These vegan crêpes are based on Julia Child's French crêpes! These crêpes are made with aquafaba instead of eggs to create crêpes that are light and delicate, but still sturdy enough to flip and fold.
I've been a crêpe-oholic lately.
My mother-in-law's one innocent little crêpe request reminded me how wonderful these thin French pancakes are.
I've become a crêpe-making machine!
But one crêpe eluded me. Taunted me.
Did NOT work the way I wanted it to.
That's right-- the VEGAN crêpe.
Why did I press on? Why did I keep trying?
Because you guys asked me for the recipe!
And I wasn't going to stop until I had a vegan crêpe that tasted just as delicious as traditional French crêpes.
What's In a Crêpe?
I based this recipe on Julia Child's recipe for traditional French crêpes, and I knew I'd have some challenges to make the recipe vegan.
What had to change?
In other words-- what's in a traditional crêpe that is not plant-based?
Eggs. In case you're wondering-- this is the one that gave me the most trouble.
Milk. This one is an easy fix!
Butter. I have thoughts on butter vs. oil. Keep reading.
Can I Just Skip the Egg in a Vegan Crêpe?
In my opinion, no.
The egg is what binds the batter together, and it also helps the crêpe rise slightly.
If you simply leave out the egg without replacing it, your crêpes will be extra fragile and hard to flip. They'll also be more brittle and cracker-like.
Brittle and cracker-like are not characteristics of a good crêpe!
And yes-- I realize that a lot of other vegan crêpe recipes out there will tell you to simply skip the egg.
Even though I was skeptical, I did test these crêpes without an egg replacement-- and those crêpes went in the compost bin.
What's the Best Egg Replacement for Vegan Crêpes?
Guys-- I tried SO MANY egg replacements.
I tried a flax egg, but it was too grainy.
I tried using unstrained homemade oat milk, because I hoped that the oats would act as a binder. That didn't work.
I tried using baking powder to help the crêpes rise gently-- but those crêpes stuck stubbornly to the well-oiled pan. I don't know why they stuck, but they did-- badly.
Happily, I was documenting all of my vegan crêpe failures in my Instagram stories, and two of you rushed to help me!
Thank you Maddie and Allison for all your troubleshooting and ideas!
Finally, Allison suggested the winner-- aquafaba.
What is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba, or chickpea brine, is the leftover liquid from cooked chickpeas.
You can cook your own chickpeas and save the brine, or buy a can of organic chickpeas and strain out the liquid.
Most commonly, aquafaba is whipped until it has stiff peaks and is used as an egg white replacement.
But here-- we're doing something easier. We're simply adding the (un-whipped) chickpea brine to the crêpe batter, and it acts as an egg binder in the vegan crêpes.
What's the Best Milk for Vegan Crêpes?
Pick your favorite non-dairy milk.
I tried it with a few, and it didn't seem to matter which I used.
Keep in mind that some non-dairy milks will be thicker than others. You want the crêpe batter to be thin and easy to pour (slightly thinner than pancake batter).
If your batter seems too thick, simply add a little more cold water.
Also keep in mind that your milk might change the flavor of the crêpes, but that's not always a bad thing.
For one test, I used coconut milk (from a carton, not from a can) from Trader Joe's, and the crêpes tasted a little like toasted coconut.
I love toasted coconut.
Should I Use Oil or Vegan Butter?
Usually, if a recipe calls for butter, and I want to make it dairy-free or vegan, I swap the butter for oil.
For example, in this vegan baklava, both olive oil and coconut oil work perfectly as a butter replacement.
However, swapping butter for oil didn't work well with these crêpes.
The texture was okay, but the flavor was lacking.
Instead of oil, go with vegan butter.
Vegan butter should be easy to find. Look for it next to the dairy butter in the grocery store.
What Pan Should I Use?
I either use a non-stick pan or a cast iron crêpe pan (like this Lodge crêpe pan).
Most recently, my favorite crêpe pan is one of those mini cast iron pans that come with chocolate chip cookie gift packets. It’s small, heats evenly, and is just completely perfect for crêpe making!
What Can I Serve with Vegan Crêpes?
My favorite way to eat crêpes is with some fresh fruit and a little powdered sugar.
Want more ideas? Try these:
- Serve with berries and kefir ice cream
- Serve with banana slices and Nutella
- Fill with strawberry chia seed jam from Natalie's Health
- Top with cashew whipped cream from Basil and Bubbly
- Fill with leftover vegan ratatouille
However you serve your crêpes-- bon appétit!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cold non-dairy milk Such as coconut, almond, or soy milk
- ⅔ cup cold water
- ½ cup chickpea brine Drain from a can of organic chickpeas
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted vegan butter, plus more vegan butter or oil for brushing hot pan
Optional add-ins for savory crêpes:
- diced fresh herbs
Optional add-ins for sweet crêpes:
- dash sweet liqueur
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.
- Let batter sit in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or overnight).
- Pre-heat non-stick pan on high heat, and brush or spray with vegan oil or butter. Oil should shimmer on the pan.Tip: Vegan crêpes are less forgiving than traditional crêpes-- make sure the pan is hot before cooking or they may not cook correctly
- Holding pan just off heat, add 2-3 TB batter and swirl to coat pan. Place back on heat and cook for about 90 seconds, until the bottom of the crêpe is golden and slides off the pan easily.
- Flip and cook the other side for 5-10 seconds. Move crêpe to a wire rack or plate to cool, and repeat with remaining batter.
- Make Ahead: Stack with wax paper in between crêpes. Refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3-4 months in an airtight container. Don't skip the wax paper-- the crêpes will stick together.