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

    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

    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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