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stack of savory pancakes

Flipping for Pancakes

Pancakes are simple yet offer a world of flavor options. Try these 10 fantastic pancake recipes in your restaurant for a twist on the traditional.

From mom-and-pop shops to restaurant chains and nearly everything in between, pancakes are timelessly popular breakfast food and beverage menu anchors. The customer appeal of pancakes is broad; ease of preparation, an operational ace in the hole; variety of form and flavor, nearly endless; and food cost, a true friend to restaurant business bottom lines. Add to the list of assets pancakes’ built-in versatility, and the whole package makes great menu sense.

How to prepare them? Operator’s choice with a few solid options from which to select. Ready-made is simplest, prepared mixes a close second, followed by from scratch. Boxed mixes are the likeliest scenario in most foodservice segments, the taste familiar to all, and the operational ease always appealing.

Prepared as a tall stack and sent to tables with butter and syrup is the default gold standard and always a strong menu star; according to Datassential, among breakfast starches, pancakes are second only to French toast as the top choice among restaurant patrons.1 Affection for pancakes is very strong, with 84% of consumers saying they like or love them.2

Starting from a basic batter, housemade or from a mix, there are lots of ways to go from basic buttermilk to a full carte of offerings. Here are 10 easy pancake additions to add to menus or a specials lineup:

  1. Stir canned pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spices into the batter and send the tawny orange beauties to the table with cranberry-maple syrup. For the syrup, add canned cranberry sauce to syrup and gently warm the mixture.
  2. Fold toasted coconut, sliced almonds, and mini chocolate chips into the mix for a coconut candy bar version.
  3. Banana cream pie pancakes are easily made with sliced bananas in the batter and atop the cooked pancakes. Finish off with vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and a few vanilla wafers.
  4. Sweet-heat is a hot flavor trend that works well with pancakes. Add adobo sauce from canned chipotles to the batter, maybe some cooked, crumbled bacon, too, and top everything with maple syrup made spicy with cayenne pepper and ancho chili powder.
  5. Korean kimchi jeon pancakes take a delicious veer into the global world of pancakes. Add well-drained chopped kimchee to the batter along with a dash of garlic powder, minced green onions, and gochujang.
  6. Biscuits and gravy translate to pancakes with crumbled cooked sausage added to the batter and a topping of sausage gravy.
  7. Pancake sandwiches with sausage, traditional or plant-based, fried egg and cheese, a gloss of hot honey added as a condiment.
  8. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter and top pancakes with warm apple compote, and whipped cream for flapjacks that are as American as apple pie.
  9. Stir peanut butter, smooth or chunky, into the batter, top with bananas, maple syrup, and whipped cream for Elvis-style pancakes.
  10. Go green by adding matcha powder and white chocolate chips.

Here are a few more widely appealing and easily executed ideas to widen your pancake portfolio:

  • French crêpes: Thin, egg-enriched batter that’s cooked quickly in a special crêpe pan, they can be served with butter and preserves or rolled around savory or sweet
  • Swedish pancakes: Thin batter enriched with melted butter, the delicate pancakes are often served with lingonberry preserves
  • Dutch baby: Made from the same thin batter that’s used for popovers, and baked in a shallow, slope-sided pan so it rises dramatically. Typically served with confectioners’ sugar and lemon
  • Scallion pancakes: Thick, chewy, savory Chinese pancakes most often served later in the day, they occasionally show up at the morning meal
  • Potato pancakes/latkes: Shredded russet potatoes, squeezed dry and sometimes accompanied by diced onions, are lightly bound with flour, and fried to a crisp finish. Sour cream and/or applesauce are the condiments of choice

Sources: 1. Datassential SNAP!: Most Popularly Menued Breakfast Starches (December 2023). 2. Datassential SNAP!: Pancake (December 2023).

The information provided is based on a general industry overview and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique, and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.

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