Best Gluten-Free English Pancakes

Best Gluten-Free English Pancakes are quick to make and ideal for Pancake Day. These are also dairy-free, without xanthan gum and can be served with any traditional topping or filling.

A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter

With Pancake Day aka Shrove Tuesday around the corner you are definitely going to want to have a decent Gluten-Free English Pancake recipe sorted. These pancakes are quick and easy since there is no resting time needed. The crepe batter is smooth and silky and whisks up like a dream with a few simple ingredients.

I usually make my pancakes dairy-free as well but that is just a suggestion and you can quite happily use dairy milk and butter in lieu of the coconut milk and oil I have listed below. I have made these pancakes both ways in the past and I love them equally. The dairy-free versions are slightly lighter and not as rich without the butter.

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday originated as a day in the Christian calendar to mark the final day before Lent begins. Traditionally it was a feast day where pancakes were made to purge the household larder of all the fat and eggs before the commencement of the Lenten Fast. Hence, Pancake Day.

A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter

What is the difference between English pancakes, French crepes and American pancakes?

In the UK, the general term for pancakes means English pancakes which are similar to French crepes and a little different to American pancakes. French crepes, which are usually cooked in a crepe pan, are larger, often thinner and wispier than English pancakes. They are sometimes richer, made with cream or sugar and can be eaten with sweet or savoury fillings. Also I’ve never seen a French chef flip a crepe in a saucepan. American pancakes are quite different. They have basically the same ingredients but contain a raising agent so they are thick fluffy affairs. Traditionally American pancakes are served at breakfast or brunch, hopefully in a whole stack with maple syrup and bacon. English pancakes and French crepes can be served with the fillings rolled up inside the pancake since they are more pliable.

What are English Pancakes?

English pancakes are a much more parsimonious culinary creation. Traditionally made with four simple ingredients; flour, milk, butter and eggs. Pancake Day is synonymous with flipping the pancakes directly in the frying pan, using only the pan and a flick of the wrists. To use a kitchen utensil is considered sacrilege, which led in our youth to most pancakes being consumed off the floor or being served from a crumpled heap in the pan. It was irrelevant though, as long as they were hot from the frying pan with a drizzle of lemon and dredged in sugar. Or if you were feeling extremely fancy then ice cream and maple syrup.

A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter

How do you make gluten-free pancakes?

I based my original recipe on Delia Smith’s pancakes which were always the pancakes we had growing up and for a traditional English pancake recipe hers cannot be bettered. Instead of the wheat flour though we use a mix of white rice flour and sweet rice flour. The white rice flour is light and airy with a beautifully neutral taste. It gives a thin sturdy pancake with beautiful lacy edges. However we also need the starchy sweet rice flour for its binding properties so your crepes don’t fall apart in the pan, or forbid, in the pancake flip. The sweet rice flour also softens the batter slightly so the pancakes are pliable, just white rice flour will lead to a very crisp pancake.

How do you make dairy-free pancakes?

To make these pancakes dairy-free you simply swap out the dairy milk for a non-dairy milk of your choice. I prefer coconut milk in this instance, either fresh or from the tin with no gums or stablilisers. Delia’s original recipe also includes melted butter in the batter for taste and richness. We can swap this out again for refined melted coconut oil which I have reduced the quantity of slightly since it’s tasteless but I find the pancakes cook up better with the fat in the batter. The pancakes are cooked in a small frying pan, seasoned with a splash of coconut oil but not too much otherwise the pancakes get too greasy. I do prefer a non-stick pan in this instance as you barely need any oil at all.

We don’t use just milk in the batter to make up the liquid in this recipe but have included a little bit of soda water. You can use regular tap water but the bubbles in the soda make the pancakes extra light and crisper at the edges which I love.

A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter

Can you make pancakes in advance?

I have started to get into the habit of batch cooking my pancakes a day or so in advance, usually part of my weekend meal prep. This is because cooking a whole batch of pancakes from scratch takes a while, about 3 minutes per pancake and I’ve found the wait can turn some three year olds (and 37 year olds) feral. I make all the pancakes and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days, keeping a re-useable kitchen cloth between each pancake so they don’t stick together. To re-heat the pancakes, heat 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil to a small frying pan, then warm each pancake for about 20-30 seconds on each side.

Just a final word on warning on English pancakes. It is written lore that your first pancake in the pan will be utterly rubbish. It is almost always chefs treat. The pancakes get better the more you make as the pan gets more seasoned with the oil and you get more confident with adding less batter into the pan for thinner better pancakes.

A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter

If you make these Best Gluten-Free English Pancakes then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

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A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter

Print Recipe
Best Gluten-Free English Pancakes
Best Gluten-Free English Pancakes are delicious. Quick to make and ideal for Pancake Day. These are also dairy-free and without xanthan gum.
A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter
Course dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword pancakes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
10 pancakes
Ingredients
  • 90 g white rice flour
  • 20 g sweet rice flour
  • pinch aof salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk dairy or non dairy
  • 75 ml soda water
  • 30 g coconut oil melted* + 2 teaspoons extra for greasing the pan
Course dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword pancakes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
10 pancakes
Ingredients
  • 90 g white rice flour
  • 20 g sweet rice flour
  • pinch aof salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk dairy or non dairy
  • 75 ml soda water
  • 30 g coconut oil melted* + 2 teaspoons extra for greasing the pan
A plate of pancakes with ice cream, maple syrup and a fruit platter
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the white rice flour, the sweet rice flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, whisk in until the batter is extremely thick but not lumpy.
  3. Pour in the milk, whisking all the while until the batter has thinned out and smooth.
  4. Pour in the coconut oil and whisk in.
  5. Add the 2 teaspoons of coconut oil into a small frying pan.
  6. Ladle the pancake batter into the centre of the pan and swirl around so that it covers the base of the pan. The batter should be very thin so you can almost see through it. Don’t touch the pancake for a minute or two. Bubbles should form from the bottom of the pancake and the edges should just start to crisp and turn golden. At this point flip the pancake, either using a spatula or freehand. Cook on the other side for a further minute or two until it starts to turn golden.
  7. Remove the pancake from the pan onto kitchen paper to absorb the excess coconut oil.
  8. Pour in your next ladle of pancake batter and continue until all the pancakes are made.
  9. To keep the pancakes warm whilst you are cooking the others you can rest them in the oven set to a very low temperature.
  10. Best served with dairy-free ice cream, maple syrup and fresh fruit
Recipe Notes

*I used coconut milk, tinned with no added gums or stablilisers. You can use any milk, dairy or non-dairy.

*You can use melted butter or ghee if you are happy to enjoy dairy.

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