Hot Cakes: Savory + Sweet Pancake Recipes

Savory pancakes for brunch or dinner? Sure, but make them real pancakes.
Potato Bacon Cheddar Pancakes (left) and Zucchini and Feta Cheese Pancakes


Interested in trying savory pancakes for weekend brunch or dinner any night? Sure, but make them real pancakes. While crab cakes, latkes and okonomiyaki—the Japanese cake served with dried tuna, seaweed and a drizzle of mayonnaise—fall into the savory pancake category, the recipes here use more traditional pancake batter as a base and easily mix it up with a variety of ingredients, says Twin Cities chef and Saint Paul College Culinary Arts instructor Jason Ross, who created these recipes for Real Food. You can also serve them as appetizers, vegetable sides or as a canapé base for open-faced sandwiches at your next party. Even made with “real” batter, pancakes don’t have to be all about maple syrup and coffee.

In honor of National Pancake Day on September 26, we give you many options to mix it up with these savory cakes and I also share links below for those times the sweet side is calling.

Basic Savory Pancake Mix


Use this base for each recipe here. It would also work well for variations you might like to develop.

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

  1. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk.
  2. In a separate bowl, place buttermilk, egg and melted butter and whisk to combine.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon. A few lumps are fine; do not overmix. Overworked dough makes a rubbery pancake. The batter can be stored covered, and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
  4. Proceed to recipe variations shown at right to complete the selected recipe.
  5. Cooking Savory Pancakes: Cooking savory cakes is much like cooking breakfast pancakes. Oil a large griddle or sauté pan and heat on medium heat. Spoon roughly ¼ cup servings of batter onto hot pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until bubbles rise and edges are golden brown. Flip and finish cooking on other side, another 2 minutes, until browned and fully cooked. Repeat, using oil as necessary.

Potato Bacon Cheddar Pancakes


This might be the biggest crowd pleaser in the world of savory pancakes with bacon, potato, and cheese in the mix.

1 recipe Basic Savory Pancake Mix (see recipe above)
1½ cups prepared hash browns shredded potatoes
4 slices bacon, cooked and diced
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. In a mixing bowl stir Basic Savory Pancake Mix with hash browns, crisped bacon and cheddar cheese. Proceed to cooking (see Basic recipe above, step 5).

Serve with Scallion Sour Cream (Makes 1 cup):
Combine ¾ cup sour cream, 2 finely sliced scallions (use whole scallion, trimming only the root), ¼ teaspoon salt, couple grinds black pepper and a dash of Tabasco in a mixing bowl using a spoon or rubber spatula.  It can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Zucchini and Feta Cheese Pancakes


These pop with flavor from herbs, cheese and zucchini for a healthier version of the traditional pancake. Try serving these as a side dish with grilled meat or as an appetizer with sautéed shrimp.

1 medium zucchini (about ½ pound or 2 cups shredded)
1 pinch salt
½ tablespoon butter
½ medium onion (½ cup minced)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 recipe Basic Savory Pancake Mix (see recipe above)

  1. Using a box grater, shred the zucchini and place in a colander set above a bowl. Toss with pinch of salt. Let sit for 10 to 20 minutes as the salt helps pull out some of the liquid.
  2. In a medium-sized sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat, add onion and garlic, and cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium-sized mixing bowl and allow to cool.
  3. While the onion and garlic mixture cools, push the zucchini into the colander with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the cooling onion and garlic mixture, along with feta and minced mint.
  4. In a mixing bowl stir together zucchini mixture with the Basic Savory Pancake Mix. Proceed to cooking (see Basic recipe above, step 5).

Serve with Zucchini Mint Yogurt Sauce (Makes 1 cup):
In a small mixing bowl, place ¾ cup whole-milk yogurt, ¼ medium zucchini finely minced (about 2 tablespoons), 2 tablespoons minced mint, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 clove garlic, minced. Stir with a spoon or rubber spatula. Yogurt sauce can be stored covered, and refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Corn Pancakes


Corn pancakes work well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Either frozen or fresh corn can make a great cake.

1 recipe Basic Savory Pancake Mix (see above), modified: For the 1 cup flour, substitute ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup masa harina (corn flour) and ¼ cup cornmeal
2 cups corn kernels
1 tablespoon minced cilantro

  1. Mix variation to Basic Savory Pancake Mix.
  2. In a mixing bowl stir the modified pancake mix with corn kernels and cilantro. Proceed to cooking (see Basic recipe above, step 5).

Serve with Corn Salsa (Makes 1 cup): In a mixing bowl, combine 1 medium diced tomato, 2 tablespoons diced white onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, ½ cup corn kernels, 1 diced jalapeño (if you like it spicy), juice of ½ lime and ½ teaspoon salt using a spoon or rubber spatula. Corn salsa can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Nutrition info (per serving)
• Potato Bacon Cheddar with Sauce: Calories 351 (172 From Fat); Fat 19g (Sat. 8g); Chol 70mg; Sodium 775mg; Carb 34g; Fiber 2g; Protein 11g
• Zucchini & Feta with Sauce: Calories 198 (72 From Fat); Fat 8g (Sat. 5g); Chol 56mg; Sodium 760mg; Carb 23g; Fiber 1g; Protein 8g
• Corn with Salsa: Calories 190 (37 From Fat); Fat 4g (Sat. 2g); Chol 38mg; Sodium 597mg; Carb 33g; Fiber 3g; Protein 7g


Sour Cream Pancakes with Caramelized Apples


Hungry for More?

Feed your sweet cravings with these pancake recipes

Sour Cream Pancakes with Caramelized Apples
Weekends call for a sit-down breakfast you can linger over—but the cooking can still be easy.

Apple Pancakes with Maple-Apple Sauce
It’s apple harvest time, so step up your breakfast with apples in the pancake mix plus a sweet apple maple sauce to top it all off

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.