My ultimate list of what to serve with pancakes (focusing on sweet options), including easy recipes and tips on flavour combinations. My favourite 28 toppings that go well with pancakes and make amazing flavour combinations.
There is nothing better than making a batch of pancakes in the morning and deciding what to serve them with! I usually just look what’s in the fridge or cupboard, but sometimes I like to plan ahead to make sure I have my favourite pancakes topping on hand.
So, what goes with pancakes apart from sugar & lemon juice or maple syrup? Well, the good news is that you have a lot of options here from various sweet sauces, nut butter, creams, yoghurt and fresh fruit.
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And in case you need a few tried and trusted recipes for pancakes, I’ve added my favourite recipes, that are easy to follow with step by step instructions and suitable for any diet.
MY FAVOURITE PANCAKE RECIPES
- Light & Fluffy Pancakes with whipped egg white & raised with yeast >>
- Poppy Seeds Drop Scones >>
- Orange Marmalade Pancakes (no added sugar) >>
- Mango Pancakes >>
Sugar & Lemon
Lemon & Sugar is the traditional choice for pancakes in Britain (and France) and it’s still a number one choice in cafes, restaurants and when making pancakes at home.
The sweetness of the sugar with the zesty and sharp lemon flavour is just perfect flavour to go with light and fluffy pancakes.
For best flavour use white caster sugar (slightly smaller granules than granulated white sugar) and fresh lemon juice squeezed from fresh lemons.
If you want to make your pancakes slightly different you can also use light brown sugar, coconut sugar or coconut sugar alternatives and fresh lime juice instead of lemon juice.
Another classical choice, maple syrup has become popular pancake topping choice especially in Canada and USA and more recently in the UK too. The lovely sweet and rich flavour of maple syrup goes well with pancakes and makes a great combination.
Real – undiluted – maple syrup can be quite pricey and the budget friendly versions include additional sugar or other sugar syrups suitable as maple syrup substitute to make the product more affordable.
The flavour of diluted maple syrups is much sweeter (and slightly blander) than the real thing, so if you can afford it, always go for the original maple syrup.
Natural sugar syrups – Honey, Agave, Date or Rice Syrup
The next obvious choice for breakfast pancake topping is honey or agave syrup, which can be easily bought in most shops.
I’ve also tried (and really liked) date syrup (very sweet, but lovely), rice syrup (more like agave syrup with mild flavour), carob syrup (very strong flavour of chocolate/coffee – it’s best mixed with a little bit of honey or other syrup).
Double Cream, Whipped Cream or Single Cream, Dairy or plant based creams
You can use various double or single creams as toppings for pancakes and you can choose to whip them or not. I would usually first add a layer of jam and then drizzled the pancakes with cream (in the same way as you’d with maple syrup).
Flavoured thick creams – Brandy cream
This is my favourite thing to do around Christmas time. Traditionally you would put brandy cream on hot mince pies that are popular in Britain. I’m not that keen on mince pies, but I’d buy the brandy cream and use it as a topping for my pancakes (with or without a jam, there is enough flavour to go round).
Each year, there are different flavours like an orange liqueur or coffee liqueur. I’ve also experimented with adding the flavoured creams to the pancake batter (instead of milk) and I have to tell you, those kinds of pancakes don’t need anything else! They can be eaten just on their own!
I know that normally you’d use clotted cream on fruit scones, but I use the same topping for basic buttermilk pancakes and the combination is amazing!
Pancakes with a layer of strawberry jam and a dollop of clotted cream is the ultimate pancake topping combination.
Creme fresh is slightly more tangy than regular cream, which is why it feels like it’s a lighter option than regular cream or ice-cream.
Cream fresh goes well with fresh fruit but also with very sweet flavours, as it will tone down the overall flavour.
Yoghurt – Greek Yoghurt – Flavoured Yoghurts, Plant based yoghurt
If you want to keep things on the healthier side, using yoghurt as a topping for pancakes (instead of cream) is a smart choice. Top the yoghurt with fresh fruit, and you have a great healthy breakfast pancakes option.
If you are watching cholesterol you might like to go for a plant based or low fat yoghurt.
Smaller berries or easily cut up fruits are best for serving with pancakes, but other fruits, such as oranges or grapefruits can be pealed and cut up small and served with pancakes.
Blueberries, Bananas, Raspberries, Forest Berries, Blackberries, Strawberries.
Cream Cheese (Soft Cream Cheese)
The combination of cream cheese and jam is one of my favourite ones. You can use any kind of cream cheese (non flavoured one) for this. I usually put a thin layer of jam (plum or raspberry is great) and then add a dollop of cream cheese on the top.
If I want to make the cream cheese extra luxurious, I add some icing sugar and a little bit of vanilla extract and mix everything together.
This will turn the cream cheese into a kind of cheesecake flavour and it’s so delicious on it’s own as a pancake topping or it works with any fruit or chocolate or toffee flavours.
GLUTEN FREE PANCAKE RECIPES
- Oats Pancakes (GF) >>
- Light & Fluffy Pancakes with yeast (GF) >>
- Banana & Carob Pancakes (GF) >>
- Buckweed & Banana Pancakes (GF) >>
Fruit Sauces – Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Mango
Fruit purees are great to serve as a topping with pancakes. I often use ready made Raspberry or Mango Coulis and they work great with fruit pancake flavours or on it’s own.
You can also make fruit syrup at home in the same time it will take you to fry your pancakes! Use any kind of fruit you like – strawberry, raspberry, blueberry or mango is always popular. Add the fruit into a small saucepan, add a little bit of sugar and water.
Leave to simmer for a bit until the fruit breaks down. Taste and add any spice (ground cinnamon or mixed spices are always nice addition), a bit of lemon (if the fruit flavour is not sharp enough) and a tiny pinch of salt (if the fruit flavour is bland).
Depending on the type of fruit, you might like to put the fruit sauce through a sieve to get rid of small pips or skin.
When I was growing up, one of our favourite pancake toppings was stewed apple with cinnamon. It was so easy to make and we usually made it at the same time as we made our pancakes.
All you need is some apples (any kind), peel them, core them and cut them up to small pieces. Ad them to a smaller saucepan with a little bit of water and leave to simmer on a very low heat. After about 5-8 minutes the apples will start to break down.
Add cinnamon and sugar (if you want to) or a little bit of lemon juice to make the apples more zesty.
Serve hot or cold on top of your pancakes and keep the rest in the fridge for 3-4 days if not eaten straightaway.
You can use this simple recipe for any kind of fruit.
Sweet toffee or caramel sauces
Toffee or caramel sauces (or salted caramel if you wish) are a great drizzled over your pancakes. You can also add them on top of yoghurt or creme fraiche as these sauces are very sweet.
You can easily buy toffee sauce or caramel sauce in the shop, but if you want to make a simple caramel sauce at home you can do that in the same time it will take you to make your pancakes.
Add a 1/2 cup of sugar (125 grams) to a small saucepan together with 2 tablespoons of water. Leave the sugar to dissolve on a very low heat, but don’t let the sugar to boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to a higher simmer and leave to caramelise (don’t stir) a little.
Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream – 90 ml (single or double cream or half and half) and leave to simmer for a few seconds. Once the cream boils over, pour the caramel into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool down before using.
If you prefer to make salted caramel sauce, add 1/4 or up to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt right at the end when you are pouring the caramel into the bowl. Use straightaway or keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Soft chocolate filling (ganache) that’s normally used for filling chocolate bonbons, truffles and also used instead of buttercream for layering cakes.
I use chocolate ganache in my day job when I’m making my chocolates or teaching, so I’m used to using the leftovers on my pancakes.
To make things simple, you only need some chocolate (any kind of chocolate bar), cut it up in smaller pieces and then pour hot double or single cream on the top. You can use dairy-free cream, half and half or regular cream too.).
It’s good to keep the ratio about 1 portion of chocolate and about half of portion of cream (or little more if you want your chocolate sauce to be a bit runnier). Leave the cream to heat up the chocolate and gently stir when it cools down a bit.
Add extra flavour if you wish, such as warming spices, hint of alcohol or other flavours such as mint, coffee or orange. Use slightly warm on your pancakes or keep in the fridge for up to 7 days if not used straightaway.
You can use milk, dark or white chocolate for this recipe depending on the flavour of your pancakes. For example white chocolate ganache with fresh raspberries is a great combination for pancakes, that feels quite luxurious too.
Lemon curd can be easily bought in any good supermarket, but you can also make other fruit curds at home. You can use pretty much any fruit and the flavours are amazing!
Homemade curds can be also used as a spreads for toast or as a topping for breakfast porridge or overnight oats.
HOMEMADE CURD RECIPES
Chocolate Spreads – White chocolate, oreo or Nutella
Chocolate or praline spreads are also a great option to serve with your pancakes. I love hazelnut and chocolate spreads, but the white chocolate and milk chocolate swirled spreads are great too.
Marshmallow fluff or warmed up/toasted marshmallows
I’ve recently bought a tub of marshmallow fluff and found it to be a great topping for pancakes. Granted, it’s very, very sweet, but if you keep the basic pancakes low in sugar (or completely sugar free), you can afford to add something sweter on the top.
If you don’t have marshmallow fluff, you can also warm up a few marshmallows in the bowl in the microwave and use these (be careful, they will be initially very hot even if you warm them up for few seconds at a time).
LOW SUGAR PANCAKE RECIPES
- Truly sugar free pancakes (no sugar alternative) >>
- Blueberry (Sugar Free) Pancakes >>
- Almond & Flax Pancakes (Sugar Free) >>
You can of course buy chocolate syrup in the shop, but you can also easily make it at home. All you need is some cocoa powder, sugar and a small amount of water. Mix the cocoa powder with sugar (I use icing sugar to make sure that the sugar dissolves fast) and add water to make a thicker paste. Use microwave (or small saucepan on the lowest setting) to gently warm up the mixture for 10-15 seconds at the time. Don’t let the chocolate syrup to boil.
Adjust the flavour and texture by adding more sugar, cocoa powder or water. If the flavour feels flat or slightly bland, ad a tiny pinch of salt and mix in.
Use the chocolate syrup straightaway or keep in the fridge for up to 7 days if not used up straightaway.
Nut spreads – peanut butter, almond butter
Nut spreads are great as toppings for pancakes – they add flavour but also extra protein and nutrions. Peanut butter is the easier available nut butter in the shops and goes well with any chocolate or banana based pancakes. You can also combine the peanut butter with strawberry or raspberry jam to recreate the famous Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches flavour.
Almond or any almond butter alternatives, cashew or hazelnut butter are also great as toppings for pancakes, but they are a lot pricier.
The zesty flavours of citrus marmalades go well with freshly fried pancakes, especially basic buttermilk pancakes or fruit pancakes.
- Tangerine Marmalade (all in one method) >>
- Orange & Lime Marmalade >>
- Traditional Seville Oranges Marmalade (smaller batch) >>
- Orange Marmalade (reduced sugar) >>
- Grapefruit Marmalade >>
Any type of jam will work with most pancake recipes, but I particularly like raspberry or blueberry jams. Jams are also great to use in the winter, when it’s more expensive to buy fresh fruit and they will still provide you with the fruit flavour.
If you want to make any jam into fruit sauce, you just need to add a few tablespoons into a microwavable bowl and add a tablespoon (or two) of water. Let the whole mixture to warm up a bit and then stir the jam into the water until blended. Leave to cool down before serving.
Flavoured sugar syrups
Homemade syrups are a great way of adding extra flavour to your pancakes.
They are easy to make and can be made practically from anything – fruit, tea, spice or brown sugar – sugar can be infused with any kind of flavour. I make my own infused sugar syrups for pancakes, oatmeal and ice tea and coffee making.
FLAVOURED SYRUP RECIPES
Ice cream or sorbet
Summer is a great time to add ice creams and sorbets to the list of pancake toppings. Use them on their own or sprinkle a bit of chopped up chocolate on the top or drizzle with fruit sauce or honey, depending on your pancake flavours.
You can also add fresh fruit on top of the ice-cream to make them extra special.
- Cherry & Lemon Sorbet >>
- Blueberry & Lemon Sorbet >>
- Traditional Vanilla Ice-Cream >>
- Coconut & Matcha Ice-Cream >>
- Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ice-Cream >>
Any kind of chopped nuts are great as toppings for chocolate, cream or caramel flavoured pancakes. I like walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans, but almonds are also great.
Cashew nuts and macadamia nuts can be also used, but they are usually more expensive and since they have a very distinct flavour, they don’t always work. Saying that white chocolate ganache topped with macadamia nuts is actually pretty amazing as a topping for pancakes.
You can’t go wrong with chocolate on pancakes! The best thing is to slowly melt the chocolate (using any chocolate bar – milk, dark or white chocolate) and drizzle the chocolate over your pancakes.
Alternatively, you can make a shavings from a chocolate bar by slicing the chocolate very thinly and using the chocolate flakes as as toppings.
For example soft cream cheese topped up with chocolate flakes and drizzling of chocolate syrup or caramel syrup is a great flavour combination to go with your pancakes.
Dried fruit (raisins, dates, prunes, pineapple, papaya, apricot etc)
I think soft dried fruit works better in this case because you don’t want to be bitting into something too hard as you eat your pancakes. If you have something bigger like prunes or dates, I always cut them up into smaller pieces.
Freeze dried fruit (raspberries, strawberries etc.)
Freeze dried fruit is a bit of a luxury, because it can be a little pricey, but the flavour is usually very intense and you only need a small amount to make the flavour pop!
Add a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries on top of vanilla icecream on your pancakes and serve it drizzled with raspberry syrup or even fresh raspberries for extra flavour.
Raspberries also work great with chocolate. For example chocolate pancakes with creme fraiche topped with freeze dried raspberries and a sprinkling of chocolate or extra melted chocolate.
A pinch of sweet spice
A pinch of homemade spice flavouring depending on the season will go amazingly well with any pancakes. Use it very sparingly and only as a dusting on the top of your pancakes after you’ve assembled the rest of your flavours.
- Gingerbread Spice >>
- Mixed Spice >>
- Pumpkin Pie Spice >>
- Apple Pie Spice >>
- Christmas Stollen Spice >>
- Oatmeal Spice >>
My favourite combination of pancake toppings includes:
Chocolate Nutella Spread & Banana slices
Sweetened Cream Cheese topped up with walnuts and drizzles of coffee syrup
Peanut Butter & Banana slices topped with chocolate chips or flakes
Plum jam & Soft Cream Cheese
This blog post was originally written on 15 February 2023 and last updated on 16 February 2023
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