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One morning, in an attempt to use some leftover ricotta cheese, I decided to make ricotta pancakes. My ricotta turned out to be well past its prime. Even though I ditched the ricotta, I didn't let the idea of a cheese-studded pancake go. Instead I grabbed some cream cheese.
Unlike ricotta, which melts gently into pancakes, dense cream cheese holds its shape and creates lovely little pockets of warm, oozing cheese throughout the cooked pancakes. Since pancakes are sweet enough, especially when topped with syrup, you don't need to add any sugar to the cream cheese. Simply cut cold cream cheese into cubes, place a few pieces on a cooking pancake, as you would do with berries or chocolate chips, and you're done!
Most of the time, I use my basic pancakes as the base for this recipe. If you prefer whole-grain pancakes, use this recipe. The mild tangy flavor of cream cheese goes well with the nutty flavors of whole grains. If you're egg-free, the whole-grain pancake recipe adapts to suit an egg-free diet.
Speaking of special diets, if you're dairy-free, you can still make these pancakes. One of my dairy-free friends replaced the cream cheese with dairy-free/gluten-free soy cream cheese and the milk with gluten-free almond milk. She reported that the pancakes turned out well with a pleasant almond flavor from the milk.
And if you feel like making pancakes as a side dish, you could add some soft goat cheese to savory pancakes, like these corn and scallion pancakes. Sweet or savory, pancakes dotted with a cheese are delicious—and a great way to use up leftover cheese.
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