breakfast

The best pancake recipes: 11 easy ways to put a fresh spin on flapjacks!

April 8, 2015 at 12:01 PM ET

A hot stack of pancakes, drizzled with maple syrup, is the quintessential American breakfast, but it’s time to give this morning meal a makeover. These 11 ideas will have you jumping out of bed, eager to heat up the griddle. Each recipe serves four and can be used with your favorite pancake recipe as well as any regular or whole-grain pancake mix (make one 4-serving batch). A few of the recipes involve stirring an ingredient or two into the pancake batter, while the rest are simple toppings to add to your finished flapjacks. While it’s not essential, maple syrup makes an excellent addition to any of the options included here. 

To keep things easy, place your pancakes in a 200°F oven as you make them. This allows everyone to eat together and gives you a chance to quickly make your toppings without worrying about breakfast getting cold. 

Apple and bacon pancakes
Lauren Salkeld
Apple and bacon pancakes

1. Caramelized apple and crispy bacon: Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions, and keep warm in a 200°F oven. Cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy, then drain and crumble into small pieces. Peel, core and thinly slice 2 apples. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the apples and 2 tablespoons sugar and sauté until the apples are soft but not falling apart, 5-7 minutes. Top the pancakes with apples and crumbled bacon. 

2. Cream cheese and orange zest: Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions, and keep warm in a 200°F oven. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup skim milk, 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar), zest of 1 orange, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Heat the mixture, whisking occasionally, until smooth and syrup-like. Serve with pancakes.

Pancakes with Pecans and Pears Recipe
Lauren Salkeld
Pecan and pear pancakes

3. Pear and pecan: Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions, and keep warm in a 200°F oven. Peel, core, and thinly slice 2 pears. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the pears, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon and sauté until the pears are soft but not falling apart, 5-7 minutes. Top the pancakes with pears and chopped, toasted pecans. 

4. Blueberry: Thaw 1/2 cup frozen blueberries. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions. Once you pour the batter into the pan, sprinkle each pancake with blueberries before flipping. 

Pancakes with Butternut Squash and Hazelnuts Recipe
Lauren Salkeld
Butternut squash, yogurt and hazelnut pancakes

5. Butternut squash, yogurt and hazelnut: In a baking dish, drizzle 2 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash with olive oil and salt to taste, then roast in a 400°F oven until tender, 30 minutes. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions and top with squash (reheated with 1 tablespoon butter on the stove, if necessary), Greek yogurt, honey and chopped, toasted hazelnuts. 

6. Cinnamon and raisin: Make pancake batter per the recipe or mix instructions, adding 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions and sprinkle with raisins.

Lemon-Ricotta Pancake Recipe
Lauren Salkeld
Ricotta and lemon zest pancakes

7. Ricotta and lemon zest: Make pancake batter per the recipe or mix instructions, adding 1/2 cup ricotta and the zest of 1-2 lemons. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions. 

8. Rolled oats: Make pancake batter per the recipe or mix instructions, adding 1/2 cup rolled oats. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions. 

Mango and toasted coconut pancakes
Lauren Salkeld
Mango and toasted coconut pancakes

9. Mango and toasted coconut: Toast 1/2 cup shredded coconut until golden brown. Peel and pit 1 large mango and cut it into very small pieces. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions and top with mango and toasted coconut. 

Related: The best way to peel a mango 

10. Peanut butter and banana: Peel 2 bananas and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Make pancake batter per the recipe or mix instructions, adding 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter. If the batter is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen it. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions. Once you pour the batter into the pan, add 3-4 banana rounds to each pancake before flipping.

Pancakes with Pumpkin and Chocolate Chips
Lauren Salkeld
Pumpkin and chocolate chip pancakes

11. Pumpkin and mini chocolate chips: Make pancake batter per the recipe or mix instructions, adding 3/4 cup pure pumpkin purée and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips. If the batter is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen it. Make pancakes per the recipe or mix instructions. 

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