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.
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.
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.
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.
- Freshly prepared dairy-free pancakes (one large pancake per person; see post above for recipes)
- Canned cherry pie filling
- Dairy-free whipped cream
- Dairy-free chocolate chips
- Place each warm pancake on a separate plate.
- Spread some cherry pie filling on each plate just above the pancake in the shape of Santa's hat.
- Place two banana slices on each pancake for eyes.
- Place a chocolate chip on each banana slice.
- 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.
- Use one cherry from the pie filling for a nose on each pancake.
- Serve immediately.