Pancakes can be both delicious and satisfying with this recipe for protein-rich Cottage Cheese Pancakes. This easy recipe uses the blender to mix up the simple batter made with whole-wheat flour, olive oil, milk and cottage cheese. A dose of fresh lemon brightens these pancakes and makes them the perfect vehicle for butter, maple syrup and fresh fruit.
Healthy Protein-Packed Pancakes
Pancakes are not known for being a breakfast that keeps you satisfied very long. This recipe flips that notion on its head by swapping conventional ingredients for more nutrient-dense substitutions like whole-wheat flour, cottage cheese, and olive oil.
Together, these ingredients make for a pancake recipe that’s loaded up with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fat. Make them even more satisfying by topping them off with yogurt and berries for added protein and fiber.
Ingredients for Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Cottage cheese: for the best flavor and texture, use whole milk cottage cheese. Low-fat cottage cheese won’t be as flavorful. Use any leftover cottage cheese to make our Cottage Cheese Cake!
Milk: you’ll also need whole milk for this cottage cheese pancake batter. We recommend whole milk because of the healthy fat it adds. You can use a lower fat milk if you like, but we do not recommend skim milk.
Egg: you’ll need one large egg. Make sure to use an egg labeled as large. If you use a medium egg it may alter the thickness of the batter. Likewise, if you use extra-large or jumbo, the batter may be too thin.
Olive oil: we like to make pancakes with heart-healthy olive oil. You can also use melted butter if you prefer.
Maple Syrup: add just a splash of pure maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. You can also use sugar instead.
Lemon: lemon zest is added to the batter for flavor while lemon juice is added to activate the baking soda, creating a light and fluffy pancake.
Vanilla: you can skip this if you’d like. But a splash adds nice depth of flavor. Almond extract, orange extract and lemon extract are all great options as well.
Whole-wheat flour: we recommend using white whole-wheat flour for these pancakes. It’s lighter in flavor than regular whole-wheat flour while delivering all of the same nutritional benefits. If you only have regular whole-wheat flour, you can use that instead.
Leaveners & salt: to make tall, fluffy pancakes you’ll need to use a combination of baking powder and baking soda. Then a pinch of salt enhances the other flavors in the batter.
How to Make Cottage Cheese Pancakes
- Blend together the cottage cheese, milk, egg, oil, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until it’s completely smooth. You want to make sure the cottage cheese is thoroughly blended!
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and blend just until the mixture is combined.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a splash of oil and brush to coat the skillet.
- Scoop the batter into the preheated skillet and cook until bubbles form on top, pop and don’t refill with batter. This is when you know they are ready to flip.
- Flip the cottage cheese pancakes and cook until the second side is golden brown.
- Keep the pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven while you cook the remaining batter.
Test for making fluffy pancakes
- Don’t over-mix the batter. Once the dry ingredients are added, blend the batter just until everything is combined.
- Adequately pre-heat the nonstick skillet or griddle. This ensures the batter will begin to cook the moment it hits the pan which will keep the batter from spreading too much and forming a large, thin pancake.
- Don’t touch it! Let the pancake cook, without moving, until bubbles form on the surface of the pancake, the pop and do not refill with batter. This is the sign they are ready to be flipped. Flip the pancakes and again, do not touch until the bottom side is nicely browned.
- Avoid pressing on the pancake with the spatula. If you press down you squash all of the height we’ve achieved!
Storage and Reheating Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Keep the Batches Warm
Since pancakes are cooked in batches, we recommend either serving them as they come out of the pan or keeping them warm in the oven as you cook the batches. To do this, heat your oven to 200-degrees and set a wire rack inside a baking sheet. As the pancakes are done cooking, transfer them to the sheetpan and keep them warm in the oven as you cook the remaining pancakes.
It’s best to store pancakes in the freezer. Arrange the cooled pancakes on a small sheetpan in a single layer and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the pancakes to a resealable zipper-lock bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
The best way to reheat pancakes is to pop them in the toaster or toaster oven. Toast the frozen pancakes until thawed, warmed through and slightly crisp on the outside. Be careful not to overheat the pancakes or they may become dry and tough. We don’t recommend reheating in the microwave as this makes the pancakes tough and rubbery.
FAQs About Pancakes
It’s likely that your pan is too hot. If your pan is too hot, the exterior of the pancakes will brown too quickly, not giving the center of the pancakes enough time to cook through.
We recommend toasting pancakes in the toaster or toaster oven. This heats them quickly without pulling out moisture.
If you make this recipe without the egg the pancakes will likely not fold together very well. They will be more likely to fall apart in the pan.
Try our Toasted Oat Pancakes recipe!
We like to add a splash of vanilla or almond extract to pancake batter. Lemon zest or orange zest also adds a nice bright zing! And finally, play around with adding different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger.
Serving Suggestions + Pancake Toppings
Our favorite way to serve these pancakes is to stack them high, top them in good salted butter and fresh blueberries and shower them with pure maple syrup. Here are some other topping ideas:
Maple nut butter: Combine pure maple syrup and nut butter in a microwave-proof bowl. Heat for about 20 seconds then mix together. Drizzle over the pancakes.
Fresh fruit: Top your pancakes with sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. You can also try mixing different fruits together for a colorful and flavorful topping.
Greek yogurt: Spoon some Greek yogurt on top of your pancakes for a creamy and tangy addition. You can also mix in some honey or maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.
Crunch: Sprinkle toasted nuts or granola overtop for some crunch.
Cottage cheese: Go all in on the cottage cheese and top these pancakes with even more cottage cheese! Sprinkle fresh chopped strawberries and sugar over top.
More Healthy Breakfast Recipes
Ready for more healthy breakfast ideas? We’ve got you covered!
These Yogurt Pancakes are another healthy pancake recipe to try.
Looking for something savory and ultra-satisfying? This Turkish Eggs recipe features fried eggs, a creamy yogurt sauce, quick-pickled vegetables, and chile oil.
Unlike most banana breads, you can enjoy this Healthy Banana Bread for breakfast and feel good about it!
Cottage Cheese Pancakes Recipe
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (147g) whole milk
- ½ cup (115g) whole milk cottage cheese
- 1 large egg (~50g)
- 2 tablespoons (24g) olive oil + more for cooking
- 1 tablespoons (20g) pure maple syrup or sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla, optional
- 1 cup (122g) white whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoons (5g) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (2g) baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
- optional toppings: butter, lemon zest, berries, pure maple syrup
- In a blender, combine milk, cottage cheese, egg, oil, maple syrup, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice, and vanilla; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; blend just to combine.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200ºF (93ºC). Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet; place in oven.
- Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Brush oil around pan with pastry brush. Carefully wipe out oil using a paper towel but leave a thin film on bottom of pan.
- Spoon batter by 3 tablespoons or scant ¼-cup (or #24 scoop) into pan in 2 places. Barely spread each portion into 3 to 3½-inch round. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are beginning to break an not fill in, about 2 minutes.
- Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat cooking process with remaining batter (adding an additional splash of oil about halfway through batches).
- Serve pancakes immediately or transfer to wire rack in oven to keep warm.