Fluffy, decadent chocolate pancakes are a sweet way for chocolate lovers to start their day. Rich chocolate in every bite and topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce.
These rich, indulgent chocolate pancakes are THE reason to get up in the morning. They are a chocolate-lovers dream with rich chocolate in every bite. Top with the homemade caramel sauce, and you're in decadence heaven.
Despite their rich flavor, they're made with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. I have also added espresso powder, which enhances the deep, rich flavor of the chocolate (a great thing to add to brownies too, if you've never tried it).
Chocolate pancakes are easy to make and can be frozen and reheated for busy mornings.
What Cocoa Powder to Use?
I typically use whatever I have on hand, which is usually just plain unsweetened cocoa powder.
Make sure it is unsweetened, as sweetener or other additives can give it a different flavor.
You can also use Dutch process cocoa power, which is an alkalized version that has a smoother, less acidic taste than your average cocoa powder. It's usually a bit harder to find at some supermarkets, in my experience, which is why I usually stick with the classic.
Add Ins for Chocolate Pancakes
What else can you add into these chocolate pancakes? Well, while they're decadently delicious already, here are some ideas for a little variety.
- Chocolate chips - any kind! Milk, dark, semi-sweet, or white. Add about 1 cup to the batter or sprinkle some on top after scooping the batter onto a griddle or skillet.
- Nuts - try some chopped walnuts or pecans, especially if you're a nutty brownie lover
- Fruit - dried or fresh work here. I would mainly stick to berries or even pitted and chopped cherries, as a fruit like bananas would alter the wetness of the batter significantly. You can also used dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, or cherries.
- Your Favorite Candy - chop up your favorite candy bar such as Reese's, Twix, Kit Kat, Snickers, or M&M's and add some to the batter for a super fun variation (or maybe just a way to use up holiday candy 🙈)
- Marshmallows - For a fun hot-cocoa twist! Marshmallows will get gooey and delicious while cooking the pancakes.
- Peppermint - add some crushed peppermint candy canes to the batter for a fun holiday flair.
Chocolate Pancake Toppings
Toppings are a fun way to make these chocolate pancakes your own!
- Caramel sauce - there is a homemade caramel sauce recipe with the chocolate pancakes below because chocolate and caramel make the most decadent combination.
- Chocolate sauce for the chocolate lovers out there!
- Peanut butter
- Fresh fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, chopped strawberries, or bananas. You can also use frozen fruit, but thaw it first.
- Fruit compote - cooking fruit in water (like in this recipe) with a little bit of sugar turns it into almost a syrup.
- Mascarpone if you're feeling fancy. It's just a little sweet and will up the decadence factor with its delicate flavor.
- Marshmallow Fluff will add that hot cocoa feel, perfect for a cold winter morning.
- Whipped Cream
- Powdered sugar
More Pancake Breakfast Recipes You'll Love
- Homemade Funfetti Pancakes - fluffy vanilla pancakes with pretty rainbow sprinkles are the perfect reason to celebrate.
- Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze - decadent red velvet pancakes and a sweet cream cheese glaze for the finishing touch.
- Cinnamon French Toast - classic, simple French toast with a dash of cinnamon for that warm, comforting flavor.
- Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes - perhaps my all time favorite pancakes with rich, fluffy vanilla pancakes and juicy, tart blueberries in every bite.
- Chive Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich - this creative breakfast sandwich takes pancakes to the savory side with chives, ham, and cheese.
Chocolate Pancakes Video
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1¼ cup buttermilk room temperature
- 3 tablespoons butter melted (plus more for cooking)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cold water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, both kinds of sugar, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add the egg mixture and whisk until just combined. Don't overmix. Lumps are okay.
- Fold in chocolate.
- Heat a large cast-iron griddle or nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Brush with butter and continue heating until the butter begins to foam.
- Scoop ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles start to form and burst, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook to set the other side, another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Keep pancakes warm in a 250 degree oven on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
For the Caramel Sauce
- In a medium sauce pan over high heat, combine sugar and water.
- Cook without stirring or moving, until the sugar turns a deep golden amber color, about 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm cream in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave.
- When the sugar mixture is ready, slowly whisk in warm cream, and continue simmering until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and salt.
- Pour over prepared pancakes to serve.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in January 2017. It was updated with new pictures, video, and tips and republished in April 2023.
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If I substitute milk for almond milk and use gluten free flour, will it have a major effect on outcome?
I haven't tried it, so I'm not sure. I'd love to hear how it turns out if you try
I have noticed when I use almond milk in pancakes it makes them rubbery
Really? I haven't noticed that! I'll have to pay closer attention next time. Maybe sub full fat coconut milk?
These were THICK. I’d definitely add another 1/2 cup of milk or more next time. Delicious but way too thick for pancakes.
Thicker batter makes thicker, fluffier pancakes. If you like your batter thinner, then yes, add 1/2 cup milk at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. I'm glad they were still yummy though!
Are they breakfast? Are they dessert? They're BOTH and I love it! These are seriously amazing.
Suja md says
This looks and sounds fabulous! Love this recipe.
These are amazing! They are perfect for breakfast, brunch or dessert. I can't wait to devour a stack!
These were a hit with guests last weekend! The chocolatey flavor was on point. So good!
Sara Welch says
Enjoyed these for breakfast this morning and started my day off right! Turned out perfectly light, fluffy and delicious! Easily, a new favorite pancake recipe!