These German Chocolate Pancakes are a decadent breakfast everyone will love! Chocolate pancakes are topped with a gooey coconut pecan topping reminiscent of the classic cake recipe.

Stack of German chocolate pancakes stacked high with filling between each layer.

When your morning starts with pancakes that are inspired by German chocolate cake, you know it’s going to be a good day, right? 

These pancakes have everything you love about German chocolate cake: the pecans, the coconut, the chocolate, and a sticky, gooey sauce that’s a little bit like frosting (but not so much like frosting that you won’t want to eat it for breakfast).

If you can’t get enough coconut, you might also like a mango coconut smoothie, banana coconut pancakes, or our super fun piña colada pancakes.

About this German chocolate pancake recipe

Now, aside from the flavor of these pancakes (which, needless to say, is WHOA so good), you’re going to love how easy it is to make this recipe. 

The pancakes? They’re your standard buttermilk pancakes (sorry, buttermilk chocolate pancakes) flecked with mini chocolate chips. Easy peasy to whip up and full of chocolate flavor.

The topping? Well, that’s easy too. There’s no simmering on the stovetop or beating with a mixer; you just stir the ingredients in a bowl.

Put them together and you have a special breakfast that’s pretty much impossible to resist!

Platter of chocolate pancakes with a german chocolate topping in a small bowl.

What you need

If you make pancakes often, you’ll probably have many of these ingredients on hand already!

For the Batter:

  • Butter – I recommend unsalted butter, which gives you more control over the salt level of the recipe. If you only have salted butter on hand, use a touch less salt.
  • Eggs – If you have time, let these sit on the countertop to come to room temperature. Room temperature eggs hold more air when you beat them, which results in fluffier pancakes.
  • Buttermilk – Here’s how to make your own buttermilk.
  • Unsweetened cocoa – Natural cocoa powder or Dutch process is fine; just don’t use hot cocoa mix, which has sugar in it!
  • Mini chocolate chips – You can use standard chocolate chips, but mini chips give you more melty chocolate in every bite!
  • Other Pancake Staples: You’ll need granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, and water

For the Coconut Topping:

  • Sweetened condensed milk – This isn’t the same as evaporated milk! Be sure you pick up the right can. You might want to pick up a couple of additional cans for our spiked hot chocolate and key lime pie pancakes.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut – If you like things super sweet, you can go for sweetened, but the sweetened condensed milk adds a lot of sweetness already.
  • Chopped pecans – If you like, you can toast these first, but this is optional!
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract adds depth of flavor to the topping.
Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe.

How to make them

Prepare. Preheat an electric griddle to 375ºF or set a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter in the microwave.

Make the batter. Whisk together the butter and egg in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the water, buttermilk, and vanilla, followed by the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Continue to whisk until the batter is smooth, then fold in the chocolate chips. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.

Four steps of making pancake batter.

Cook the pancakes. Pour about ⅓ cup of the batter onto the preheated griddle or pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the pancake is golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook the other side of the pancake for another minute or two, until it’s also golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Make the topping. In another bowl, stir together the ingredients for the coconut topping. 

Topping before and after being mixed.

Serve. Plate the German chocolate pancakes and serve them with a spoonful of the coconut topping.

Stack of chocolate pancakes with german chocolate cake filling topping.

FAQs

What defines a German chocolate cake?

German chocolate cake has nothing to do with the country! (Shocker, right?!) 

It’s actually named after a type of chocolate called German’s chocolate, a baking chocolate that’s sweeter than semisweet chocolate. This baking chocolate was developed by a baker named Samuel German and named after him.

German chocolate cake was originally called German’s chocolate cake because it was made with German’s chocolate, along with coconut-pecan frosting. These days, German chocolate cake isn’t always made with German’s chocolate, but that signature combination of coconut and pecan is essential!

Is German chocolate cake the same as Black Forest cake?

Nope! And unlike German chocolate cake, Black Forest cake actually is German.

Black Forest cake is based off of a German dessert called Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest cherry torte. It features layers of chocolate sponge cake, a sweet-tart cherry filling, and whipped cream.

What does German chocolate taste like?

German’s baking chocolate tastes like a candy bar, unlike typical baking chocolate, which is often very bitter and dark. It has a sweet, mild flavor, so when it comes to German chocolate cake (and pancakes!), you can expect a milder, less pronounced chocolate flavor than cakes made with a traditional bittersweet or dark chocolate.

How to make these German chocolate pancakes your own

Here are some ideas for changing things up and making this recipe your own.

  • Use German’s chocolate. Want to try authentic German’s chocolate in your German chocolate pancakes? Buy a bar of German’s chocolate and chop it into pieces; use that instead of mini chocolate chips.
  • Add some garnishes. Chocolate chips or shavings, whipped cream, and toasted coconut are all perfect finishing touches.
  • Make them gluten-free. Use a cup-for-cup all-purpose flour substitute to make these pancakes gluten-free.
Pancakes, some with toppings, some without.

Make Ahead Ideas

Both the German chocolate pancakes and the topping can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator. 

Storage Suggestions

If you’re making these for later or need to store leftovers, they can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container, or frozen for up to 3 months.

To freeze German chocolate pancakes, I recommend placing them in a freezer bag or large storage container with parchment or wax paper between the pancakes to keep them from sticking together.

Reheating Tips

Reheat your German chocolate pancakes in the microwave, in a skillet set over medium-low heat, or on a baking sheet covered with foil at 350ºF for 5 to 10 minutes.

More chocolate pancake recipes

Stack of German chocolate pancakes with filling between each layer and pecans on top.

Get the Recipe: German Chocolate Pancakes

These German Chocolate Pancakes are a decadent breakfast everyone will love! Chocolate pancakes are topped with a gooey coconut pecan topping reminiscent of the classic cake recipe.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

For the Batter:

  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

For the Coconut Topping:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat an electric griddle to 375ºF or a large frying over medium-low heat.
  • Melt the butter in a microwavable bowl.
  • Then whisk together the butter into the egg in a medium-large mixing bowl. Whisk in the water, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • Add in the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Pour about ⅓ cup batter onto the preheated griddle/pan. Cook until medium golden brown on the first side (about 3 minutes).
  • Flip and cook one to two minutes further.
  • Stir together the ingredients for the coconut topping.
  • Serve the pancakes with a spoonful of the coconut topping.

Notes

  • Makes about 15 pancakes
  • Make Ahead: Both the German chocolate pancakes and the topping can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • Storage: If you’re making these for later or need to store leftovers, they can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • To Freeze: Placing pancakes in a freezer bag or large storage container with parchment or wax paper between the pancakes to keep them from sticking together. Make topping when ready to serve.
  • To Reheat: Reheat your German chocolate pancakes in the microwave, in a skillet set over medium-low heat, or on a baking sheet covered with foil at 350ºF for 5 to 10 minutes. Add topping after reheating.
Serving: 2pancakes, Calories: 596kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 87mg, Sodium: 495mg, Potassium: 461mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 41g, Vitamin A: 485IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 379mg, Iron: 3mg