Pancakes sound like they should be a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence, don't they? After all, they're so delicious; how could they possibly be healthy? Well, if you make them correctly, they can be! And if you make sure they're high-protein pancakes, you can kickstart your day on the right note without sacrificing any flavor.
From fluffy pancakes to thin crepes, with toppings and without, savory to sweet... there's an option for everyone looking for a delicious, nutritious breakfast or a protein-filled snack.
Read on for dietitian-recommended toppings, pancake mixes, and recipe ideas to make high-protein pancakes.
Why Protein Is so Important
Protein is one of the three macronutrients (the other two are carbohydrates and fats) that your body needs in large amounts. It’s a significant component of all the cells in your body and essential for the structure, function, and regulation of your tissues and organs.
Proteins are also involved in many biochemical processes, including metabolism, digestion, and immune function. In short, proteins play a vital role in keeping the body functioning correctly. It's safe to say your body needs a constant supply of protein to maintain these functions.
When your protein levels are low, your body breaks down muscle tissue for energy. It can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, and other health problems. So it's vital to ensure that you're getting enough protein in your diet.
One way to do this is to pick from these delicious protein-pancake options.
Perfectly Fluffy Protein Pancakes
"This banana-free, fluffy, protein pancake recipe is delicious. I often swap the coconut oil for olive oil and top with a pat of butter and blueberries."
—Victoria Eaton, RDN, IFNCP
To make these delicious protein-filled pancakes, you'll need:
- 1 ½ cup rolled oats
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Three Ingredient Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes
"I like to top these with a few slices of banana, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dollop of natural peanut butter."
—Bahar Brocken, RD
To make this simple, protein-pancake recipe, you'll need:
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Maple syrup, jam, or sliced berries (optional, to serve)
Kodiak Cakes with Milk
"If you’re looking for a quick packaged pancake option, Kodiak Cakes are a great option. I recommend adding an egg and swapping the water for milk to bump up the protein content even more."
—Jordyn Wallerius, MS, RDN, CD
- 2 cups Kodiak Kodiak Flapjack Mix
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Purely Elizabeth Pancakes with a Twist
"To make a quick pancake recipe, I like Purely Elizabeth products—they have a great pancake mix. My go-to toppings are nuts, cinnamon, nut butter, or some Purely Elizabeth grain-free granola."
—Randi Yow, RDN, LDN
To make Randi's favorite pancakes, you'll need
- 1 box Purely Elizabeth Protein-Pancake Mix
- Nuts, cinnamon, and nut butter as topping
- Purely Elizabeth grain-free granola as topping
Paleo Pancake Mix with Peanut Butter
"I love Birchbender’s paleo pancake mix. It contains ingredients you can pronounce, is sweetened with monk fruit, and does not contain any fillers or artificial sweeteners. It also has 7 grams of protein per serving. I like to make ahead and freeze, then heat up and add some natural peanut butter and some banana slices for a pre or post-workout snack."
—Liz McKinney CNS, LDN
To add a little boost to this already protein-friendly pancake mix, you'll need:
- 1 Box Birchbender’s Paleo Pancake Mix
- 1-2 scoops natural peanut butter
- 1 banana, sliced
Protein-Powder Fueled Pancakes
"I love making my own protein pancakes with a quality protein powder like Legion or Naked Whey. Use a blender to mix oats, protein powder, eggs, milk or water, yogurt (or pumpkin purée), baking powder, and some flavoring. Let the batter sit after blending for at least 10 minutes. I love topping them with warmed-up berries and a drizzle of natural honey or maple syrup."
—Marie Funk, MS, RD, LDN
To make these pancakes from scratch, you'll need:
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water or milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée or Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, or flavorings of your choice
- Berries, honey, or maple syrup to serve
Make-Ahead Pancakes with Nut Butter
"FlapJacked is a brand with minimal ingredients and 20 grams of protein per serving. These are great to make ahead of time, so when I get back from a run, I can top them with some nut butter and bananas for a filling post-workout meal."
—Kasey Brixius, MS, RDN, CSSD, IFNCPˆ
To make these pancakes, you'll need:
- 1 Box FlapJacked Protein Pancake mix
- Water or milk
- Nut butter
- 1 banana, sliced
"One of my absolute favorite pancake flavors is red velvet cake, so I just had to find a better alternative for my glucose (with nutritional benefits too, using beets instead of red food dye). I like to follow this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill protein pancake mix and top them with a lower sugar cream cheese frosting and a few dark chocolate chips."
—Amanda Donahue, MS, RD, CD
To make these indulgent but still healthy pancakes with Amanda's tweaks, you'll need:
- 1 box Bob's Red Mill Protein Pancake Mix
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
- 8 packets natural sweetener
- A pinch of salt
- ½ cup roasted beet purée
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon natural butter flavor
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Kodiak Cakes with a Hemp Twist
"As a busy mom of two, Kodiak Cakes pancake mix is where it’s at for me. I love to make a double batch and freeze the rest. Pop them in the toaster for breakfast in minutes. Top with natural peanut butter, hemp hearts, and cinnamon to boost the nutrition profile and improve your glycemic response."
—Stephanie Etherington, RD, CD, CDCES
To make these hemp heart and peanut butter topped pancakes, you'll need:
- 1 Box Kodiak Cakes pancake mix of your choice
- 1-2 scoops of natural peanut butter
- A handful of hemp hearts
- A dash of cinnamon
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With over 11 years of experience as a dietitian in many areas of nutrition, Katie has worked as a clinical dietitian within a hospital, as well as in the fields of diabetes, sports and performance nutrition, recovery from addiction, and general wellness. She’s also an athlete and has run 8 marathons, including the Boston Marathon.