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. And they have just enough chocolate flavor to satisfy!
One thing that I’ve tried to do since having kids to start and maintain food traditions. For most of my parenting years, we’ve lived far away from family (though that just changed which is exciting!), so we always had to make our own holiday fun.
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 nutritious and indulgent and are a favorite weekend breakfast in our house…whether we make them as heart shapes or just as regular circles.
Ingredients You Need
To make these pancakes you’ll need:
- Whole-wheat flour: This provides a nutritious base for the batter.
- Cocoa powder, sifted: I usually sift the cocoa powder before making these to remove any little lumps of cocoa powder.
- Baking powder
- Milk: You can use dairy or unsweetened plain nondairy.
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Melted butter or neutral oil for the batter and for cooking
How to Make Chocolate Pancakes Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this breakfast recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.
- 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.
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.
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.
What toppings are good with these chocolate pancakes?
We like the traditional butter and maple syrup, or warmed frozen blueberries to make a quick fruit sauce, diced fresh fruit, or another fruit sauce.
You could also do nut or seed butter if that sounds good to you, or a fruit yogurt.
How to Store
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!
Best Tips for Success
- 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.
- You may also like favorite Valentine’s Breakfasts, easy Chocolate Cupcakes, and our go-to Chocolate Smoothie.
I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe if you try it so please comment below with feedback!
This post was first published February 2018.
The optional Berry Yogurt Spread is a delicious (and protein-packed) variation to maple syrup. Make it the day before or start it before you start the pancakes so the berries have a chance to cool. You can also simplify and warm the berries and serve them as a sauce over the pancakes, skipping the yogurt.
- 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.
Calories: 251kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 10gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 322mgPotassium: 317mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 395IUCalcium: 223mgIron: 2mg