, but perfectly substituted for tofu in this vegan version.
Who’s in for some oladyi? These are Russian buttermilk pancakes that are traditionally made with the addition of kefir or yogurt but are easily veganized if you have access to plant-based dairy. When I was a kid, they were also made out of milk that has just gone sour, to make the most out of it, and it’s a relief to know that these days they can be made risk-free!
Racuchy (pronounced as ratz-oo-hee) are traditional Polish yeast pancakes that are usually enjoyed at dinner time, but you might as well enjoy them for breakfast with some berries and chocolate sauce! According to Let’s Eat Smart, they are a cross between American pancakes and doughnuts thanks to the addition of yeast that provides a fluffy, thick texture.
This indulgent and filling vegan pancake recipe for crespelle – an Italian savory stuffed pancake dish – is made with a creamy cashew-based ricotta and spinach, smothered in marinara sauce, and vegan cheese!
If you’re a fan of Ethiopian food, you’ve likely tried injera – a sour fermented flatbread with a slightly spongy texture, traditionally made of teff flour coming from an ancient grain from the highlands of Ethiopia. It has a very distinct tangy flavor and is typically served with stews and salads. Small pieces of injera are then torn and used to grasp the main dish for eating. This recipe by Vegan Richa is a simplified version of injera, more Ethiopian-inspired than authentic, but it’s a great start for a first homemade attempt!
Tatale is a savory vegan pancake recipe coming from Ghanaian cuisine, where it’s also known as “golden pancake” because of its rich, yellowish color and as a reference to the Gold Coast (the old name of Ghana). It is made with ripe plantains and mostly eaten as a side dish. For more vegan Ghanaian recipes, click here.
This vegan pancake recipe is inspired by vitumbua – a sweet Kenyan street food made with rice, coconut, sugar, yeast, and aromatic spices. Since vitumbua requires a special pan to make, this is a simplified version where you can enjoy the flavors in a regular pancake form.
The South African version of the Dutch pannenkoeken is typically used in the singular form – pannekoek. The secret ingredient of this vegan pancake recipe that allows it to taste authentic? Mung beans! If you’d like to serve pannekoek in the traditional way, make a big stack on a plate, and then sprinkle the top one with cinnamon sugar, give it a little squeeze of lemon juice, and roll.
In Brazil, tapioca stands for a prized indigenous dish made with goma de mandioca, or “yuca gum” (aka hydrated tapioca starch), which results in tortilla-like flatbreads that are typically served with butter, cheese, coconut, and condensed milk, but you could add olive oil, jam, peanut butter, or any other toppings of choice to enjoy this gluten-free treat the vegan way!
Dorayaki is a kind of soft Japanese pancakes with sweet azuki red bean paste sandwiched in between. The “dora” part of its name means “gong” in Japanese, and it is believed that the similarity of their shapes inspired the name of the sweet. If you’d like to learn more about Japanese cuisine, click here.
A famous regional street food of Japan, okonomiyaki is a savory pancake packed with veggies like cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, and a very special root vegetable – taro or nagaimo (an East Asian mountain yam), that acts as a binder. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki, meaning “cooked”. It’s a filling family-friendly vegan pancake recipe that can help utilize veggies and mushrooms you have on hand!
This vegan pancake recipe has the epic look and texture of famous Japanese souffle pancakes, but is made entirely without animal products (namely eggs that provide the extra fluffiness in the non-vegan version). According to Lisa of Okonomi Kitchen, they’re somewhere in between Japanese hotcakes (hottokēki / ホットケーキ) and the soufflé pancakes (スフレパンケーキ). Master this recipe and you’ll be able to impress anyone with your epic breakfast skills!
Chinese scallion pancakes (also known as cong you bing or green onion pancakes) are a popular street food, and for a good reason – they have a crispy thin outside layer that crackles when you bite into it, and many more translucent elastic dough layers inside, and of course, lots of scallions inside! Hannah Che of The Plant-Based Wok went on a quest for the perfect scallion pancake recipe and shared her best tips & tricks. What a treat!
Another savory Chinese-inspired vegan pancake recipe on today’s list comes from The Foodie Takes Flight in the form of crispy breakfast hotcakes made with a mix of scrambled tofu and veggies that are wrapped in homemade dough before being pan-fried until golden brown. Yum!
Pancakes might not be the star of the Peking duck dish, but they’re absolutely essential to the eating experience! They require very few ingredients and are fairly easy to make, so if you can get your hands on some vegan duck, be sure to try this vegan pancake recipe!
Fans of Indian food have likely heard of dosa – a savory pancake prepared by fermenting rice batter and split-skinned urad bean blended with water. This South Indian vegan pancake recipe uses dosa batter with veggies and spices mixed in, which results in delicious and comforting family-friendly snack or breakfast! If you’d like to learn more about the cuisine of South India, click here.
Similar to the Japanese dorayaki, this vegan pancake recipe for Malaysian apam balik consists of soft and smooth pancakes with a sweet filling in between. In this case, however, instead of the azuki bean paste, it’s filled with granulated sugar and crushed peanuts, which is the most common way of serving. When ready, the pancake is folded in half, hence the balik of its name.
Hotteok (sometimes also called hoeddeok) is a popular Korean street food made of golden-fried dough filled with a gooey brown sugar syrup and nuts. It’s a fairly new addition to Korean cuisine that appeared in the first half of the 20th century. This recipe is a modern take on the classic version by Hyosun of Korean Bapsang.
Largely made with store-cupboard and fridge ingredients, this vegan pancake recipe takes its inspiration from various Asian cuisines, with ingredients like kimchi, sesame oil, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, tamari sauce, coconut sugar, and spring onions. It’s an umami bomb that will blow you away with its flavors and textures!
Bánh xèo, also known as the Vietnamese crêpe is a savory fried pancake made of rice flour, water, and turmeric powder popular in Vietnamese cuisine. Bánh means “cake” while xèo means “sizzle”, so the name is onomatopoeic and is referring to the loud sound the rice batter makes when it is poured into the hot skillet. Traditionally served with mustard greens and fish sauce, this vegan pancake recipe opts for tofu, vegan shrimp, and king oyster mushrooms for the filling, and a homemade vegan nuoc mam cham dipping sauce. If you’d like more vegan Vietnamese recipe inspiration, click here.
This Thai-restaurant-inspired vegan pancake recipe by Full of Plants makes a savory and super fluffy pancake filled with veggies, topped with celery root puree, and served on top of a sweet and creamy mango sauce. What a delicious flavor combination!
Dadar Gulung is a traditional sweet treat of sweet coconut pancake that’s commonly found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Dadar literally translates to “omelet” or “pancake” while gulung means “to roll”. This Southeast Asian rice flower snack owes its vibrant green color to pandan leaves, and it’s filled with grated coconut (unti) and palm sugar.
Serabi is traditionally made from a mixture of rice flour, coconut milk, and coconut sugar, sometimes with pandan leaf juice added for color. This naturally gluten-free Indonesian treat is an adaptation of the Indian version of appam, known as apam in Malaysia and Singapore. This vegan pancake recipe also offers a deliciously thick and creamy homemade coconut sauce to serve these adorable pancakes with!
Article by Anna Kot.