quinoa johnny cakes
quinoa johnny cakes

Johnny Cakes with Red Quinoa

These johnny cakes use red quinoa for a nutty, savory breakfast pancake. I love how wholesome and unprocessed these pancakes are but especially the flavor when paired with blueberries, maple syrup, and plain yogurt.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

stacked johnny cakes made with red quinoa, blueberries, yogurt, and maple syrup

Johnny cakes are traditionally made with corn flour, but this version uses red quinoa instead. You will find the process very similar to making pancakes, working cooked quinoa into the batter.

I adapted this recipe from the True Food cookbook to include less refined ingredients. In my version, there’s coconut sugar instead of cane sugar and coconut oil instead of canola. I love everything about these pancakes, but I imagine they will only appeal to people who really love quinoa.

Do these johnny cakes taste like pancakes?

These quinoa johnny cakes are denser and nuttier than your typical pancake – certainly more nutritious too.

Since the flavor is quite savory, I highly recommend generously topping with maple syrup, fresh fruit, and full fat plain yogurt. All of these fresh elements help to lift the savory flavor to a new level.

For more breakfast inspiration, I also have a protein breakfast bowl with quinoa (gluten free) and these quick and easy huevos rancheros (also gluten free).

Red Quinoa versus White

You can substitute white quinoa in this recipe. Red quinoa is primarily used here for color. That said, red quinoa tends to be more fibrous in nature so the cook time is marginally longer (no more than a minute though).

Best Pro Tip: Always rinse quinoa by setting the seed into a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Swoosh it around to remove the saponins that result in a bitter flavor.

How to Make Johnny Cakes with Red Quinoa

I recommend starting the quinoa, because it can be cooking while you mix the wet and dry ingredients. After 20 minutes, the quinoa will continue to steam for 10 minutes. You stir the fluffy, fully cooked quinoa into the batter. You can do a tester right away or let the batter sit for an hour before using.

process shots: cooking red quinoa in a pot, dry ingredients, wet ingredients, cooked quinoa, johnny cakes batter, pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup

Storing Leftover Pancake Batter

You can store leftover batter in the refrigerator for up to a day or 2. This recipe yields 16 pancakes or more so it’s nice to have a ready-to-go breakfast that’s also healthy.

As I mentioned, quinoa is an unusual ingredient for pancakes if you’re used to eating really processed flour-based pancakes. I make quinoa regularly, so I find the flavor and texture to be ideal here. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below!

Johnny Cakes with Red Quinoa

These johnny cakes use red quinoa for a nutty, savory breakfast pancake. I love how wholesome and unprocessed these pancakes are but especially the flavor when paired with blueberries, maple syrup, and plain yogurt.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: johnny cakes, pancakes, quinoa, red quinoa
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16 pancakes
Calories: 199kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini



  • 2 cups red quinoa rinsed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cups filtered water

Batter (Wet Ingredients)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp refined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Batter (Dry Ingredients)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup golden coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 1 cup fresh fruit blueberries, banana slices, or blackberries
  • 1 cup full fat plain or vanilla yogurt
  • maple syrup


Make the Quinoa

  • Add the quinoa, salt, and water to a medium size pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and lower heat to low-medium. Simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to steam, covered, for 10 minutes. The quinoa will be nice and fluffy at this point.

Make the Batter

  • Use a large bowl to whisk ALL the wet ingredients together. In a separate medium bowl, combine ALL the dry ingredients and whisk. Add the dry to the wet and stir just to break up the clumps. Fold in the cooked quinoa.

Cook the Pancakes

  • In a non-stick pan, add a couple drops of coconut oil and warm over low-medium heat. Add about 1/3 cup of batter and press a few blueberries into the batter. When you see bubbles form in the center of the pancake, use a spatula to flip. Cook the other side until golden, about 3 minutes. Serve with yogurt, fresh fruit, and maple syrup.


You may substitute white quinoa in this recipe.
Golden coconut sugar is a minimally processed sweetener (low-gylcemic). It is used in place of cane sugar 1:1. Find it in a natural foods store or online. You may also use maple crystals for an unrefined alternative.
Storage – leftover batter may be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 171IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 2mg

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