If you like the idea of chocolate for breakfast, these chocolate pancakes are a must-try! They have a rich chocolate flavor and a light, fluffy texture. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Why You’ll Love These Chocolate Pancakes
- Rich chocolatey taste. While many recipes stir in the cocoa with the flour and other dry ingredients, we’ll bloom the cocoa with hot water and melted butter. This makes a big difference in the flavor.
- Easy to make! Simply whisk together the dry ingredients, then gently stir in the wet. There’s no mixer required (and please, don’t use one!).
- Thick and fluffy texture, just like my buttermilk pancakes.
- Perfect for birthday breakfasts, Valentine’s day, or any other day you need a fun, chocolatey boost to start your morning!
Getting a distinct chocolate flavor here was tricky, since cocoa powder can be very drying. I wanted fluffy, perfectly moist pancakes that still had a rich chocolate taste. To accomplish this, we bloom the cocoa in hot water and add a handful of chocolate chips to the batter. This combination gives us a good chocolate flavor in every bite.
What You Need
If making chocolate pancakes wasn’t on your agenda today, don’t panic! You should have all of these ingredients on hand already 😊
- Brown sugar. Either light or dark brown sugar will work, though dark will have a stronger molasses flavor. I typically use light brown sugar.
- Cocoa powder. I stick with natural cocoa powder here, as Dutch process cocoa felt a bit too dark for this recipe.
- Hot water. This will help bloom your cocoa powder and enhance its flavor. Make sure your water is nice and hot–either steaming or boiling!
- Buttermilk. I recommend using real buttermilk here over my buttermilk substitute. While you can use that in a pinch, it is thinner than traditional buttermilk so you will need to use less of it to keep the batter at the proper thickness (somewhere between ¾ cup and a scant cup).
- Chocolate chips. I prefer mini chocolate chips in my pancakes, but you can use regular sized chips if that’s all you have on hand, or if you prefer a bigger punch of chocolate. You can add up to another ½ cup chocolate chips if you really like chocolate, or you can leave them out entirely (though your chocolate pancakes won’t be quite as flavorful this way!).
SAM’S TIP: Like most of my pancake recipes, this recipe benefits from room temperature ingredients. These combine easier than chilled, fresh-from-the-fridge ingredients. So if you can, try to set your eggs and buttermilk out ahead of time.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Chocolate Pancakes
- Whisk the flour, sugar, leavening agents, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, then set aside.
- Whisk the hot water and cocoa powder together in a separate bowl, then add the melted butter and stir well to combine. Adding the hot water and hot butter helps to bloom the cocoa and enhance its flavor.
- Add the chocolate mixture to your buttermilk, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well you made in your dry ingredients and stir gently until 50% combined.
- Add the chocolate chips, then keep folding the batter together gently until it is just combined.
- Brush your pan with cooking oil or butter and heat over medium-low until warm. You can test if your pan is warm enough by hovering your hand about 2 inches over the surface of the pan — you should feel the heat radiating off of it.
- Add a scoop of pancake batter to your pan (I like to use an ice cream scoop for this) and cook until bubbles begin to burst on the surface.
- Flip and cook on the other side until done, then remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing oil or melted butter between each pancake.
SAM’S TIP: When making pancakes it’s very important to not over-mix your batter. Over-mixing will yield pancakes that are dense, rubbery, and flat, so be gentle! This is why I add the chocolate chips when my ingredients are 50% combined instead of after they are already combined.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are quite a few methods to use depending on how many pancakes you need to reheat and how picky you are with how they turn out. Personally, we will re-warm ours in the microwave for just a few seconds (too long will make them tough and rubbery) or place them in the oven in an even layer (on a parchment paper lined baking sheet) and heat them on 350F until warm (it only takes a few minutes). Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to reheat pancakes that should be helpful!
The “warm” setting on your oven works great for this! Or, if your oven doesn’t have this setting, just set it to the lowest temperature it can go to (usually 140F-170F). Always make sure you put your pancakes on a heat safe plate or baking sheet before placing them in the oven.
You could, but the flavor of your chocolate pancakes will be deeper and darker with Dutch process cocoa (less breakfast-y and more dessert-like). I personally prefer the taste with natural cocoa instead. Note that you cannot always substitute one cocoa powder for the other; I talk more about this in my natural vs. dutch process cocoa post.
What to serve with chocolate pancakes
- Top with chocolate whipped cream or homemade whipped cream
- Drizzle peanut butter, fudge sauce, Nutella, or caramel sauce over the top. If you really want to get decadent and intensely chocolatey, pour some warm ganache or chocolate gravy overtop.
- Add fruity toppings like fresh raspberries, macerated strawberries, sliced bananas, strawberry sauce, or raspberry sauce
- Serve with savory sides like cheesy hash brown casserole, scrambled eggs, sausage, or bacon
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons (37 g) brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (25 g) natural cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons (44 ml) steaming hot or boiling water
- 2 Tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg lightly beaten, room temperature preferred
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Neutral cooking oil or butter for skillet
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, 3 Tablespoons (37 g) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and very hot water until smooth.¼ cup (25 g) natural cocoa powder, 3 Tablespoons (44 ml) steaming hot or boiling water
- Add the melted butter to the cocoa powder mixture and whisk until well combined.2 Tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
- Add chocolate mixture into buttermilk and whisk well.1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk
- Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined.1 large egg, ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make a small well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk/chocolate mixture into the center. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently fold together the ingredients until about halfway combined. Add chocolate chips and continue to stir, gently, until mixture is just combined. Do not over-mix or pancakes will be flat and dense.½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Lightly brush a small skillet with a neutral cooking oil (or melt about a teaspoon of butter over the surface). Heat over medium-low heat for several minutes, until pan is warm (you can test this by holding your hand several inches from the surface of the pan, you should feel the heat radiating from it).Neutral cooking oil or butter
- Scoop a portion of the chocolate pancake batter into the pan (about ½ cup of batter per pancake). If needed, use a spoon to nudge the batter into an even layer.
- Allow pancake to cook on one side until the edges begin to appear cooked and bubbles in batter begin to burst, this should take a couple of minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the pancake over and continue cooking until pancake is fully cooked (I usually pierce the pancake with a sharp knife and just take a peek to see if it’s finished cooking)..
- Repeat until all batter is used, brushing the pan between each pancake.
- Serve warm. We prefer to top ours with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries!
StoringPancake batter may be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to two days before using. Prepared pancakes may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, or frozen for up to 2 months.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.