Pancakes not on your diet? Here's a tasty workaround for that

  • There's nothing like pancakes and syrup to get you out of bed on a Sunday morning.

    There's nothing like pancakes and syrup to get you out of bed on a Sunday morning. Courtesy of Don Mauer

Updated 6/25/2021 11:05 AM

A few years ago, I would get up on a Sunday morning with a powerful hunger for blueberry buttermilk pancakes drizzled with real maple syrup. There's almost something magical about scratch-made buttermilk pancakes; light, fluffy, almost melt-in-your-mouth. Pouring on Grade B (darker and more flavorful) organic maple syrup (the real deal) truly satisfied me.

Eliminating all sugars (maple syrup delivers 11 sugar grams in one tablespoon (20 gram) serving) nearly two years ago took maple syrup off my menu. Pancakes, no matter how good they are, don't make it without syrup. Honey won't work either because it delivers more calories (64 versus 52) and more sugars (17.25 versus 11.9 grams).


Ten years ago, I used a no-sugar pancake syrup that contained mostly artificial ingredients that still delivered five calories per tablespoon. That syrup was just OK, not nearly as good as real maple syrup.

Literally, by accident, I found a maple-flavored syrup with all certified organic ingredients that delivered zero calories ( -- $12.99 for 16 ounces). It did not contain any sugar alcohols like maltitol or erythritol. I ordered it online and couldn't wait for it to arrive so I could taste it. Honestly, it seemed too good to be true, so I didn't hold out much hope.

I also ordered a pancake and waffle, keto baking mix through (Keto and Co., $9.99) to avoid as many carbs as possible, along with wheat flour.

When they arrived, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. Right away, I unscrewed the cap on the syrup and dipped a butter knife in and gave it a taste. It was nicely thick, just like syrup, and tasted really good, very much like real maple syrup. Wow!

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These products are the building blocks for this sugar-free, wheat-free substitute for pancakes and syrup.
These products are the building blocks for this sugar-free, wheat-free substitute for pancakes and syrup. - Courtesy of Don Mauer

The back of the syrup bottle indicated that a tablespoon delivered zero calories and 10 carbohydrate grams. Those carbs came from allulose, a rare real sugar that can't be metabolized. Interesting.

The keto pancake mix uses almond and coconut flours as stand-ins for wheat flour. The label stated: "No Sugar Added," and the package back indicated it used Wondrose Sugar Replacer (erythritol, non-GMO soluble corn fiber, Inulin and Monk Fruit) for the sugar.

The mix required adding three large beaten eggs, two tablespoons of nut milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) and one tablespoon of oil (I used extra-virgin olive oil) along with the mix. This made a very thick batter.


I used a bit of unsalted butter in my skillet and poured a quarter cup of batter into the pan. I had to use my fingers to spread it out into a rough circle. It took 3 minutes on each side for the pancake to cook. It did have a nice golden-brown look. I plated two pancakes, added a touch of butter and poured on the syrup.

They weren't as smooth to my palate as a wheat-based pancake, yet they had a decent flavor. My partner, Nan, who can be a pickier critic than me, was surprised at how good it tasted.

Next time I'm going to use organic buttermilk and add a few blueberries. This is definitely a decent no-sugars, no wheat pancake workaround.

Oh, how many calories for my pancakes, syrup, and butter? Total turned out to be 210 calories -- yup, just 210.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at don@

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