Enjoy the warm and cozy flavors of carrot cake for breakfast with these carrot cake pancakes! With easy prep instructions for both the blender and standard mixing bowls, these pancakes are delicious with the cream cheese glaze and without.
The last few times I craved pancakes, I grabbed an open container of cottage cheese from the fridge to make our household-favorite cottage cheese pancakes. I've been tinkering with a high-protein mac and cheese recipe, so we've had a lot of partially-used cottage cheese containers in this house.
After enjoying some of my mom's carrot cake sheet cake (carrot sheet cake?), I had a small memory of making carrot cake pancakes as one of the very first recipes on this blog - nine years ago! Needless to say they needed spruced up photos, so I jumped at the opportunity when my next pancake craving hit.
With a few tweaks (extra blender instructions, addition of ginger, more carrots), these pancakes are just as good as I mostly-remember.
Reasons to Love These Pancakes
- These have the aroma and scent of carrot cake, all in a breakfast-acceptable form.
- There are instructions to make these carrot cake pancakes in the blender (less dishes to wash!) or in regular mixing bowls.
- This recipe details a lower-slower cooking approach that ensures they're perfectly-cooked and not overly-browned with a raw center.
- They reheat well for future breakfasts.
- Milk: Use your preferred kind. I often have 2% on hand so that's what I use.
- Brown sugar: This adds a warmth along with a bit of sweetness. Granulated sugar also works.
- Baking powder: One tablespoon is responsible for giving these carrot cake pancakes rise. If you've ever noticed a metallic taste in baked goods that use a higher amount of baking powder, opt for an aluminum-free baking powder variety.
- Spices: Classic carrot cake spices, including cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg.
- Carrots: If using a box grater for the carrots, use a finer side so the carrot pieces are smaller.
- Walnuts: You can leave these out or use pecans if you prefer.
And if you're a fan of raisins in carrot cake, go ahead and throw a handful into the batter, too.
These pictures display the recipe steps if preparing pancakes in a blender. The recipe card details additional steps if you're making the batter traditionally in mixing bowls.
- Peel carrots, slice them into segments approximately one- to two-inches long, and place in the blender.
- Pulse on a low-ish power until the carrots are in fine shreds. Transfer shredded carrots to a separate bowl and place the blender back on the stand (it doesn't need to be cleaned between steps).
- Add milk, egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the blender and blend until smooth. Add the dry ingredients right in.
- Pulse/blend until combined evenly, taking care not to overly mix.
- Add the carrots and walnuts and pulse in. If the batter is too thick to evenly pulse the mix ins, simply stir them in.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle and cook in a small pat of butter until bubbles form not only around the edges, but into the middle of each pancake, too.
- Flip and then cook until your preferred level of golden brown. The second side often takes less time to cook.
Optional Cream Cheese Glaze
Cream cheese frosting is a classic carrot cake accompaniment, and I would be remiss not to include cream cheese somewhere in the mix here.
The recipe card below lists a basic cream cheese glaze (not as sweet as dessert glaze) that I found complemented these cream cheese pancakes beautifully right alongside maple syrup.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Stop to scrape down the sides of the blender frequently. This prevents the carrots from chopping up unevenly, the batter from not getting overly mixed, etc.
- The first batch won't be the best. Because the skillet is not super heated yet, I find the first batch of carrot cake pancakes (and, really, all pancakes) to be thinner, unevenly browned, and take longer to cook. Adjust your timing for subsequent batches.
- Use oil if you like. If you prefer to cook pancakes with oil, then by all means use that instead. I prefer to use butter, with the lower cooking temperature warding off any burning. If you notice the residual bits of butter browning, give the skillet a quick wipe down between batches.
- Resist the urge to crank the heat. Cooking pancakes in too hot of a skillet can lead to ones that look golden-brown but end up squishy and raw in the middle. I prefer to cook them medium-low and a bit slower so take the guesswork out of it.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Carrot Cake Pancakes
Carrot Cake Pancakes
- 1 ¼ cups milk (I use 2%)
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder aluminum-free (see note)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups (180g) finely-shredded carrots
- ⅓ cup (40g) chopped walnut pieces
Cream Cheese Glaze (optional)
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons milk
To prep in a blender:
- Peel and cut carrots into two-inch chunks. Add them to a high-powdered blender and pulse on low power until they resemble fine shreds. Stop to carefully scrape down the sides to incorporate all of the carrots. Transfer shredded carrots to a separate bowl.
- Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter and let it cool slightly before beginning. Add milk, egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the now-empty blender. Blend until light and combined.
- Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg) to the blender and pulse until combined evenly.
- Add back the shredded carrots and chopped walnuts and pulse to distribute them throughout the batter evenly. If the batter is too thick to do this efficiently, carefully stir them in instead.
To prep in bowls:
- Peel and shred carrots using the fine side of a box grater. Set aside for now. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter and let it cool slightly before beginning
- Add milk, egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg in a separate bowl, then pour them into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir in until just combined (a few lumps is fine). Stir in the shredded carrots and walnuts.
To cook the pancakes:
- Add one teaspoon of unsalted butter to a large skillet or griddle set over medium-low heat. Move the melting butter around the skillet with a spatula so that it evenly coats the surface.
- Once the butter has melted, pour pancake batter onto the heated skillet, using roughly ¼-cup of batter per pancake. I cook three pancakes at a time in a 12-inch skillet.
- Let the pancakes cook until bubbles form in the center of each pancake and the bottom has browned to your liking. Flip each pancake over and cook the other side until browned. Serve right away with (optional) glaze and maple syrup drizzled over top.
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