Pancake “Cereal” Is Basically Homemade Cookie Crisp for Teens (and Parents)

updated May 7, 2020
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Diptych of pancake cereal

The social media network TikTok has been a surprising source of cooking ideas during the pandemic. We’ve learned how to turn carrots into bacon (!) and how to discard hot grease when you’re in a hurry. The latest of these viral trends is “pancake cereal,” which is exactly what it sounds like: tiny pancakes piled up in a bowl, as if they were cereal. TikTok videos with the tag #pancakecereal have 214 million views, and there’s no shortage of the trend on Instagram, either.

These teensy pancakes are made by using a squeeze bottle or piping bag. You squeeze out a dime-size amount of pancake batter onto your pan, cook the pancakes, and then serve them in a bowl. (Apparently, the key, according to a TikToker interviewed by Insider, is to use canola oil, instead of butter, so they don’t burn.) But that’s just the beginning. All over TikTok people are adding all kinds of mix-ins to their mini pancakes, like mini chocolate chips or sprinkles. They’re also adding toppings to their “cereal” like fruits and nuts. In the most basic version, the pancakes simply sit in the bowl, perhaps with a butter pat on top. But as the idea evolves, there is also whipped cream, chocolate sauce, syrup, and more.

It’s very unclear if people are adding milk to them — some show it, but most do not, though they could be adding it afterwards.

When I first heard about the trend, it reminded me of Cookie Crisp — the cereal that looks like mini cookies that every 90’s kid was obsessed with at one point. Many of the TikTok videos say you should overcook the mini pancakes so they become more “crispy” and other people use mini chocolate chips in their batter, so it’s really just like the homemade version of the classic cereal. Is it actually worth the effort? The verdict is still out. Either way, they are pretty damn cute and if you have too much time on your hands, it might be worth the laugh.