Santa Pancakes are a Real Dairy-Free Treat on St. Nicholas Day


Many years ago, when my children were very little, a friend of mine introduced me to celebrating St. Nicholas Day. Around the same time, a blogger I followed (RIP, Google Reader), wrote about making Santa Pancakes for her children on St. Nicholas Day.

St. Nicholas was known for secret gift giving, which developed into the Santa Claus we know today. Of course I wanted to get in on the fun, so I began making Dairy-Free Santa Pancakes for my children each December 6. This is also a nice day to give them simple gifts or sweets in the shoes they leave out for St. Nicholas the night before. Or a good time to give them new Christmas PJs or Christmas books.

Dairy-Free Santa Pancakes Recipe - A fun treat for St. Nicholas Day or Christmas Day! Vegan and gluten-free options.

These Santa Pancakes are a Real Dairy-Free Treat for St. Nicholas Day

This Dairy-Free Santa Pancakes recipe is more of an idea than a precise recipe. It is easy to scale up or down depending on how many people you are feeding. While this is an easy and fun kids can cook recipe, sometimes I like to get up early and make the pancakes myself to surprise everyone.

Dairy-Free Pancakes

Any dairy-free pancakes will work. I used Bisquick pancakes made with dairy-free milk beverage for the pancakes in these photos. For dairy-free and egg-free, try Alisa’s Easy Vegan Pancakes. For dairy-free and gluten-free, use her Flourless Almond-Oat Pancakes. And for top allergen-free, these are The Best Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes.

Topping (Santa’s Nose & Hat) Options

Any red pie filling will work, too. While cherry looks the best for the hat and nose, my children prefer raspberry or strawberry pie filling.

Dairy-Free Whipped Cream Options

You can use any store-bought or homemade whipped cream for the beard and hat trim. I used Reddi-Wip Almond Milk Non-Dairy Whip in the photos. In the past I’ve used So Delicious CocoWhip or homemade dairy-free whipped cream. For more options, see our Dairy-Free Whipped Cream Guide.

Dairy-Free Santa Pancakes Recipe - A fun treat for St. Nicholas Day or Christmas Day! Vegan and gluten-free options.

Special Diet Notes: Santa Pancakes

By ingredients, this recipe can be dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and/or vegetarian. It depends on the ingredients you choose. See above for recommendations.

Dairy-Free Santa Pancakes
Prep time
Total time
This is more of a guide to building your own Santa pancakes, but see the post above for recipe and product recommendations.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: As many as you like
  • Freshly prepared dairy-free pancakes (one large pancake per person; see post above for recipes)
  • Canned cherry pie filling
  • Dairy-free whipped cream
  • Bananas
  • Dairy-free chocolate chips
  1. Place each warm pancake on a separate plate.
  2. Spread some cherry pie filling on each plate just above the pancake in the shape of Santa's hat.
  3. Place two banana slices on each pancake for eyes.
  4. Place a chocolate chip on each banana slice.
  5. Spray, pipe, or spread the whipped cream on each pancake in the shape of a beard and mustache, as well as the trim and pompom on the hat.
  6. Use one cherry from the pie filling for a nose on each pancake.
  7. Serve immediately.

More Fun Dairy-Free Treats for Christmas

Melting Snowman Cookies

Dairy-free Melting Snowman Cookies Recipe - with homemade vegan vanilla icing and the decorations. Also nut-free & optionally soy-free.

Gumdrop Bread

Dairy-Free Gumdrop Bread Recipe with Vegan Option - nut-free and optionally soy-free too. Baked into mini loaves. Kids can cook treat.

Reindeer Pops

Dairy-Free Reindeer Pops Recipe - Fun to Make & Allergy-Friendly for All - includes vegan, gluten-free, and top food allergy-friendly options. Kid-friendly holiday treat that kids can make!

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.

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