These fun and festive Santa pancakes will delight kids of all ages this holiday season! This easy homemade pancake recipe includes step-by-step instructions for cooking and decorating the pancakes plus instructions for decorating snowman pancakes and reindeer pancakes, too.
If you'll be celebrating the holidays with young children, these easy yet impressive Santa pancakes are an absolute must! This quick and easy homemade pancake recipe makes light and fluffy pancakes using ingredients you probably already have on hand. Plus the easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions explain exactly how to decorate the pancakes. Trust me... these ultra-festive pancake decorations are really simple to create.
Your family will fall in love with these adorable Santa pancakes this Christmas season!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Baking Powder - These pancakes use more than a Tablespoon of baking powder to create a soft and fluffy texture. Since there's no acidic ingredient (like buttermilk) in this recipe, we're using baking powder instead of baking soda.
Whole Milk - The fat in whole milk creates a better texture, making whole milk the ideal choice for baking. You can substitute a lower fat milk, if you prefer, but the pancakes won't be quite as fluffy. Note that it's best to use room temperature milk, since it will blend more easily with the other ingredients.
Whipped Cream - Whipped cream is used to create the white fluff on Santa's hat. This easy homemade whipped cream recipe tastes so much better than store bought, but you can certainly use whipped cream if a can if that's your preference.
Bananas - Slices of banana make up Santa's beard. You can pipe whipped cream to create a more authentic-looking beard if you want to, but I opted for the healthier bananas since this is a kid-friendly breakfast.
Berries - I used raspberries to make Santa's hat, but you could use whole or sliced strawberries instead. And I used blueberries to make Santa's eyes, but you could substitute chocolate chips.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for full ingredient list and measurements.
In addition to essential baking equipment (like a mixing bowl and spatula), I recommend some special tools for making this recipe.
- A skillet or griddle for cooking the pancakes. I like cast iron best for cooking pancakes.
- A piping bag and small star piping tip for piping the whipped cream (if using homemade whipped cream).
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
Step 2: In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.
Step 3: Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir using a wooden spoon or spatula just until the batter is blended. Let the batter rest while you heat your skillet or griddle.
Step 4: Cook the pancakes in a skillet or griddle over medium heat for 2-4 minutes before flipping and cooking for 2-4 minutes on the other side.
Decorating the Pancakes
Step 1: Place a pancake onto a plate and add slices of banana in a triangular shape below the pancake and covering the lower third of the pancake to create the beard.
Step 2: Place raspberries in a triangular shape above the pancake, covering just the very top of the pancake to create the hat. Add another raspberry in the center of the top most banana slice to make a nose.
Step 3: Pipe two small dots of whipped cream onto the pancake between the raspberries and the bananas. Place a blueberry on top of each whipped cream dot to create eyes.
Step 4: Pipe more dots of whipped cream along the lower edge of raspberries and atop the upper most raspberry to make the fur trim and pom pom for Santa's hat.
More Christmas Pancake Ideas
These other North Pole-inspired pancake designs are equally perfect for Christmas or any cozy winter morning.
To create Rudolph pancakes, cook a mixture of round pancakes and smaller, oval pancakes. Place a small, oval pancake over the bottom of a round pancake. Add two banana slices each topped with a blueberry to the round pancake for eyes. Add a raspberry to the oval pancake for the nose. Use kitchen scissors to cut teardrop shapes from another pancake and place them above the round pancake for ears. Add chocolate chips in two "Y" shapes above the round pancake and between the ears to create antlers.
To create snowman pancakes, cook smaller round pancakes. Place two small, round pancakes next to one another vertically on a plate. Dust confectioners' sugar over the pancakes. Place small, thin slices of strawberry in a horizontal line between the pancakes with a few more slices coming downward at an angle to create the scarf. Place two blueberries onto the upper pancake for eyes and three blueberries in a vertical line on the lower pancake for buttons. Add a mini chocolate chip smile onto the upper pancake, then use more mini chocolate chips to create arms on both sides of the pancakes.
Be careful not to over mix the pancake batter. You should mix the batter just until it's combined. It will be slightly lumpy, which is perfectly normal. Over mixing the batter will cause it to deflate, and your pancakes won't be as light and fluffy when cooked.
Allow the batter to rest for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes while your pan or griddle heats up. Letting the batter rest gives the flour time to absorb the liquid, which will yield a softer, puffier pancake.
The secret to good pancakes is really no secret, since you've almost certainly heard it before: don't over mix the batter and let it rest before cooking. Over mixing will deflate your batter and cause too much gluten to form, leading to pancakes that are flat and tough. Instead, mix the batter just until blended (it will be a bit lumpy) and then allow it to rest so that the flour has time to hydrate. This helps to create pancakes with a light and fluffy texture.
The short answer: any way you like! Kids - particularly young kids and toddlers - are usually pretty easy to please when it comes to special treats like decorated pancakes. As shown in this recipe, cooking different sizes of pancakes, cutting cooked pancakes into shapes, and topping pancakes with fruit, whipped cream, chocolate chips and the like are easy ways to create fun pancake designs.
It's best to enjoy the decorated pancakes right away, but you have a couple of options for storing leftover pancakes.
Refrigerator: Leftover pancakes can be stored (undecorated) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: You can also freeze any leftover (undecorated) pancakes in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
More Holiday Breakfast Recipes
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- Skillet or griddle
- Piping bag and small star piping tip (if using homemade whipped cream)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups raspberries (or sliced strawberries)
- 16 blueberries (or chocolate chips)
- 6-8 bananas
- 1 cup whipped cream (homemade or store-bought)
Make the pancake batter.
- In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir using a wooden spoon or spatula just until the batter is blended. Let the batter rest for 10 to 30 minutes while you heat your skillet or griddle.
Cook the pancakes.
- While the batter rests, heat your skillet or griddle over medium heat.
- Once the pan is heated, carefully scoop or ladle about ¼ cup of batter onto the pan, being sure to leave enough space between the pancakes so they have room to expand as they cook. Cook the pancakes for 2-4 minutes before flipping and cooking for 2-4 minutes on the other side. Both sides of the pancake should be golden with a puffed center that's cooked all the way through. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a cooling rack to cool slightly before decorating.
Decorate the pancakes.
- Place cooled pancakes in the center of a plate that's several inches larger than your pancake so you'll have room to decorate.
- Add slices of banana in a triangular shape below the pancake and covering the lower third of the pancake to create the beard.
- Place raspberries (or another small red fruit) in a smaller triangular shape above the pancake, covering just the very top of the pancake to create the hat. Add another raspberry in the center of the top most banana slice to make a nose.
- Pipe two small dots of whipped cream onto the pancake between the raspberries and the bananas. Place a blueberry on top of each whipped cream dot to create eyes.
- Pipe more dots of whipped cream along the lower edge of raspberries and atop the upper most raspberry to make the fur trim and pom pom for Santa's hat.