These applesauce pancakes are topped with a fresh, warm cinnamon apple topping to satisfy all your cravings during the Fall-season or year-round! Best of all, this pancake recipe is egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and 100% vegan!
I know that cinnamon and apple are most often associated with Fall and the holidays, but when the combination tastes as good as these two do, and they’re available year-round, can you blame me? I’ve already shared recipes for apple cinnamon rolls, caramel apple cheesecake, apple strudel (Apfelstrudel), and apple muffins with a streusel topping – now it’s the turn of these apple cinnamon pancakes (aka Apfel Pfannkuchen)
In fact, this recipe was inspired by my apple and cinnamon crepes – this time pairing the delicious apple topping with fluffy American-style gluten-free pancakes. I mean, what’s better than a big stack of pancakes to start (or end) the day?!
This recipe is made up of mostly pantry staples, and your kitchen will smell amazing when preparing this dish. It tastes like apple pie but healthier– I mean, who doesn’t want apple pie for breakfast?
The Ingredients and Substitutions
The Applesauce Pancakes
- Oat flour: If you don’t have store-bought, then you can make it by grinding oats in a blender/processor/coffee grinder into a floury consistency (use certified gluten-free if necessary). Alternatively, you could use buckwheat flour, though you may need to adjust the amount of milk.
- Coconut milk: I used lite canned coconut milk. You could alternatively use the plant-based milk of your choice with an additional 1-2t bsp neutral oil.
- Applesauce: Use natural unsweetened applesauce for the best results. Alternatively, you could use mashed banana, but I love how these applesauce pancakes pair with the cinnamon apple topping.
- Baking powder: This leavening agent is used to provide lift and texture to the pancakes.
- Apple cider vinegar: This will react with the baking powder and help to yield fluffier pancakes.
- Coconut sugar: This is optional, but not much is required as the applesauce adds natural sweetness to the apple oat pancakes. Feel free to use the sugar or sweetener of your choosing.
You could optionally add a little vanilla to the vegan pancakes batter, too.
The Cinnamon Apple Topping
- Apple: Use your favorite baking/cooking apple- peeled, cored, and diced.
- Sugar: I used coconut sugar. You could alternatively use brown sugar – both have a slightly caramel/toffee flavor which tastes wonderful with the apple and cinnamon.
- Milk: Use your plant-based milk of choice or even water.
- Lemon juice: Lime juice would also work and helps to balance the sweetness of the sauce.
- Cornstarch: This will help to thicken the sauce and make it spoonable.
- Cinnamon: Feel free to adjust this amount to personal preference.
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information for these caramel apple pancakes, please read the recipe card below.
How to Make Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
- First, add the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and applesauce to a large bowl and mix with a whisk.
- Then, add the baking powder, oat flour, and (optional) coconut sugar and use a spatula to stir until combined.
- Heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then, spoon some of the pancake batter into the pan (I used a heaping ice-cream scoop) and cook over low-medium heat for a few minutes before flipping (they’re ready to flip when you notice tiny bubbles on the top of the pancakes).
- Cook until golden brown. Repeat this step with the remaining batter.
- Meanwhile, as the pancakes cook, add all of the apple cinnamon topping ingredients to a saucepan and stir until the cornstarch fully dissolves. Then, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow it to simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
If the mixture gets too thick, then add a little more plant-based milk. Give the apple mixture a taste and adjust any ingredients as needed (sugar for more sweetness, cinnamon, lemon for tang, etc.)
- Serve the pancakes with the apple topping and enjoy!
How to Serve the Apple Pancakes?
Serve these healthy pancakes up for breakfast alone or with a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce and optionally some crushed nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.). Alternatively, for dessert, you could add either coconut whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream; vanilla, caramel, chocolate, or even peanut butter would taste lovely.
How to Make Ahead and Store?
To make ahead: You can prepare the pancake batter and the cinnamon apple topping the evening before (minus the baking powder) and store separately, covered, in the refrigerator. Just mix in the baking powder before cooking the pancakes and heat the apple topping on the stovetop until warmed through (adding more liquid if necessary).
To Store: Store the cooked pancakes in an airtight container/bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or 3-4 months in the freezer. The topping can also be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, though I don’t recommend freezing it as the texture can become watery and mushy.
To reheat: You can reheat the applesauce pancakes in a toaster oven or microwave (in 15-20 second intervals). For larger batches, you can reheat them in the oven at 350F (175C), covered with foil, until warmed through (around 10-12 minutes). You can reheat the sauce on the stovetop.
Can I make the apple cinnamon pancakes sugar-free?
Yes, feel free to substitute any of the sugar mentioned in the recipe for your sugar-free sweetener of choice – such as erythritol or stevia. Just make sure to adjust the amount as the sweetness will vary.
Can I use a food processor for the batter?
There’s no need to, as the pancake batter is so easy to mix by hand. However, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use a food processor to mix the batter as it’s gluten-free (so it won’t impact the texture).
What is the best apple to use for apple topping?
Just like when making apple crisp, it’s best to use a good baking/cooking apple as softer apples will cook down into more of a ‘fluff’ rather than maintain shape. I recommend choosing an apple like Gala, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Granny Smith.
- Adjust the sugar in the topping: Based on what apple you use, the cinnamon apple topping will be tarter vs. sweet, so feel free to adjust the amount of sweetener you use to preference.
- Use a non-stick pan: This will mean less oil and healthier apple cinnamon pancakes!
- To keep the pancakes warm: Stack the cooked pancakes under a clean kitchen towel before serving. This will help keep them warm and prevent them from drying out.
More Gluten-Free Vegan Pancake Recipes
- Banana Oat Flour Pancakes
- Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Pancakes
- Chocolate Stuffed Pancakes
- Banana Stuffed Chocolate Crepes
- Chocolate Stuffed Crepes
If you try this recipe for apple cinnamon pancakes, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Pour the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and applesauce into a bowl and stir with a whisk.
- Add the baking powder, oat flour, and coconut sugar and stir with a spatula until combined.
- Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon some of the batter (I use one heaping ice cream scoop) into the hot skillet and cook the pancake on low to medium from both sides until golden brown. Repeat this step with the remaining batter.
- Add all ingredients for the apple filling to a saucepan and stir with a spoon until the cornstarch fully dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add more plant-based milk if the mixture gets too thick.
- Serve the pancakes with the apple filling and enjoy!
- Oat flour: If you don't have oat flour, simply process oats (regular or certified gluten-free oats) in a blender or electric spice/coffee grinder until you have oat flour.
- You can use buckwheat flour instead of oat flour. You might need to adjust the amount of plant-based milk though.
- Canned coconut milk: If you don't want to use canned coconut milk, you can use any other plant-based milk instead with the addition of 1-2 tablespoons oil!
- Applesauce: 80 g of mashed banana works as well in this recipe.
- Coconut sugar: Any other sweetener like regular sugar is fine.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically