These traditional vegan crêpes are so easy to make with no unusual ingredients. Perfect for pancake day, piled with your favourite toppings.
We had a conversation yesterday evening whilst tucking into these crêpes that went a bit like this:
- Mr F: "Wow, they taste JUST like normal pancakes"
- Me (smugly): "Yes, I know."
- Mr F: "What did you use to replace the egg?"
- Me: "Nothing."
- Mr F: "But don't you need something to... well... you know... kind of bind it all together?"
- Me: "NO. You really, really don't. The egg does nothing other than add a bit of richness, which you can totally do with a nice creamy soya milk and a bit of vanilla extract."
And that's the thing, you really don't need eggs in pancakes, or any weird or wonderful ingredients from health food shops to replace them with. These lovely vegan crêpes do indeed taste just like the 'real thing'.
This is a great basic recipe to make all sorts of variations on. I've suggested lots below - both flavourings for the pancake batter itself, and toppings to pile them up with or wrap them around.
What you need to make your Vegan Crêpes
Dairy-free milk I've tried making these crêpes with different types of milk and the best results always come from using soya milk. The pancakes are just a bit more robust and easy to flip. But if you don't want to use soya, they will still turn out fine with any type of plant milk.
Plain flour For a traditional pancake I use 100% plain flour, but you can use a mix of plain and wholemeal if you wish. I particularly like wholemeal for savoury pancakes, it has more of a French Galette taste to it.
Baking powder gives the crêpes their traditional tiny bubbles, and a lovely light texture.
Vegan butter A block butter is so much better than a tub of spread here. Spread has a high water content which splits out when melted, whereas a block butter will melt just like 'real' butter does. If you prefer, you can use any type of flavourless oil instead - rapeseed, sunflower or coconut.
Caster sugar I like a little bit of sweetness in my crêpes, so I add just 2tsp caster sugar, but you can leave it out if you prefer, or if you are making savoury crêpes. Alternatively you can swap it for maple syrup or any other sweetener.
Vanilla extract Similarly I love a little vanilla in my pancakes, but just leave it out if you're making savoury crêpes, or swap in any other flavouring instead.
You don't need any fancy equipment at all to make these vegan crêpes - just two jugs or bowls, a whisk, spatula, and a decent frying pan.
My frying pan is this hard anodised 30cm pan from Circulon*. It is pleasingly heavy and has a good non-stick coating. (Disclosure - it was a gift from Circulon many years ago, but I've never been paid for mentioning it, it is just an excellent pan!).
You can use this basic vegan crêpe recipe to make all sorts of different flavours of pancake. Some of my favourites are:
- Chocolate Crêpes Use 1 tablespoon less plain flour, and substitute in 1 tablespoon cocoa powder instead. This will give a rich, chocolatey pancake which is just delicious topped with thick oat greek yoghurt, sliced banana and melted dark chocolate, (check it is dairy-free).
- Cinnamon Crêpes Swap the vanilla extract for half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and serve with apple slices cooked in vegan butter and sprinkle with crunchy demerara sugar.
- Gingerbread Crêpes Leave out the vanilla extract and add ½ teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Serve with oat crème fraiche and a drizzle of maple or golden syrup.
- Garlic Mushroom Crêpes Leave out the sugar and vanilla extract, and replace with a pinch of salt. Fill with sautéed garlicky mushrooms with lots of parsley, and pour extra garlic plant butter over the top.
- 'Cheese' & Broccoli Crêpes Leave out the sugar and vanilla extract, and replace with a pinch of salt. Stuff with cooked broccoli and green beans with a vegan cheese sauce poured over.
- 'Cheese' & 'Ham' Galette For the full French galette experience, once you've flipped the (unsweetened) pancake over in the pan, sprinkle with grated vegan cheese, top with a slice of Quorn vegan ham, and some roughly chopped baby spinach. Fold in the four sides to create a square, then flip over once more just to seal it shut before serving. Totally delicious!
Can you freeze vegan crêpes?
Yes - absolutely! In fact they freeze really well - when I found this out I was overjoyed. A great excuse to make up a double batch and save some for rainy-day breakfasts.
Simply layer them up with a square of baking parchment or greaseproof paper between each pancake, then put the whole lot into an airtight container or wrap tightly. You can then freeze them and simply take out as many as you need (want!) for breakfast.
The easiest way to defrost and reheat them is in a dry frying pan. Keep the heat to medium so that the pancakes don't burn. And make sure they are piping hot throughout.
You can then stuff, drizzle or pile them with your favourite toppings, (or just eat then at the hob with a squirt of maple syrup, as I often end up doing whilst I make everyone else's!).
There is no limit to what you can put on a pancake - either sweet or savoury, simple and healthy or over-the-top and sticky sweet.
Here are a few of our favourites:
- Sugar and lemon An absolute classic, and with good reason - you really can't beat a generous squeeze of fresh lemon with crunchy granulated sugar.
- 'Butter' and sugar Another of my perfectly simple favourites - spread the pancake liberally with a good quality vegan butter (Flora Plant Butter or Naturli get my vote), then sprinkle with granulated or demerara sugar. Totally delicious.
- Blueberry, Banana and Chocolate Fresh blueberries, sliced banana and melted dark chocolate (check it is milk-free).
- Summer Fruits Sliced strawberries, whole raspberries and blueberries are a fresh and fruity filling for these vegan crêpes. I can't resist a drizzle of maple syrup too.
- Pecans, Banana and Oat Greek Yoghurt Roughly chopped pecans, sliced banana and a good dollop of oat greek yoghurt, (the thickest and creamiest vegan yoghurt I've come across). Finish with a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Ice Cream and Melted Chocolate I love the hot / cold / hot combo of a freshly-cooked pancake topped with creamy vegan ice cream followed by just-melted dark chocolate. Delish.
- Avocado and Vegan Bacon Mashed avocado with salt and a squeeze of lime, topped with crispy fried vegan bacon (I love This Isn't Bacon at the moment, through fried slices of Quorn Vegan Ham are surprisingly good too). Remember to leave the sugar and vanilla out of the pancake batter. Vegan bacon and maple syrup is also a brilliant combination.
Please leave a comment below with your favourite vegan pancake toppings - let's crowdsource some brilliant ideas!
- 180 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon caster sugar
- 400 ml dairy-free milk soya works best
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 30 g vegan butter
- Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large jug or bowl.
- In a separate jug, mix the plant milk, and vanilla extract.
- Melt the butter and add just half of it to the milk jug, (you will need the other half for the frying pan).
- Pour the wet ingredients into the jug with the flour.
- Mix well with a whisk until the batter is completely smooth.
- Heat your frying pan for a few minutes. When you are ready to start cooking the pancakes, brush the bottom of the pan with melted butter.
- Pour in some of the batter and move it around the pan vigorously to spread as thinly as possible.
- Cook until golden underneath then flip (or toss if you're brave enough!) to cook the other side.
- Serve immediately with your favourite toppings.
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For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
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