Healthy Protein Pancakes Recipe

These healthy protein pancakes are a delicious way to get your oats and lean protein first thing in the morning!

The first time I heard about protein pancakes was from a Facebook friend. When she told me what was in them, I all but gagged. I just could not fathom the idea that these might actually be edible.

A close up of a stack of protein pancakes with a pat of butter on the top pancake.

However…

A few weeks later, I was watching some videos on BodyBuilding.com of Ava Cowan (fitness model). I’m a big fan of hers and was curious to see how she eats and works out. Imagine my surprise when she demonstrated how to make protein pancakes!

So I figured if my friend on Facebook and Ave Cowan can eat these, then there must be something to them other than just a high-protein breakfast. So I gave it a shot.

I can tell you that not only was my son impressed (kids are the toughest critics!), but I was just over the moon. I’ve been eating these puppies for breakfast every morning since and I haven’t gagged even once! I swear! They are almost like eating a savory oatmeal muffin. A bit on the fluffy side, and just downright delicious! Plus, the simple ingredients couldn’t be easier!

What Are Protein Pancakes?

That all depends on who you ask and what recipe they use. Most protein pancakes are simply regular pancakes with protein powder added. But if you’ve read my article on clean protein powders, you know that a clean protein powder doesn’t actually exist. There are some that are better than others, but none of them are clean. (You can’t pick it off a tree or pull it out of the ground. It has to be processed into powder). So this recipe gets its protein from a clean protein source. Eggs!

How Much Protein Do Protein Pancakes Have?

This particular recipe has about 8 grams of protein per pancake. While that may not sound like a lot, the average American pancake has just 1.8 grams of protein. So that’s a considerable jump. And keep in mind, you will most likely be eating more than one pancake for breakfast! So it will add up fast.

An overhead view of a stack or healthy protein pancakes with a pat of butter on top.

Can These Be Made Gluten-Free?

Yes! All you have to do is buy oats that are labeled gluten-free. There is no naturally occurring gluten in this recipe (Toppings not included).  In fact, there is no flour in these at all!

Can These Be Made Vegan?

I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried to make these in a vegan version. I suppose you could use a vegan egg replacer, but I would use the stuff you buy at the store. Things like chia or flax eggs won’t work here. Using a plant-based protein could be problematic, but I won’t go so far as to say it’s impossible. You’ll have to experiment.

Topping Ideas

While the below suggestions are not an exhaustive list, they are the toppings or additions I have tried and enjoyed.

Ooey-Gooey Toppings:

  • 1 tbsp. clean peanut butter or other nut butter such as almond butter.
  • 1 tbsp. Greek yogurt per pancakes

Extra Fiber Toppings:

  • 1 tbsp. clean hummus

Sweet Toppings:

  • Sliced banana
  • Fresh berries
  • Dark chocolate chips

Savory Mix-In Seasonings:

  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder

Sweet Mix-In Seasonings:

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Top with maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Top with honey
A stack of plain protein pancakes without toppings sitting on a piece of parchment paper.

Ingredients To Avoid

I know this seems like an uber-simple recipe, but that’s a good thing! What you DON’T want to add here is:

  • Salt
  • Protein powder (particularly whey protein powder)
  • Cooking spray
  • Milk (even plant-based milk)
  • Flour of any kind

While these ingredients are common for most pancakes, they will totally defeat the purpose here. The pancakes will not turn out the same. So don’t be tempted.

And lastly, do not use a blender to blend this. It just makes a big mess.

About The Ingredients

Egg whites – While this is a lot of eggs, I highly recommend cracking and separating your own eggs, rather than purchasing egg whites in a container.

Quick oats – This is one of two recipes on my blog that use quick-cooking oats. While they are a bit more processed than traditional oats, they are really the only type of oat that will work here.

Oil – From an oil sprayer is easiest. Coconut oil works great. So does safflower or olive oil. But only use the olive oil over low heat. It has a low smoke point.

How To Make Healthy Protein Pancakes

Two white bowls on a white surface. Once has egg whites, the other egg yolks.

Separate the eggs and store the yolks in the fridge for other things.

A mixing bowl with egg whites and oats in it.
Egg whites and oats whisked together in a mixing bowl.

Whisk the oats and egg whites together in a mixing bowl.

A skillet being sprayed with an oil sprayer.

Spray a non-stick skillet or griddle (yes, it has to be non-stick) with about ¼ tsp. olive oil. It’s not much at all. Just a very light mist. Heat the pan over medium heat.

4 pancakes ladled onto a hot skillet.

Pour or ladle the pancake batter onto your pan and cook like a regular pancake.

4 golden protein pancakes cooking on a skillet.

Flip when the egg whites around the edges are white and it feels like the pancake will hold up enough to be flipped. It will feel firm.

A stack of protein pancakes sitting on a piece of parchment paper with a pat of butter on top of the stack.

You can serve this with any clean toppings you like, or just eat them plain.

How To Store Healthy Protein Pancakes

If you have leftover pancakes, store them in an airtight container (or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) and keep them in the fridge. They will last up to 3 days.

Freezing Protein Pancakes

While you can stick anything in a freezer, freezing these is not recommended because the egg whites will become very rubbery in the freezer.

Reheating Leftover Healthy Protein Pancakes

Simply pop these in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to reheat. You can also reheat them over low heat in a skillet. But watch them closely so they don’t burn.

Recipe Supplies For Healthy Protein Pancakes

Crepe pan sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Mixing bowl set with lids sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Whisk set sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

Mentioned Recipes

More Healthy Pancake Recipes

Healthy Protein Pancakes Recipe Card + Video

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

Recipe adapted from BodyBuilding.com.

A close up of a stack of protein pancakes with a pat of butter on the top pancake.

Healthy Protein Pancakes

These delicious protein pancakes are the perfect way to start off a clean eating day!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 7 pancakes
Calories: 74kcal

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • 1 Skillet
  • 1 Spatula

Ingredients

PANCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ tsp. oil (from an oil sprayer is easiest)

Instructions

  • Separate the eggs and store the yolks in the fridge for other things.
    Two white bowls on a white surface. Once has egg whites, the other egg yolks.
  • Whisk the oats and egg whites together in a mixing bowl.
    A mixing bowl with egg whites and oats in it.
  • Spray a non-stick pan (yes, it has to be non-stick) with about ¼ tsp. olive oil. It's not much at all. Just a very light mist. Heat the pan over medium heat.
    A skillet being sprayed with an oil sprayer.
  • Ladle pancakes onto your pan and cook like a regular pancake.
    4 pancakes ladled onto a hot skillet.
  • Flip when the egg whites around the edges are white and it feels like the pancake will hold up enough to be flipped. It will feel firm.
    4 golden protein pancakes cooking on a skillet.
  • You can serve this with any clean toppings you like, or just eat them plain.
    A stack of protein pancakes sitting on a piece of parchment paper with a pat of butter on top of the stack.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data does not include any toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pancake | Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

From the Gracious Pantry archives. Originally posted: 2/18/2011

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96 Comments

  1. I just made these for my little one and I for breakfast… I was hesitant, because my last experience with making protein pancakes was not a good one, but I recognized that this recipe was much simpler, so thought I’d give it a shot… I’m glad I did! They’re pretty good, and nice and quick. I didn’t have quick oats, only old fashioned, but they worked okay. Didn’t soak up the whites like I think quick ones would, but they were still fine!
    Definitely one I will do again soon… thanks, Tiffany!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Barbara – Fantastic! Thanks for trying my recipe!

  2. Sounds wonderful, Tiffany! I have a recipe that uses grated apple in the pancake, I might try adding it to it! Thanks for the recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Karen – Oh wow! That sounds heavenly! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Any recipes I’ve seen for protein pancakes have included cottage cheese. I’m glad to know protein pancakes can be made without it because I never seem to have cottage cheese on hand!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sarah – Wonderful! I hope you enjoy them!

  4. Hi just found your website, SO GLAD I did too. This is actually one recipe that I did have though. You can add almond or vanilla extract with cinnamon to give it a little extra something. Or you have Just Fruit Jelly you could add a little of that. Also I have added a 1/2 banana or strawberries before into the mix. But keep in mind I use a Handi Mixer.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Julie – Nice additions! Thanks for sharing that. Welcome! Happy to have you as a reader!

  5. Kristine Fretwell says:

    Glad you tried the protein pancakes!!! Aren’t they awesome?! Nice to switch it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kristine – Definitely!!! I love em’!!

  6. Victor Lozano says:

    I have the perfect high protein high fiber recipe
    1/2 cup FIBER ONE pancake mix

    2 scoops whey protein..any flavor will work but my favorite so far is Optimum Nutition Vanilla Ice cream whey protein

    1/3 cup milk-more if needed

    1/3 cup applesauce-more if desired

    cook as you would a regular pancake.

    Sugar free syrup to taste. Any topping will work

    I made some at 3:30am and reheated at work at 6:00 am. came out great.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Victor – Sounds yummy! I personally can’t have the diary, but I’m sure lots of others will be able to use this. Thank you for sharing it!

  7. you think adding fruit to this is okay??

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michelle – I think it would depend on the fruit, but yes, it would be good. I think berries would be great in these!

  8. Devon Neely says:

    Hi Tiffany,

    A friend passed this nut butter pancake recipe along recently and it’s my new favorite. Not as much protein as your pancakes, but still a “clean” option.

    1/2 cup natural peanut butter (peanuts, salt)
    1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    2 eggs (though you could tinker with this and use egg whites only I think)
    1/4 tsp cinnamon (I added about 3/4 as cinammon makes me happy)
    1/4 tsp vanilla (I also added more of this as well)

    Mix until the ingredients come together. It does look a bit more loose than typical pancake batter, but the final product totally rocks!! Cook 2-3 minutes per side on low/medium heat (they will burn quickly). The recipe makes about 10 small pancakes (slightly larger than silver dollar pancakes). I freeze them by two’s and eat one serving with an apple as a morning snack.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Devon – Thank you!! I’ll give it a try, sounds really yummy!

  9. Pancake Dude says:

    Protein pancakes are a great find. Thanks for the recipe

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      PD – Sure! Hope you enjoy them!

  10. sooo….I made the savory version this evening for dinner with a couple tweeks….added onion powder, garlic powder, dehy basil, pepper and a dash of parm cheese. Topped with a bit of light sour cream. YUMMM

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cari – Oh my! Sounds amazing!

  11. What brand of quick oats do you use?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kristen – I get mine at Trader Joe’s. All I know is it comes in a white box. It’s the 3 minute kind.

  12. Thanks! I’ll have to look for them the next time I get a chance to travel to TJs!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kristen – I just found the box. It’s McCann’s. Enjoy!

  13. Hey!
    Trying cooking these now – so far so good! How long would you say these keep for? Is it immediate delicious gobbling only?

    Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lindsay – They will keep a day or two, but you’ll see they taste best right away. Enjoy!

  14. Maybe my ratio was off but I couldn’t get these down my throat! I tried making a single serving so I used 2 egg whites and about 1/3 cup of oats – it made a hockey puck instead of a pancake. Has anyone tried using a coffee grinder to grind the oats a little so its more of a flour than chunky oats? I’m not giving up, I will try again! It just made for a rough morning trying to find something clean and sugar free from the cafe at work!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Dawn – Your ratio is definitely off. If you cut things in half, it would be 6 egg whites to 1/2 cup of oats (or 3 egg whites to 1/4 cup oats). Too many oats would definitely create a hocky puck. lol. You could grind the oats gently, but you don’t want to turn it into flour either. So sorry for the rough morning!

  15. I have to say, you have a great site! A few months ago my husband and I started on a clean eating meal plan and I’m still learning a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ Your site has really helped me with food ideas.

    I love protein pancakes! They are a staple in my meal plan. Below is the recipe I use for blueberry protein pancakes, very yummy!

    1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese
    1/2 cup egg whites
    1/2 cup dry oatmeal
    1/4 cup blueberries (or any fresh fruit)
    Dash of cinnamon
    Dash of vanilla extract
    1 pk. Stevia
    1 tablespoon agava nectar (optional)

    Put all ingredients in a food processor (except blueberries & agava) and blend. Once blended add the blueberries. Cook on pan like regular pancakes. Drizzle with agava nectar.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Toni – Yum!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. My family loves these. My 12-year-old asked for pancakes Saturday morning. As I was making them she asked if I was making “those protein pancakes” when I told her that I was her response….”YESSSSSSS” with a fist pump. Thanks!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim – LOL!!! That’s fabulous!!!

  17. LisasLosingIt says:

    Is there a way that I can sub out some of the egg whites for whole eggs? Egg whites are so expensive, so I want to cut down on using almost 2 cartons of egg whites if I can ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Anonymous says:

      LLI – Yes, you can use 1 whole egg for every 2 egg whites. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Anonymous says:

          LLI – You’re welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Ava Cowan is my idol, lol! I’ve been following her for awhile. I have been making these pancakes for a long time too. I use 1 egg, 3 whites, 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, cinnamon, stevia and a drop of vanilla cooked with the cooking spray. I do allow myself 1 cup strawberries on top of the pancakes. I started doing this while working with a coach to prep for figure competition. Alas, I had to stop my prep for awhile, but have continued to still eat very similarly so that I do not regain the lost body fat and am now focusing on building muscle, so incorporating a little more carbs. Anyways, very glad to hear that you are a fan of Ava’s too! She’s DA BOMB!! ๐Ÿ˜€ And so are you! I share your blog with everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Anonymous says:

      Roxanne – Awwwe, thanks! Ya, Ava is fantastic! Love that chickie!

  19. I made these the other day and have kept them in the fridge. Today I had these for breakfast, but I put a couple of tablespoons of the Strawberry Salsa I made last night and bit of syrup. Oh my goodness….they were so good, even my 5 y/o liked them. Definite breakfast keeper.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Kim – That’s awesome!! Strawberry salsa would be a fantastic topping for these!! Glad you enjoyed them!

  20. You may have already answered this, but are these pancakes something I could make a bunch of and keep them in the fridge for a week?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Kelly – Maybe not a full week. But you could certainly freeze some. Just take them out the night before. Also, you may want to freeze with a piece of parchment or foil between them so they are easy to separate if you’re in a hurry. Enjoy!