Bananas Foster Pancakes


Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras Day is a chance to indulge – the last hurrah – before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, when Christians fast and obstain from meat. Besides all the parties and parades, there’s another Mardi Gras tradition that you may not know about: eating pancakes. This centuries-long practice dates back to 600 A.D., when Pope St. Gregory prohibited Christians from eating all forms of meat and animal products, including dairy, during the 40 days of Lent. Eager to use up their supplies, Christians made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to make use of their butter, milk, and eggs before Ash Wednesday.

Why just have pancakes when you can have Bananas Foster Pancakes? Jazz up your celebration and add some Big Easy flair with this riff on the popular dish. Made from bananas cooked in butter, brown sugar and rum, Bananas Foster is prepared tableside, dramatically flambéed, and then served over ice cream. Created at Brennan’s by Paul Blangé and Ella Brennan in 1951, it was named for Richard Foster, who was Paul’s friend, and a civil leader in New Orleans at the time. Bananas Foster remains Brennan’s top-selling dessert, and has become one of New Orleans’ most famous treats.

Because the banana topping is so decadent, I kept the pancakes a bit healthier with Healthy Greek Yogurt Pancakes. Made from oat flour for added fiber, and yogurt for added protein, they are fluffy, moist and delicious. To save time, feel free to use a boxed pancake mix or you can substitute any pancake recipe that you like. To make this dairy-free, use any kind of dairy-free milk or yogurt. Good pancakes require a hot griddle, and butter browns too quickly, so use a fat with a higher smoke point, like canola oil, shortening, or coconut oil for greasing your griddle. 

Bananas that are barely ripe or underripe are best, so that they don’t get mushy when they’re cooked. The Caramelized Bananas and Bananas Foster Sauce contains a bit of rum, but you can make these without alcohol. Just use a teaspoon of rum extract to keep the flavor. If you have high-quality vanilla extract, use it here. It has a more complex flavor profile, and because there are so few ingredients, it will noticeably enhance the others. The pancakes can be stored airtight for up to two days in the refrigerator, but the sauce is best served on the day you make it.

There is something about the commingling of bananas, butter, brown sugar and rum that is just divine. It has an aroma all it’s own and dare I say, it’s the signature scent of New Orleans. Just one whiff and it brings back memories of every great meal I have had in that great city. Whip up some Bananas Foster Pancakes in your kitchen this Tuesday and let the good times roll.

Healthy Greek Yogurt Pancakes

  • 1 cup oat flour (1 cup old-fashioned, or rolled oats, pulsed in blender)   
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, or more, if needed 
  • vegetable oil, for griddle or skillet

Combine oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk together. Combine Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl; whisk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk to combine. If batter is too thick, add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until an oatmeal-like consistency is reached. Let batter rest 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Grease hot griddle or skillet with oil, then scoop 1/4 cup portions of pancake batter onto the heated surface. Cook until bubbles start to form, sides become set, and the bottom of pancake is golden brown. Flip and cook other side until golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack placed inside a baking sheet and hold in a 200º F oven. 

-adapted from 

Caramelized Bananas and Bananas Foster Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 teaspoons dark rum, or 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 medium slightly underripe bananas, sliced 

Melt butter In a medium skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar, rum, and cinnamon, stirring well until sugar dissolves. Let cook for several minutes until mixture is thick and bubbling. Stir in vanilla extract and banana slices, tossing gently to coat bananas in sauce. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes; remove from heat.

Spoon bananas and sauce over pancakes and serve.

-adapted from

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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