Acorn flour pancakes are a favorite of acorn foragers everywhere. They’re a simple way to use acorn flour, once you’ve gone through the effort of processing, and they’re popular with everyone (adults and kids alike).
So you’ve gone through the effort of making acorn flour at home, which though fun and empowering, is no small feat of time and devotion. First, you harvest the acorns, then crack them all, grind them, and leach the tannins for several days.
At the end of the process, you’ve invested effort and time, but you’ve spent nothing (at least in dollars) and you now have a wild foraged food you can put on the table. At least, provided you can find tasty recipes using acorn flour.
(If you haven’t made acorn flour before, and just want to try it, the best place to find it is on Etsy. There aren’t any commercial producers, so you’ll need to find someone whose making it as a labor of love and selling it in their small-scale store.)
That’s trickier than you’d think, as though there are recipes for just about everything on the internet…there aren’t that many acorn flour recipes. That’s partly because acorn flour is obscure, but it’s becoming more popular.
The real reason I think is that acorn flour is actually reasonably tricky when it comes to baking. They’re almost more like a bean than a nut when it comes to their flour.
Though acorn flour has been made for millennia, it’s actually a bit tricky to use in the kitchen.
Unlike many gluten-free nut flours (almond, hazelnut, etc), it has a good bit of starch. Acorns are actually incredibly rich in starch, and while they don’t lack for protein, they cook more like rice or tapioca flour than acorn flour.
This means it’s actually easy to get acorn flour baked goods to bind, which is often problematic with some gluten-free ingredients. The problem is, the starch in acorn flour binds so well that it often gets rubbery and gelatinous. (You know, as it would if you made a pancake with rice flour.)
Just because it’s tricky, doesn’t mean it’s not tasty, and it can be done. I’ve been working on developing an acorn flour pancake recipe for some time now, and I’ve finally found a winner (after trying dozens of recipes).
100% Acorn Flour Pancakes (or Crepes)
My initial goal was to make acorn pancakes from just acorn flour, which can be done…but I don’t recommend it. As I said, acorns are incredibly starchy, and the end result comes out a bit rubbery. They won’t hold leavening from baking powder, and they’re slimy no matter how much you cook them.
Again, cooking with acorn flour is more like cooking with bean flour or rice flour than it is cooking with another nut flour (ie. Almond flour). I make 100% almond flour pancakes, no problem, they’re delicious. The same is not true with 100% acorn flour pancakes.
I’ve tried literally dozens of recipes, and I’d honestly rather cook the acorn flour into polenta, grits, or gruel with just water. They’re not appetizing, and definitely not the best way to use acorn flour.
Fluffy Acorn Flour Pancakes Recipe
In the end, I was able to make a tasty acorn flour pancake, but not with all acorn flour.
I ended up just replacing half the flour with acorn flour from my favorite pancake recipe, which comes from The Joy of Cooking. I make it so often for my kids I have it memorized.
- 1 1/2 cups flour (3/4 cup acorn flour and 3/4 cup white flour)
- 3 Tbsp Sugar (We use homemade maple sugar)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (increase to 2 tsp for acorn flour pancakes)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted (or another oil, like acorn oil if you’re ambitious)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
After I made these a few times, I noticed that Pascal Baudar actually has pretty much the exact same recipe in New Wildforaged Cuisine, and it’s a 50/50 acorn flour and white flour recipe that would be the same as the Joy of Cooking recipe if it was all white flour.
I wonder if he loves the joy of cooking too? Possible, but not actually necessary. There aren’t that many good pancake recipes in the world, as there are only so many ways you can combine ingredients and get fluffy pancakes (acorn flour or not).
There are MANY cookbooks that have some variation on this recipe, and substituting half the flour with acorn flour is just one way to modify it. Almond flour, whole wheat, rye flour, or just about anything else works pretty well too.
The trick is, don’t substitute any more than half.
Pancakes are adaptable, and they work well with lower gluten since they want a tender crumb (rather than tough, rubbery pancakes when the batter is overworked). That said, they do still need some gluten to hold together (unless you’re adding some of those gluten-free additives that so many people are fond of these days, like xantham gum).
Personally, I’d rather use wheat flour and keep it as natural as possible, I’m not going through the effort of foraging acorns and making acorn flour just to scoop in some corn derivatives made in a lab. (But to each his own, and if you’re gluten-free know that you can use part acorn flour along with a 1 to 1 gluten-free flour mix.)
Acorn and Acorn Flour Recipes
Looking for more acorn recipes?
Acorn flour pancakes can be light and fluffy, with hints of rich nutty acorns, if made properly.
- 3/4 cup acorn flour
- 3/4 cup white flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar (or maple sugar)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients, making sure to fully beat the eggs and distribute them into the milk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
- Pre heat a pancake griddle, butter it generously, and cook each pancake for 1-2 minutes on a side, until golden brown.
Vegan Option - If you'd like to make this vegan it actually works out pretty well. Substitute vegetable or nut oil for the butter, walnut oil, or another nut oil works wonderfully and adds to the flavor. For each egg, make flax eggs by beating 1 tbsp ground flax seeds with 3 tbsp water. (In this case, it'd be 2 Tbsp flax and 6 Tbsp water). Grease the pan with another type of oil of your choice.
Gluten-Free Option - If you do want to make this gluten-free, that's fine too. Simply substitute in 1 to 1 gluten-free flour in place of the white flour. I don't recommend making them with all acorn flour, I've yet to find a recipe that works well in that style (unfortunately).
Wild Food Recipes
Bringing more wild foods into the kitchen?
Foraging more than acorns this season?