Pancakes are great but pancakes with sprinkles? Now we’re talking!
Both my boys have milestone birthdays this spring (13 and 16) and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t near bursting with excitement for them both. We always have dinner and cake but this year calls for a special breakfasts, too. I think these funfetti pancakes are the perfect way to start the celebrations.
These pancakes channel funfetti cake by using rainbow sprinkles, neutral oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. I convert funfetti cake to pancake form by using buttermilk to balance out the extra sweetness and to keep the pancakes light and fluffy. Top with a buttery icing, extra sprinkles, and whipped cream. Now that’s a party!
Whether a birthday, holiday, or just because you feel like it, whipping up a batch of funfetti pancakes is sure to make you feel like celebrating.
What Sprinkles Work Best?
I tried multiple sprinkles for this recipe and rainbow sprinkles work the best. They’re bright, tube shaped and don’t leave streaks of color in the batter, which means that the last pancake looks as good as the first.
Nonpareils, or the small round sprinkles, bled color quickly and the small shape didn’t remind me of funfetti as much as the rainbow sprinkles did. Natural rainbow sprinkles aren’t as bright or sweet and the ones I tried weren’t as color-fast as Betty Crocker, but if you are fine with those trade-offs then use whatever rainbow sprinkles you have in your pantry.
Swaps and Subs
- Buttermilk: I do my best to keep my fridge stocked with buttermilk but sometimes it slips my mind and I’m left hunting for a last minute substitute. In this case, I turn to one of these options, usually milk with lemon juice since I usually have sliced lemons in the refrigerator that need to be used up.
- Oil: Feel free to use melted unsalted butter in place of the neutral oil in the pancake batter. Butter will harden if added to cold buttermilk, so microwave the buttermilk for 30 seconds or so to take off the chill before adding the melted butter.
- Vanilla: The funfetti cake that we all know and love uses clear vanilla, a colorless type of imitation vanilla, for flavoring. If you have it around, substitute the vanilla extract with clear vanilla. I found that 1/2 teaspoon in the batter and 1/4 teaspoon in the icing was the perfect amount.
Tips for Cooking Funfetti Pancakes
- Use lower heat: Cooking funfetti pancakes is similar to cooking any other buttermilk pancake. The main difference is that we want the pancakes to stay light in color so that the sprinkles are visible. This requires cooking at a lower heat for slightly longer. Heat a nonstick skillet, or well-seasoned cast iron, on medium low. I’m a big fan of electric griddles so if you are using one of those, set it to 325°F.
- Know when they’re cooked: Pancakes take between 2 to 3 minutes per side to cook. Look for the edges of the pancake to be puffed and dry and for bubbles in the center. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. The middle of the pancake will puff up and the other side will be golden brown. Test for doneness by sticking the edge of the flexible spatula in the underside of the pancake. If it comes out clean, then you know it’s cooked through.
- Play with the heat settings: Adjust the heat as needed, since the longer the skillet is on the heat, the hotter the pan gets.
Make Ahead Tips
I’m not at my best in the morning so anytime I can make breakfast ahead of time I do. I’ll make a batch of pancakes the night before and store them in the refrigerator for easy weekday breakfasts. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make a double batch and freeze half after they cool. You can defrost in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
You could also put the dry ingredients in a resealable bag. I do this for when we’re staying at a house on vacation and I want to easily make pancakes without having to pack all the ingredients.
Unfortunately, the one thing you can’t do is make the batter beforehand and then cook it later. The leavening agents don’t hold up and the sprinkles weep color, which means you have sad pancakes for breakfast.
Keeping the Pancakes Warm
Funfetti pancakes are best served warm. If you are making more than one batch, I recommend putting the pancakes on a sheet pan and keeping them warm in the oven at 200°F for up to 30 minutes. Leftover pancakes last for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
How to Serve
Funfetti pancakes can be served in a multitude of ways! Here are a few of my favorite toppings.
- Butter and a dusting of powdered sugar
- Sliced strawberries or blueberries
- Jam or fruit preserves spread over top
- Maple syrup, a classic pancake staple that also works on funfetti pancakes
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Whisk the dry ingredients:
Whisk the flour, sprinkles, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until combined.
Whisk the wet ingredients:
In a separate medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg, avocado oil, and vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk until combined, about 15 seconds.
Make the batter:
Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk just until combined. There may be some lumps, and that’s ok. Just be sure to combine enough that there isn’t any visible flour.
Let the batter rest for 10 minutes. The batter will thicken and become slightly foamy as it rests. In the meantime, make the icing.
Make the icing:
In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, melted butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt until combined and smooth. The icing will be thick like caramel sauce and drip in ribbons off the whisk. If it’s too thin then add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture is too thick, add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Heat the skillet:
Pour 1 tablespoon of avocado oil or other neutral oil in a small prep bowl. Dip a heat-safe basting brush into the oil and brush it on a large nonstick skillet to coat it, about 1 teaspoon. Heat on medium-low. If using an electric skillet, oil as above and set the temperature to 325°F.
Cook the pancakes:
Test that the skillet is hot by sprinkling a little water on it and see if it sizzles. Once the pan is ready, scoop 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet to form a 3-inch circle. Continue two more times, or however many you can fit in the skillet without crowding. Leave at least 1 inch between pancakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the edges are slightly dry looking, puffed and you see bubbles in the center of the pancakes. The pancake should be lightly browned.
Use a flexible spatula to flip the pancakes and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until the pancake is lightly brown and cooked through. You can test for doneness by sticking the edge of the flexible spatula in the underside of the pancake. If it comes out clean, then you know it’s cooked through. Transfer pancakes to a plate and repeat the process until all the batter is cooked.
Spoon the icing over warm pancakes, add a dollop of whipped cream if you like, top with sprinkles, and serve.
Let leftover pancakes cool and then refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Refrigerate leftover icing in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Loosen stiff icing by stirring in a splash of warm water.
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