How To Make Pancakes Even Better With Unexpected Ingredients

Pancakes are simple to make, requiring just a handful of staple ingredients like flour, eggs, milk and butter. Then when they're hot off the griddle and doused with maple syrup, they're pretty hard to beat. But why not gild the lily a little? Like eggs, pancakes are a blank canvas, and leaving them "plain" is a breakfast mistake you didn't know you were making. Don't be afraid to get a little creative with your pancakes — add these sweet and savory ingredients to your next batch of pancake batter, and let your imagination run wild.

Cheddar and scallions

You should definitely be adding cheese to your savory pancakes. A few ounces of shredded cheddar (or any type of cheese from around the world, really) and a few chopped scallions mixed into the batter is a perfect way to start.

Corn and rosemary

Corn is a natural partner for pancakes, but you don't need to make johnnycakes in order to infuse corn into them. Just add some canned or fresh corn kernels (about an ear's worth) to your batter, and kick it up with a sprig of chopped rosemary. Top with some leftover chicken and a fried egg and you've got a perfect breakfast for dinner recipe.


Some of America's best restaurants for pancakes already know that three or four crumbled Oreos make for a perfect pancake filling, softening up and melting slightly as they cook on the griddle.


Adding a shot of sweet liqueur like Baileys, Kahlua, limoncello, creme de cassis or Grand Marnier to your batter is an easy way to infuse a big dose of flavor into your pancakes.

Potato chips

This one may or may not have been thought up very late at night. Crumble a couple handfuls of potato chips into your pancakes for a salty and satisfying crunch.

Macaroni and cheese

There are some unexpected ingredients that go great in mac and cheese, but mac and cheese also goes well in pancakes. Trust us on this one: macaroni and cheese pancakes are downright magical. Stir some into the batter so it's about 50% batter, 50% mac and cheese and the crowd will go wild.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes pair perfectly with maple syrup, so why not mix a half-cup of mashed sweet potato into your pancake batter? You can top with dried cranberries and chopped pecans as well to give it a true autumnal vibe. Who knew that pancakes could also be a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers?


Two words: Funfetti pancakes. Add a handful of sprinkles to your pancake mix and top with vanilla frosting to turn your pancakes into something that mimics a perfect cupcake recipe.

Peanut butter

You know you want to swirl a few tablespoons of creamy peanut butter into your pancake batter. You can also smear the top of the pancakes with it as soon as they come off the griddle for lots of melty goodness.

Chocolate-hazelnut spread

Sure, you can always add chocolate chips or cocoa powder to your pancakes, but doesn't stirring a few spoonfuls of chocolate-hazelnut spread into your pancake batter sound better? Go ahead and top it off with some extra, along with nuts and bananas.


We already know that grated zucchini works incredibly well in baked goods — zucchini bread, anyone? A grated half zucchini elevates pancakes as well and makes you feel a little less guilty about eating all those carbs.

Breakfast cereal

Why aren't more people adding a cup of their favorite breakfast cereal to their pancake batter? It's the best of both worlds. Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes? Done.

Breakfast meats

Crumbled bacon, diced sausage, ham, regional products like Taylor ham, goetta or country ham (a Southern breakfast staple) ... breakfast meats add a salty, savory kick when studded throughout your pancakes, and most pair well with the flavor of maple syrup.


Of all the things you didn't know you could make with canned pumpkin, pancakes might top the list. Add a half-cup to your batter and go all the way with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice as well. Top with pumpkin-spiced whipped cream.

Green chiles

Roasted and chopped Hatch green chiles are among the regional American foods you need to try, and a couple chopped tablespoons will lend just a hint of heat to pancakes. Get creative and don't stop there — some corn and cheddar would pair very nicely with the chiles.

Squash and sage

A half-cup of butternut squash, either diced or pureed, and a few sprigs of chopped sage (or other herbs like dill and cilantro) raise your pancake game to fine-dining status. Try it as a surprisingly great side dish for roasted chicken.

Pimento cheese

Pimento cheese is one of those Southern dishes that everyone needs to try, a comforting mix of cheeses, garlic, diced sweet cherry peppers and a little kick of heat. Stir a few tablespoons into your batter for a cheesy, complex pancake, and top with an extra spoonful.

Graham crackers and chocolate chips

S'mores are one of those childhood treats that never go out of style. Mix a few crumbled graham crackers and a handful of chocolate chips into your pancake batter and top with a swirl of marshmallow fluff for a s'mores-inspired breakfast.

Coconut and pineapple

A handful of shredded coconut and half a can of diced pineapple turns your breakfast into a play on a classic beach cocktail. Top it off with a tablespoon of rum mixed into your maple syrup.

Hash browns

Adding a mound of crispy fried hash browns to your pancakes gives potato pancakes a whole new meaning. Whether it's the shredded or patty variety, taking a bite of hash brown-laced pancakes only reinforces why this is one of the iconic American breakfast dishes.

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