These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes make for a hearty, whole grain breakfast. They taste like banana bread, but in pancake form. Add chocolate chips and top with Walnut Syrup for a special treat!

Stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas and walnut syrup

Pancakes. I’ve written a lot about pancakes since starting this blog. I think Cream of Wheat Griddle Cakes was the first pancake post I shared with you. 

In that post, I confessed that pancakes weren’t really top of my list for breakfast items. Growing up, I always found pancakes to be a little boring unless they were a particular kind. For me, that was thinner, hearty and moist…the kind that were even good plain and even better with just a quick drizzle of syrup. 

Growing up, we mostly had pancake mix pancakes. They were thick and fluffy and required a good drenching in syrup. Even though I’ve always had a sweet tooth, I was never a drench your pancake in syrup kind of girl. I never refused them, but I was usually much more excited to be greeted by a waffle than a pancake.

Overhead view of Stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas and walnut syrup

Those Cream of Wheat Griddle Cakes are the bomb and the exact kind of pancake I grew up loving so much.

Then, I had kids and raised them on pancakes filled with ground flax, wheat germ, whole wheat flour etc, etc. In other words, I knew pancakes were kid friendly but I wanted my kids to eat healthy pancakes.

So, somewhere between those uber healthy pancakes and the griddle cakes (my daughter used to call them “treat” pancakes :) is where I’ve been experimenting with my pancakes recipes.

I’ve made Pumpkin Pancakes and Gingerbread Pancakes and Spiced Applesauce Pancakes and Oatmeal Protein Pancakes….even Orange Pancakes topped with a fresh citrus syrup!

Walnut syrup being ladled over a stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas

Speaking of toppings, if you check out my pancake recipes, you’ll see that most of them are topped with something other than just maple syrup. It’s not that I don’t love maple syrup, I do! I just don’t love a syrup tsunami on my plate.

I think creating a specific topping for a specific pancake flavor can really make a pancake extra delicious! 

As a matter of fact, it was the Walnut Syrup I just posted that inspired this latest pancake creation. I mean, c’mon. Did you make that syrup yet?

Well, if you did, you too would have wondered what else you could pour that magic over. I immediately thought of pancakes! 

Overhead view of Stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas and walnut syrup

I know, it’s not a far stretch from syrup to pancakes and not a far stretch from walnuts to banana bread. But be that as obvious as it may, I knew it was time to develop an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancake.

Sounds like a cookie, tastes like banana bread, eats like a pancake :) What could be better than that?

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Stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes speared with a fork topped with sliced bananas and walnut syrup

What makes these pancakes so hearty?

  • Well, my friends, it’s the oats. When you add oats to pancakes, you get that extra fiber and that makes these pancakes more filling.
  • And yes, whole wheat pastry flour adds to the heartiness, but the oats are really the stick to your ribs secret. For this recipe, we’re going to make oat flour. Don’t worry. It’s easy.

Oats in the bowl of a food processor

What kind of oats should I use?

  • I’ve used both quick oats and rolled oats with success. I used quick oats for the batch you see in these photos and they really work very well. I keep both on hand, so I use both pretty equally. 
  • I haven’t tried instant oats, so I can’t report on that. I never buy them and would worry that they would affect the texture of the pancake. 

Ground oats in a food processor

How do you make oat flour?

You’re going to need a food processor. This Cuisinart is the one closest to what I own and I use it all the time! 

Yep, you see it pop up in so many of my posts whether I’m grinding up freeze dried fruit, graham crackers or cookies for pie crust or mixing up a sauce. It’s a work horse in my kitchen.

If you don’t have a food processor,  my advice is to get one of these smaller ones before you contemplate the purchase of a full sized food processor. 

You’ll simply place the oats in your food processor and process until you have a medium to coarse grind. That means that you’re not going to pulverize it into a fine flour. Instead, you’re looking for a textured flour. It won’t take long, Just check it after a pulsing it a few times to see how it’s doing.

Glass bowl filled with dry pancake ingredients

What’s the best whole wheat flour for making whole grain pancakes?

  • The answer is whole wheat PASTRY flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is milled from a low protein soft white wheat, which is different than the wheat used to make regular whole wheat flour. I LOVE it. It doesn’t weigh baked goods down. I use it most often for making pancakes. It’s also great for muffins
  • I generally use Bob’s Red Mill because it’s worked so well for me and it’s easily available at my grocery store.
  • I also love King Arthur Flour . It’s just harder to get because I have to order it. Both are great so get whichever is best for you.
  • I don’t use any all purpose flour in these pancakes, but you may absolutely sub it for the whole wheat pastry flour if you wish. They won’t be whole grain anymore, but they will still be delish.

Bowl of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancake batter in a glass bowl with a whisk

How many bananas make 1 cup mashed?

  • You’ll need about 3, very ripe, medium bananas.
  • A medium banana is about 7-8″ long.

I give you a measurement for the mashed bananas because you might not have the exact right size. I’m not about to start measuring the length of bananas.

I have a pet peeve with recipes that state the number of bananas but not how much you really need once the darn things are mashed up. (You know I’m type A right?) I know this is because there’s some flexibility in how much you can use. But for consistency’s sake, I like a volume measurement.

Stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas and walnut syrup

What if I don’t have enough mashed banana for the recipe?

This happens frequently, especially if I’m making a recipe on the fly and didn’t plan to have enough bananas on hand. Or, if “someone” eats the bananas I was planning to use :/ 

No fear. Here’s what you can do to make up for what you’re missing:

  • If my mashed banana doesn’t quite make a full cup, I’ll top it off with applesauce. I always have some in my pantry for baking. I use unsweetened, but it’s fine to use whatever you have.
  • You can also use a mashed pear, if you have some ripe ones laying around.
  • Pureed pumpkin is another great choice. It may change the color of what you’re making, but if the majority of your cup is banana, the pancakes are still going to taste like banana.
  • If you have a baby, then mashed baby food is a great back up plan. Use any of the fruit sauces or sweeter veggies like carrot or squash.
  • You can even finely grate up some fresh zucchini or squash, if you have it on hand.

(By the way, I used baby food carrots in my Ultimate Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal. That was some killer baked oatmeal…just thought you should know ;)

Overhead view of sliced bananas on top of a stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Use a Liquid Measuring Cup for Consistency

I’m talking about all the liquids and wet ingredients here as well as the sugar. You’re going to have eggs, oil, sugar, banana and buttermilk. It’s okay to be a little off here and there. Maybe your eggs are a little smaller or a little larger than mine. Or, maybe you want to add more sugar.

If you put all those ingredients into a 4 cup measure and then add buttermilk to get to 4 cups, all will be well. 

This doesn’t mean you can willy nilly sub out lots of eggs or add a ton more buttermilk. We’re still working with ratios here. You can play around a little bit, but generally respect the ratios.

What it does mean, is that any little bit you’re off here and there will get taken care of with a consistent 4 cup measure. That’s the measure for the pancakes you see pictured here.

Chocolate chips being added to Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancake Batter

Chocolate Chips vs. Chocolate Chunks

Normally, I would have used mini semisweet chocolate chips for this pancake. Turns out, I only had a bit of the little guys left and had to add some chocolate chunks.

Of course, I had to chop said chunks, something I generally hate doing. Chopping chocolate is just a pain for me. But this was only a bit and they were already in small chunks, so I laid them out on a cutting board and chopped them up into smaller pieces.

You need smaller pieces if you want a little chocolate to go a long way in your pancake.

Walnut syrup being ladled over a stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas

I have to say, it turned out quite well because I had varied sizes of chocolate throughout the pancake….aaaaand, all the chocolate shavings that came from the chopping? Well, they were everywhere within the pancake just melting in with the batter.

I would still use all mini chips next time and that’s what I’ll recommend for the recipe.  After all, they are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes….But if you don’t have them on hand and don’t mind a little chocolate chopping, just know it will be a little different, but still, oh so good.

I have a million tips for how to make perfect pancakes over on my Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake post. So, if you want to go through all the basics on how to insure some great pancakes, feel free to use that as a primer. 

Walnut syrup being ladled over a stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes topped with sliced bananas

Topping Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

So, sure, you could top these babies with some delicious maple syrup…but please make my Walnut Syrup instead! It has maple syrup in it, after all :) Plus…extra protein :)

And if you love banana nut bread, you’re going to come back and thank me once you take a bite with all that nutty syrupy goodness.

Overhead view of sliced banana

I did slice up another banana for a little extra pizazz on top. That banana was at the perfect peak for eating, speckled and sweet, and yet still firm enough to slice.

How I ended up with super ripe bananas for the pancakes and ripe for eating bananas for the topping at the same time is still a bit of a mystery to me, but it was so good, it’s worth making it a plan for the future.

That bite with the fresh bananas and the walnut syrup was like the digging into a delicious banana split. Then, you get a bite of that super moist banana pancake and boom! You’re smack dab in the middle of banana bread land.

Stack of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes speared with a fork topped with sliced bananas and walnut syrup

Might as well get comfortable. I think you’re going to want to stay awhile :)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Yield: about 20 (4-5") pancakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes

These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes make for a hearty, whole grain breakfast. They taste like banana bread, but in pancake form. Add chocolate chips and top with Walnut Syrup for a special treat!

Ingredients

  • For the pancakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking or rolled oats (not instant)
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, vegetable oil or your oil of choice
  • about 2 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • For the topping:
  • Walnut syrup (see notes)

Instructions

For the pancakes:

  1. Preheat griddle to medium. I heat mine to 340 degrees F. If using a frying pan, you can wait until your batter is mixed up before preheating.
  2. In a food processor, grind oats into a coarse flour. (See photos in post) You want it ground down but with a bit of texture.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk ground oats, pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. In a four cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together brown sugar, mashed banana, eggs and olive oil until well blended. Add enough buttermilk to bring the entire mixture to 4 cups. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  5. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine. Do not overmix at this stage or you'll risk tough pancakes. Lumps are okay. Just mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Spray preheated griddle or fry pan with cooking spray. Drop batter by 1/4 cup scoopfuls. This batter can tend towards the thicker side. Use the back of the spoon or side of the scoop in a tapping motion to help spread batter around, if necessary.
  8. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until sides are set and rounded, the top has bubbles, but is not loose and liquidy, and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and finish cooking the other side.

For the walnut syrup:

See link to recipe in notes section below.

Notes

*Use a whisk with only a few wires otherwise the batter will get all caught up in the whisk and it will be difficult to stir. If you don't have that kind of whisk, feel free to use a spoon or a spatula.

*This batter is purposefully on the thicker side. Once I scoop the batter onto the griddle, I use the side of my scoop to tap or bounce up and down on the batter to help it spread into a circle.

*You can make the Walnut Syrup in advance, if you wish. If you want a higher syrup to nut ratio, reduce the nuts in the recipe to 3/4 cup. I liked it chock full of nuts so I used it exactly as the recipe is written. You may also want to double or triple the recipe depending upon how generously you want to top your pancakes.

*For a sweeter pancake, increase sugar to 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup.

*I listed cook time at about 4 minutes. How long it takes you to cook the full batch will vary based on the size of your griddle or fry pan.

*This makes about 20 pancakes and we eat 2-3 pancakes each. I keep cooled leftovers covered in the refrigerator for the next day's breakfast. Reheat in a single layer in the microwave.

*Pancakes freeze very well. Separate them with waxed paper and freeze them in zip top freezer bags. They can be reheated from frozen in the microwave.