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One of my favorite easy pantry staples is pancake mix. First of all, I absolutely love pancakes, any time of day, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a quick midnight snack. Pancakes on their own can be extremely versatile, and I absolutely love experimenting with new flavors and concoctions!
I think one of my favorite parts about pancakes is just how fast they can be cooked. Within 15 minutes of stepping into the kitchen, I can have a full meal that I absolutely love to eat (and is always a hit with kiddos), ready and on the table.
Making the mix
I will admit, I often grab a box or 2 of the cheap pancake mix when it goes on sale because you really can’t beat easy quick convenience for $1 or so. However, if you have lots of baking supplies at any given moment, you can also just have a large Tupperware full of the dry ingredients for homemade pancakes, and just add things like oil, milk, or eggs when you’re ready to use a scoop.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. sugar
Mix all of these ingredients into a container, and when you’re ready to add wet ingredients this is what I typically use.
- 1 egg (If you don’t or can’t have eggs, here are some great substitutions)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp. oil
From there, you can multiply the recipe so you have it in bulk and ready in a pinch.
Different pancakes for the win
Now, if we’re talking about just eating pancakes, there are nearly limitless options available. Here are some of my favorites:
- Berry pancakes (this can include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, the list is endless!)
- Banana pancakes (chop the banana into small pieces, or mash it up, as a bonus, I also love to add in walnuts or a little nutmeg)
- Chocolate chip
- Pumpkin spice (just add a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp clove, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.)
- Lemon Cranberry (add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, a little lemon zest if you have fresh lemons, and dried cranberries)
- Apple Cinnamon (dice half an apple into small pieces and 2 tsp. of cinnamon)
- Coconut (add 2 tbsp of shredded sweetened coconut)
- Pina Colada (add 2 tbsp. of shredded sweetened coconut, 2 tbsp of pineapple juice, pineapple puree, or 1/4 cup of chopped pineapple – canned or fresh works! )
- Peanut Butter Pancakes (add 1 tbsp. of peanut butter, or nut butter of your choice, and have the bonus add of a little extra protein and healthy fats. This also works great with powdered peanut butter too)
- Protein Pancakes (add a scoop of your favorite protein powder into your pancake mix to give that extra boost of protein, flavor, and fullness. Just make sure if you are sharing these pancakes with kiddos that they are able to have the protein powder of choice, as not all are good for your kids and some may only be okay in small quantities for the kiddos.)
- Maple Pecan (add 2 tbsp. of chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup into the batter)
- Chocolate Pancakes (add 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder and an extra 1 tbsp. of sugar)
- Double Chocolate Pancakes (1 tbsp. of cocoa powder, and chocolate chips)
- Carrot Cake Pancakes (add 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. You can also add in a sprinkle of chopped pecans or walnuts. These pancakes would be great with a little cream cheese on top!)
- Peach pancakes (add 1/4 of chopped peaches, either canned or fresh. If you’re using canned peaches, you can also substitute some of the milk for the liquid from the can of peaches)
- Chopped up chocolate bars (If you have a favorite chocolate bar or candy, you can easily chop it into small pieces and add it into the mix. This works great with peanut butter cups, M&M’s, or even Skor bars!)
- Sprinkles (add 1/4 cup of multi-colored sprinkles to the batter). These don’t add a whole lot of flavor but you’ll end up with a pretty, almost tie-dyed-looking pancake. My mom used to make these for breakfast when we had guests for sleepovers.
What to put on top
The toppings for pancakes can honestly be just as endless as the flavors, but here are some of my favorite things to drizzle or scoop atop my fluffy meal that isn’t just standard syrup.
- Jam (This can work with absolutely any jam you have sitting in your fridge or pantry)
- Make a fruit compote. This one is super easy, and it will elevate your pancakes to the next level within minutes. Put 1 cup of fruit of your choice (I usually use berries), any the stove, and bring to a simmer on medium-low heat with about 2 tbsp. of water and 1 tbsp. of sugar (the sugar is optional, if you like things less sweet, you can skip it all altogether.), simmer until the fruit because almost like a warm jam consistency, stirring frequently.
- Whipped cream
- Peanut butter
- Chocolate syrup
- Cream cheese, either as is, or you can whip it with a little bit of sugar (any kind works, icing sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, even honey!)
- Butter and cinnamon sugar (to make a simple cinnamon sugar blend, just mix white sugar and cinnamon in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. I usually have a spice jar full of this at any given time. Sometimes I put it on pancakes, sometimes toast or a bagel, and even on my oatmeal or in my coffee! It’s something my grandma always has, and it’s definitely a habit I picked up!)
- A drizzle of honey (If you have seasonal allergies, eating local honey in any form will often help to lessen the symptoms.)
- Caramel Drizzle
When my mom was traveling in Europe, she told me that many people there eat savory pancakes. It’s your regular pancake recipe with additions like salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, etc. This is often topped with stuff like parmesan cheese, carmelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and a fried egg for a fast, filling meal any time of the day.
How do you like your pancakes?
Given that pancakes are often widely loved and easy to make, it’s a great meal to get your kids involved with cooking. Plus, you can let them get wild and creative, and decide what to put in their own pancakes, with very little extra effort, making it a great family meal. Plus, it’s rare to see a kid turn down a tasty pancake!
With nearly limitless pancake options, I know there’s no way I got every flavor and topping. What are your favorite ways to eat pancakes? Did you grow up eating this delicious fluffy dessert – ahem, I mean breakfast – too?
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea. Check out her other work on Medium, where she writes about lifestyle, mental health, and writing.