Red lentil pancakes

Red lentil pancakes

 red lentil pancakes macro

While I’ve always been someone who enjoys sweet breakfasts alongside my morning coffee, I have recently tried switching to more savoury options in a bid to limit my sugar intake. These split red lentil pancakes are easy to make, delicious and thanks to slow-releasing red lentils, they will keep you full for ages afterwards. Lentils are also a great source of plant protein so that’s an added bonus if you are an athlete or lead a physically demanding lifestyle.

These red lentil pancakes hail from Indian subcontinent and are akin to South Indian dosa in their method of preparation although they are far less fussy as the batter is only made up of one type of soaked ingredient and does not require time consuming fermentation. You do need to remember to soak your well washed (the water needs to run almost clear on your last rinse) split red lentils in plenty of water the night before and that’s it. The lentils need to get rehydrated to the point that you are able to squash them between your fingers easily. While you can probably get away with a shorter soaking time, I recommend giving it enough time as a lengthy soaking makes the lentils easier to digest too.

Once rehydrated blend them with your choice of aromatics and spices and some water to obtain a pancake batter that is sort of a halfway house between French crepes and thick breakfast pancakes.

Not only are they easy and quick to make, they are also super flexible. I served mine with garam masala seasoned sautéed zucchini, some homemade cashew cream, coriander and shop-bought chutney, but they will work just as well with curried potatoes (like a dosa), sautéed spinach, sautéed garlicky tomatoes, baked cauliflower or broccoli florets. They are one of these dishes that can be eaten for any meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner and any leftover batter can be frozen too, which is an added bonus. We have feasted on these a lot this past week and I hope you’ll enjoy them too.

red lentil pancakes ingredients

red lentil pancakes cooked

red lentil pancakes stack

red lentil pancakes

30 min
15 min
30 min
15 min

  • 165 g / 1 cup red split lentils*, soaked overnight
  • scant 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder*
  • 1½ tsp chickpea flour*
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tsp each cumin, turmeric, coriander and ½ tsp ground chilli powder
  • OPTIONAL: garlic clove + thick slice of ginger
  • vegetable oil, for frying


  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp mild olive oil
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced thinly
  • salt, to season
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • vegan yoghurt / cream (or see below)
  • shop bought chutney (I used tomato and chilli)
  • small bunch of coriander / cilantro, chopped


  • 70 g / ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • ½ lime, zest and juice (about 2 tbsp)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Drain and rinse soaked lentils.
  2. Place them in a blender together with the rest of the ingredients (apart from oil) and approximately 300 ml / 1¼ cups of water (a little less if not using garlic or ginger). Process until smooth, the batter should be pourable but a little thicker than crepe batter. You may need to add a touch more water if it’s too thick.
  3. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil in a stainless steel frying pan. Add sliced zucchini and toss them in the warm oil to coat. Sauté them, stirring frequently, until translucent and charred in places.
  4. Season with salt and garam masala at the very end, set aside.
  5. Heat up a non-stick pan on a low-medium heat, brush it with a bit (1 tsp is enough if you’re using a non-stick pan) of oil using a silicone brush.
  6. Pour ¼ of the mixture onto the hot pan and use the back of the spoon to spread the mixture out in a circular fashion – the pancake should be a bit thicker than a crepe. Cook each pancake for about 3 minutes on one side and then flip. Cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Take care not to overcook the pancakes as they will be dry.
  7. Keep the cooked pancakes in a stack in a warm oven while making the rest.
  8. Fill with zucchini, dollops of vegan cream / yoghurt, favourite chutney and heaps of fresh coriander / cilantro.


  1. If making your own cashew cream, place drained cashews, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper and about 60 ml / ¼ cup water in a small blender (I use a Ninja blender for this).
  2. Blend until smooth. If using a standard blender you may need to make a double quantity.

The pancake batter can be frozen – if you intend to freeze it, skip the baking powder and add it just before making the pancakes.

*RED LENTILS: Make sure to rinse really well, in several changes of water – until the water runs almost clear. Only then soak.

*BAKING POWDER: It’s not absolutely necessary, but I recommend adding especially you prefer your pancakes a little thicker.

*CHICKPEA FLOUR: It’s not absolutely necessary, but it makes pancakes a little easier to manage. Rice flour would be a good replacement.

Pancakes are adapted from this recipe.

7 g
5 g
1 g
13 g
37 g
*per pancake
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18 reviews, 40 comments
Can I replace chickpea flour with regular flour?
    Hi Ivan,
    Yes, absolutely! Hope this helps! Ania
Fabulous recipe - I had these for breakfast with avocado, wilted spinach, tomato and quince chutney. I used garlic powder as I'd run out of fresh garlic. I will definitely be making these again!
    I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed these, Shirley and plan to make them again. Thank you for taking the time to review, I appreciate it. x Ania
This was delicious and really quick and easy to make - the pancakes were a perfect consistency and really easy to flip! Will be making this lots :)
    Thanks Nellie, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed this pancakes so much and found them easy to make too. Thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
oh my gosh, I make chickpea pancakes on a regular basis and love them for breakfast. these were easy to make and delicious! can I store unused batter in the fridge?
    Great to hear that you enjoyed them, Alison. And yes, you can store the batter in the fridge for a few days (3 days for sure) or freeze it for later. Hope this helps! x Ania
    PS: you may enjoy a later version of this recipe with masala potatoes even more.
really simple to make and yet to eat. frying them tomorrow
    Thank you, Valencia! I am so happy tro hear that you found them easy to make and enjoyable. And thanks for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
I tried to make this now with some random red lentils I bought, and the result was not "coherent" at all. It was delicious, but didn't function as a pancakce. Once I fried it, it was not sticking together at all. It was more like vegan scrambled eggs than a crepe.
Could it have made a difference that I soaked it too long, longer than the recipe?
That I didn't use the soaking water, but threw it away and used pure water when I blended?
Does the type of lentil make a difference? I just bought generic red lentils.

My result was so far from what I see in your pictures, absolutely no chance of using it like a crepe, that I am wondering where I went wrong :)
    Hi Terje,
    I am not sure what you mean by 'generic red lentils', but what I made this recipe with are red split lentils (see here). Soaking longer is not a problem when it comes to texture (although you need to make sure they don't go bad, of course). Secondly, you are not meant to use the soaking water to create the batter so you did the right thing by using fresh water. From your description of what went wrong I suspect that your pancake making technique or/and your pan is what went wrong. Firstly, a reliable non-stick pan is highly recommended. Secondly, you need to heat the pan without any oil first, then brush it with oil and once you form a pancake, turn the heat to low-medium and walk away - do not touch it until the first side is done. Only once it is easy to filp it with a spatula (which means the first side is cooked), you are ready to flip. Also, when making any pancakes, it is often the case that the first or even first two pancakes are a mess before you get the hang of it. Hope this helps! Ania
Hello. Do the prepared pancakes freeze well? You made a note for freezing the batter, but any thoughts on the finished product? Many thanks.
    Hi Jaye,
    I haven't tried freezing fried pancakes, but I am pretty sure they would be fine. I would separate them with pieces of baking paper so that you can defrost a couple at a time. Hope this helps! Ania
These were easy to make and delicious, and they’re healthy! My husband and I both loved them - I think they’ll become a regular in our house. Thank you for this fabulous recipe!
    Thank you, Jacqui, I am so happy to hear that these were such a success in your household. And I really appreciate you taking the time to review, it helps me out a lot! x Ania
Does it work to grind dried lentils or red split peas into a flour (use coffee grinder) to make pancakes? That way there's no need to soak overnight? If so, what is flour to water ratio? Is baking powder necessary or are they fluffy on their own?
    Hi Elaine,
    Soaking is necessary for digestion! You can skip baking powder if you wish. Hope this helps! x Ania
These are divine Ania!!! They stuck to the pan for me at first but once the pan got really hot, it worked great. I love these so much thank you!! I just ate them with sauteed mushrooms and green goddess dressing drizzled on top. Divine!!!!
    Great to hear that you enjoyed them, Stephanie. Yes, properly warmed up and non-stick pan is key here. Your filling sounds delicious! x Ania
    Wow! That sounds delicious.
      Thank you :)
Made just the pancake part exactly as instructed, turned out really great
    Great to hear, Jason! Thanks for taking the time to let me know, much appreciated. x Ania
Jacques Kruger:
Super flavour on the pancakes and they are crispy! :)
    Great to hear, Jacques! I'm happy you enjoyed them, I am a big fan of them too! Ania
Wow amazing recipe, thanks!!
Simple, healthy, scumptious!
Will be doing it often!
    Thank you, Lorenza! I'm so happy to hear that! x Ania
Mike Armour:
Delicious! Took me a few attempts to get the size and thickness right but all were delicious. Devoured before we had a chance to take a photo for the ‘gram. Filled with cauliflower and zucchini and homemade peach chutney. Will make again soon and try a potato dosa type filling
    Thanks Mike, I'm delighted to hear that your enjoyed these! They are extremely popular in my house too! x Ania
It was so good! I added some pickled cucumber and the cashew cream and was the perfect combination! Thanks!
    Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Ania
These were amazing! My four year old who usually won't eat anything but refined carbs and ketchup just loved these :) We didn't have the same ingredients on hand to top with, but I sauteed tomatoes and spinach with some cooked chickpeas, onion, ginger and garlic and some spices and it was perfect. Thanks for another great dinner idea!
    Aw, thanks so much, Cathy! I'm so glad you and your little one enjoyed these. They are my go to at the moment too, so filling and versatile. Ania
These are so delicious and easy to make! I swapped the chickpea flour for normal white flour and it worked fine (just not GF anymore). I’ll be tripling the recipe and making this a dinner staple for sure
    Thanks Caitlin, I'm so chuffed to hear that you enjoyed them enough to include them in your dinner rotation - that's music to my ears! x Ania
Elizabeth Crewe:
Absolutely delish, healthy and super easy. Thank you! Would love more soaked legume/grain recipes like this....Soaked green buckwheat makes THE BEST GF baked goodies without any other fancy ingredients or insane preparation. Just blend and bake...yum!
    Thanks Elizabeth, I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed these! And thanks so much for returning to review - I really appreciate it. I will look into this, for sure. Ania
Thanks, I have never seen those type of lentils here, but I will look again:)
    Good luck!
I Will make these! Thank you Ania for the inspiration. I am doning a fitness challenge and these seem perfect as a proteïn packed meal!
    Thanks Judith, I'm happy to hear that. Yes, absolutely, there are full of goodness - slow release carbs, protein, iron(!) and others. My favourite way to eat lentils! Good luck with your challenge! Ania
The pancakes were so goooood! Amazing recipe! IThank you so much for this <3
    Thanks so much, Lisa! I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed them and thank you for taking the time to leave feedback - I really appreciate it. Ania
Zsuzsanna Snarey:
The pancakes were a disaster! I couldn't turn them, they fell to pieces , the last pancake was the best of a poor bunch!
    Hi Zsuzanna,
    I'm happy to help you troubleshoot, but can you elaborate please? Did you use a non-stick pan (not every pan is suitable for making pancakes with this little oil)? Or perhaps you tried to flip them too soon, before the first side was sufficiently cooked? The fact that your last one was fine means that it's likely to be down to the tools/technique used. Neither I nor any of my other readers who tried this recipe had any issues. Ania
Thank you for the recipe! Is the batter supposed to be completely smooth? I couldn't get mine to be creamy, there were still tiny lentil bits left even though I was blending for 10 minutes straight. Lentils were soaking for 12 hours prior.
    Hi Balbina,
    Yes, they should be more all less super smooth although if you get a few stray lentils in the mix that's absolutely fine too. If the blender struggles to get a smooth batter, it's best to add a little more water. Hope this helps! Ania
Are there different kinds of red lentils? the ones I usually get do not normally require soaking, only cooking for about 5-10 minutes. They are simply called "red lentils" in the shop. I want to try this.
    This recipe uses SPLIT red lentils, but I am pretty sure that unsplit ones will work well too. Compared to other types of lentils they cook quickly and don't usually require soaking when cooked in a curry (like this one) or a dhal (like this one), but because the pancakes only cook for about 5 minutes in a pan, soaking them is essential for this recipe. Hope this helps! Ania
I just made the dosa, they're delicious! I made my own filling with spinach and some cherrytomatoes, with a lot of spices and onion and garlic. Will try your fillings soon, thank you for the recipe!
    Thanks Elle, I'm so happy you enjoyed it! I am a little obsessed with them right now - I've just had mine for lunch with masala seasoned fried potatoes and it was so good - I recommend it if you are feeling extra hungry :) Ania
Great recipe.
Can I use different flour?
    Hi Vera,
    I haven't tried but I don't see why not. Rice flour for sure, and I am pretty sure any other flour that is actually flour (not almond or coconut flour) would work well enough. Hope you'll enjoy these. Ania
will be making this soon perfect for my office snacks will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya
    Great to hear and I hope you'll enjoy them, Ramya! Ania
Could french PUY lentils be used instead ? This recipe sounds delicious :)
    Hi Phyllis,
    I'm not sure, I have not tried, but it might work...They certainly won't have such a lovely colour unfortunately. Ania
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