One of the best things you can eat at Disneyland (in my opinion) are the Apple Granola Pancakes from Carnation Cafe. Perfect apple cinnamon pancakes topped with sticky, sweet apple pie-style apples and crunchy granola – I just knew I had to come up with my own version to enjoy at home. (And now you can, too!)
Disneyland Apple Granola Pancakes Recipe
So, I should start off by saying that I’m usually not a big fan of pancakes. I usually find them heavy, somewhat boring, and would rather opt for something sweet-and-savory like eggs benedict or a sausage and bacon biscuit.
But, I’m a firm believer that when you ask a server what their favorite thing on the menu is – you’re rarely disappointed. So when my server at the Carnation Cafe at Disneyland suggested the Apple-Granola Pancakes (“roasted cinnamon apple and granola pancakes served with hickory-smoked bacon or sausage links”) I listened… and boy am I glad I did!
I ate so many wonderful things at Disneyland (hey, it is part of my job description, right?) but those pancakes made such an impression that here I am two years later, still thinking and reminiscing about them. Anything that good deserves to be replicated.
Soft fluffy pancakes with a warm apple pie flavor, topped with juicy cooked apples and crunchy apple spice granola. It’s comforting, satisfying and just a perfect combination of textures and flavors.
For this recipe, I used my homemade buttermilk pancakes recipe as a base and hit them up with a generous dash of my homemade apple pie spice. I then topped it off with my copycat Cracker Barrel fried apples and our homemade apple spice granola.
I know, that’s a whole lot of homemade. But the extra pancakes can be frozen and the apple spice granola lasts in a mason jar for months, so I tend to make once and enjoy the fruits (er, pancakes) of my labor for weeks afterwards.
If you want to save yourself a bit of effort, you can swap the homemade pancake batter for a boxed mix (just don’t forget that dash of apple spice), swap the homemade apple topping for canned apple pie filling, and use whatever granola you like – as long as it’s too not sweet.
Can you freeze these pancakes? The plain pancakes can be frozen in freezer-safe bags or containers up to 3 months. (This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.) The apples can also be frozen, separately, for up to one month or kept in the fridge for up to a week. The granola is best kept in an airtight mason jar for up to three months.
Is this the official Disneyland pancake recipe? Can I let you in on a little secret? Disneyland uses boxed mix for all of their waffles and pancakes. I’ve verified this with both their mix supplier and several Disney cast members – because I didn’t believe the suppliers at first! But it makes sense, considering how many hundreds or thousands of waffles and pancakes get served up daily and how consistent the quality is. So, if you want to make “the authentic recipe” use the boxed mix and add some apple spice. You can order the official mix here.
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Ingredients
- All-purpose Flour
- White Sugar
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Apple Pie Spice <– grab our recipe for homemade apple pie spice (you can also just use cinnamon)
- Buttermilk <– I always have this powdered buttermilk in my fridge to make instant buttermilk whenever I need it.
- Butter, softened
- Vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil
Optional apple topping:
- Apples, mixture of sweet and tart (we used Cortland and Golden Delicious)
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Apple Pie Spice
- Apple Cider, or more as needed
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: if making your pancakes from scratch is too tedious, you can swap in a boxed mix. Also, instead of making the fried apples, you can use apple pie filling.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Cast Iron Skillet <– I love the versatility of a good cast-iron pan – you can make everything from eggs to dessert in them and they transition easily from the stove to the oven. This one is pre-seasoned and great for even heating
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to Make Apple Pie Pancakes
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract and egg.
Stir together, mixing from the middle to incorporate the wet ingredients first.
Stir until no large lumps remain, but avoid overtaxing the batter.
Ideally, allow the pancake batter to sit for 30 minutes before making your pancakes.
Set a cast iron skillet (or griddle) to medium-high heat and brush with cooking oil.
Allow the oil to get hot, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
Scoop 1/3 cup of pancake batter onto the skillet and use the bottom of a measuring cup or spoon to smooth down in a circular pattern.
Cook until many bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the uncooked side.
Place the finished pancakes on a plate and keep warm by setting in your oven on the lowest setting. (You can also preheat the oven and then turn it off and just allow them to sit in the warmed oven.)
For the apples, in a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, white sugar, brown sugar and apple pie spice.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the apples to the melted butter and cook until softened.
Whisk the cornstarch into the apple cider and add to the skillet.
Allow mixture to bubble and thicken, stirring occasionally.
To assemble, scoop 1/4 cup of the apple mixture onto each pancake, or scoop 1/2 cup onto a stack of pancakes. Sprinkle with granola.
Grab your free printable for our apple pie pancakes reicpe:
Feel free to swap pre-made apple pie filling in for the homemade skillet apple topping. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
Optional apple topping:
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 417mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 23gProtein: 6g
Feel free to swap pre-made apple pie filling in for the homemade skillet apple topping.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves this delicious, indulgent recipe for apple granola pancakes just like you can find at Disneyland’s Carnation Cafe. Even if you can’t make it to the park, you can still eat like it!