Dirty Masala Chai Pancakes with Cranberry Vanilla Compote

Created by Laura Wright
No ratings yet

Dirty chai pancakes with flavours of masala chai tea and a spike of coffee. Served with a vanilla and cranberry compote for extra coziness

vegan dirty chai pancakes - The First Mess

Guys, I’m kind of sniffly and head-full-of-gross-stuff this week, so a posting of my contribution for the Toronto Vegetarian Association October newsletter will have to do. And by “will have to do,” I actually mean “is an unbelievably awesome addition that you’ll love.” Added bonus: I’ve linked to a few of my Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes at the end for all of you Canadians celebrating this weekend. Big hearts to you all.

Have you tried a dirty masala chai? I’m a recent convert to this indulgent drink. It’s a cinnamon-y and creamy masala chai latte with a shot of espresso added. It’s complex, warming, lightly sweet, still spicy and shot through with extra caffeine for good measure.

Once I’m jazzed on something I usually can’t leave it alone, so naturally I had to make a pancake version of this beverage. The batter itself is hearty with spelt flour and strong with coffee, spice and vanilla. Best part: I decided to blanket them in a cranberry compote tweaked with maple syrup. It adds a sweet-tart dimension that fits these pancakes so well. So much fall on one plate. If you have it around, you could swap in some leftover cranberry sauce instead of making up a whole batch of separate compote if you like.

I’ll be sipping some ginger tea over here and snuggling in. Make some pancakes and have a cozy and warm Thanksgiving friends. I’ll be back with something more ambitious next week.

vegan dirty chai pancakes - The First Mess

Dirty Masala Chai Pancakes with Cranberry Vanilla Compote

Dirty chai pancakes with flavours of masala chai tea and a spike of coffee. Served with a vanilla and cranberry compote for extra coziness
No ratings yet
A head on shot shows a stack of vegan dirty masala chai pancakes on a blue plate. The pancakes are topped with a cranberry compote.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings 3 -4


Cranberry Compote

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • cup water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup. plus extra
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 ⅓ cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup whole spelt flour
  • ½ cup light spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract (or 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, plus extra
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Make the compote: place the cranberries, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add water as needed to keep the sauce moist. Mash the cranberries up here and there with the back of a wooden spoon to get a saucy consistency. Once you have a slightly wet, jammy texture, add the vanilla extract. Stir up the compote one more time and remove from the heat. Set aside.
  • Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Stir lightly and set aside to curdle for at least 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground coffee, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Stir to combine. Add the curdled non-dairy milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Stir gently to combine, taking care not to over mix.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with melted coconut oil. Drop ⅓ cup measures of the pancake batter into the pan. Allow the first side to cook for 1 to 1½ minutes, or until bubbles pop on the surface and the edges appear dry and lightly browned. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute. Remove pancakes and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Serve pancakes with cranberry compote spooned over the top and extra maple syrup if you like.
vegan dirty chai pancakes - The First Mess

03/10/2012 (Last Updated 07/08/2023)
Posted in: autumn, breakfast, holidays, sour, sweet, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • click here

    Wow, I am in awe of this syrup. I just paired it with fluffy buttermilk pancakes and spiced apples (which I sautéed with butter, cinnamon, and a little lemon juice), and I have to say, it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever eaten. It’s so simple, but incredibly delicious. With the apples, it tasted almost like a dessert, but more buttery than sweet. I love it! Keep the recipes coming!

  • Meldoy

    Can you use a different flour? Like Almond.

    • Laura

      Hi Meldoy,
      I don’t think you could simply substitute all almond flour for both flours here because almond flour behaves quite differently. You would have to do a mix of almond and a GF all purpose flour or buckwheat flour I think. If you’re trying to make these totally grain-free, you would have to experiment with using almond flour and a very small amount of coconut flour in the mix.

  • Steve Lassoff

    Sounds amazing! I shared this on pinterest.

  • thefolia

    Viva la pancake…we love eating these in our nest and are always blending with whatever veggies and fruits we have on hand. These sound amazing…can’t wait to try! Happy Nesting.

  • Robin

    Made these last week and they were absolutely perfect. Everything I was hoping for! Such a fun flavor profile. I sprinkled some extra espresso powder on top along with a drizzle of maple. Had plenty of cranberry compote leftover and I’ve been enjoying it in all sorts of ways! On oatmeal, mixed into yogurt, spread on toast, and dolloped on baked sweet potato.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Dian

    Great idea for pancakes! I’m going to try these except with some dairy + eggs.

  • caylee

    Hi, I was just wondering…if I used a pre-made vegan soy protein drink as the sub for say other non-dairy milks would that affect this recipe in anyway?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Caylee, I think the recipe would be fine if you subbed the non-dairy milk with the protein drink. Is the protein drink thicker than normal non-dairy milks? You might have to thin it out a bit, but other than that–should be fine.

  • Jess

    These need to be in my life. Stat.

  • Terry

    These pancakes are divine and the photos are mouth watering.

  • Inés

    Hi Laura,
    I just made your pancakes and while eating them I suddenly noticed that there was no egg or egg-replacer in them. Then I checked whether I’d simply forgptten…but, no. This is amazing! Somehow I always thought something, like ground flax or anything else, had to be in pancakes to keep them together. Do you definitely taught me something! :-)
    I made your recipe with cashew milk and grain coffee and somehow the pancakes turned out looking like I had put cocoa in them ;-) Well, maybe the coffee powder dissolved … I guess so. I’d been looking forward to the speckles ;-)
    Apart from that I had a strawberry sauce with them.
    And to the pancakes: I liked them! At the first bite I thought the cardamom was too overwhelming and maybe I’d use less in future, but after a few bites and adding more sauce it blended it quite nicely. It reminded me a bit of what you can buy here in Germany as “Lebkuchengewürz”, which is a spice for gingerbread. It was different as I had expected, as I’d thought it would taste of coffee, but didn’t really. So, thank you! This is a nice flavour variation you created there! :-)

  • Valeria

    I just finished eating these as part of an indulgent Saturday morning breakfast, and oh my, we are just in love with them. I never heard of dirty chai, but just following your instructions I can already tell I love it. I used fresly ground coffee beans (1 tbsp) and 100% whole spelt flour, with on top a blackberry compote (had leftover berries in the freezer from my summer foraging). Perfect, will make them over and over again.

  • Karmagh

    These are AMAZING! Quite possibly the best pancakes ever! I whipped up a half batch for lunch and they’re delish. I swapped out the water in the compote for some chai I already had brewed & used a GF flour blend since I didn’t have any spelt. They turned out great. So glad to have stumbled across your blog. I’ve got a list of your recipes I’ll be trying soon!

  • Mince&Type

    I’ve never been much of a pancake person, but I think these would totally change my mind! That compote sounds amazing too. Hope you’re feeling better!

  • Tiffany @thetriplecreme

    Yum. I often find pancakes too heavy, but these look light and irresistible!

  • Vanessa

    So lovely!

  • Cookie and Kate

    It’s 10 pm now but that is not stopping me from fantasizing about a steaming plate of these pancakes magically appearing on my coffee table. I’ve been on a Chai latte kick lately and I’m trying out this dirty chai concept next. No doubt I’m gonna love it.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    LOVE this idea!

  • Anna

    Absolutely delicious! It looks wonderful with the jam.

  • Kim

    I have to tell you, I think I just fell in love with your recipe as I’m a huge huge fan of pancakes. Definitly gonna try these and Dirty chaï (never heard of it…)

  • Eileen

    I’ve never heard of a dirty chai, but it sounds so good–sign me up! This compote sounds like a perfect match with chai spices too.

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Amazing! That compote really sealed the deal for me!

  • Elenore Bendel Zahn

    Oh my darling! Are you feeling any better yet? I´m sending you tons of snuggly, healthy, feel-good vibes and hugs <3

    The pancakes looks out of this world and the photos are -WOW-

    Earthsprouty love to ya!

  • Erin

    I do love a big stack of pancakes and I really love the sound of dirty chai- that’s right up my alley! Feel better soon!

  • sarah

    dirty chai + pancakes = perfect.
    {I hope you feel better soon!}
    {ps. beautiful photos!}

  • Kathryn

    You know how I feel about your food and this is just another example. Dirty chai pancakes is also probably the best name for a recipe ever. And I’m going to whip up a batch of the compote this weekend to have with yogurt. Oh I just love everything about this.

  • la domestique

    I will always go for pancakes, and those look delicious! I hope you feel better soon. :)

  • Jacqui

    That book is still on my to-read list too. And these pancakes! I love all things chai, so I’m going to love these!

  • Megan Gordon

    It is breakfast time and I’m sitting here checking emails and drinking coffee … dreaming, now, of these waffles! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Kasey

    I’ve never tried a dirty chai latte but wow, it sounds good…as do these pancakes! I hope you get better soon, lady! I’m excited to try this.

  • Courtney

    This post has succeeded in doing 2 things: making me drool on my keyboard, and making me really wish I had a dirty chai. These seem like the perfect fall pancakes!

  • Michelle

    DAMN GIRL. These are blowing my mind. All my favourite flavours together, for real.

  • Kristen

    These are some seriously beautiful pancakes!

  • Kelsey

    You’re either going to love me or hate me for sending you this link (i.e WILD) http://bit.ly/MMMgmr — This pancakes look amazing! My goodness.

  • Stacy

    SUCH gorgeous photos! These look delicious. I don’t think you can go wrong with chai spices (almost) regardless of what you put them in. Hope you feel better soon and have a festive Thanksgiving celebration!

  • Jeanine

    I hope you feel better!

    I really wish I had a plate of these right now… I could use a spicey coffee-ey pick me up this morning for sure!