Celebrate Pancake Day with a Healthy Recipe

French Toast Cakes

Apparently we love pancakes so much, not only is this beloved breakfast food celebrated with a National Pancake Day on February 5th, but just a week later, it is celebrated a second time with International Pancake Day. According to my limited research, the latter holiday is technically supposed to be observed on Fat Tuesday which happens to be on February 12th this year.

As reported in a recent TIME article, there is controversy over the origin and the actual date in which we are to enjoy a short stack, “National Pancake Day — as celebrated by the restaurant chain formerly known as the International House of Pancakes, we might add — is totally separate from International Pancake Day.” To be perfectly honest I don’t care when you celebrate with pancakes, whether it’s breakfast or breakfast for dinner, National or International, as long as you make your stack healthy!

Chicharrones. Just a pretty way to say PORK RINDS!

Before we get to the recipe for my healthy French Toast Cakes I want to extol the virtues of the star ingredient which is Chicharrones. Yes, pork rinds. Before you turn up your nose only to decide I’ve lost my credibility as a “healthy” blogger, hear me out. Pork rinds are low in carbohydrates, rich in gelatin (which I am going to get to in a moment), and while half the fat is saturated, the other half comes from oleic acid, yes that’s right the same healthy fat found in olive oil. If it’s the saturated fat this is concerning to you, the evidence suggests dietary carbohydrate has far more of an impact on cardiovascular disease than saturated fat.

French Toast Cakes | healthylivinghowto.com

Gelatin Is Blowing My Mind

If you don’t know who Dana Carpender is, let me introduce you. She is a queen in the low-carb movement, has been living the lifestyle since 1995 and has sold over a million copies of her amazing cookbooks. I had the pleasure of vacationing with Dana and “that nice boy she married” last May on the low-carb cruise. The following is an excerpt from Dana’s article, Gelatin Is Blowing My Mind. (reprinted with permission)

You know how, over the past century or so, we’ve skewed our fatty acid intake by eating less animal fat and more vegetable oils, so that we’re getting way too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s, too many unsaturates and not enough saturates? In exactly the same way, we have been skewing our balance of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Gelatin-rich foods, from bone broths to head cheese to foods like pig’s feet and ox tails, were a large part of a traditional diet. Our ancestors relished every part of the animal, and just as they ate organ meats that most modern Americans now spurn, they also ate all the gelatin-rich bony and cartilaginous bits of the animal. In this modern era of muscle meat and little but muscle meat — think boneless skinless chicken breast — much of this gelatin has vanished from the diet, but our bodies’ need for it has not.

Gelatin, apparently does everything from reducing susceptibility to stress, to fighting tumors, to soothing the intestinal tract, to improving thyroid function.

What foods are high in gelatin? Gelatin lurks not only in the bony cuts like ox tails, lamb shanks, pork neck bones and chicken wings, but also in skin. Yeah, that chicken skin you were told to throw away because it’s fatty. And those pork rinds everyone tells you you’re crazy to eat. Turns out pork rinds are a terrific source of gelatin. You may now feel not only okay, but downright virtuous, for eating them. Poke gentle fun at self-righteous low-fat types for not getting what’s good for them.

To learn more about the benefits of gelatin, I suggest a book called Gelatin in Nutrition and Medicine. If you are interested in taking supplemental gelatin, I recommend this one.

French Toast Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: (4) 4-inch pancakes

Serving Size: All 4 :)

French Toast Cakes

I've been making this recipe for over a decade. First finding it on a low-carb message board when I embarked on this lifestyle. In fact, I still have the original recipe card I jotted it down on. Total carbs for the entire recipe is 1.5 grams, I don't know of any other recipe that compares! Enjoy!



  1. Place the pork rinds in a Ziploc and then smash with your rolling pin into flour.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, "milk", cinnamon and sweetener. Add the crushed pork rinds and mix well.
  3. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  4. Grease up your griddle with ghee or coconut oil and over medium-high heat, make pancakes with a scant 1/4 c. of batter.
  5. These do not bubble like pancakes. Check after a minute or so for browning on the bottom then flip.


I have found that traditional Mexican markets have the best Chicharrones. The one's I buy list two ingredients, pork rinds and salt. You can also find them in a conventional grocery store, in the chip aisle, usually on the bottom shelf.


Beyond Bacon

I heard a rumor, from a pretty reliable source, there is a recipe in the much-anticipated book Beyond Bacon by the Paleo Parents, for making your own Chicharrones!

Beyond Bacon pays homage to the humble hog by teaching you how to make more than a hundred recipes featuring cuts from the entire animal. While bacon might be the most popular part of the pig for those following the paleo diet, there is a plethora of other delicious and nutrient dense cuts to enjoy.

Pastured pork is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, the “good fats” our doctors want us to eat. Beyond Bacon breaks the myths behind this often eschewed meat and shows you how to create delectable dishes that are grain-, legume-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. Beyond Bacon allows you to improve your health and the environment by focusing on sustainable swine.

If you like this recipe, click below and give it a +1!

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  1. Nan says

    Seriously? My husband loves pork rinds! However, when I told him these yummy looking “french cakes” were made from them…he said, please don’t make me those! But, I will totally give it a go!!!

  2. says

    I’ve been on the gelatin thing lately (and I did read what Dana said about it). I’m currently using Knox unflavoured but trying to get some of the Great Lakes (grass fed) stuff. They’re having trouble getting their products into Canada (bummer). I should really make some bone broth but never find the time :) The pancakes look yum!

  3. Andrea says

    Wow, just wow. I love pork rinds, they satisfy that need for crunchy food. I had never thought to use them in a sweet dish. I can’t wait to make these and surprise my husband with the “secret ingredient”.

    Also thanks for all you do. Your hard work is evident and I enjoy your posts.

  4. Paul Jensen says

    I just made these for breakfast. Wow. Everybody loved them. They are a little pork rindy, not much at all, but they are delicious. Next time I will serve them the bacon/sausage. The flavors should work perfectly. Thanks!

  5. Jessica says

    Pleasantly surprised with these! I like them and my boys like them, which is huge. :) I just used a bit of maple syrup in the batter instead of stevia, worked great! Love them, thanks do much for the post.

      • Donna Williams says

        Thank you Vanessa for another creative, delicious recipe! I too keep ground pork rinds on hand. When they start to get stale at the bottom of the bag, I grind them up and store them for later use. I generally have cream on hand and use it to substitute for coconut or almond milk when needed. I haven’t noticed any issues, but since I have not made the item the way the recipe says I can’t really compare. Do you think it is a one for one substitution with the almond milk and the coconut milk?

  6. Joshua L says

    Amazing, absolutely amazing!!! These pancakes were light, fluffy, and delicious. I was thrilled to see them be so fluffy, much like traditional pancakes. They tasted divine. If I hadn’t made them, I wouldn’t have known they were anything but traditional pancakes. I did substitute heavy cream in place of the almond/coconut milk, like the other poster suggested. I also used vanilla liquid stevia. I ate them with a couple splashes low-carb friendly syrup, butter, and some nitrate/nitrite free bacon. Best breakfast ever! Thank you for sharing this keeper!
    (*note to self: Buy Chicharrones in bulk!)

  7. Deanna says

    Have I told you that you are my hero? :) Just made this for breakfast, and I can’t put into words how good these are. Wow…..just wow………………

  8. says

    Aaaaaaahhh! I think I love you! Tried this recipe for the first time and was a little skeptical. I have used pork rinds in place of breadcrumbs for meatballs and meatloaf etc. …….. But, thought for sure you would be able to taste them in this recipe. I did not taste them one bit. LOVED them! You are a genius!! Thank you for posting this!

    • Cristina says

      Hey Krysia (My Polish-American mother regrets not naming me Krystyna, but I say in English or in Polish, we have a great name!),

      I think Vanessa may have misread your questions, because the raw/uncooked pork rinds that you melt down for lard would not work for this recipe. What Vanessa is referring to are already cooked/fried pork rinds that we can buy in the store, sold as a snack item instead of potato chips and whatnot, and they are crunchy, salty and in bigger chunks and need to smashed up before using.

      However, I put the skin/fat through the meat grinder to render my own lard, and at the end of the rendering process there are those little bits of skin that you can crisp up–I call them cracklings–and those would probably work for this recipe, but you might want the batter to sit for a few minutes to make sure the cracklings soften up. My favorite way to eat those homemade cracklings is on top of a few sunny side up eggs with a good dose of salt and black pepper. Mmmmm.

  9. Jen Houck says

    My husband loves these pancakes. We use our Ninja to blend up the pork rinds then toss in everything else and blend it all up. They are soft and fluffy and rise up beautifully. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. says

    I am about to make these for my husband right now!!! I have always been against pork rinds and not the biggest pork fan but yeah!!! We will see… I will comment after we eat them

  11. Terry S. says

    All I can say is WOW! I just made these, and followed the recipe exactly. Delicious! I might up the cinnamon (used 1/2 tsp) next time. Thanks for all of your great posts!

  12. Nancy says

    I made these tonight for my supper. I was sceptical about tasting the pork rinds in there, other than a bit salty, they were very good. I found that the ground rinds measured out to 3/4 cup unpacked in the cup. Thanks, Vanessa, I will be making these again!!! Maybe try with the heavy cream next time, but they were good with the almond milk.

  13. Trisha says

    Someone above said “light and fluffy” ?????????? I clearly did something wrong. Too much pork rind probably. I tried to double it, and the bag was 5 oz, so maybe I used too much since I could not really measure it. They were not pourable, but scoopable and then I had to make it a patty with my hands it was so thick. Mine were really more like a pork rind fritter, if there is such a thing. My 5 yr old likes almost every low carb pancake I give him because I let him have maple syrup, so he ate it up. Even tried the pork rind. And my husband ate this too, tho he was pretty skeptical – anyone who is in love with sausage and bacon is a willing audience. They were spongy like a sausage patty even. So, not really a success, but at least not a total failure as we ate it all :) I think I need way more wet ingredients than dry — that might correct the issue, cuz taste was fine.

    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      I use a kitchen scale to measure the crushed pork rinds. They are fluffy but not necessarily “light”. Remember these look like pancakes but should have the taste and texture of French Toast — I wouldn’t describe French Toast as being light. Your batter does sound a little thicker than necessary though.

  14. Ronalyn Hurley says

    Amazing! I made these about thirty minutes ago and enjoyed every bite. They looked exactly like your photo and were absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Michelle says

    Hi Vanessa,
    Just wanted you to know I FINALLY made these this weekend. My sister had many of us over for brunch and my aunt made chocolate chip pancakes. I vowed to make something healthy for myself so I brought all the ingredients and made these. I ate all 4, leaving none for anyone else, ha! But I bragged about how good mine were to everyone and promised to make more for the rest of them at the next occasion. :) Thanks again for this recipe!

  16. Cristina says

    Our local grocery store had a sale on chicharrones! My favorite way to eat them is splashed with hot sauce–my favorite, Valentina–has preservatives, though. Sad day.

    Anyway, so I just made these for brunch, and decided to experiment a bit because I usually only eat twice a day and wanted to oomph them up a little more to tide me over until dinner. I made one pancake per your recipe and used Ninja method that Jen mentioned (with a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of nutmeg) and I liked how it turned out, but I was even more happy with how the other 3 ended up–I put in half a scoop of my Bluebonnet vanilla whey protein isolate (I’m sure egg white protein powder would work just dandy!) and a pinch of baking soda to the remainder of the batter, and the resulting pancakes were a little thicker and fluffier–they even had a few bubbles to help cue me when to flip them. Total winner! I had them with a couple of local butcher shop sausage patties, and a bulletproof coffee made with a 1/2 tbsp of MCT oil, a 1/2 tbsp of cocoa butter and a few drops of stevia to hark back to the days of Starbucks’ white chocolate mocha when I was 100 pounds heavier.

    My boyfriend is from Mexico (and a fellow lover of chicharrones) and always game to try my food creations–I can’t wait to make these for him and have him guess what the secret ingredient is! 😉

  17. Kristin says

    I can’t eat eggs so I tried to make these with flax eggs. Total fail, BUT, I ate the mixture after heating it up and added abit more almond milk and it made an awesome “fauxt”meal. It was even better tha the other “fauxt”meals I have made with almond meal pulp. This is now a favorite breakfast!

  18. Di says

    I am in HEAVEN!!! I grew up eating pork rinds as a treat but strayed because of the fat stigma, etc. I’m so excited to investigate Dana’s information and start enjoying pork rinds again!!

  19. Lisa says

    I have been craving pancakes since I started low carbing and these hit the spot! I just ate some (yes, at 11pm at night) and they were perfect. I went with a full teaspoon of cinnamon. I didn’t have the liquid stevia so I had to use xylitol, used heavy cream instead of almond or coconut milk, and I added a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (counldn’t taste it though). I wonder if this would work as a bread substitute – skipping the sugar and maybe adding shredded cheese and some herbs and cooking in the waffle maker?? I may be trying that tomorrow tomorrow!!! Thanks so much for the recipe

  20. Judy says

    Hi Vanessa, I know you focus on clean eating. Is there a concern here at all about how the pig was raised and the end product of the chicharrones as there is say in the pork chop or bacon? I absolutely love pork rinds and want to try this. Just wondering about the “cleanness” of the mass choices of pork rinds out there.

  21. Mama Owl says

    I just HAD to chime in here! I just polished these off… licking my lips as I type! :9 I made them with heavy cream and made them into waffles… my family was having waffles this morning. OH MY! These are sooooooo good! I will try some vanilla and a little more cinnamon next time, but still yummy just the way they are! :9 I don’t think they are all that “pork rindy”. I usually fry my pancakes, french toast, etc in the grease left from the sausage or bacon. These reminded me of that… even though they were made in the waffle iron. I thought it was a plus. I am a diabetic and can’t seem to have carbs early in the morning… nut flours just do me in. Finally, I can have breakfast with my family again! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Oh, and what are “stale pork rinds”???? 😉

  22. Lisa Allen says

    I just rendered lard for the first time and kept the pieces that fried up and were left after the fat melting. (Chitlins??) Could these substitute for pork rinds? I’m not really sure what pork rinds are.

  23. Mama Owl says

    Not sure where my comment went from yesterday! Oh well. These were so good I had to make them again this morning! LOL! Yesterday I made them as waffles. Today I made them as pancakes. Both are delicious :9

    One thing for those who think it is too “pork rindy”… make sure your flour is VERY finely ground. I tried the food processor, but ended up using my coffee grinder. The finer the flour the better it will work. I now know why my pork rind bread crumbs were not working… THANKS!

    This recipe has my mind going! Can I make it into muffins? Can I make a tortilla? Can I make….? Can I make…? LOL! Thank you so much for this recipe. It is definitely a keeper!

  24. says

    I always ask my patients who have diabetes, what is the principal ingredient or content in chicarrones (I am in Mexico City, where you can get them fresh from the rendering proicess). About 99% say that it is of course FAT. Then, I show them the labels from several brands of chicharrones from the supermarket…the first and most bounteous ingredient is of course, PROTEIN. A fun surprise.

    Thanks for this novel use of chicharrón.

  25. Lola says

    Wow! These really look like buckwheat pancakes! Do u have the nutritional breakdown?
    Sooooo innovative!! Crushing them up and breading things with them blew my mind…now this! Mind blown again!!


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