Chock full of gooey caramel, melting chocolate, and freshly toasted pecans, these turtle pancakes are sweet, salty, tender, and absolutely delicious! 

Caramel being poured on a stack of chocolate pancakes topped with pecans.

Turtle pancakes are packed with amazing flavor! Think classic turtle candies, filled with caramel and pecans and coated with smooth, creamy chocolate layered right into a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. The flavor combination of this breakfast treat is truly out of this world!

Pair it with an iced vanilla latte or an iced caramel coffee for a perfect morning! Not a coffee fan? A salted caramel hot chocolate would be perfect!

About this recipe

Turtle candies are classic specialty chocolates that you can usually find at your local grocery store, but they are also a popular choice at specialty candy shops. If you live near a lakeshore or a popular travel destination, then you are familiar with those little downtown areas lined with souvenir and candy shops. If you stop into one of those little candy or ice cream shops, chances are you can find fresh turtle candies piled high in a glass display case. 

Stack of turtle pancakes with caramel, pecans, and chocolate chips.

Turtle pancakes bring the specialty shop taste right to your own kitchen. These unique pancakes dotted with chocolate, caramel, and pecans will transport you to your own little vacation, even if it’s just for a few minutes at home before you start your day.

Caramel being poured on a stack of chocolate and caramel pancakes.

What you need

As always, scroll down for the printable recipe!

  • Wet Ingredients: The basic pancake ingredients here! Buttermilk, unsalted butter, and eggs.
  • Dry Ingredients: All-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • The Good Stuff: Pecan halves (you’ll be toasting these to bring out the flavor!), caramel squares, and chocolate chips. Yum!

Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk you can use regular milk. However, the pancakes will be fluffiest with buttermilk. Try making your own buttermilk – it’s very easy! 

Overhead view of bowls of ingredients including caramel, pecans, flour, cocoa powder.

How to make it

Chop the pecan halves into smaller pieces with either a knife or with a few pulses in a mini food processor. Heat pecan pieces over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. 

Pecans in a stainless steel skillet.

Unwrap the caramel squares and cut into quarters. Set aside.

Caramel squares on a cutting board.

Heat the milk in the microwave until the milk is warm (about 30 to 60 seconds). 

Milk in a bowl.

Melt the butter. Whisk together the milk, butter, and egg. 

Wet ingredients in a bowl.

Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Dry ingredients in a glass bowl.

Whisk the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.

Chocolate pancake batter in a bowl.

Add in the pecans, cut caramels, and chocolate chips.

Pancake batter topped with chocolate chips, pecans, and caramels.

Cook pancakes on medium-low heat until golden brown. Be careful for the melted caramel, it gets hot!

Overhead view of pancakes with toppings.

How to make these fun pancakes your own

  • Top warm turtle pancakes with a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce. Add a few chocolate sprinkles or mini chocolate chips for extra chocolate in every bite.
  • If you want to make your turtle pancakes look like a turtle, you can set a Rolo or small candy on four sides to look like feet. Criss-cross your caramel and chocolate sauce over the top to make a geometric pattern that resembles a turtle shell. 
  • Feel free to make substitutions based on what you have in your pantry. For example, use chopped walnuts instead of pecans or pieces of dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips–whatever you have. Just don’t skip the caramel if you’re going for that true turtle candy taste!
  • These pancakes also taste great with a little whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream. Yum!
  • If you love the flavor combination of chocolate, caramel, and nuts, be sure to try Snickers pancakes, too!
Cut pancakes showing caramel oozing out.

Make Ahead Ideas

If you’re making these in the morning and don’t have a lot of time, you can toast the pecans a day or two ahead of time and store in an airtight container. You can also measure and pre-mix the dry ingredients. 

Storage Suggestions

Store in airtight container in fridge for 2-3 days.

Reheating Tips

Be careful reheating leftover pancakes as the caramel heats up quickly! Re-heat over low heat. 

Pancakes with caramel and chocoalte with a piece cut out of them.

More recipes for chocolate lovers

Caramel dripping out of a stack of pancakes.
Caramel being poured on a stack of chocolate pancakes with pecans and chocolate chips.

Get the Recipe: Turtle Pancakes

Chock full of gooey caramel, melting chocolate, and freshly toasted pecans, these turtle pancakes are sweet, salty, tender, and absolutely delicious!
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • cup pecan halves
  • 16 wrapped caramel squares
  • 2 ½ cups buttermilk (see note)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Chop the pecan halves into smaller pieces with either a knife or with a few pulses in a mini food processor.
  • Place the pecan pieces in a frying pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Pecans are done once you can smell the pecans toasting and they start to turn golden brown. Watch carefully as they can burn easily.
  • Unwrap the caramel squares and cut into quarters. Set aside.
  • Preheat a nonstick griddle to medium low heat (375 degrees F).
  • Heat the milk in the microwave until the milk is warm (about 30 to 60 seconds).
  • Melt the butter.
  • Whisk together the milk, butter, and egg.
  • Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.
  • Add in the pecans, cut caramels, and chocolate chips.
  • Drop ¼ cup of batter onto the preheated griddle pan. Flip once the edges look dry. Be careful of any melted caramel that leaks out as it becomes very hot and could burn you.

Notes

  • Makes about 24 pancakes (3-inch pancakes using ¼ cup batter)
  • Serving size 3 pancakes
  • This recipe can easily be cut in half if desired.
  • Regular milk can be substituted for buttermilk but the pancakes won’t be quite as fluffy.
  • If you’re making these in the morning and don’t have a lot of time, you can toast the pecans a day or two ahead of time and store in an airtight container. You can also measure and pre-mix the dry ingredients.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for 2-3 days. Be careful reheating leftover pancakes as the caramel heats up quickly! Reheat over low heat. 
Serving: 3pancakes, Calories: 468kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 486mg, Potassium: 375mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 381IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 296mg, Iron: 4mg