Nothing says lazy Saturday morning like a pancake breakfast.
We also love to enjoy pancakes for supper on Shrove Tuesday, the traditional day before Lent starts – also known as Mardi Gras. Historically, this is a day to use up fatty foods, and have a day of indulgence. Mardi Gras literally translates to Fat Tuesday, which sounds much less appealing.
That said, in our home, we love to not only eat pancakes, but to really switch up how we enjoy our pancakes. With variations, you can enjoy pancakes as a quick evening meal, or as a decadent brunch dish.
Start with a basic pancake mix, like this one:
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄4-1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Stir your dry ingredients together, mix your wet ingredients together (start with the smaller amount of milk), and pour into the well. Add additional milk if required.
Here are 10 (and beyond) simple and delicious variations to make basic pancakes even better!
- Pumpkin – stir in up to 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, and add in some spices. I like 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and a good shake of ginger. Pumpkin pie spice works well too. These have a lovely orange shade to them, and are incredibly delicious with real maple syrup and toasted pecans.
- Peanut butter – add a couple of tablespoons of natural peanut butter to your mix, or try adding a powdered peanut butter like PB2 to your flour. Add a little more milk to your mix to help stir it in, and if your peanut butter is on the thicker side, you can soften it up a bit in the microwave for about 20 seconds. A handful of mini chocolate chips make these even more dessert-like.
- Strawberry Cream Cheese – thaw some frozen strawberries, and puree them. Then mix with some cream cheese. While you are pouring out your pancakes to cook, swirl some of your cream cheese mix into each pancake.
- Lower Carb – a member of our family has type 1 diabetes, and pancakes can wreck havoc on blood glucose levels. This style of making pancakes is the normal way we now make all pancakes, and we actually all enjoy the flavour and texture it creates even more than “regular” pancakes. For each cup of pancake mix, take a half cup of cottage cheese and two eggs. Blend the cottage cheese and eggs in the blender, and stir into your pancake mix. You will find that you may want to add a bit more liquid (milk or water), but the fluffy texture that results is fabulous, and adds protein and lowers the overall carb content. This addition took some trial and error, but we love it.
- Apple – Grate up an apple, and stir in a teaspoon of cinnamon. Additional tip? Don’t even peel the apple, it will peel itself when you grate it.
- Apple Cheddar – Prepare an apple, as above, but instead of cinnamon, mix in some grated sharp cheddar. This creates a savoury and sweet combination that is absolutely delicious, and pairs very well with breakfast sausage or bacon. My children love when the cheese is on the outer edges of the pancakes, as it crisps up a bit which adds more texture.
- Ricotta Lemon – This add-in is deliciously decadent. Stir a cup of ricotta and some freshly grated lemon zest, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice into your wet ingredients. Fresh strawberries or raspberries make a great topping, and they have a lovely, fluffy texture.
- Greek Yogurt – In my family’s quest to lower the carbs on pancakes, we also found Greek Yogurt to be a great choice. Plain, or flavoured, stir into your mix, and enjoy.
- Flax and Oats – I have done this a few times. Doubling a pancake mix recipe, I tossed in 2 cups of old fashioned oats and a half cup of ground flax seed. Let sit for 15 minutes before proceeding to allow the grains to soak into the batter. At this point, you will probably need to add in some more milk to ensure the texture is right – this is a time to really eyeball the addition, it’s not a science, more of an art. Nice addition of fibre to your meal.
- Whipped Egg Whites – This is an especially great tie-in to the pumpkin or ricotta cheese options. Separate your eggs, and whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter just before cooking the pancakes, and your pancakes will be incredibly fluffy and airy.
Honestly, pancakes are only limited by your imagination! I’ve added leftover cooked oatmeal, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, blueberries, blackberries, eggnog instead of milk….the options are nearly endless. Just try one new add-in at a time, and see what your family loves the most. I’ve even poured batter over cooked crispy bacon, which made the teenage boy in my home extremely happy.