toddler eats – holiday pancakes!

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kelsey nixon is back today sharing her favorite go-to pancake recipe and the most darling food art ideas, too! pancakes are always on high rotation over at our house (especially around dinner time, nothing beats breakfast for dinner!) and since the most adventurous we usually get is adding blueberries to ours, we’re excited to try out some of these ideas below together this month!

kelsey says:

Happy Holidays! The “most wonderful time of the year” is in full swing and whether you’re trimming your tree, buying gifts, or whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, many of our activities this month revolve around the idea of tradition. Like many of you, most of our holiday traditions have been passed down and reliving those traditions makes the experiences that much sweeter. Or maybe you’re making your own family traditions that are unique and special with your immediate family. One tradition that we like to keep up is a big breakfast on Christmas morning. I almost look forward to it just as much as all of the gift giving! It’s the best breakfast of the year and I want my little guy to be as excited for Christmas morning breakfast as I have always been.


My son Oliver’s favorite food right now is pancakes. How fitting for a traditional Christmas morning breakfast! To make things extra special for him, I wanted to incorporate some of his favorite holiday themes into breakfast. These simple food art ideas are as tasty as they are charming and so easy to pull off. First, you’ve got to begin with a great pancake recipe. My go-to Buttermilk Pancake recipe is listed below, but these pancake ideas will obviously work with any recipe that your family loves. We are big fans of the Pancake Pen in our home. It’s an easy way to pull off fun shapes with no mess and lots of convenience. You can even mix your pancake batter right in the bottle! Our favorite feature is that if you have any leftover batter, you can pop the lid on the pancake pen and stick it in the refrigerator for breakfast the next morning. Not to mention, your kids will love getting in on the pancake action and creating their own fun shapes and letters. For pancake loving kids it could actually be a great holiday gift!



Buttermilk Pancakes

Yield: 8 pancakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and butter. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and continue whisking until no lumps remain.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and coat with non-stick spray. Pour pancake batter onto the hot surface and cook until bubbles appear. Flip with a spatula, and cook until golden brown on the other side.


For a Santa pancake, start with a good sized circular or oval pancake. If you want, you can use the pancake pen to make little ears on the sides of his head. I used bananas and blueberries for his eyes, a raspberry for his nose, strawberries to make his hat, and bananas and whipped cream for a big fluffy beard. If you were looking for something a little less indulgent, dusting his beard with powdered sugar instead of whipped cream would look just as festive.


To make this cheery snowman, I drew 3 circles with my Pancake Pen and kept them all connected. You’ll need a long spatula to flip this shape or you can make 3 individual pancakes and stack them on top of each other. Then I dusted the circles with powdered sugar (I love this tool) and made eyes and buttons out of blueberries. The nose is a teeny tiny slice of cantaloupe and his hat is a strawberry. For a savory touch, he’s got a crispy bacon scarf and twig arms. Mini marshmallows make a great snowfall.


Apple slices inspired tree branches for this festive pancake. I simply made a triangular shaped pancake and used the shape of the apple slices to fill in the center. The lights and ornaments are made up of berries and the tree is topped off with a cantaloupe star. A crispy bacon tree stump creates the perfect base for this sweet pancake.

The ideas for holiday pancakes are endless! You could make a reindeer, elf, presents, or beautiful snowflakes with your toddlers. It’s a fun way to inspire creativity in food and there’s no doubt that they’ll be excited to eat breakfast. What holiday pancake shapes would your toddler request? Happy holiday pancake making!!

thank you so much for sharing, kelsey!  see more toddler eats posts HERE.
all photos by kylie whiting.
  1. Trish O

    These are so cute. I think my teens would love these. (You will be shocked how much alike teens and toddlers are)

  2. nanette

    this is adorable! perfect for christmas morning.

  3. Chelsea

    Oh my, those are amazingly cute! I especially love the Santa one, it is to adorable. My kiddos would think this the breakfast ever, it would fit in perfect with a new tradition I’m working on. Thanks so much for the great suggestions!

  4. Meli

    Strawberries and raspberries in december… seriously ?!

  5. hanna

    Those are adorable! –Hanna Lei

  6. Allegra

    These look delicious and super cute!

  7. Alexa

    Love these! So darling, we may have to make these this weekend!

  8. Lauren E

    I make these for my 33-year-old boyfriend! He loves them! I use an old, cleaned out honey bottle instead of a Pancake Pen.

  9. Kelly

    The snowmen are the cutest thing ever!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  10. these are some seriously cute food images and ideas!! my kids would dig the bacon scarf:)

  11. April

    Oh my gosh! I don’t have kids, but I think I need to make myself some snowmen and santa pancakes for breakfast this weekend haha! Such a cute idea!
    Have a great week!
    xo April Everyday

  12. Anne

    Oh my goodness I love all the scarves I see you wear on Instagram! Please please please do a blog post on all your chunky winter scarves?!!

  13. emily

    oh my gosh these are the cutest!!! you guys are such cute parents haha.

  14. Sinead

    These are so cute! The snowman is my favourite :-)

  15. Ellie

    You two were just on the intro to “The Middle”!

  16. Greg

    Were you and your husband just in the opening sequence of The Middle? I swear there was a couple looking for a Christmas tree that looked just like you two.

  17. Wow this look fantastic and so yummy!! Great Pictures and Recipes, very creative. Great Job

  18. That is such a great idea! Thank you very much!

  19. Maja

    Hey! Such a cool and cute breakfast for the little ones :)
    Did I just see you guys shopping for a christmas tree in TV series The Middle?? If so, thats so cool :) Have a nice Holidays!

  20. vero

    sorry Naomi, you did not erase my comment, my mistake

  21. Annie

    These came out beautifully! Great job, mama!

    The MAMA Gazette

  22. Xandi

    I love all of these!! My three would devour that snowman pancake – terrific ideas here!