Healthy Pancake Toppings (What to put on pancakes other than syrup)

What are healthy pancake toppings other than syrup?

Healthy pancake toppings include hemp seeds, nuts, and whole fruit, apple butter, and honey. Start by adding a nut butter for protein and healthy fats. Add fruit or seeds for additional nutrition.

Syrup is tasty, but is very sugary and boring. Imagine, spicing up your breakfast routine with powerful nutrition.

Your taste buds and waist line will thank you.

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you the most popular pancake toppings. I’ll even show you the healthiest options, which will allow you to eat pancakes - guilt free. You’ll be able to enjoy your favorite breakfast, but also taking care of your health.

What is the Most Popular Pancake Topping in America?

The most popular pancake topping in America is syrup. At every breakfast restaurant in America, you’ll find syrup on the table. Often the syrup will come in different varieties and flavors. 

Americans occasionally change things up with a peanut butter and banana option or strawberries and whipped cream. Toppings generally follow a fruity and sugary theme, promoting the cake in a pancake. 

In Britain, according to the Telegraph, one of the most popular toppings is lemon and sugar, which admittedly is delicious. So it does make our list as something you should try. 

Meanwhile, in America, we load on the syrup and the most popular commercial brands aren’t maple syrup at all. 

The USDA has maple syrup grades & standards so you know good quality. We take our syrup seriously on this side of the pond, something we have in common with our Canadian neighbors. Perhaps corn syrup is the reason we have grade maple syrup.  



Is There a Healthy Pancake Syrup?

Pure maple syrup has been accepted as a “healthier” syrup option. Unlike store-bought maple-flavored syrup, pure maple syrup doesn’t contain added white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. 

Syrup was not meant to ever be considered a healthy food. While pure maple syrup is a better choice, it’s still not going to help you if you’re on a diet. But if you go for grade-A dark maple syrup it does contain real nutrients like calcium, iron, and even folic acid. 

However, the best way to make something healthier is to make a homemade version. The best syrup option is to make homemade fruit syrup without refined sugar. 

You don’t have to stop at maple or molasses flavored syrups, try cinnamon, strawberry, or blueberry flavors. Berries are the best for lower sugar content. Despite the flavor, try to stay away from artificial sweeteners.

What is a Healthy Substitute for Syrup?

Raw honey is the most common healthy substitute for syrup. It’s probably the first topping we reach for if we’ve run out of maple syrup. 

We love honey, all of our sweetened Humming Hemp products have been kissed by the bees. Studies show that honey ingredients contain anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. As a result, honey has multiple uses and benefits for the body including the respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. 

All-natural honey’s benefits make it a healthy choice for your diet in general. Yet the debate goes on about whether or not honey is more beneficial than pure maple syrup. Mainly because of the minerals that pure maple syrup contains.

The question of what is a healthier option for syrup on your pancakes comes down to sugar. If you are avoiding sugar the truth is any sweetener will be unhealthy for you. But you can top your pancakes with something other than a sweetener. No rule says pancakes have to be topped with sugary toppings. 

If you are avoiding sugar then the best healthy substitute for syrup is no sugar at all. 

What are Healthy Pancake Toppings?

Healthy pancake toppings are raw whole foods that offer nutrition and taste. Try topping your pancakes with fresh fruit, hemp hearts, carrots, or yogurt. You don’t have to stop at sweet. You can add earthy, nutty, or savory flavors that make you rethink the pancake altogether. 

If you are at a loss for what to try here are some healthy pancake toppings for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. 

Hemp Hearts

Our favorite and most nutritious pancake topping is hemp hearts. The raw whole food takes seconds to add to the top of your pancake. Hemp hearts work with both savory or sweet flavor profiles

Nearly every topping on this list can be covered with hemp hearts. That’s because shelled hemp seeds are tiny sprinkles of healthy flavor and texture that will make any pancake stand out. Hemp hearts were made for topping, but you can also add them to the batter for a nutty texture in each bite.

Beyond the flavor, hemp hearts add protein and healthy fat to a carb-filled treat. By topping pancakes with hemp seeds you get all your macronutrients on the plate in a spoonful. You’ll also add micronutrients like iron, magnesium, and niacin in every bite. Nutrients like niacin (vitamin B3) are perfect for starting your day full of energy. 



Fresh Fruit

When I say fresh fruit I don’t mean the congealed fruit topping that we get from popular pancake restaurants. Fresh-cut strawberries and blueberries are the best choices if you are trying to choose a fruit that’s lower in sugar. 

Nearly any fruit will work, but get creative and try fruits that are in season.

  • Mangoes
  • Lemon, sliced thin
  • Apples 
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi

If you love fruit sauce, try to make a healthy version by using cooked fruit as a topping. When you cook fruit you get the naturally sweet flavors of syrup from the caramelization process. However, unlike syrup, you’ll retain some of the best nutrients found in fruit, such as fiber. 

Strawberry Hemp Seed Jam

If you take the top two toppings on our list and blend them, you get an amazing mash-up, jam. Unlike some of the store-bought jams, homemade jam is sweet without the high sugar content. 

Try a strawberry orange hemp seed jam for a bright and healthy topping to your pancake. Homemade means you’re able to retain some of the strawberries’ best features. Simultaneously you’re able to benefit from the omega fatty acids and protein of hemp seeds.

The orange zest and lemon zest used in this strawberry jam recipe make a tasty topping on their own. So, orange zest and lemon zest deserve an honorable mention as a fiber-filled healthy topping that works in pancake batter as well. 

Apple Butter

Nestled right between fresh fruit and nut butter is fruit butter. Apple butter is a much healthier version of fruit sauce and fruit-flavored syrups. All-natural apple butter is a smoother version of the delicious apple with a cinnamon kick. 

Apple butter is simply apples blended without added sugar. The spread is as smooth as apple sauce but flavored with more spices. Everyone at the farmer’s market has their own special recipe. You can find some great options in the jam aisle as well. Pick some up the next time you stop by your grocery store to pick up hemp hearts. 

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter and bananas may be just as popular as syrup in America. If you’re allergic to peanuts (or need a varied diet), other nut and seed butters will work. Simply blend your favorite nuts, like pistachios or almonds into butter. For best nutritional benefits, stay away from added sugar. 

Hazelnuts and cacao nibs make a good start to a homemade Nutella spread without added sugar. Both spreads and nut butter are tasty alongside slices of fruit. However, if that’s too much sugar then double down with whole nuts and seeds on top for texture. 

Whole Nuts and Seeds

When adding whole nuts and seeds, go big with nutrition and choose hemp seeds or macadamia nuts. However, don’t get stuck with the same ideas, try a variety.

Here are some nuts and seeds you shouldn’t forget about

  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds 

Many nuts and seeds can even be mixed right into your pancake batter for a more interesting taste and texture. In fact, flaxseeds and water make an amazing substitute for eggs in vegan pancakes. 

Next time you try making pancakes, use one tablespoon of flaxseed to three tablespoons of water to replace the egg. With flaxseeds, you’ll still get a fluffy pancake, but with more fiber.

Vegan Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is not usually healthy. However, by adapting the sugary, eggy topping you can create a creamy vegan masterpiece that is much healthier and tastes wonderful on pancakes. For vegan lemon curd use coconut oil, corn starch, and vegan powdered sugar. 


Vegetables that can transform from sweet to savory are a great addition to any brunch. Try placing shredded carrots covered with cinnamon on dime-sized pancakes for little carrot cake flavored pancakes. 

Because carrots are so versatile you can make honey drizzle or raisin-covered versions of this carrot pancake. For texture and less sugar add hemp hearts, pecans, or other nuts to cinnamon-only covered carrots.

Cacao Nibs 

Cacao nibs are crushed cacao beans, in other words, bitter chocolate.  Cacao nibs can be roasted or raw. Either way, this topping is a rich plant-based chocolatey bite filled with magnesium, zinc, manganese, and iron. 

Cacao nibs are also anti-inflammatory and filled with antioxidants, so opt for these instead of milk chocolate chips or chocolate sauce. To transform your cacao nibs blend into nut butter or into an all-natural sauce that you can drizzle over pancakes. 

Greek Yogurt 

If your pancake or waffle is missing whipped cream you can opt for a protein and probiotic version with yogurt. For a serious protein pancake top the yogurt with hemp hearts for the benefits of hemp protein and yogurt together.

You can always top yogurt with popular sweet toppings, but this is also your chance to go savory. Top it with green onion and chives for a baked potato-inspired pancake. You can think of yogurt as sour cream and allow the tangy creamy flavor to dominate as is. 



Savory Pancake Toppings

I’m not adventurous enough for mushrooms and béchamel sauce or black bean chili and coriander on pancakes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t.  Here are a few tame, but interesting savory pancake options. 


Yep, once again we’re putting avocado on something. It’s the most unconventional item on this list, however, it makes sense. Think of an avocado toast for your pancake. Avocado makes a cool creamy addition to crisp pancakes. 

Salmon and Cream Cheese

Give smoked salmon a try on top of your pancake. The flavor combination is based on the famous salmon and cream cheese bagel. Top the salmon with a little dill to make your pancake a brunch favorite. 


Cheese in general makes a great topping that works with all kinds of flavors. Cheddar for example can work with sweet flavors of grapes and other fruits. Melty grilled cheese pancakes aren’t exactly healthy, but it shows how versatile pancakes can be. For a healthier cheesy idea add cottage cheese into a simple three-ingredient pancake made with oats and eggs. 

Summary: Healthy Pancake Toppings

Healthy pancake toppings don’t always mean a sweet sauce. Instead of thinking about replacing syrup with something similar try something brand new. While you don’t have to go so far as adding salmon and cream cheese to your pancakes, maybe try some whole foods and no sugar at all. 

Between whole fruit, nuts, and seeds you can get the traditional flavors of breakfast without the high fructose corn syrup. When you’re ready to try something new like cacao nibs, greek yogurt, or carrots you won’t shock your taste buds if you add common flavors like cinnamon. 

The healthiest pancake topping is likely hemp hearts because it’s so nutritious and versatile. So, no matter which toppings you use, always finish with hemp hearts. 

Order hemp hearts today to add the protein, healthy fat, and fiber you need at breakfast for a nutritional boost to get you through the day.