coffee, orange juice, pancakes, waffles, granola on a table with fruit

Grain Based Breakfast Recipes for Beginners

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and learning to make grain based breakfast recipes is a big part of your basic cooking skills. Everyone loves fluffy pancakes, crispy waffles, flavorful french toast, tender muffins, and really yummy warm comforting oatmeal.

You’re going to be famous for these recipes in no time. With just a few tips and tricks, they couldn’t be easier!

Grain based breakfast dishes like pancakes and waffles on plates with sides

How to make pancakes waffles French toast muffins and oatmeal for beginners

Learning to master these basic grain based breakfast items will increase your beginning cooking repertoire significantly. And they are all simple, but your family will love you for them. Everyone loves big fluffy pancakes with butter and syrup. And they are inexpensive to make. Making them from scratch helps you avoid chemicals in premade mixes too.

These healthy pancakes for kids are my basic go-to no-fail recipe. The key to pancakes is not to over mix! So just barely stir them together. A few lumps will remain, but you want that. If you stir them too much, they won’t be soft, they’ll be tough. So keep that in mind.

The flour you use is up to you. This recipe uses whole wheat, but if you want all white flour pancakes or all whole wheat, use the same amount of white or wheat flour that the recipe calls for. Just make sure the total flour is 3 cups. Use whichever combination you prefer. The same is true for the sweetener. You can use white sugar, raw sugar, honey, or maple syrup interchangeably and come up with the combination you like best.

How to cook pancakes on a griddle

Cooking pancakes on a griddle is the best way to do it. They don’t stick and turn easily. First, make sure the griddle is hot BEFORE you put the batter on.

You can use a nonstick pan, a seasoned iron skillet, or a regular skillet with a generous amount of oil to cook pancakes on too. The griddle is the best option, but not the only one.

How long to cook pancakes on each side

Then wait until the cakes have holes in the top where the bubbles have popped but they keep the shape they made. That’s your key they are ready to flip. Use a thin spatula and get on in there and commit to the flip.

It usually takes about 2-4 minutes for each side to cook and the second side cooks a little bit faster than the first.

How hot to cook pancakes

You cook them on medium to medium-low heat. Once you get the pan going, you’ll be able to tell if the heat is too high on your stove. The bottoms will brown too much before the holes stay, so turn it down a bit. If they are taking forever to cook, turn it up a bit. All stoves cook a little bit differently.

How to make pancakes without eggs

If you don’t have eggs, you can substitute different things for them. Check out this basic cooking measurements post on how much and what kinds of egg substitutes you can use.

How to make pancakes with crispy edges

If you want your pancakes to have those extra brown crispy edges, you get that from adding additional oil to your cooking surface. So if you’re using a griddle or skillet, you can put a pat of butter on before your batter goes on.

You can also crisp up the edges of your pancakes with olive oil, coconut oil, or whatever kind of oil you have on hand. Leftover bacon or sausage grease works as well and adds some smokey flavor to the pancakes. Just use a little dollop and cook the pancakes as you were.

How to make mini pancakes

Making mini pancakes is just like making regular-sized ones, but use less batter. A great tip for pouring batter is to use a measuring cup with a handle to dip the batter out of the bowl you mixed it in. This gives you a smaller amount to pour but is not as messy as a ladel.

Another great tip that really helps with mini pancakes is to pour your batter into a squeeze bottle. You can squeeze out tiny quarter-sized pancakes with your bottle or make shapes that you desire as well. But it works great and mess-free for large-sized pancakes as well.

Frozen pancakes

Pancakes freeze beautifully! So make several batches and cool the extras on a cooling rack. When they are completely cooled, set the rack in the freezer and let them freeze individually before you bag them up. In an hour or two, pull out the rack and stack them in freezer bags or containers.

This way, when you go to get some pancakes to thaw and use, you can get as many as they need and they won’t all be stuck together. It’s a great help later! We make them like this all the time and use them for the daycare kids. It’s wonderful to be able to get out the right amount for how many of us are here.

Once you get out how many you need, arrange them on a plate in small stacks and microwave them for a minute or two and then rearrange them moving the top ones down to the bottom and such. Then microwave them again until they are piping hot again. They will be like freshly made cakes.

If you want to reheat them in the oven, you can do basically the same thing. I would cover them in foil first so they don’t dry out in the oven though.

Battered french toast

Battered french toast is one of the easiest grain based breakfast foods to make. You just get a nice thick crusty bread, even day old dried out bread will work. Then whip 3 eggs with 1/2 cups of milk and a splash of vanilla which is the secret ingredient!

Dip your bread into the liquid and let it set about a half a minute, then flip it over and soak the other side. And then cook it in a hot pan or on a hot griddle with a pat of butter or drizzle of oil. Butter tastes better. Once it’s browned, flip it and cook the other side, easy peasy.

This will make about 8 pieces of french toast.

How to make french toast not soggy

Traditionally the french toast is cooked using a small amount of butter or oil. But it will be SPECTACULAR if you use a large amount of oil in a skillet to make it 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep. Heat it up on medium-high, and fry it on both sides.

When we make it this way, we cut the pieces of bread in 1/3rds and soak and cook them individually. The french toast sticks are crispy and full of flavor.

Baked french toast

French toast can be baked, but it’s a softer, eggier affair. Delicious nonetheless. You start with the same ingredients, but spray a casserole dish with non stick spray. Then line your bread up in the dish and pour the batter for the outside on top of the bread.

You’ll use more eggs for this method and I usually add some maple syrup right to the batter. If you use a loaf of bread, that’s usually 16 slices, so you’ll do 8 eggs instead of 6, and 2 cups of milk instead of 1. You can also add cream or whatever you like to it.

Many people use spices for their french toast, but I’m allergic to cinnamon so I don’t. I let the vanilla shine right through to flavor it. You can check out the pioneer woman’s recipe for baked french toast here. She always knows what’s up.

Bagel french toast

The best bread to make french toast out of is brioche. It’s eggy and soft but has a good structure. We make it regularly with our regular whole wheat bread that I make for the kids and it’s still delicious. It’s also great with just about any other bread you can think of. Croissants make wonderful french toast.

To make it with bagels, you just cut them in half and dip and cook them with the techniques shown above. You can also cut the halves in half for sticks if you like. French toast that’s made with bagels is chewy and super flavorful. It’s so good, you gotta try it sometime.

How to make waffles with pancake mix

Waffles are so good. They make a wonderful grain based breakfast. Waffles can be made with the same mix as we used for pancakes above. They will taste great, but unless you separate the yolks from the whites, you probably won’t get the crunchy waffle you’re looking for. Check out these fluffy waffles from DIY mommy for her favorite technique for making the perfect waffle.

How to make waffles without a waffle maker

You don’t have to have a waffle maker to make waffles either. There are several ways to make them. Do you have a grill pan or George Foreman grill? You can make waffles on that. Just get it screaming hot and ready to use, spray with some non stick spray, and pour your batter on.

If you have the grill, close it and cook them that way. If you have a grill pan, cook them on one side and turn them over and do the other. These waffles will have lines instead of holes, but will be crunchy on the outside like waffles.

You can also use a panini press or sandwich maker the same way. The waffles won’t have holes in them, they’ll be flat, but they will be crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Use what you have!

different kinds of oatmeal lined up on a tray

How to make muffins fluffy

Muffins are a super portable and flavorful grain based breakfast. Muffins are fluffier with less sugar. If a recipe calls for a lot of sugar, that can weigh it down as well as big ingredients like fruits and nuts. Make sure the ingredients are room temperature before you start for fluffier muffins

Make sure you use enough eggs and baking powder. Measuring is important in baking. Don’t skimp on the leavening. The key to THE BEST textured muffin is not to overmix. Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients well and then combine them until the dry is just moist. Don’t overmix.

Make sure you don’t under bake or over bake the muffins. Bake them until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Over baking will dry them out and under baking will cause them to fall and be dense.

One more thing that helps make a fluffy muffin is using sour cream or buttermilk. Both of those ingredients will react with the leavening to make the muffin even fluffier.

How to make crunchy sugar topping on muffins

Making a streusel or crumb topping is super easy. You just need butter, sugar, and flour or oats or both. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients and sprinkle it on top. Check out this peach pumpkin bread that we make all the time for the daycare kids. It will show you how much of each ingredient to add to make THE BEST crumb topping for muffins.

You can use this master muffin mix recipe for a go-to recipe.

bowl of creamy oatmeal with blueberries

How to make oatmeal taste good

My very favorite grain based breakfast is oatmeal! It’s so hearty and warming and good. But it can be pasty and bland. Here are our recipes for yummy homemade oatmeal.

The key to good oatmeal texture is to make sure you stir it enough and also butter! Butter is essential for a tasty life. So don’t skip the butter or use another fat in its place. You’re going to want butter.

And don’t forget about granola! Here is a wonderful homemade granola recipe that is healthy and delicious and stores in mason jars for months. Or try ancient grains granola for even more health!

You’re going to be a cook extraordinaire in no time. You’ll be pleasing your family and friends with yummy food and I can’t wait to hear all about it! If you need tips on converting measurements, check this out. And for more breakfast (and other meal) ideas, check out cooking eggs for beginners.

Check out more basic cooking skills AND these basic cooking skills for kids to learn too. Start your kids off early so they don’t have to struggle to learn later.

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