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Pancakes, in one form or another, can be found around the world. They can be sweet or savory and served for breakfast, dinner, or a snack. Here in the US, they’re most commonly served for breakfast (although who doesn’t love a good brinner)? Pancake toppings can vary even more, turning your typical homemade pancake into a full-fledged dinner or even a dessert.
Most of the time when I serve pancakes – even just for my own family – I set out a variety of toppings and let everyone add what they’re in the mood for. This works especially well when serving a crowd.
Everyone loves a good pancake bar and it’s so easy to throw together! I’ll even include some toppings not listed here, such as yogurt, honey, cream cheese, or even smoked salmon and creme fraiche for those who enjoy a savory pancake.
When we have leftover pancakes, my kids have even topped theirs with ice cream and sprinkles for dessert!
Just prep your pancake toppings, place them in bowls, and make the pancakes. Keep the first few batches warm in a 200F oven if you want to serve them all at once.
Here are some delicious ideas for pancake toppings to ensure your breakfast is never boring!
15 Pancake Toppings – Ideas for a Delicious Breakfast
1. Butter and Maple Syrup
This might be the most common way to top your breakfast pancakes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the top spot. There’s a reason this combination is so beloved: when that butter melts and seeps into the pancakes, then it’s topped with a sweet, sticky maple syrup, it’s a damn tasty combination.
If you can find some locally made maple syrup, that’s really the way to go. We love Butternut Mountain Farm when we run out of our favorite local brand, so give that a try and see the difference that is “real” maple syrup. I’ll admit that nothing beats what my grandpa made when he used to tap his trees, but this is pretty close!
2. Peanut Butter and Maple Syrup
Personally, this is probably my favorite combination when it comes to pancake toppings. If you haven’t tried it, you’re really missing out! The peanut butter melts and becomes almost a thick liquid, which combines perfectly with maple syrup. Sometimes – if I’m feeling really indulgent – I’ll spread a little butter on before the peanut butter. Don’t miss this epic combo!
(Other nut butters, such as almond butter, are delicious, too!)
3. Fresh Berries
Fresh berries are such a fantastic pancake topping that they’ll often be mixed right into the batter before hitting the griddle. Blueberries are the most common for this, but try adding fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries once the pancakes hit your plate. The bonus is that you need much less syrup to sweeten your pancakes, and the berries add a nice dose of fiber, too.
4. Whipped Cream
If you’re in the “dessert for breakfast” camp, then whipped cream will be your new best friend. It works best in combination with fresh berries, bananas, or chocolate chips, but we’re talking whipped cream here, so go for it if you’re in the mood!
I almost always whip my own cream, but when it comes to pancakes, I almost always use it straight from a can. I tend to keep breakfast or brunch as easy as possible, plus there’s less waste if it doesn’t all get used. I know, I know…it’s the opposite of what I always preach. In this case, however, I like to take the shortcut. Freshly whipped is definitely better in both taste and texture, so go with whichever you feel like.
5. Chopped Nuts
Toasted, chopped pecans add wonderful flavor and texture to pancakes! Add them alongside almost any of the other pancake toppings in this list. Walnuts and almonds are also great choice
6. Chocolate Chips
This is another topping that is great when mixed into the batter or when used as a topping. I use regular-sized chocolate chips if mixing into the batter and mini-chips for sprinkling over the top. Mini-chips melt faster making them better as a topping. Add a little whipped cream for a wonderful breakfast treat.
(You can also skip the chips and drizzle chocolate sauce on, too.)
I have fond memories of watching my mom quickly slice a banana over the top of my pancakes when I was a kid. This was one of my favorite ways to enjoy pancakes and it still is today! Add a drizzle of maple syrup and, if you really want a treat, spread some peanut butter on the pancakes before adding the bananas.
Although it’s an extra step, caramelizing the bananas with a little butter before adding them to your pancakes takes them up another notch. Add a little brown sugar and cinnamon to the pan about a minute or so before they’re ready, and you’ve really got yourself a fantastic pancake topping!
A thick spread of Nutella that gets all melty is just about the perfect pancake topping! Add bananas – freshly sliced or caramelized – and it’s even more amazing. Sprinkle on some of those toasted nuts and a little whipped cream and you’ll have the best food coma of your life.
9. Berry Syrups
Blueberry, blackberry, strawberry…any kind of berry syrup is delicious over pancakes. Smuckers even sells a 4-pack of four different berry syrups, or try this super fruit syrup. If you really want a treat, don’t miss this Peach Cobbler syrup, which would be amazing with sliced, fresh peaches.
10. Fruit Jam
If you can’t get your hands on some fresh berries, fruit jam is the next best thing. It might even be as good as fresh, since you can spread just a thin layer over your pancakes and still get a ton of flavor. Strawberry and raspberry are our favorites, but definitely give orange jam a try, too!
11. Bacon or Sausage
If bacon or sausage make great companions to pancakes for breakfast, they’re even more amazing used as a pancake topping. Try adding crispy, cooked, and crumbled bacon to the batter for an extra special treat!
12. Caramel Sauce
Adding a drizzle of caramel sauce definitely puts pancakes into dessert territory. It goes incredibly well with freshly sliced or caramelized bananas, a sprinkle of toasted nuts, and a dollop of whipped cream.
13. Fried Chicken
A drizzle of maple syrup is so delicious over fried chicken, it’s no wonder that it works so well as a pancake topping! I like to make fried chicken tenders since they’re much easier to eat, but any fried chicken will do the trick. This one’s definitely better served as a dinner, and it’s one you won’t soon forget!
14. Lemon Curd
A small spread of lemon curd to pancakes makes a really delicious treat. Add some chopped, toasted nuts for great flavor and texture.
15. Lemon Juice and Powdered Sugar
If peanut butter and maple syrup is my favorite pancake topping, then lemon juice and powdered sugar is right up there with it. This topping works best on crepes but I’ll add it to my buttermilk pancakes if they’re not available. It’s fresh and just sweet enough yet I don’t feel like I’ve been overloaded with sugar. You can also add a little lemon zest straight to the better (this works especially well with ricotta pancakes).
If you have your own favorite pancake toppings that we should add to this list, tell us in the comments below!