A wholesome, naturally gluten-free version of the perennial favorite quick bread, these light and fluffy pancakes incorporate heart-healthy oat flour (or oats) and can be prepared as waffles, too.
Sometimes we just need a stick-to-our-ribs breakfast – and, happily, we can have it in a deliciously wholesome way!
The first banana bread I ever made was this slow baked version. The recipe caught my eye when I was barely out of college. Even then I appreciated a good kitchen experiment, and the 250℉ oven temperature caught my eye.
For the record, that bread is foolproof. I’ve used small bananas, big bananas, added mix-ins and left plain and never had anything but a tender, delicious loaf. (The recipe actually makes two very large loaves that freeze well and make delightful gifts.)
Lately, I’ve been working on a loaf that’s sweetened entirely by overripe bananas. I’m excited about that recipe, too. Stay tuned!
But why not enjoy the classic banana bread flavor in other ways, too?
I’ve cooked countless batches of the following banana bread pancakes and waffles, both for every day breakfasts and holidays brunches. The wholesome recipe is an ideal way to use brown, past-their-prime bananas, which provide more natural sweetness than vibrant yellow, perfect-for-eating bananas.
Often, I prepare a big batch of these pancakes in the afternoon and let them cool. Then I freeze a portion and refrigerate the rest for easy breakfasts over the week ahead.
Of course, a drizzle of maple syrup is the traditional way to enjoy pancakes, but we have a few other favorite toppings.
Note that the natural sweetness and great flavor in these pancakes makes a little syrup go a long way. (This from a person who can use pancakes as a sponge for good maple syrup!) When I do use syrup, I dip each bite into a puddle of syrup on my plate, which cuts down on sugar consumption without sacrificing flavor.
But what about those other toppings? One of my very favorite ways to eat pancakes is to spread them with peanut butter and press them into a shallow bowl of granola. Eaten this way, one or two pancakes make a satisfying meal that supplies a wholesome balance of whole grains, filling protein and healthy fats.
You could use almond or your favorite nut or seed butter in place of the peanut butter, or you could sprinkle the granola over top. The pressing method simply coats and makes the granola adhere a little better.
Either way, you shift the carb-to-protein ratio, stay full longer and end up with pancakes that can be eaten like toast. They’re creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet and so very satisfying. And they’re fun!
To give you a visual, I looked for some photos and found these two－from 2012! The top one incorporates my homemade Bisquick, while the bottom photo shows a grain-free baked pumpkin pancake. Though not shown in these photos, I often top with banana slices. Optionally, a sprinkle of raisins offers an extra hint of natural sweetness for those who enjoy them.
My sons enjoy the peanut butter-granola topping as much as the customary drizzle of maple syrup, but they are equally delighted by a thin spread of Nutella.
Though Nutella may not seem like the healthiest alternative, I find that they are satisfied with fewer pancakes (2-3, with a banana or other serving of fruit as opposed to a stack or two) when eating this way. Also, based on the amount of syrup they tend to use, I’m certain that the thin spread of Nutella delivers far less sugar.
Don’t have Nutella and want to try something chocolatey? Sprinkle some chocolate chips over the warm pancakes, wait a few seconds and then spread the melty chocolate evenly over the surface. You may even find this worthy of dessert.😋
As I note in the recipe, the thick batter lends itself well to waffles, too. The moisture-rich bananas make for a slightly less crisp waffle than a traditional batter does, but they’ve still garnered rave reviews whenever I make them.
For those who don’t have a waffle iron and may be considering a purchase, a waffle iron actually cooks a batch faster and with little monitoring. The model we have chirps like a bird when the waffles are cooked to golden brown perfection.
Really ripe bananas lend natural sweetness and, combined with the oats, a flavor and tenderness that is reminiscent of a slice of your favorite banana bread. I like to add two tablespoons of maple syrup to the batter, which results in a pancake that tastes good enough to eat as is－although a light drizzle of pure maple syrup sure tastes good!
These fluffy banana oat pancakes are a deliciously healthy, naturally sweetened breakfast for lazy mornings. The recipe is made with 100% oat flour instead of wheat flour, so it’s gluten free, as well as dairy free if using the coconut oil option.
Banana Bread Pancakes (or Waffles)
Yield:approximately 10 (3-1/2 to 4-inch) pancakes or 6 (4-inch square) thick, Belgian-type waffles
A wholesome, naturally gluten-free version of the much-loved quick bread, these light and fluffy pancakes incorporate heart-healthy oat flour or blended oats.
2 large or 3 small overripe bananas (I aim for a scant 1¼ cup mashed, which is 270 grams or 9.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (could use honey)
2 large eggs
1 cup (120 grams) oat flour*
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (may omit—or use ½ teaspoon vanilla—if you don’t have fresh on hand)
Optional: ⅓ cups chopped walnuts or pecans
In a mixing bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, coconut oil or butter, lemon juice and maple syrup.
Beat in the eggs. (If the coconut oil hardens, warm the mixture for short 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring between each, until it is melted again.)
Add the oat flour, baking soda, salt and spices, stirring just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
Let the batter rest on the counter for 10 minutes. If the batter seems very thick at this point, you may fold in milk or water, a tablespoon at a time, until loosened—the batter should still be quite thick.
Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium-low heat, or heat an electric griddle to 350℉. Lightly oil the surface with coconut oil, butter or cooking spray.
Once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on it, pour scant ¼ cupfuls of batter onto the pan. Let the pancakes cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbles begin to form around the edges and the undersides are golden.
Flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook for another 1½ to 2 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. You may need to adjust the heat down to low at this point.
Serve the pancakes immediately or keep warm in a 200℉ oven. Cool and then refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage. (I like to pop the leftovers in the toaster oven for easy reheating.)
*To make your own oat flour:Pour quick or old-fashioned oats into a food processor or blender and process until ground into a flour. For one cup of oat flour, you’ll need to start with approximately 1½ cups of oats to measure 1 cup (120 grams) of oat flour.
Measuring tip: If you don’t have a scale to weigh the oat flour, be sure to fluff it up, spoon into the measuring cup and level off with the straight edge of a knife. This will prevent too much oat flour from being used, which would create an even thicker batter and pancakes that are harder to cook through. If your batter seems to be especially thick, you can spread the batter slightly in the skillet or thin it slightly with a little milk (or water if need be).
Cooking tip: With a thick pancake batter, it can be difficult to gauge when the pancakes are ready to flip. You may wish to set a timer for 3 minutes for the first side, then flip and wait another 2 minutes to cook through. The time will vary depending on the precise cooking temperature, but this is a good estimate for fully cooked pancakes that are golden on each side and can be adjusted as needed.
Advance prep: The batter may be mixed several hours in advance and then covered and refrigerated until ready to cook. In this case, you will likely need to add milk (or water) to thin slightly as the oat flour will absorb the liquid as it rests.
To make waffles: This batter makes great waffles. Spray the waffle iron for easy release and cook according to the manufacturer’s directions.
For gluten-free pancakes: Use certified gluten-free oat flour or oats.
For dairy-free pancakes: Use the coconut oil option instead of butter.