Festive Santa Pancakes for Christmas Morning Breakfast

Every year, my family hosts a few families for Santa Pancakes.  It’s become such a fun tradition that we all look forward to.  I make a breakfast casserole and a big kale salad and friends bring bacon, whipped cream, OJ and fruit.  I fill a large bowl with pancake mix and make mounds and mounds of pancakes.  I make a ton of normal size pancakes, and dozens of extra large round pancakes for Santa pancakes.  Everyone wears their favorite Christmas sweaters and the kids wear Christmas pjs.  We play games, watch Christmas movies and take a lot of super cute pictures.  We serve breakfast for dinner, and it’s such a fun and simple way to celebrate the joys of Christmas with friends and loved ones.  My kids like this tradition so much, we usually make Santa Pancakes at least one more time during the Christmas season.

Fun Christmas Morning Breakfast Idea

Making festive Christmas Santa Pancakes is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season with a special breakfast and is sure to become a family favorite for your family too. The fun tradition brings yummy flavors and a Christmas miracle right to your table.   One tip is to make batter the night before and refrigerate for easy Christmas morning prep.   That way, you can enjoy the festive pancakes on Christmas morning but with minimal effort so you can savor and enjoy every possible minute with your loved ones.

Part of the fun of the Christmas morning pancakes is gathering around the kitchen to add toppings as you go to customize each bite. Set up a topping bar with everything from Christmas sprinkles to syrup and let everyone create their own festive breakfast favorites. Well-decorated stacks of pancakes make a perfect holiday breakfast. The fun, simple steps result in the ultimate family cooking memories. 

Adorable Christmas Pancakes

You can get creative and try other festive shapes as well! Small triangles can turn the pancake mixture into Christmas trees, stacked circles become snowman pancakes, a large pancake with a smaller pancake as a nose and bacon antlers quickly become reindeer or Rudolph pancakes, small circle pancakes can become ornaments, or add some dye-free green food coloring to make Grinch pancakes.  Let your creativity fly with different ways to decorate your perfect Christmas breakfast once the pancakes are off the hot pan. Fresh fruit, sprinkles, chocolate chips and other dye-free candies make it easy. Use dye-free green sprinkles for wreath pancakes and red and white for Santa hats. 

Whipping up festive pancake shapes on Christmas day has become a beloved family tradition, with new recipes and designs each year. Guests look forward to our smiling Santa pancakes, a staple on our table for the last year thanks to how quick and easy they are. The adorable reindeer pancakes were a hit with the kids and some of the best pancakes I’ve ever made. I cannot wait to try even more character shapes this year for the perfect holiday breakfast using this easy recipe. With just a few simple ingredients, you can bring smiles and cheer to all your guests gathered at the Christmas table.

Keeping Pancakes Warm

I like to keep a stash of already cooked pancakes warm in the oven while I continue making more batches. As I cook several large batches of pancakes for our big annual brunch party, I transfer the freshly cooked pancakes directly to an oven safe baking dish or sheet pan. The best way to keep pancakes warm is to place the baking tray of cooked pancakes in the oven at its lowest temperature setting, anywhere from 170-200°F. I also loosely wrap the cooked pancakes in aluminum foil.  This keeps the cooked pancakes warm and perfectly delicious for 1-2 hours without drying them out or over-baking them. The gentle heat keeps the pancake batch I’m actively cooking piping hot, while maintaining previous batches at ideal serving temperature for my guests to enjoy.

What You Need to Make Santa Pancakes

Pancake mix (plus ingredients on back of package) – We love King Arthur’s gluten free pancake mix and find that it makes the most fluffy pancakes.  Just be sure that you mix any dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately to be sure that everything is evenly incorporated in the end.  The best part about this breakfast option is that you can use any favorite pancake recipe or mix to suite your dietary needs and it turns out just as cute every time!

Whipped cream – We have done this a variety of ways over the years.  My favorite option is to buy the coconut whipped cream from Trader Joes.  It’s simply the best tasting option and it doesn’t clog as easy as the other dairy-free brands in my opinion.

Berries – Our favorite berries for the toppings are blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries.  Blueberries make cute eye for Santa, and raspberries or sliced strawberries make for an adorable Santa hat.

Chocolate Chunks – We have always used Enjoy Life chocolate chunks, but truly any kind of chocolate chips works. Dark, semi-sweet or even white chocolate chunks!  Chocolate chunks are perfect for Santa’s smile.

Maple syrup – We typically use pure maple syrup. Check Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for some great options. 

Butter – I recommend using grass-fed butter when possible.  You may substitute vegan butter for butter if needed.

How to Make Santa Pancakes

Pancake mix – Use a large mixing bowl to prepare the pancake mix per the instructions on the package or the recipe card for your homemade pancakes. Set the griddle or frying pan to medium heat or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray frying pan/griddle with non-stick cooking spray and heat on medium-high.  For the larger Santa pancakes, I pour about half a cup of pancake batter onto the hot griddle and use the back of the measuring cup to spread out on the griddle on one, even layer in the shape of a circle.  Cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown; flip carefully with spatula. 

Set up – Prepare a station on your table or counter with all of the toppings: whipped cream, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bacon, chocolate chunks, maple syrup and butter. 

Decorate – I usually will show the kids how to decorate the top of the pancake to look like Santa, so that they can make their own after that.   Or let the older kids show the younger kids how it’s done.  There’s just something so precious about seeing your older children helping out younger siblings, cousins or friends.

gluten free Santa pancakes

Festive Santa Pancakes for Christmas Morning Breakfast

Sarah Erickson
Our family's favorite Christmas breakfast tradition is to serve these gluten-free, dairy-free Santa pancakes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American


  • Pancake mix plus ingredients on back of package
  • Whipped cream
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Chocolate Chunks
  • Maple syrup
  • Butter


  • Make the pancake mix according to the instructions on the back of the package. I like to make the pancakes extra big (6 inches round) to leave lots of room for the decorating and toppings. Note: I also like to let the pancakes cool slightly so the whipped cream doesn’t melt immediately.
  • Set up your station with all of the toppings: whipped cream, blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chunks, maple syrup and butter. I usually make one Santa Pancake while the kids are watching so they can see how to do it.


Storage – store any leftover pancakes or toppings in a separate airtight container 
Keyword breakfast, christmas, gluten free, holiday, pancakes, santa, santa pancakes, traditions

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