This puffy, chocolate, baked pancake with those crispy, crinkly edges and that deliciously soft center makes a simple yet special breakfast any day of the week!

Chocolate Dutch Baby {German Pancake}

How are you doing this week? Really. Talk to me.

For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving, are you up to your eyeballs in pie recipes? Or are you chilling out and letting someone else do the cooking?

I’ve shared this tip before, but let me reiterate one of my favorite holiday cooking tips: if you happen to be the one hustling in the kitchen to get some (or all) of the dishes prepared for the big day, do yourself a favor, channel the old-school ways of life, and print out the recipes you’ll be using. Like, print them out on real, live paper…and then tape them to your cupboards.

It might sound silly, but this little tip has saved my life on more than one occasion when I’ve been entertaining and/or cooking for a crowd.

It’s great to rely on our handy electronic devices on an average day – I cook from my iPad 93.7% of the time I’m in the kitchen. But when I’m on high-intensity mode for holidays, I think it is an utter pain to flip through screens and browser windows with sticky fingers to reference multiple recipes.

Taping printed, hard-copy recipes to my cupboards keeps me sane and moving and multi-tasking at all new high levels.

Chocolate Dutch Baby {German Pancake}

Even though the holidays come with already big meals and lots (and lots and lots) of meal prep and food making, I always like to increase the madness and throw in a special breakfast on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the way I grew up, and I guess old habits/traditions are hard to break.

I have some set breakfast traditions for Christmas (although I’m fully prepared to buck tradition this year, and I’ll tell you why in a few weeks), but for Thanksgiving, I always change it up a little.

This year, it’s going to be this Chocolate Dutch Baby (also known as a German Pancake). No question.

Why? Well, because it’s crazy delicious, for one. I mean..hello…a giant chocolate pancake baked in a buttered pan resulting in crinkly, crisp edges and a soft, tender center? That’s my love language right there.

And also, as I talked about on this classic German Pancake recipe months ago, these are Brian’s specialty. He makes them, the kids love them, and I get a morning off (and in the case of Thanksgiving, by “morning off,” I mean, more time to make more pie!).

Chocolate Dutch Baby {German Pancake}

Our absolute favorite way to eat this Chocolate Dutch Baby is with a hefty dollop of sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries. It’s luxurious and so very delicious. You could dust lightly with powdered sugar or serve with maple syrup or any other topping of your choice.

To be honest, you could even eat it plain. Not terribly exciting…but still terribly delicious.

You can tell a lot about a person by what part of the Dutch baby or German pancake they claim, you know. I’m an edge girl all the way (same with my brownies, if you have to know). Give me the curled, slightly crispy, chocolate-y edge, and you can safely and peacefully have the puffy middle pieces.

If you are looking for a simple, no-fuss breakfast fit for a holiday or easy enough for any day of the week, this Chocolate Dutch Baby will do the trick. It’s so popular at our house, that we double and make two pans to avoid the infighting that occurs when there is a shortage of chocolate pancake goodness to go around.

Chocolate Dutch Baby {German Pancake}

One Year Ago: Make-Ahead Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
Two Years Ago: Apple Cheesecake Pie
Three Years Ago: Slow Cooker Turkey with No-Fuss Gravy

Chocolate Dutch Baby {i.e. German Pancake!}

Yield: Serves 4-6

Chocolate Dutch Baby {i.e. German Pancake!}

I have subbed the all-purpose flour for finely ground white whole wheat flour. The pancake is slightly more dense but still delicious.

You can experiment making in a cast iron skillet (maybe half this recipe for a 9-inch skillet) or other baking pan; I always use glass but take care when pouring the batter into the hot glass pan (if the batter is chilled at all, it can increase the chances of the pan cracking - you know, hot meets cold and all that; I've never had that happen, but want to give a fair warning).


    For the pan:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • For the batter:
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (1.25 ounces) natural, unsweetened cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the Toppings:
  • Sweetened, whipped cream
  • Fresh fruit
  • Maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put two tablespoons butter in a glass 9X13-inch baking dish and pop the pan in the oven while it preheats (if it's taking a while to mix up the batter, keep an eye on the dish so the butter doesn't burn; take it out when the butter is melted).
  2. Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla in a blender and process on low speed until smooth, 10-20 seconds. Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt and blend until just combined; the batter should be smooth but take care not to overblend or the pancakes may turn out dense and cakey.
  3. Take the preheated, buttered pan out of the oven and swirl the butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes until the pancake is puffy and lightly browned on the bottom and edges.
  4. Serve immediately with sweetened whipped cream, fresh fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup (or whatever else you want to throw on there).

Recipe Source: easily adapted from our favorite classic German Pancake recipe

36 Responses to Chocolate Dutch Baby {i.e. Baked German Pancake!}

  1. Teresa says:

    This was so very yummy. I’ve made the original version of yours too, which is delicious, but I don’t think we can go back from this one now! I used fresh raspberries and dusted it with powdered sugar and squirts of whipped cream. Amazingly good.

  2. Ashlie says:

    My husband makes German Pancakes every Sunday! We love them! We’re so excited to try these 🙂

  3. Nicole says:

    Hey Mel! Thanks for telling me to put my recipes on my cupboards! This has helped me in a MAJOR way this year! I didn’t know it would be so wonderful but it is and will do it forevermore I think and maybe not just ( and now that I am on your site for just a few last minute searches and realizing that the site is probably a bit slower as a result of all your fans checking in too I’m super glad I don’t have to look for many recipes because they are mostly all printed! yay!) And I loved your pie making video. I appreciate the tip about rolling the dough over the rolling pin, had not heard that one. So thanks so much and happy thanksgiving!! 🙂

  4. Dacia says:

    Made these for breakfast this morning- they were delicious!! We’ve only tried the normal version, and like you, my hubby makes them too!!I love being off the hook for breakfast. They were a huge hit- it’s like eating a brownie for breakfast!

  5. Becky says:

    I cook with my iPad too and love the idea of printing off the recipes. I’ve memorized many of the traditional foods we have for the holidays but not all of them. I’m doing brunch for Thanksgiving morning this year and your Pumpkin Chocolate Chips muffins are on the menu! Thanks, Mel!

  6. ~ R says:

    Ha! I am a recipe-to-cupboard-door taper, too! Some of my most often used recipes (like all the variations for overnight oatmeal) are permanently taped to the inside of doors where they are easy to reference but not seen by visitors. 😉

  7. Brittany says:

    I’m all about those nice buttery crusts too…. they are amazing! Thanks for another lovely recipe, you are great:)

  8. Heather bell says:

    Woah this could be epic!! We are twice a week German pancake makers. Time for you to write a cookbook!!!

  9. Boomer says:

    I grew up calling these zider zee’s. Mainly plain one’s, not chocolate, but haven’t heard it since I was a kid. Has anyone else heard these called by that name?

  10. Lavinia says:

    Thanks for always bringing a smile to my face! And delicious new recipes to try! Thanks for the “print on paper” tip – I have smeared my iPad more times than I care to count! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  11. J says:

    We have German pancakes at least a couple times a month. Why didn’t I ever think of making them chocolate?? You’re a genius! These were really good. I was out of berries so I did bananas, whipped cream, and butter syrup. My kids said it was like eating pie. It was crazy good. Thanks!

  12. Mary Lund says:

    It makes me so happy to see this recipe. I had never heard anyone outside my family call these Dutch baby! And a chocolate version?!?!! Count me in.

  13. Paige says:

    Yum! I’ve never thought to make a chocolate verison of this before!


  14. Diane says:

    I skipped breakfast, so when this popped up, I made the half recipe in an 8-inch cast iron skillet and it is perfect! Topped with peanut butter and powdered sugar – yummy!!!!

  15. Emily says:

    I wisk mine by hand or have used a blender, both work great for me. I also bake mine in my convection oven at 375 degrees F they puff up even more! I love your blog, thank you for taking the time to share your great recipies.

  16. Monica says:

    Oh Mel! We love ourselves a dutch baby pancake and I make it a couple times a month for weekend breakfast. I’ve thought about making a savory one but my husband has been reluctant to mess with a near perfect thing. But now, I know I must try this chocolate version since we are all serious chocolate lovers! I can’t believe I never thought of it. Thank you!!

  17. Roberta says:

    Yummoooo, thanks !!

  18. Liz says:

    I often cook from my phone, albeit a large phone … but only for a recipe that is either extremely simple or one I know very well and just went quick reference. Otherwise, I print out a sheet and have it on the counter where it becomes a mess! And I am adamant about getting everything to the table hot so I often print a timing list if I’m doing a lot of dishes.

    Even with experience, if I’m doing a big dinner, I will mentally walk through what pans/utensils/oven space: a plan of action. I found this particularly helpful as on the day there tend to be more people milling about the work area and if you have in your head and on paper, the plan, it makes it easier amidst the distractions.

    Holiday breakfast – YES! A big breakfast and then maybe a mini-snack before the big meal. For me, always a special sweet roll and this year I have lemon sticky buns made with Meyer Lemon. I am one of the few women who was in the wrong line when the chocolate gene was passed out …

  19. martha says:

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! Just wanted you to know you are my very favorite food blogger. I am a busy physician and mom and your recipes are the best!

  20. Mels says:

    Would it work with hand whisking … or do you really need a blender to make this?

    • Mel says:

      I’ve only ever tried it with a blender. I’ve seen several comments suggesting when they tried the classic version by hand, it was pretty dense. I think the blender helps the light and fluffy factor.

  21. Kelsey says:

    Chocolate German pancakes?!. This is pure genius!

  22. Shannon C says:

    This looks delicious! I print out my recipes too…my trick to use magnets. I bought a roll of magnet tape (where one side is sticky) and placed strips underneath the cabinets behind the little lip. It is totally unnoticeable, even with the push pin style magnets that I keep attached to the magnet strips. When I need my recipes all in front of me, I use the magnets. They are off the counter, away from the food debris.

  23. Beth in Ohio says:

    This looks amazing, and maybe its just me, but who doesn’t love chocolate for breakfast? I agree with you about having printed copies of recipes handy for a big day of cooking. You will be proud to know that I usually have several of your recipes handily printed and put into clear plastic sleeves waiting on my recipe holder:) ….they get used a lot!! Thank you for your wonderful blog and recipes.

  24. Chantel Heap says:

    This looks amazing!! I see recipes that call for Dutch-process cocoa powder but I have never been able to find it. My stores just carry the unsweetened. Do you have to go to a specialty store for it?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Chantel – the recipe calls for either unsweetened, natural cocoa powder or Dutch-process. The Dutch-process will make the pancake slightly richer and darker in chocolate flavor but either will work. I usually buy my Dutch-process cocoa in bulk with a group order that goes in once a year, at my Winco grocery store in the bulk bins, at Orson Gygi when I pass through Salt Lake or on Amaazon. Hope that helps! Ultimately, I don’t think you need to get special cocoa powder for this baked pancake, though.

    • Michelle G. says:

      If you live near Costco and you’re wanting to try Dutch-process cocoa, you might check their baking aisle. They don’t normally carry it, but my Costco is stocking it for the holidays. I got a 25oz bag of Rodelle organic dutch process cocoa for $6.99 earlier this month.

  25. Helen says:

    I am loving that chocolate German Pancake is even a thing !!!! Half my “peeps” have already left for the day or I would be making this right now… but I’m thinking after school snack today!! Seriously !! Chocolate German Pancake… who Knew!! I Love You Mel!! And the baking started last week and is still going strong here… thanks for having my back. And …. Chocolate German Pancake … Wow !! Just Wow!!

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