Recipe: Kefir(-Banana-Cornmeal) Pancakes

Since living on my own in Ukraine, I’ve discovered kefir. It’s basically fermented milk with those “live active cultures” (aka bacteria and/or yeast) that are all the rage in the U.S. and are supposedly good for the digestive tract. In Ukraine, kefir is the only completely fat-free dairy product I’ve found. That plus its happy-intestine bacteria prompted me to try it. It’s sour, but with a little homemade jam mixed in I can easily gulp down a cup of it.

UPDATE: I made these pancakes for the second time today — for breakfast with my friend Michelle, who slept over last night — and I made a couple additions. I added some cornmeal — thanks for the recommendation, L.D.! — and also threw in a ripe banana that needed to be used. The banana and cornmeal really lightened up the pancakes. They also almost tasted like my favorite raspberry-banana-cornmeal pancakes from Oberlin’s Black River Cafe, and brought back many fond memories of breakfasting there with friends and family.

Kefir is a great replacement for buttermilk. The recipe below made 6-8 pancakes, so double it for more than two or three people.

Kefir Pancakes

Cookin’ kefir pancakes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • optional: chopped walnuts
  • the recipe also called for vanilla, but vanilla extract doesn’t exist in Ukraine so I left it out


  • Mix the wet ingredients together in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another.
  • Add the wet to the dry and mix. Batter will be slightly lumpy.
  • Cook pancakes in an oiled pan on medium-heat. Enjoy with your topping of choice (mine include peanut butter, jam, nutella, apple, and/or raisins)


Kefir pancakes, take 2: cornmeal + banana added; served with PB, apple, & raisins


14 thoughts on “Recipe: Kefir(-Banana-Cornmeal) Pancakes

  1. Danny says:

    It’s funny that you mention that vanilla extract is not available in Ukraine. True, but you can make it if you get your hands on vanilla beans. My bazaar has a woman who sells them and I’m currently making a half liter of vanilla. Just an FYI.

  2. Elise M. Stephens says:

    You can also use the powdered vanilla extract. They usually sell it in little packets – where I buy it, it’s usually next to the baking powder. It works wonderfully!

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