How to Make a Fun, Colorful Pancake Recipe for Kids

It's time to get colorful, crafty and a little messy with your kids as you make a pancake breakfast together.

If you’re looking for a great introductory cooking lesson for the young cooks in your home, look no further than this step-by-step pancake recipe for kids. We’ve included kid-friendly tasks for children of all ages so everyone can get involved in the process for a hands-on Sunday brunch.

The best part about making pancakes is that the basic recipe only requires pantry staples you already have on hand. From there, you and your kids can get as creative as you want with the toppings and mix-ins!

Skills Your Kids Will Need for This Recipe

Kids of all ages can help make pancakes. Toddlers can help with simpler tasks such as gathering ingredients, pouring and mixing. Your older children can help with measuring, reading directions and even flipping the pancakes.

Keep in mind that because a hot griddle is used when making pancakes, any children who will be assisting in the cooking part of the process should be able to take good direction from adults, have a solid understanding of the dangers of hot surfaces and have well-developed fine motor control for pouring batter onto the griddle and flipping pancakes with a spatula.

The adults will want to read about these pancake mistakes before starting!

How to Customize This Recipe

When it comes to flavor, pancakes have no rules. We’re sharing our favorite, basic fluffy pancake recipe below. You can keep things classic and serve your pancakes the old-fashioned way with butter and syrup or jazz ’em up for added flavor, color and fun your kids will love.

Pancake Mix-ins for Kids

After pouring pancake batter onto the hot griddle, sprinkle a small handful of one of these tasty mix-ins over the pancakes before flipping them.

  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Mini M&M’s
  • Slices of apple, peach or banana

Pancake Toppings Kids Will Love

Young cooks who are not old enough to work at a hot griddle don’t have to miss out on the fun. Add a bunch of these great pancake toppings to your breakfast table and let each kid turn their pancakes into a work of art.

  • Fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, raspberries and orange slices
  • Rainbow sprinkles, mini chocolate chips or M&M’s
  • Chopped nuts, sunflower seeds and/or toasted coconut
  • Whipped cream, butter, powdered sugar and/or maple syrup
  • Chocolate syrup and caramel sauce

Kids Eat in Color

Remember Funky Purple ketchup? While disconcerting for some, there was a good reason for it. Kids are often more inclined to try new foods when they’re bright, bold colors. You can make rainbow pancakes for your kids by adding a few drops of food coloring to the pancake batter. You can also use a few teaspoons of the following purees if you want to go the natural route.

  • Pink: raspberry or beet puree
  • Blue: blackberry puree
  • Purple: blueberry puree
  • Green: pureed spinach or mint leaves (be warned, these may give a faint vegetable flavor to the pancakes)
  • Orange: Sweet potato puree

How to Make Fluffy Pancakes with Kids

maple syrup poured over a stack of rainbow pancakes for kidsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Eugene Presley of Virginia shared this pancake recipe with us. It makes 8.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the pancake batter

mixing pancake batterLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then, in a large Pyrex measuring cup, combine the egg, milk and melted butter. Next, stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Take care not to overmix—here’s why.

In this step, older children can help scoop and measure the various ingredients. Younger ones can help pour ingredients and mix the batter, with the help of an adult.

Step 2: Add optional coloring

mix-ins and toppings for kidsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

If desired, divide the batter evenly into 3 to 4 smaller bowls. Add a few drops of food dye or a few teaspoons of natural food coloring and mix until the batter is evenly dyed.

Let younger children help choose and identify the colors to use! Give your kids a lesson in color mixing by combining primary-colored dyes to create other colors.

Step 3: Pour batter onto griddle

cooking pancakes with a kid-friendly batter dispenserLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Pour spoonfuls of batter (about 1/4 cup) onto a greased, hot griddle. Then, if desired, add a small handful of the preferred mix-ins (chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.) onto each pancake.

For this step, older children who are ready to work over a hot surface can help pour pancake batter onto the griddle. Small hands might find it helpful to use a squeezable batter dispenser rather than a measuring cup to transfer the batter. Squeeze bottles also make it possible to make pancakes into fun letter shapes!

Step 4: Flip and finish cooking

cooking pancakes on a griddle with custom mix-insLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

When bubbles start to form on the surface of each pancake, carefully flip using a spatula. Cook on the second side until golden brown. Transfer to a heat-safe platter and place into an oven set to “warm” until all the pancakes are cooked.

Editor’s Tip: Teach kids how to identify when a pancake is ready to be flipped.

Step 5: Decorate

helping a toddler cut out pancakes using a cookie cuttersLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Kids of all ages will enjoy decorating their pancakes with various toppings! For an extra fun treat, bust out assorted cookie cutters and let them cut their pancakes into fun shapes.

To us, cooking is more than a hobby or way to pass the time. It’s an essential life skill that helps children develop good eating habits from a young age. Here’s what to keep in mind when you take to the kitchen with little ones.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.