Kid-friendly Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

Recipe: Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

by Erin Fletter
Photo by images and videos/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
4 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

"Dulce de Leche" (DUHL-say day lay-chay) is Spanish for "sweet milk" or "milk candy," and is usually translated as "caramel." It may also be referred to as "caramelized milk" or "milk jam" in English. It is like a thick jam, often made by cooking sweetened, condensed milk until it turns brown and caramelizes. It is a delicious topping or filling for cookies, cakes, and, in our recipe today, Pancakes—with bananas as a perfect partner! May your day stay sweet throughout after starting it off with our Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • wet vs dry :

    to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them: dry ingredients are flours, leavening agents, salt, and spices; wet ingredients are those that dissolve or can be dissolved (sugar, eggs, butter, oils, honey, vanilla, milk, and juices).

Equipment Checklist

  • Skillet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pancake turner
  • Oven
  • Oven-safe plate


Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 big pinch salt
  • 2 semi-ripe bananas
  • 1 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 1/2 T light brown sugar
  • 4 T room temperature butter, divided **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or vegetable oil)**
  • 1 large egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1/4 C puréed banana)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour. Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. 
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or vegetable oil for butter.
  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1/4 C of puréed banana.


Cuban Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes


Have kids measure 1 1/4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 big pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. This is the dry bowl.


Ask kids to chop **2 semi-ripe bananas** into tiny bits and set them to the side.

crack + stir

Have kids stir together 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter into a small mixing bowl. This is the wet bowl. Show your child how to crack open 1 large egg. Add the egg to the wet bowl and mix together.

combine + mix

Have kids combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl. Mix the chopped bananas into the batter and mix well.

melt + spoon + cook + flip

Preheat your skillet at medium to low heat and melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in it. Spoon the batter into the hot skillet, forming small pancakes. Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly, flip over and cook the other side until golden brown and puffed.

top + yum

Transfer pancakes to an oven-safe plate and keep them warm in your oven, then serve them topped with the Vegan Dulce de Leche Sauce (see recipe).

Surprise Ingredient: Banana!

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Photo by Daria Lixovetckay/

Hi! I'm Banana!

“I'm such an 'a-peeling' fruit, I'm just going to have to tell you a little about myself! Bananas are very popular. We're long and curved, and we typically have a yellow outer layer (like some raincoats!) called a peel or skin. After peeling a banana, you can eat it whole; slice it into cereal, salads, or desserts; and mash it and put us on toast or add us to pancake or banana bread batter. Be careful not to throw your banana peel on the floor, or someone might slip on it!"


  • The Latin scientific name for banana is "musa sapientum," or "fruit of the wise men."
  • The first recorded mention of bananas is from the 6th century BCE. They were represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  • Bananas may have been Earth's first fruit and the first fruit cultivated by people. The first banana farms were in southeast Asia.
  • The phrase "going bananas" came about because monkeys love bananas!
  • India produces over 26 percent of the world's bananas. In the United States, Hawaii grows the most bananas.
  • There are a few cultures, especially Japan's, where the fiber from the banana plant is used to make fabric and sometimes even paper.
  • The world's record for the longest banana split is 4.97 miles. In March 2017, Innisfail, Australia, residents made it using 40,000 bananas, 660 gallons of ice cream, and 528 gallons of topping. It took hundreds of volunteers 12 hours to prepare the banana split. 
  • People like their bananas! Worldwide we eat more than 100 billion bananas each year! Of those, Americans annually eat about 27 pounds of bananas per person. But we don't eat as many bananas as the Ugandan people. Their average consumption each year is 500 pounds per person!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • What appears to be a banana tree is actually an herbaceous flowering plant (the world's largest). 
  • A banana plant can grow an inch or more while you sleep at night, eventually growing from 10 to 25 feet high.
  • Botanically, a banana is a berry.
  • Since commercially-grown bananas do not contain seeds, you cannot grow a banana from seed unless you can find someone who sells seeds from the wild fruit. Otherwise, new plants are grown from offshoots or suckers of the banana plant.
  • A single banana fruit is called a finger, and a cluster of fruit is called a hand. There are 10 to 20 fingers on each hand.
  • About 75 percent of a banana's weight is water. 
  • Because bananas are less dense than water, they are able to float.
  • Wild banana varieties include bubblegum pink bananas with fuzzy skins, green-and-white striped bananas with orange sherbet-colored flesh, and bananas that taste like strawberries when cooked.
  • The word "banana" may have come from the West African Wolof word "banaana," through late 16th century Portuguese or Spanish. However, it could have come from the Arab word "banan," meaning finger. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Bananas ripen best if growers pick them when they are still green.
  • Don't separate a banana from the bunch if you want it to ripen more quickly. 
  • Putting bananas in a sealed container, like a brown paper bag, will hasten them to ripen, especially if you add another type of fruit to the bag. 
  • You may have noticed that organic bananas often come with plastic wrap around the top stems of a bunch, but you can also wrap yours at home. Tightly wrapped stems will help bananas last three to five days longer. 
  • Try peeling a banana from the bottom up toward the stem to avoid dislodging the stringy vascular tissue running down the length of the fruit inside. Those strings are called "phloem" (pronounced "flom").
  • Banana peels are actually edible if cooked.
  • Once you peel a banana and it comes in contact with air, it can begin to turn brown. Sprinkling lemon or pineapple juice on a cut banana will prevent this.
  • Don't be surprised that the banana peel turns brown or black after being refrigerated—it won't affect the fruit inside. This darkening happens because the cold breaks down the skin's cell walls and causes compounds in it to oxidize.
  • You can put ripe or overripe bananas in the freezer and then add a frozen banana to your blender when making a smoothie instead of ice. You can also insert a popsicle stick into one end of a banana, freeze the banana, then dip the frozen banana in chocolate melted with a little oil. If desired, roll the coated banana in toppings like nuts, coconut flakes, or sprinkles, then refreeze for a chocolaty, nutritious frozen dessert. 


  • Bananas contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6.
  • Bananas have 31 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6! This vitamin strengthens your nervous and immune systems. It also is needed for your body to make serotonin, a hormone that elevates mood.   
  • About half of all people allergic to latex may also be allergic to bananas.


History of Dulce de Leche!

Photo by WS-Studio/
  • There are a few different origin stories for Dulce de leche. One says that it was discovered in 1804 when Napoleon's cook left a milk and sugar mixture cooking too long. Another claims that someone in Indonesia first made it in the 16th century, and then it was taken to the Philippines. After defeating the Philippines, the Spanish took the concoction back to Spain, and from there, it made its way to the Americas. A more popular story is that the cook for a 19th century Argentine general and politician, Juan Manual de Rosas, accidentally created dulce de leche when she forgot about the milk and sugar mixture she had been cooking on the stove. The first mention of it may have been in the record of an 1829 meeting between Rosas and his enemy, Juan Lavalle, to negotiate peace.
  • Dulce de leche is also called caramelized milk or milk jam. It is made by slowly heating a combination of milk and sugar for a few hours until it thickens and becomes a golden-brown, caramel color. Some recipes use sweetened condensed milk, which already has the necessary sugar. 
  • You can use dulce de leche in several desserts, including cookies (like alfajores) and cakes, cupcake frosting, and ice cream.

Let's Learn About Cuba!

Photo by BlueOrange Studio/
  • The Republic of Cuba is an island and country in the Caribbean Sea and is part of the North American continent. The country includes the main island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), and numerous minor archipelagos (island groups). 
  • Cuba's population is over 11 million, and 2.1 million live in Havana, the capital city. Its total area is 42,426 square miles. The official language is Spanish, and although there isn't an approved religion, many Cubans practice Roman Catholicism. 
  • The Cuban peso is now the only currency of Cuba. Until 2021, the Cuban convertible peso was also in circulation but is now retired. 
  • The government of Cuba is a Unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party (Communist) socialist republic. Its economy is based on its socialist government. Therefore, it is a state-controlled planned economy that thrives through various sectors tobacco farming, fish, coffee farming, and nickel mining. Recently, Cuba's constitution was changed to allow individuals to own private property such as small businesses and homes.
  • Even though Cuba is a developing nation, it has a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the tenth highest in the world, possibly due to the free education it provides. The government also offers free universal healthcare. 
  • Did you know that Cuba is only 90 miles from the United States? Havana, Cuba, is 105 miles from Key West, Florida. 
  • Because the island of Cuba resembles a crocodile or alligator from an aerial view, it is sometimes called El Cocodrilo or El Caimán. 
  • The Bee Hummingbird, native to Cuba and only two inches long, is the smallest bird in the world.
  • Baseball is especially popular in Cuba. In fact, some Cuban baseball players have come to the United States to play on Major League Baseball teams. 
  • Music and dance are very important in Cuba. Dances that originated there are the Danzón, Mambo, and Cha-cha-cha.
  • Christmas was banned as an official holiday in Cuba from 1969 to 1997. However, due to pressure from Pope John Paul II, when he visited the country in 1998, the government made Christmas a legal public holiday once again. 
  • On New Year's Eve, Cubans burn dolls as a symbol of putting away the bad times of the previous year as they look forward to new and good times during the new year.
  • Cuban cuisine includes a mix of Spanish and Caribbean foods and a lot of spices. Traditional foods include black beans, shredded beef, rice, and plantains. Family meal planning has to work around government food rationing, established in 1962.
  • A national dish of Cuba is "ropa vieja" ("old clothes"), which came from Spain. It is a slow-cooked beef stew with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and spices and is often served with "Moros y Cristianos" ("Moors and Christians"), a dish of black beans mixed with rice and fried plantains.
  • Cubans have not typically written down their recipes, passing them on orally from generation to generation.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Cuba?

  • Every child in Cuba between 6 years and 15 years of age must attend school, and every student wears a distinct uniform according to their grade level.
  • The toys kids play with in Cuba are often homemade, sometimes a combination of wood and leftover industrial parts, but they have fun with what they have.
  • Kids often play outside with little supervision. There is a sense of responsibility among the Cuban people, especially for the safety and well-being of kids!
  • Internet access is limited, but students may be able to use it at school. Instead of playing games on their computers or phones, you'll often see kids outside playing "las bolas" ("marbles"), "el pon" ("hopscotch"), or "cuatro esquinas" ("four corners"), a simple street baseball game using the four corners of an intersection as the bases. 
  • Popular sports for Cuban kids are baseball, boxing, volleyball, and basketball. 
  • For breakfast, kids may eat "tostada" (toast made with Cuban bread) dipped in "café con leche" ("coffee with milk") or chocolate milk. They may also have eggs with toast or rice. Meals often depend on the family's income and the availability of ingredients.
  • Favorite desserts include "pastelitos de guayaba" ("guava pastries"), "arroz con leche" ("rice with milk" or rice pudding), Cuban flan (made with canned evaporated and condensed milk), and "cake de ron" ("rum cake").

THYME for a Laugh

What would you call two banana skins? 

A pair of slippers.

THYME for a Laugh

What's the best pancake topping? 

More pancakes!

The Yolk's On You

Why are bananas never lonely? 

Because they hang around in bunches!

The Yolk's On You

Did you hear about the angry pancake?

He just flipped.

THYME for a Laugh

How do you make a pancake smile? 

Butter him up!

That's Berry Funny

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who’s there?"

"Ben and Anna."

"Ben and Anna who?"

(no answer—Ben and Anna (banana) split)

THYME for a Laugh

What kind of key opens a banana? 

A mon-key!

THYME for a Laugh

What dinosaur loves pancakes? 

A tri-syrup-tops!

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