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Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes

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By: Bill

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These Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes will have you enjoying breakfast once again. When I learned that buttermilk pancakes were extremely high in sodium, I was very disappointed and resolved to make them part of my breakfast again. It should have been no surprise being that pancakes would fall under the “salty six” of the saltiest foods, but the amount per cake was still shocking. With a few changes, I found I could enjoy my pancakes and eggs once again and even have a side of my Low-Sodium Italian Sausage too! 

Once you master a few easy techniques, you will be making Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes easily for a special weekend breakfast, I am delighted to have them at my table again. I’ve found this recipe makes about 8 pancakes depending on how much you scrape the bowl and the size of your pour. Although the cooking time can get to be rather tedious if you cook them one at a time, it ends up being worth it.  I clean my kitchen in between pours and flips. Haha!

Golden brown no salt buttermilk pancakes
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Golden brown no salt buttermilk pancakes


Typical sodium amount per pancake480+ mg
Sodium per pancake for this recipe51 mg
Sodium total for this recipe408 mg
Calories per serving254

Buttermilk pancakes at a well-known pancake house are 480 mg of sodium each or 1440 mg for a 3 stack just by themselves! Store bought box mixes hover around 500 mg and most from scratch recipes from 250 up to 500 mg of sodium for ONE pancake! With this recipe you can slash the sodium down to 70 mg or less per cake while still tasting and looking delicious!


Many off the shelf store bought syrups vary widely in the amount of sodium. And many regular name brands can be quite high at 120 mg+ per ¼ cup.  Look for a natural syrup, for instance this Log Cabin Natural Syrup is just 20 mg per ¼ cup.  Honey and some fruit syrups and jams also make for some delicious alternatives.


These Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes are made by simply removing the salt and baking soda. Also by replacing regular baking powder while slightly increasing the amount with Haines featherweight no sodium baking powder. Further, drastically cutting the sodium is making a buttermilk substitute; made simply with milk and vinegar this alone saves you over 100 mg per cup.

Low sodium buttermilk pancakes
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Low sodium buttermilk pancakes


Not only does buttermilk provide a distinct flavor in pancakes, it helps activate the baking powder in the batter making CO2 bubbles, helping to result in a light and fluffy cake when cooked. Additionally the acid in buttermilk helps break down gluten in the flour which also develops soft, moist and tender Buttermilk Pancake.

Keeping buttermilk on hand for the few times you may need it before it goes bad is a pain and to reduce the higher sodium in buttermilk you need to make a buttermilk substitute.  This homemade mixture may not be as rich and creamy as store bought buttermilk, but it will do its transformation in the batter.

For 2 cups of buttermilk all you need is 2 cups regular (I use 2%) milk mixed with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. I use the white vinegar because I always have some on hand. Set it aside at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes, usually while you’re prepping and mixing all of your other ingredients together.


The following tips when preparing your batter makes all the difference in fluffy or a flat dense pancake:

The less you mix the batter, the thicker and fluffier they will be. Overmixing the wet and dry ingredients will end up making it too smooth and runny making a thin pancake that can’t
“fluff”.  Don’t worry about any small lumps as they will dissolve when the batter is resting.

Let the batter chill in the fridge and “rest” for at least 10 minutes while you heat up your skillet.  This allows the acidic portion of buttermilk to do its work on the gluten in the flour and the butter to solidify.  The butter creates air pockets “bubbles” when it hits the hot skillet, making an extra fluffy pancake.


Preheat your nonstick pan or griddle on medium heat first. I prefer using cast iron skillet as it really holds the heat in well.  If you have a cast iron griddle that’s even better as cooking cakes one at a time is rather slow.  Once it’s hot, lower the heat down to just below medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with a small dab of butter and spread around with spatula.

Buttermilk pancake bubbling ready to flip
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Buttermilk pancake bubbling ready to flip

I use a ladle to pour the batter because it gives you just about the right and equally even amount to make consistent sized pancakes.  And I can also use the back side of the ladle to smooth out and spread the batter slightly to make a uniformly round shape.  But don’t spread too much!

Allow your buttermilk pancakes to cook properly! Cook for approximately 4 minutes on one side.  You will be looking for bubbles to be forming on top of the cake and the edges to start turning color.  Only then should you peek under the cake to see a golden brown color and you are ready to flip.

Stack of low sodium buttermilk pancakes
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Stack of low sodium buttermilk pancakes

Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes

Written by: Bill
November 27, 2019
Save loads of sodium mg's with these delicious fluffy and golden brown crisp edged low-sodium Buttermilk Pancakes.
4.61 from 28 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 pancakes
Calories 250 kcal


  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp Hain’s no sodium baking powder (Hain Featherweight Baking Powder, Sodium Free)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar


  • Mix milk and vinegar and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and in a large bowl.
  • In small mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk substitute, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the liquid to the dry mix and starting lightly mixing together till just wet and no large lumps but not smooth. The secret to thick, fluffy pancakes is not to over mix.
  • Slowly drizzle in the cooled butter and stir in as little as possible.
  • Put in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. This helps the butter to chill and bubbles to form in your batter for a fluffy cake.
  • Put a heavy bottom frying pan or a griddle on medium heat, allow to fully heat! (Cast Iron)
  • With a touch of melted butter spread on the pan, use a big ladle, to pour batter into a roughly 6” cake. Spread out gently into a round shape if needed with bottom of ladle.
  • Cook for about 4 minutes on one side. Turn them over when you see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake and the edges turn color. Do not lift until then.
  • Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.
  • Enjoy with unsalted butter and natural maple syrup.


Being able to cook two or more on a griddle greatly reduces cooking time

I use, own and recommend these products and ingredients used in this recipe.

Amazon Links (Details>>)


Calories: 250kcal (13%)

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please understand that not everyone’s sodium and dietary requirements are the same, therefore some recipes may be higher than you’re allowed.

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Did you enjoy this recipe?Leave a comment and rating to let me know how it was!

© 2024 Tasty Healthy Heart Recipes

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Nutrition InformationThe information shown is provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be substituted for a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice. Please understand that not everyone’s sodium requirements are the same, therefore some recipes may be higher than you’re allowed. Always consult with your doctor for your recommended daily sodium allowance.

Almost the last bite of buttermilk pancakes
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Almost the last bite of buttermilk pancakes

As always, please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I get motivated when I hear from you and am interested to learn about how you liked and served your Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes. And please leave a comment or rating and share any tips you might have.

My Profile Pic Bill

Hello, I'm Bill

Welcome!  After my stroke, I began to prepare low-sodium and reduced-fat meals. Tasty, easily prepared meals that can help you change to a low-sodium diet for a healthier life.  Read more

33 thoughts on “Low-Sodium Buttermilk Pancakes”

  1. My wife recently went on a low sodium diet and she wanted to try these pancakes.
    The recipe I can get online doesn’t say anything about the buttermilk substitute that needs to be added.
    Step #4 says to add the buttermilk substitute.
    Can you tell me what this is and how much I am supposed to use?

    • Sorry for the super late response as I have been unable to work on my website for awhile. I hope to be able to get back to it soon.
      In step (#1 Mix milk and vinegar and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.) is what makes the buttermilk substitute.
      Thsnks. Bill

  2. 5 stars
    I recently found this site on Pinterest and was intrigued. My husband has to be on a low sodium diet and it’s been quite a journey this past year discovering all the hidden sodium in foods we were eating. I tried this pancake recipe and am very happy with the results. I made the first few pancakes plain and then added fresh blueberries to the batter so we could try both ways. The blueberry ones won out, ????. Thank you for sharing your journey and the recipes you have developed. I’m definitely planning to try more of the recipes.

  3. 5 stars
    just had for supper. will have leftovers for breakfast. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Made exactly like your recipe except added blueberries. Husband was extremely pleased. Will be making again. Smuckers blueberry syrup 0 sodium!

  5. 3 stars
    Flavor was good, used great value brand maple syrup…0 sodium…but were on the thin side

    • Hi Jeff, For thin cakes add a tablespoon or two at a time of flour to make it thicker. Also, be sure not to overmix until it is completely smooth. A few lumps are ok.

  6. 5 stars
    These turned out great! I can finally have pancakes again on my low-sodium diet. My husband has to eat gluten-free, so I used 1-to-1 gluten-free flour (Bob Mills is the brand I use but assume any brand would work) and they turned out delicious. Also used lactose-free milk and threw in some blueberries. I did find making the pancakes smaller worked better if you do add blueberries, possibly because of the added moisture. Thanks for you recipe that was so easily adaptable!

  7. 1 star
    Hi, I was so excited to make these for dad. However i used nut flour instead of all purpose thinking this would enhance flavor. unlike your other readers above, these were horrible. do you think it was the flour substitute? everything else followed exactly. these were paper thin and had a horrible flavor. wasn’t the lack of salt, just overall bad flavor. could the nut flavor be that bad? it’s been great in other recipes.

    • Hi Cathy, I have not used nut flour in the past in any baking so, it is kind of hard to say. A quick look at recipes with almond flour seem to have much less liquid ingredients and would therefore be thinner. As for the bad flavor, sorry I don’t have an answer.

  8. 5 stars
    This is one of the best low sodium pancake recipes I have found. My husband also suffered a stroke but we love pancakes so I’ve been trying to find a recipe that actually tasted good and like the real thing. I substituted 1 1/2 cups almond flour and used Whole Earth Allulose sugar substitute which brought the sugar, carb and sodium counts down even farther. Best of luck with your recovery.

    • Hi Crystal, Thanks so much for your comment. I am going to experiment with soy milk this weekend and lower the counts further. Now I can’t wait. haha, Bill

  9. I reduced the sodium in these even further and can’t give you exact amounts since I don’t know the sodium in milk used but I substituted (and yes I am being brand specific because not all products are equal and no I don’t work for the brand ) coconut milk and coconut plain yogurt with lemon juice to make fake buttermilk and my milk replacement is less then 35 mg of sodium per batch. The brand I am using is So Delicious. My auntie is lactose intolerant so I had to find a milk replacement. . I now make a big bacth of the dry ingredients and mix a batch of the fake buttermilk when she wants pancakes any leftovers are frozen for her caregivers to warm for future meals

    • Hi Tina, I will have to try the coconut route, looks like a big sodium savings. I will give it a try and update the recipe! Thanks for your comment and insight. Bill

    • Hi Sheila, The big difference between pancake and waffle batter is waffle batter contains more sugar, butter, and eggs than pancake batter. Which makes for a richer tasting waffle. It would probably work as is but, not be as flavorful. I have it on my list to do waffles in the future.

  10. 5 stars
    Just made these for Christmas morning and hands down the BEST pancakes we have ever had. Thank you for creating this amazing low sodium recipe. I will be trying your artisan bread recipe next.

  11. Hi Bill, I haven’t made these yet but wondered if I added blueberries what that would add to the sodium count per pancake? I make pancakes for my mom (with CHF) For 2 medium pancakes, 258mg. Mom usually has only 1 though. The recipe came from Davita which is a Kindney-friendly recipe a dietitian gave us. Not really my idea of a great choice for CHF people.
    Thank you Pam Bessette

    • Hi Pam,
      These pancakes are awesome with blueberries. No extra sodium. Enjoy!

  12. 5 stars
    My husband’s favorite breakfast is cracker barrel pancakes. He is off his blood pressure meds now so we are extra vigilant on his sodium intake. ( on meds they were a treat once in a blue moon) I made these for him and he LOVES them. The only change I made was using whipping cream with 5 mg of sodium instead of milk. The batter is thicker but it works!

    • Thanks so much Kelli, Awesome he got off the meds! I just bought whipping cream for another dish and have some left over. I will try it in my pancakes this morning with my blueberries.

  13. 5 stars
    Made this for first time tonight for dinner. Very pleased, easy and delicious. I will definitely be making again!

    • Thank you very much for your comment Sharon. I have heard it’s even better for breakfast…hehe.
      Bill ?

  14. 4 stars
    Just made them. Worked out well with the right texture and taste. I used almond milk, and added nusalt. (Potassium cloride). Thanks for the recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    At last! sOmeone who Gives rational EXPLANATIONS for the procedure! Very helpful. Thank you so much. The pancakes were Very good. For low sodium they were excellent. The best i have Tried. I added blueberries in a few of the pancakes and was impressed by the way the pancakes let the blue berry taste shine through. Same with the maple syrup.

    • Thank you. Glad you enjoyed them. I have been meaning to try blue berries myself.

  16. 5 stars
    Great receipe. I love your low sodium receipes. Will definitely be making them.

    Thank you

    • Thank you Debbie, With being quarantined I’ve had to slow down on the cakes myself haha.


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