Mini Pancake Cereal
A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me to weigh in on the latest viral recipe from TikTok: mini pancake cereal. Since I’d already covered dalgona coffee (another viral TikTok/Instagram recipe—you know, the whipped, fluffy coffee everybody that everybody was posting about alongside their sourdough loaves and banana bread?), why not do one for pancake cereal, too?
What is Pancake Cereal?
First of all, what even is pancake cereal, anyway? Pancake cereal is made by cooking a lot of mini pancakes really small. Like, the size of a coin—maybe a nickel or a quarter?—small. You then pile all these mini pancakes into a small bowl so that they look like cereal! That’s it, lol.
I’m not going to lie—doing so is mostly for the TikTok videos and Instagram aesthetics. Why? Although pancake cereal looks pretty cute, cooking a lot of mini pancakes takes way more time than cooking, say, 1 or 2 regular sized pancakes. You end up cooking SO many batches of the stuff. It’s kinda inefficient!
That being said, if you’re a fan of crispy pancakes, this recipe is totally worth it! The pancakes’ smaller size makes the pancakes more crispy since there is less surface area for them to fluff up like regular pancakes. Typically, most TikTok tutorials instruct you to make the pancakes small enough to eat with a spoon. A spoonful of pancake cereal is pretty crispy; it’s almost similar to the crunchiness of a spoonful of real cereal.
Why is Pancake Cereal Popular?
Pancake cereal recently started trending on TikTok in early May 2020. TikTok featured a pancake cereal recipe as one of its trending hashtags.
Similar to dalgona coffee, folks started making pancake cereal at home to bring joy into an otherwise standard breakfast recipe. It’s also a great way to pass the time while staying at home and following the current health and safety guidelines.
How to Eat Pancake Cereal
Many TikTok videos demonstrate different ways to eat and serve pancake cereal. The most common way to eat pancake cereal is to place all the mini pancakes in a bowl, drizzle with maple syrup, and top with a pat of butter. This is my preferred method as its pretty similar to how you would serve a stack of regular pancakes.
Other folks treat pancake cereal more like, well, cereal. Many place the pancakes in a bowl and pour in a generous glug of milk, similar to how you would prepare a bowl of cereal. Some add in typical cereal fixings like blueberries and banana slices.
Finally, there are TikTokers who garnish the mini pancakes with the syrup and the butter, THEN pour milk over the entire thing. Wild, right?!
Why You Should Make This Mini Pancake Cereal Recipe
Here are all the reasons why you should make this pancake cereal recipe:
- This pancake cereal recipe is a fun and slightly time-consuming distraction!
Let’s face it—given the current situation, we could all use a little distraction! Similar to dalgona coffee, this pancake cereal recipe is a fun way to pass the time and make life at home a little more joyful.
- Despite being time-consuming, the recipe is pretty easy to make—the batter comes together super quickly.
You don’t even need a mixer for this pancake cereal. recipe, folks! To make the pancake batter, all you need to do is whisk together a handful of ingredients. It takes 5 minutes… maybe even less than that. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples that you’ll likely already have at home, too!
- This pancake cereal recipe actually makes pretty delicious pancakes!
Okay, maybe you aren’t convinced by the idea of pancake cereal. But good news: you can make regular sized pancakes with this pancake batter, anyway. And guess what? The pancakes are still going to be delicious!
This pancake recipe is actually based on a recipe by culinary legend, Ruth Reichl. The recipe makes super buttery pancakes with super crispy edges and a light, fluffy, pillowy interior. They’re maybe the best pancakes I’ve ever had? Sincerely. So pancake cereal or not, this recipe is worth trying!
Mini Pancake Cereal Ingredients and Substitutions
Now that I’ve convinced you to make pancake cereal, here is your shopping list for the recipe:
Shopping List for Mini Pancake Cereal Recipe
- whole milk
- large eggs
- canola oil
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- baking powder
- kosher salt
- maple syrup (optional, for serving)
And let’s talk about some of its key ingredients:
This pancake cereal uses ½ cup whole milk in the recipe.
Can I use skim, low-fat or non-fat milk instead of whole milk in this pancake cereal recipe?
Yes, but with reservations. Skim, low-fat, and non-fat milks will lead to less flavorful baked goods.
Can I use non-dairy milk like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or oat milk instead of whole milk in this pancake cereal recipe?
Yes! You can use alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and/or oat milk in this recipe without altering the results. However, be mindful that using an alternative milk with “strong” flavors (like coconut or oat milk) will impart their flavors into the pancake cereal. Specifically, your pancakes might have a subtle coconut or oat milk flavor to them, too.
This pancake cereal uses 1 large egg in the recipe.
I don’t eat egg because of allergies and/or my diet. What can I use instead of egg?
I’m sorry, but I don’t 100% know. In general, my specialty lies in creating baking recipes with conventional ingredients. If you’re looking for an eggless or vegan pancake recipe, I suggest checking out my friends Ashlae at Oh Ladycakes and Laura at The First Mess. Both of them specialize in vegan cooking and will be able to help you out better than I can!
That being said, if you’ve used flax eggs in pancake batter recipes before with success, it’s likely they’ll work in this recipe. Similarly, if you’ve used an egg replacer (like Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer) in other pancake recipes with success, it’ll also likely work in this recipe. Why? The pancake cereal is made with a pretty standard pancake batter recipe that’ll probably be pretty similar to what you’ve made in the past with the replacers. However, since I’ve never tried the substitutions myself, I cannot 100% guarantee the results. If you replace the egg in this small pancake cereal recipe with any of the options I provided, please leave a comment so I can update this post accordingly!
This pancake cereal uses 1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil in the recipe.
Do I have to use canola oil to make pancake cereal?
No, in a pinch, you can skip using vegetable oil in the recipe. But the vegetable oil is in the recipe to help crisp up the pancakes! Without them, your pancake cereal will be less crispy. So it’s worth it, I promise.
Can I use another oil instead?
Yes! You can use whatever oil you have on hand instead. Vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, and peanut oil work best to replace the canola oil because they are also neutral in flavors. However, you can also use flavored oils like coconut and olive in this recipe. Just note that, similar to using flavored milk above, your pancakes might have a subtle coconut or olive oil flavor to them, too.
This pancake cereal uses ½ cup all-purpose flour in the recipe.
Can I use whole wheat flour instead for this pancake cereal recipe?
Yes! You can substitute all of the flour in the recipe with whole wheat flour.
Can I use almond meal or almond flour instead for this pancake cereal recipe?
Kind of. I don’t recommend swapping out ALL the all-purpose flour with almond meal or almond flour. Doing so causes the pancakes to spread too much and burn really quickly. You need an ingredient to bind the batter together as it cooks—almond meal/almond flour won’t work because both are gluten-free.
That being said, you can swap out up to ¼ cup of the all-purpose flour with almond meal and almond flour. You may need to cook the pancake cereal for less time than what’s listed in the recipe.
And if you’re interested in a pancake recipe that uses all almond meal or almond flour, check out these almond flour pancake recipes at Ambitious Kitchen and Slender Kitchen. In theory, assuming the pancake batters don’t spread too much, you can take these batter recipes and apply the pancake cereal making techniques in my recipe to make almond flour mini pancake cereal.
Does a 1-1 gluten free all-purpose flour (like Bob’s Red Mill, or King Arthur Flour) work in this pancake cereal recipe?
I’m sorry, but I don’t know. I rarely bake with those types of flour replacements because they’re expensive and my household is fortunate not to have any gluten restrictions. However, if you replace the flour in this pancake cereal recipe with any gluten-free alternatives, please leave a comment so I can update this post accordingly!
In general, my specialty lies in creating baking recipes with conventional ingredients. If you’re looking for a gluten-free pancake recipe, I suggest checking out my friends over at The Bojon Gourmet and Snixy Kitchen. Both Alanna and Sarah specialize in gluten-free baking and will be able to help you out better than I can!
Tools to Make Pancake Cereal
This mini pancake cereal recipe requires a handful of specialty tools:
A Piping Bag with a Small Piping Tip
It’s best to use a piping bag with a small piping tip to make the mini pancakes. You’ll use the piping bag to pipe small dollops of pancake batter into a frying pan.
Do I really need a piping bag to make pancake cereal?
No, not at all! If you don’t have a piping bag at home, pour the batter into a disposable ziptop bag. Snip off a small corner of the ziptop bag with scissors. Boom! You’ve made your very own piping bag at home!
What if I don’t have disposable ziptop bag?
Okay, no worries. It’s going to make this recipe a little harder and more inconvenient—but don’t worry, you can still make it! Instead of using a piping bag or a ziptop bag, you can use a ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon. Working quickly, use the spoon to dollop a tiny amount of batter into the pan. While it works, it’s not as convenient as a piping bag since the batter is thick and has a tendency to get stuck in the spoon. You’ll likely end up with more unevenly sized pancakes.
Alternatively, do you have a squeeze bottle? I’ve also seen some folks place the pancake batter in a squeeze bottle and pipe the pancakes that way.
What piping tip did you use to make your pancake cereal?
I used a round (plain tube) tip from this Ateco jumbo tip set. But guess what? It doesn’t matter what tip you use. The pancake batter is pretty runny, so whatever you pipe will likely end up as a round circle. If you’re using a disposable plastic piping bag, you can even forgo the piping tip completely. Instead, just snip a small hole at tip of the piping bag, similar to how you would snip off the corner of a ziptop bag. It saves you from having to fuss with any piping tips!
A Nonstick Skillet
I am of the firm opinion that pancakes are best when made in a nonstick skillet. Nonstick skillets make pancake making SO much easier. It will especially pay off for this pancake cereal recipe, since you’ll be making multiple batches of mini pancakes. That’s already a pretty fiddly task in itself—why make it harder?
Do I really need a nonstick skillet to make pancake cereal?
No, not really. You can probably get away with using an all stainless steel or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (like I did—do as I say, not what I do, lol). But make sure to use a LOT of oil to ensure that your mini pancakes don’t stick!
Two Stiff Cooking Spatulas
Confession: it is a lot harder to flip a mini pancake than it is to flip a regular pancake. There’s just less surface area for the spatula to work with! It’s easier if you use two stiff cooking spatulas. Instead of approaching the pancake from just one side, use both the spatulas to approach the pancake from opposite ends. Lift it up this way, then flip!
Alternatively, you can use cooking tongs. However, I found that my tongs were far too big (they’re more suited for flipping burgers and steaks on a grill, I guess) and clumsy for the job.
When cooking the mini pancakes, I found that some of them cooked way faster than others. This uneven cooking is due to a number of factors: when the batter was piped onto the pan, how far (or close!) the pancake is to the hottest part of the pan (typically, its center), and more. Often times, the pancakes that were piped around the edges of the pan needed to cook for longer. To make sure none of my pancakes got burnt, I ended up using chopsticks to lift the pancakes that finished cooking earlier. Any chopsticks will do the job—even the cheap wooden ones you get with takeout!
Of course, if you don’t have chopsticks, don’t worry about it! You can also use the two spatulas (see above). If you have a particularly high heat tolerance, you can make do like some TikTokers and just use your fingers. I don’t recommend this though—it seems dangerous, lol.
How to Make Pancake Cereal
Here are the basic steps to make this pancake cereal recipe:
- Make the pancake batter. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
First, make the pancake batter. It’s super easy. Whisk together the wet ingredients like milk, eggs, oil, and butter, then the dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Pour the batter into a piping bag.
- Prep your pancake making station. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
You’ll need to preheat the pan at a high temperature to get it as evenly heated as possible. After its preheated, lower the temperature for your pancakes. Don’t cook them at the high temperature! Because the pancakes are so small, it’s easy to burn them.
- Cook the pancakes. (Cook Time: 20 minutes)
Use the piping bag to dollop small amount of batter (roughly the size of a coin—a dime or a nickel for you Americans) into the pan. Each dollop makes a small pancake. Cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes, or until set around the edges and lightly golden in the center. Flip, then cook on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately!
Pancake cereal is best when the pancakes are still warm and fresh off the stovetop. However, because you’ll likely be cooking the mini pancakes in multiple batches, you can place the finished pancakes in the oven to keep them warm as you cook the rest of the batter.
Pancake Cereal Variations
You can also add other ingredients to the pancake batter to make the cereal more festive and fun. Below are my two favorite variations for pancake cereal:
Chocolate Chip Pancake Cereal
Add ¼ cup (1.5 ounces or 43 grams) mini chocolate chips to the batter after mixing in all the dry ingredients. It’s important to use mini chocolate chips in this recipe. Why? To make the pancake cereal, you’ll need to pipe the batter through a piping bag. Regular sized chocolate chips won’t fit through a small piping tip!
Additionally, the pancakes are quite small—one regular sized chocolate chip is about half the size of one of the mini pancakes. Using regular chocolate chips means that you’d get more chocolate than you would pancake, lol. Stick to mini chocolate chips, please!
Funfetti Pancake Cereal
Add ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) nonpareil sprinkles to the batter after mixing in all the dry ingredients. It’s important to use nonpareil sprinkles. What are nonpareil sprinkles? These are the sprinkles shaped like balls instead of strands (those are called jimmies!). Because they are bigger, jimmies can be hard to pipe through a piping bag.
Pancake Cereal Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ
FAQ: Pancake Cereal Ingredients
Can I use pancake mix to make pancake cereal instead?
Yes, you absolutely can! Traditional pancake mix even holds its shape better than pancake batter made from scratch. That means you’ll likely have an easier time piping the pancake cereal!
FAQ: General Pancake Making Techniques
Can I use this pancake recipe to make regular sized pancakes instead?
Yes, you absolutely can! Instead of pouring the pancake batter into a piping bag, ladle a scoop of the batter into the center of the pan and cook. The size of the pancake is up to you! However, I’ve found that a scant ladle scoop makes a pancake roughly the size of my palm. That size of pancake takes about 2 to 3 minutes to cook on medium-low heat. The recipe makes approximately 4 to 6 regular-sized pancakes.
How long to cook pancakes
Unfortunately, there is no magic number for how long to cook pancakes, especially since pancakes can vary greatly in size. Specifically, you can make tiny mini pancakes like this one for cereal, or regular sized ones like I described above with the same batter. So instead, it’s best to rely on visual cues—check out the section below for more information!
When to flip a pancake
You want to flip the pancakes when the edges are set, but the centers are still a little bit moist and bubbly. A stiff spatula should slide underneath the pancake easily. If it wrinkles or gets sticky when you slide the spatula underneath the pancake, don’t flip it! It still needs more time to cook.
How to keep pancakes warm
Okay, here goes: one of the most problematic things about this recipe is that, because the pancakes are so small, they tend to get cold really, really fast. Like faster than a normal pancake. That’s a problem, especially if you need to make enough to fill a small bowl like you would cereal!
Luckily, when I was researching breakfast recipes for my cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I discovered a neat trick on how to keep batches of pancakes and waffles warm. Simply preheat your oven to a low temperature like 200°F to 250°F. Set a wire rack on a sheet pan and place it in the oven. Follow the recipe to cook the pancakes. However, as the pancakes finish cooking, transfer them to the wire rack in the oven instead of placing them on a plate. The oven will keep the pancakes warm until you’re ready to serve. Pretty cool, right? This is an especially handy technique if you’re planning on serving a huge platter all at once to a big group!
FAQ: Pancake Cereal Storage
Can you save pancake batter?
Yes! The pancake batter recipe can be made up to 1 day ahead, and stored in the the fridge until you’re ready to make the pancake cereal.
Alternatively, if you find yourself getting fatigued by making pancake cereal (see baker’s notes), you make a batch or two, then save the batter in the refrigerator to make pancake cereal another day. Simply cover the pancake batter bowl with a tight layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate.
How long does pancake batter last?
This particular pancake batter recipe lasts for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can you make pancake cereal and eat it later?
Yes! Follow the directions to make the pancake cereal. However, instead of placing in the oven to keep warm, you can simply transfer them to a plate. Once you’ve used up all your batter, transfer the mini pancakes into an airtight container or ziptop bag. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Be sure to check out the instructions below on how to reheat the pancake cereal!
Can you freeze pancake cereal?
Yes! Follow the directions to make the pancake cereal. However, instead of placing in the oven to keep warm, you can simply transfer them to a plate. Once you’ve used up all your batter, transfer the mini pancakes into an airtight container or ziptop bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. The day before you’re planning to serve the mini pancakes, transfer the frozen pancakes to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Follow the instructions below on how to reheat the pancake cereal.
How to reheat pancake cereal
There are a couple of ways to reheat the pancake cereal:
By stovetop: Heat a medium, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, reduce the temperature to medium-low and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the pancakes, using a stiff cooking spatula to occasionally toss them and coat them with butter, until crispy and lightly browned.
By oven: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the pancakes in an even layer on top. Pour 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the pancakes and toss until coated. Arrange the pancakes as best as you can in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the pancakes are crispy and lightly browned.
By microwave: Okay, although you can technically reheat pancake cereal in the microwave, I don’t recommend doing so. Why? The pancakes won’t get crispy—instead, they’ll be soft and a little soggy. Please follow the methods above instead!
Best Pancake Cereal Recipe Tips
Best Pancake Cereal Piping Tips
- Making the pancake batter the day before and refrigerating it overnight makes your life easier. Why? The chilled batter is easier to pipe, and helps hold its shape better in the skillet.
- Uh oh! You’re having trouble piping the batter because it’s just SO runny. It keeps gushing out of the piping bag, resulting in bigger pancakes. No worries! Instead of holding the piping bag perpendicular to the pan (which is how you typically pipe things), hold it parallel to the pan. Lightly squeeze the top of the bag to allow the batter to fall into a thin, slow stream into the pan. It’s much easier to control the batter this way!
Best Pancake Cereal Cooking Tips
- Although many TikTok videos show people making huge amounts of mini pancakes at a time, I actually ended up baking the mini pancakes in batches of about 10 to 15 at a time. Anything more was a little chaotic—it was hard to flip the pancakes one by one in the crowded pan!
However, if you’re looking to safe time, don’t bother flipping the pancakes one by one. Instead, once the majority of the pancakes are set, use a stiff spatula to just flip them all by scraping it around the pan to lift and toss the pancakes all at once. I don’t recommend this method though—although it saves time, you always inevitably end up with some undercooked, soggy pancakes.
Video Tutorial for Mini Pancake Cereal Recipe
Use the video player below to watch my Instagram Story tutorial on how to make this mini pancake cereal recipe! The arrows to the left and right of the frame allow you to skip through the different recipe steps. You can also hit the “pause” or “enlarge” buttons on the upper right hand side of the frame to pause or enlarge the frames accordingly.
Alternatively, head to my Instagram profile to watch these Stories on mobile! The circles underneath my bio indicate saved Instagram Story highlights depicting various recipes. Clicking on one of the circles will play the videos you see above. You may need to scroll right to find this mini pancake cereal recipe.
More Pancake Recipes
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- Coconut Cream Crêpe Cake
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- Silver Dollar Crêpes with Blood Orange Roasted Rhubarb
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Mini Pancake Cereal Recipe
For the Mini Pancake Cereal
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil, plus more for pan
- 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup (2.25 ounces or 64 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Mini Pancake Cereal
- Prep your oven and pans. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 250°F. Set a wire rack on top of a sheet pan and place in the oven.
- Make the pancake batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, and butter. Sprinkle the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt over the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to mix until just combined; the batter will be thick with some lumps.
- Prep your skillet. Heat a medium, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, use a pastry brush to brush a thin film of oil (from about ½ teaspoon) across the pan's surface. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cook the pancakes. Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small tip. Working quickly, pipe small dots of the pancake batter, each about the size of a dime (about ¾ of an inch, or 20mm) or a nickel (slightly larger than ¾ of an inch, or 22mm). Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the edges of the pancakes look dry and set. Use a stiff spatula or chopsticks to flip each pancake individually. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom of each pancake is golden brown.
- Serve and store. Serve immediately, or place the cooked pancakes directly on the wire rack on the sheet pan in the oven to keep them warm and crisp until ready to serve.
This post was last updated on 9/4/2020.
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Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.
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