It is possible to improve upon the already amazing breakfast food staple that is pancakes.

Here are seven ways to do it.

1. Turn Your Pancakes Green

My grandpa used to be the chef for his younger siblings every Saturday morning. He used to get angry when they ate all the pancakes before he made it to the table. So he used food coloring to turn them green. The pancakes seemed less appetizing and magically… there were plenty left for Grandpa!

Of course, you do want your kids to eat their pancakes, so don’t limit yourself to just green.

After you mix the batter, divide it between a couple of bowls (I know, lots of dirty dishes). Add a different color to each bowl. Give your kids one pancake of each hue.

If you are feeling adventurous, make rainbows. Put a glob of each color close together on the griddle. And use a toothpick to blend and swirl the colors together.

2. Draw on Your Pancakes

Start with a hot griddle and your favorite pancake batter. Remove one tablespoon of batter and put it in a small bowl or cup — I use a medicine measuring cup. Add a little water so the batter is extra runny.

Using a medicine dropper or syringe, and withdraw some of the liquid. Carefully “draw” on the hot griddle. Basic shapes and designs work best. My favorites include:

  • Hearts
  • Stars
  • Smiley faces
  • Kids’ initials (but you’ll have to draw the letters backward)

Let the drawings cook for a while. Once the edges have turned dark brown, add enough batter to completely cover the drawing.

Let the pancake cook for a couple seconds less than normal. You want as much contrast between the drawing and the pancake’s surface as possible.

Flip the pancakes and marvel at your artwork!

3. Sculpt Your Pancakes

Who says pancakes must be round?! If you are careful — and patient — enough, you can make your pancakes into just about any shape you want. Although, the more basic the design, the better!

Turn your griddle to a slightly lower heat. That will give you more time to be creative before the pancakes need a flip.

Use a teaspoon to drizzle the batter in the shape you want. Note, a teaspoon is better than a tablespoon; you have better control with smaller amounts. You can use the spoon to pull or push the batter around the griddle, too.

 4. Make Your Pancakes Healthy

There are lots of ways to add some vitamins and minerals to your favorite foods. Carefully disguising healthy stuff so the kids don’t know it’s there is an easy way to ensure they get the nutrients they need.


  • Whole-grain pancakes
  • Oatmeal pancakes
  • Banana pancakes
  • Carrot cake pancakes
  • Peanut butter pancakes
  • Sweet potato pancakes

You can find pre-made mixes for some of those (this is our favorite — sweet potatoes). Or, you can go all Martha Stewart and make them from scratch (here are nine healthy recipes you can try).

5. Dip in Brown Sugar

This is one of my all-time favorite pancake tips. Rather than slathering your pancakes in syrup, dip them in brown sugar.

Add about 1/3 cup of brown sugar to a shallow bowl. Slowly add milk while stirring. You won’t need much milk at all. Your goal is a consistency similar to glue; liquid, but not too watery.

Add a little extra liquid to your batter so the pancakes aren’t quite so thick. Also, make them a little bit bigger than the size of your fist.

When the pancakes have cooled, roll them up and dip them in the brown sugar amazingness.

P.S. This tip is especially wonderful if you make sweet potato pancakes. The combo is like pumpkin pie!

6. Sprinkle With White Sugar

Another great syrup substitute is white sugar.

Make your favorite batch of pancakes. Be generous with the butter you slather on top. Then, sprinkle the pancake with sugar while the butter is all melty so it sticks. Skip the forks, too, and pick the pancakes up with your hands and enjoy!

As an added bonus, this tip makes it possible to take pancakes on the go.

After the pancakes are cool, stack them sugar side facing and put them in a to-go container (or plastic Ziplock bag). Breakfast in the car helps keep young ones entertained on long trips or makes the morning rush-the-kids-off-to-school less severe. I’ve even taken pancakes to the airport and let the kids munch while we waited to check our bags.

Here’s one more secret: sugar as a syrup replacement is great for French toast, too.

7. Rip, Don’t Cut

This is both a parenting hack and a teach-kids-responsibility opportunity.

Rather than cut the pancakes into bite-size pieces, tell your kids to rip them up.

This tip serves another function — if the pancakes are cool enough for your kids to handle, they are cool enough to eat. 

If you know of any pancakes hacks that have been left off this list, be sure to leave your comments below!

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