Pumpkin Pancakes – regular vs. whole-wheat flour

This isn’t the first pancake experiment I’ve done. One of the first taste tests I did involved making pancakes from scratch and comparing them to a boxed mix.

Nowadays, I am constantly doing taste tests. So much that it’s rare for me to only make one version of something. When I have time, I usually try tweaking a recipe to see if I can make it healthier without significantly impacting the results. For me it’s a learning opportunity. After all, I need to be convinced that swapping in healthier ingredients will work before I start recommending it to people.

This experiment came about because my colleagues and I tried a batch of pumpkin pancakes for a recipe contest. I wasn’t too impressed by them. I had made pumpkin pancakes and I felt compelled to share my recipe with my coworkers who were busy eating the recipe contest pumpkin pancakes thinking “these aren’t that bad”.

So that weekend, I went home and whipped up two batch of pumpkin pancakes. For one batch, I followed the original recipe (which calls for all-purpose flour). The other batch, I modified by replacing the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour and reducing the amount of sugar by a third (a general rule that I use for most baked goods since I find many of them to be too sweet).

Pumpkin pancakes – makes 12 pancakes

From allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat flour)
3 Tbsp brown sugar (or 2 Tbsp if you want it less sweet)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger


  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.
  2. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
pumpkin pancake taste test
Pumpkin pancakes taste test! Pancake A: all-purpose flour; Pancake B: whole-wheat flour

I brought both batches of pancakes into work the next day and had people tell me which one they preferred. Most people liked both as they tasted equally good from a flavour standpoint. The only difference is that the pancakes made with whole-wheat flour weren’t as soft and fluffy (not surprising) but some people actually preferred the more rustic, dense texture that the wholewheat pumpkin pancakes provided (these were also the same people who preferred heartier breads vs. soft white bread).

More people preferred the pancakes made with all-purpose flour. However, the people who preferred hearty and rustic breads preferred the whole-wheat pancakes.

So I would say that you can swap out all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour when making pancakes and the end products is just as good. But if you prefer fluffy, soft pancakes – stick to all-purpose flour.

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