Make breakfast much more fun for everyone in the family with these healthy chocolate pancakes. They’re easy to stir together, simple to make in festive shapes (if you want!) in minutes and even delicious as leftovers. Plus, they’re low in added sugars so they’re a nutritious way to start the day!
One thing that I’ve tried to do since having a child is to start and maintain food traditions. We live far away from all of our family and only see them on big holidays or special occasions, so adding special moments to the rest of our days has become even more important to me. These Chocolate Pancakes are my favorite Valentine’s Day breakfast to share with my family.
Healthy Chocolate Pancakes
These healthy chocolate pancakes have fiber, protein, and complex carbs, and aren’t too sweet. They do have a hefty dose of cocoa flavor, so they tend to make everyone happy. They walk the line between healthy and indulgent and are a favorite weekend breakfast in our house!
Ingredients in Chocolate Pancakes
To make these healthy pancakes you’ll need:
- whole-wheat flour
- cocoa powder, sifted
- baking powder
- milk (dairy or unsweetened plain nondairy)
- maple syrup
- melted butter or neutral oil
How to Make Chocolate Pancakes Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this breakfast recipe.
- Gather the ingredients. (photo 1)
- Mix the dry ingredients together medium bowl. Whisk in the wet ingredients. (photo 2)
- Heat your pan. Prepare as rounds or hearts, cooking until edges are set and you see small bubbles. (photo 3)
- Flip carefully and cook through on the other side. Enjoy! (photo 4)
Can I add chocolate chips to these pancakes?
You can and they’re really yummy that way! Add 1/4-⅓ cup to the batter and cook as directed. You could also add blueberries or sliced banana as a fruit addition option!
Can I make these pancakes gluten-free and/or dairy-free?
Sure thing. Just use gluten-free flour blend in place of the whole wheat flour. To make them dairy-free, use oil instead of butter and a favorite nondairy milk.
Why do I have to sift the cocoa powder?
It has a tendency to be lumpy and those lumps are a little hard to get out without overworking the batter. By placing the cocoa powder through a fine-mesh sieve, you can get the lumps out to make a better overall batter.
How to Make Heart-Shaped Pancakes
I’ve never really gotten into making shapes or animals with my daughter’s food since I don’t want her to expect that level of entertainment at mealtime, but making pancake hearts is easy. You simply make a “V” shape with the batter, then spread it out to fill in a heart. Be a little more gentle when flipping these, but otherwise cook them like typical pancakes.
What toppings are good with these chocolate pancakes?
The Berry Yogurt Spread is an optional part of this recipe, but it’s a yummy way to make it a more celebration-worthy breakfast. (It’s also a nice option if you don’t want to give your toddler maple syrup quite yet.) It’s simply a combination of thawed and warmed frozen berries (since they are less expensive than fresh berries at this time of year where we live) and thick Greek yogurt.
You can also just use berry flavored yogurt—I like Siggi’s yogurt because it has a nice thickness and flavor without excessive added sugar. Let the little ones “paint” on the yogurt topping, serve it already spread on, or put it into a separate bowl and let them use it as a dip. It’s also pretty good just on it’s own!
And maple syrup always works too, or nut butter or even plain yogurt.
Do these work well as leftovers?
Let any leftovers cool fully on a wire rack and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in 15 second increments in the microwave. Sometimes we sandwich nut butter between two pancakes for a fun pancakes sandwich!
Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Pancakes
- Sift the cocoa powder to ensure you remove all of the tiny lumps.
- Use gluten-free cup for cup flour if needed.
- Use nondairy-milk and oil (instead of butter) to make these dairy-free.
- I prefer to cook pancakes in a nonstick skillet or a well-greased cast iron skillet.
- Top with maple syrup, berry yogurt, or any other topping you like.
I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe if you try it so please comment below with feedback!
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (sifted to remove lumps)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk (dairy or unsweetened plain nondairy)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil
- Neutral oil or butter (as needed for cooking)
- Berry Yogurt Spread recipe below, optional
Berry Yogurt Spread
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/4 cup whole milk plain or vanilla yogurt
- Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
- Whisk in the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs, and melted butter in a separate bowl. The batter should be fairly thin and should fall easily off of a spoon easily.
- Heat a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Grease with nonstick spray or butter. Drop batter by ¼ cup portions (or bigger or smaller, depending on your preference). To make hearts, make a "V" shape with the batter and spread into a heart until about 1/4-inch thick. Cook until edges are set and you see small bubbles, about 2 minutes.
- Flip carefully and cook through on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Serve, or place cooked pancakes onto a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree oven. Cook the rest of the batter.
- Serve warm with Berry Yogurt Spread—or maple syrup or nut butter.
Berry Yogurt Spread
- Place the blueberries into a small saucepan. Warm on low, stirring occasionally, until thawed and starting to break down and release their juices, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Stir together with the yogurt and serve with the pancakes.
- To Store: Let any extras cool fully and store them in a airtight storage container or freezer bag in the fridge or freezer for later use. Warm in 15-30 second intervals in the microwave until thawed, if frozen, and warm.
- Gluten-free: Use gluten-free flour blend in place of the whole wheat flour.
- Dairy-free: Use oil instead of butter and a favorite nondairy milk.
- Cocoa powder has a tendency to be lumpy and those lumps are a little hard to get out without overworking the batter. By placing the cocoa powder through a fine-mesh sieve, you can get the lumps out to make a better overall batter.
- You can also top with maple syrup, nut butter, applesauce or yogurt.