The holidays are a great chance to spend time with your loved ones and create beautiful memories. Unfortunately, sometimes they are so busy that we are spending all of our time doing tasks and forget to have fun.
Part of the problem is that we want to create fabulous meals but don’t want to spend a ton of time on them.
Breakfast can be an especially tricky one. You want to have a great family meal but don’t want to invest too much time in it, especially when dinners seem to be the star during the holidays. You just can’t do it all.
I have long been on the hunt for a great make-ahead breakfast for the holidays. Unfortunately, searches always yield breakfast casseroles, and there are only so many of those we can eat. Here is an entirely different take. I have the ultimate hack for your Christmas breakfast –a make-ahead pancake board.
You may have seen these fancy charcuterie boards filled with meat and cheese on Pinterest or Facebook. They are certainly all the rage. Now that trend has spilled over to breakfast. And why not? A breakfast charcuterie is the perfect leisurely meal that we all crave.
Don’t let the pretty pictures fool you. A pancake board is entirely attainable for a holiday breakfast, and I’m here to show you how.
Want to learn how to make a pancake board ahead of time and wow your friends and family?
Let’s go to The Chalkboard.
Don’t have much time? Here’s The Chalkboard Version
- Do you want some tips on how to assemble the ultimate pancake board?
- Or are you looking for some ideas for toppings?
- Here is how to make it all ahead of time.
Jump Ahead To
What Is A Pancake Board?
First things first, what the heck is a pancake board? Well, it’s a large platter of all things breakfast. It is a platter filled with pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, and toppings.
It looks beautiful, and everyone can just pick what they want. While they look daunting at first, they are relatively simple to put together.
Why Make A Pancake Board?
- It is easy to serve a crowd. The food can scale, so you can feed a couple as efficiently as you can 16!
- You can do it all ahead, which means less time in the kitchen in the morning. Just pop it in the oven.
- It looks impressive without too much work.
- You can serve a variety of palettes and diets. Do some of your guests like sweet and others like savory? Have a vegetarian or vegan? You can please everyone!
- It is so yummy!!
What Goes On A Pancake Board?
The simple answer is anything! Be creative and use what you have! But you want to have at least one carbohydrate and one protein balanced with a bunch of toppings. The carbohydrate can be pancakes or waffles, or even french toast. The protein can be any type of bacon or sausage you like (turkey, vegan, etc.)
It’s time to raid your cabinets and great creative! If you have kids to feed or an adult with a sweet tooth, almost anything you use in baking will do. Think sprinkles, chocolate chips, marshmallows, etc. Besides that, you want to add some fruit to make it healthy, and don’t forget the maple syrup!
- Chocolate Chips
- Peppermint Chips
- Maple Syrup
- Chocolate Sauce
- Cranberry sauce
Some of these boards are so fancy looking but then you add up the cost, and it’s insane! It’s just not feasible. You want to have fun but be realistic! There is no need to put out something if you know no one is going to eat it.
How Do You Make A Pancake Board Ahead?
You can prepare everything on this board in advance. The toppings take just minutes to assemble, and you can do those days before the event. You can also complete cooking months before and just pop everything in the oven and go about your morning.
Wash the fruit separately and lay it out to dry. Take any other toppings and place in small bowls, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Fruits should be stored in the refrigerator and other toppings at room temperature.
Pancakes, Waffles, And French Toast
Make these up to three months before. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze for a few hours. Then place in a large freezer bag for longer-term storage. To reheat, wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven along with the sausage or bacon. Any temperature from 350-400 degrees will do. Check them after 15 minutes.
The Pioneer Woman’s waffle recipe is my fave! It takes some time, but they are delicious! They are light and fluffy; just be sure not to overmix the batter. The recipe yields enough for a family of four with some leftovers. It is not hard to double the recipe if you are serving a crowd.
Here is the recipe for the pancakes that my family has made for many years. Don’t skip the step of mixing the buttermilk with the egg white and the yolk with the butter. It makes a difference.
A great pancake recipe that is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 4 Tbsp. melted butter
- 2 eggs separated
- 2 cups buttermilk
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
Combine the melted butter and egg yolks and mix well.
Whisk egg whites and buttermilk.
Combine the buttermilk and melted butter mixtures.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.
Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of the batter onto a greased pan or griddle preheated to 325 degrees. Flip when you see bubbles form on the top. Cook for an additionaklfew minutes.
Alton Brown’s French Toast is delicious. I’ve found that almost any type of bread will do. It is easy to scale, and a large griddle makes simple work of cooking a large amount at a time. Depending on how thick your bread is, plan for about 2-4 pieces per person.
Here’s a significant cheat. If you don’t have the time, you can certainly use any frozen type if your family likes it! I promise I won’t tell.
You could certainly make the bacon the day before and reheat it in the oven. But that takes just as much work as heating it the first time. Place the bacon on a greased cooling rack and cook in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. You may need more time if your bacon is thicker.
Plan for one pound of bacon for every 3-4 people. This amount can fit on a large sheet pan. You can quickly cook two pounds or more in the oven; just switch the pans around halfway through baking to allow for even browning.
Sausages can be cooked entirely in advance and then frozen. Try your best not to overcook them. To do this, use a thermometer to ensure the internal temperature is appropriate for the type of meat. The safe minimum cooking temperature for pork and chicken is 165 degrees.
After you have cooked the sausage, place them in a freezer bag. Thawed sausages reheat best, so move them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to eat them.
Wrap them in foil and put in a 375 degree preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Food Quantities For A Breakfast Board
Here’s how much food you will need.
Bacon – 1 pound for 3-4 people
Sausage – 2-3 links per person
Pancakes and Waffles – 2-3 per person
French Toast – 2-4 per person
What Equipment Do You Need For A Make-Ahead Pancake Board?
You don’t need anything special. Most likely, you have items in your house that will work just fine. The first thing you will need is a board. Anything will do! I use a large cutting board. You aren’t going to see it, so if it is a little beat up, that’s ok.
The next thing you will need is some small bowls. Some people that make charcuterie boards don’t use small bowls and simply lay everything out on the platter. You can certainly do that, but the bowls work well to save time since you can load them up in advance. Ramekins work well here, and you can reuse them.
How To Arrange A Pancake Board
- Gather a large board. A cutting board works well. I use a large carving board turned upside down. You don’t see too much of it, so almost anything will work.
- Place the bowls on the board, arranging them to disperse colors. For example, don’t put two brown items next to one another.
- Now work around them and place the pancakes, waffles, and or french toast down on top of one another. I like to fan them out.
- Place the proteins. I lay them down on a paper napkin to absorb any oils and add a pop of color.
- Garnish! You don’t want to see the board. So now take some garnish and place it over any bare spots. I used some mint sprigs, which added a great scent.
Tips To Make A Great Pancake Board
- You don’t want to see any of the board.
- Place small toppings in bowls to contain them.
- If you have little ones, place things that they would like on the edges, so they are easier for them to reach.
- You can use apples and pears as toppings, but they will brown as they sit out. As a shortcut, use apple pie filling.
- There is no need to buy too much. Instead, raid your baking cabinet – sprinkles, baking chips, etc. all make great toppings.
- Feel free to use ready-made; I won’t tell.
- Have fun and be creative!
What Do You Think?
What’s your favorite make-ahead breakfast for the holidays? Have you made a pancake board before? What did you put on it? Let me know in the comments below; I would love to hear.
Want to spread more holiday cheer? Check out our DIY Hot Cocoa Bombs.
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