Basic Low-Fat Pancakes

Basic Low-Fat Pancakes

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Rest: 10 mins
Total: 21 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 12 pancakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
180 Calories
3g Fat
31g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 205mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 125mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There's nothing as delicious as a batch of freshly made pancakes on a weekend morning. Still steamy, and served with fruit, pancakes can be a wholesome and healthy breakfast, especially if made with our low-fat recipe. Ideal for those who need to watch their fat intake or for pancake lovers who can't have just one or two, these fluffy pancakes are an easy and basic recipe that you can adapt to your own taste. It's a wonderful recipe that you can come back to over and over again. These pancakes turn out delicious every time.

We use nonfat milk to moisten the batter while keeping it flavorful and light. All-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, vanilla, and a teaspoon of oil are all that you need to whip up these delicious pancakes. Make bigger batches and freeze for when you crave a nice homemade stack or keep refrigerated for a couple of days. Enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup and top with fresh berries, sliced bananas, or sautéed apples for added color, texture, and nutrition.

Use this recipe as a template and add your own twist with a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger, or chopped-up fruit added to the batter.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, or whole-wheat flour

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 1/3 cups nonfat milk

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for basic low-fat pancakes recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

    Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg, oil, nonfat milk, and vanilla extract.

    Whisk the egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well to thoroughly combine. Don't overmix, as this will develop the gluten in the batter and make the pancakes tough and doughy. Rest the batter for at least 10 minutes before cooking—this resting time allows the milk to hydrate the flour and lets the leavening ingredients distribute throughout the batter.

    Add the wet pancake ingredients to the dry ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Heat an electric nonstick griddle to 375 F, or use a large nonstick skillet over medium heat on the stove.

    Heating a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.

    Pancake batter in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Cook until bubbles form and the edges appear dry.

    Pancake cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Flip the pancakes and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

    Pancake in a skillet, flipped

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Serve warm with your favorite sides and enjoy!

    Basic low-fat pancakes stacked on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Additions and Substitutions

Here are a few ideas on how to adapt this recipe to your taste and nutritional needs:

  • Buttermilk pancakes: Swap in low-fat or nonfat buttermilk for the nonfat milk. If you do, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the recipe.
  • Vegan: Swap out the nonfat milk for any plant-based beverage like oat, cashew, or almond milk. Alternatively, use vegan coconut or soy yogurt, but add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the recipe.
  • Fruity batter: Add chopped fruit to the batter, such as cubed pears, apples, or berries.
  • Carrot cake: Add 1 cup of shredded carrots to the batter plus 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Serve with sliced bananas and maple syrup for a delicious mock carrot cake.
  • Fall pancakes: Add a pinch of pumpkin spice or a drizzle of maple syrup to the batter. For some added zing, use 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger or a teaspoon of lemon zest.

Perfect Pancakes Every Time

  • It is important to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, so don't skip this step. It helps to evenly distribute ingredients, especially those that leaven.
  • An electric griddle is the ideal pancake-cooking tool because it maintains a constant temperature, but if you don't have one, you can use a cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan. Just be mindful to raise or lower the heat as needed to keep the pancakes cooking evenly.