After a full day’s work or play, dinner can be a conundrum for busy people like you. When you’re short on time or groceries, we say let the pantry provide: it’s time for pancakes for dinner. With just a few staples and the right recipe, you can go from hungry and hoping for inspiration to proudly providing a memorable meal.

Pancakes for dinner works for all kinds of reasons:

  • They’re fast and easy to put together.
  • They can accommodate any odds and ends you have on hand, either in the fridge or from the garden.
  • Pancakes are equally comfortable in a starring role as main course, or as a supporting cast member next to grilled or roasted entrées.
  • Kids can help — cracking eggs, stirring, flipping, even customizing their own, taking any picky eater problems out of the mix.

zucchini cheese pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Pancakes as savory sides

You're ready to fire up the grill, but need something to round out the meal.
Enter our Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes. Rescue that orphan chunk of cheese in the fridge, reach for that zucchini from the farmstand (or the foundling left on your porch by a gardening neighbor), and hand the grater to one of the kids. By the time the grilling is done, these crispy beauties will be waiting and ready to say "dinner's ready!"

quinoa pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Protein-packed pancakes

If you're a fan of the nutty flavor of high-protein quinoa, why not put it in a pancake? Quinoa Pancakes can deliver plenty of nutrition to get your day started for breakfast. But why not try quinoa pancakes for dinner as well? Try mixing in some grated carrots, caramelized onions, and sautéed spinach. Serve with some Tzatziki instead of syrup, and you have a quick, easy, unique meal ready in no time.

whole grain pancake mix via @kingarthurflour

Homemade pancake mix

Back in my restaurant days, I came up with a scratch mix to make pancakes à la minute for brunch service. That recipe has been the backbone of many a meal since, and moved into whole grain territory when we wrote King Arthur's Whole Grain Baking book. Nothing could be easier to put together. Start by mixing up some Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix, then remember this simple formula:

1 cup of mix, 1 egg, and 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir.

The full mix recipe makes enough for 10 batches, so you can prep the mix ahead of time and whip up pancakes whenever you're ready.

The beauty of Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix is its ability to accommodate any add-in you can imagine. For dinner, I'll often stir in chunks of sharp cheddar and pieces of cooked bacon. They're great this way with syrup, but also with Cinnamon Applesauce.

scallion pancakes via @kingarthurflour

Crispy scallion pancakes

Last but not least, there are always fun-to-make, salty, savory, irresistible Scallion Pancakes. They're crispy on the outside, chewy inside, and work well for dinner next to some grilled teriyaki chicken. They're a crowd pleaser anytime. Make some extra Dipping Sauce and use it to brush on your chicken as it grills, and dinner is done.

We hope we've helped to solve a few dinner dilemmas here. Remember, as long as you have some flour, a bowl, a spoon, and a pancake spatula, you're never far from a satisfying supper. Give some of these ideas a try, and let us know what combinations you come up with in the comments below!

For more creative pancake ideas, check out the Spring 2017 issue of Sift magazine.

Susan Reid
The Author

About Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.