The 11 Best Pancake Mix Brands You Can Buy at the Grocery Store
Ah, pancake mix. It’s a cheat we’re never too proud to lean on come breakfast time. But which one should you buy? How do you know which mixes will give you golden-brown, light-as-air flapjacks and which will fall flat? Fear not, syrup-loving friends. We’re here to help. Presenting the best pancake mix you can buy at the supermarket, rated by value, quality, fluffiness, appearance and taste.
11. Krusteaz Light & Fluffy Buttermilk Complete
In 1932, a woman by the name of Rose Charters set out to create the perfect easy pie crust mix. She called it Krusteaz pie crust and the rest is history. When we tried Krusteaz Complete, we realized the just-add-water batter required less liquid than the other complete mixes on our list. As a result, the batter was sticky and stretchy. We didn’t worry too much about the lumps since just about every brand’s instructions warned us not to overmix. Once the batter was combined, we let it stand for two minutes as per the box’s guidance. This helps the batter thicken. It browned nicely and puffed up even nicer; the pancakes had some impressive height and outer crusts. Their color was pretty similar to what’s pictured on the box, except the outside of the pancakes got dark faster than the centers. To taste, they were thick, fluffy and had a pleasant sweetness to them, though they didn’t spread out the way we wanted them to. They ended up like really thick, hearty silver dollars that’d definitely keep us full until lunchtime. We might add more water than instructed next time.
10. Hungry Jack Complete Extra Light & Fluffy
Most traditional flavor
If you love stick-to-your-ribs, fluffy-as-clouds flapjacks, this is the mix for you. All you have to do is add water and let the batter stand for 3 minutes. The batter is super thick and doesn’t really spread at all in the pan. Keep an eye on the bottom of the pancakes because bubbles will take a long time to show on top. Once they cook, they get some serious lift and turn pretty puffy and evenly brown. They boast classic pancake flavor that’ll remind you of late-night trips to your local diner. The browning offers a crispy “charred” pancake flavor that we’re eager to smother in butter. P.S., if you have sprinkle-loving kids at home, surprise them with Funfetti Complete pancakes (also by Hometown Food Company) one morning. They’re soft, cakey, not too fluffy and moist.
9. Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Organic Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix
Most flexible recipe
Our favorite thing about this grocery store’s mix is how fast and loose they play with the recipe instructions. Don’t want to use an egg? Fine by them. Want to use water or nut milk instead of dairy milk? More power to you. Wondering how much batter to use per pancake or how long to wait before flipping? You’ll have to wing it. Flexibility gets big points in our book. The pancakes turned golden brown and puffed up beautifully. Since the bag didn’t say how much to use per pancake, we played it safe and poured ¼ cup’s worth for each, since most on this list recommended that amount. We found that the pancake—though squishy, soft and doughy—stayed a little raw and wet on the outsides, so we used a little less for the next few. The pancakes had great texture but tasted pretty plain. Butter and syrup can fix that.
8. Mrs. Butterworth’s Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix
We have fond childhood memories of mom-made pancakes. These smelled exactly like the ones we remember, the kind we helped her mix when we could barely see over the counter or snuck some chocolate chips into when she wasn’t looking. They taste sweet and buttery and beg to be smothered in an excessive amount of your favorite syrup. Unlike other complete mixes, this one didn’t instruct us to let the batter stand before cooking it. Additionally, it called for more water than Krusteaz, which led to a much thinner batter. Nevertheless, the pancakes still got some height in the pan. They turned really smooth and consistently golden on the outside and go down realllll easy.
7. Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix
Best for serving guests
Don’t let the thinner-than-usual batter scare you. Its runniness allows the pancake to spread out the second it hits the griddle. Bubbles form evenly all over its surface, making for a picturesque morning treat worthy of brunch company. It’s a complete batter, despite being thin and not requiring any thickening rest time. The inherent spreading results in a big, pretty, golden pancake, which is a plus. The downside is that unless you have a large griddle, you’ll be making one pancake at a time smack-dab in the middle of the pan. While it may be tedious, their flawless appearance pays off. Their flavor is nice too; Stonewall Kitchen uses wheat and corn flours with malted barley extract instead of malted barley flour like many other brands. They turned out really soft and airy, a great base for whatever toppings your heart desires. P.S.: Use salted butter in the batter. Trust us.
6. Aunt Jemima Original Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix
Best bang for your buck
Complete pancake mix is our BFF on groggy mornings. No need to crack an egg or melt butter. Just add water and voilà—breakfast is served. And with a box this big, you could feed your kid’s whole homeroom class in a jiffy. While the big box is a stellar deal (we’re talking 3 cents a pancake, people), we did find it tough to pour the mix out of the box’s side-spout. Things got a little messy, but whatever; we’ll suffer ever so slightly for a deal. The batter was thicker than Mrs. Butterworth’s but not as thick as Krusteaz. The instructions told us to let it rest for 10 minutes, so we set our kitchen timer and obliged. It made a big difference, because the pancakes came out almost excessively fluffy. Their texture was a little dry and chewy. They might not have been the most symmetrical or attractive pancakes of the bunch, but they check all our boxes in terms of flavor, convenience and value. Aunt Jemima is currently undergoing changes after Quaker Oats announced it’d be retiring the brand due to its racist roots, but the ever-popular mix will remain unchanged even under a new name.
5. Bisquick Original Pancake and Baking Mix
Easiest mix to upgrade
Sometimes you want to serve your brunch guests boxed-mix pancakes…without them knowing it. Bisquick’s mix allows for the sneakiest of upgrades, and you won’t even have to wing it thanks to *two* pancake recipes on the box. All you need to make the standard recipe is milk and eggs. We gave those a try first and they turned a nice light golden color. To taste, they were a little dry and less sweet than desired. For the rest of the batter, we used the recipe for “the ultimate pancakes” featured on the box, which get sugar, baking powder, vegetable oil and vanilla. Like the shortcut recipe’s, the batter was thick but thin enough to pour. Bubbles don’t come to the surface as fast as you may expect, so keep an eye on the bottom to flip. Thanks to the baking powder, they turn fluffier and airier than the regular recipe. The vanilla and sugar make it sweeter as well. They turn softer and a bit darker in color than the plain recipe as well. If you have the time, definitely go all-out with this mix.
4. Bob’s Red Mill Homestyle Pancake and Waffle Mix
This complete mix is non-GMO and contains buttermilk, butter, eggs, cream of tartar and the flour (wheat and malted barley flours) Bob’s Red Mill is famous for. The mix calls for a little less water than other complete mixes and no wait time to thicken the batter, so it turned out thick but was still liquidy enough to pour. The pancakes puffed up modestly with just the right amount of fluff and spread out to a good size without being too giant and thin. They turned an even brown color. Once we tried one, we noted that they’re fluffy without feeling heavy to eat and somehow taste uniquely different than other pancakes, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on why. Whatever the reason, we’ll take another short stack, please.
3. King Arthur Baking Company Cloud 9 Pancake Mix
KABC's (formerly King Arthur Flour) baking products are no joke. You couldn’t mess up these pancakes if you tried. Seriously. They came out shockingly uniform in terms of shape and golden-brown, diner-caliber color. The aroma from brown sugar in the mix is noticeable, as is the scent of malted barley flour. Both give the finished product sweetness and a certain je ne sais quoi we couldn’t get enough of. Don’t stress about lumps in the batter and be sure to let it rest for 5 minutes before ladling away. They’re not super fluffy but they spread out to the size of a standard pancake, rather than clumping up at the width of a silver dollar. The seven-ingredient beauties boast 21 whole grains and 6 grams of protein in every three-pancake serving. They were so close to being the tastiest on the list, but their consistent good looks are what really blew us away.
2. Kodiak Cakes Buttermilk & Honey Frontier Flapjack & Waffle Mix
Best better-for-you pancakes
Here’s one breakfast you can brag to your trainer about. These flapjacks are made with whole grain wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, buttermilk, dried honey and egg whites, which give them 8 grams of protein in a ½-cup serving (aka about four pancakes). They’re low fat, low sugar and downright yummy. And despite their natural look, they taste like regular pancakes for the most part. The honey flavor didn’t come through as much as we were hoping, but a smear of blueberry or raspberry jam would cheer us right up. Bubbles may take longer than you expect to form (the box says to flip when the bubbles appear, not when they pop), so keep an eye on the edges. Ours formed a distinct crust that balanced their puffiness. Kodiak’s Frontier mixes are inspired by the old-school flapjack recipes that frontiersmen and women depended on. And TBH, the mix smells and looks distinctly rustic from the start. The wheat-y smell conjures up dreams of a country farm-fresh breakfast. Ready for the kicker? This mix is complete, only requiring a little H2O to come together. We didn’t expect that from the fancy, healthy option on our list. Kudos.
1. Williams Sonoma Flappin’ Jack Pancake Mix
The packaging says the mix makes “the lightest, fluffiest buttermilk pancakes ever.” And it delivered. We weren’t sold from the get though. The batter was pretty thick (we had to spoon it into our measuring cup instead of pouring it from the mixing bowl), yet the instructions recommend using 1/3 cup of mix per pancake versus the typical ¼ cup. Batter leaked a bit out the pancake’s sides when we lightly pressed them down after flipping, so we used ¼ cup per pancake for the rest of the batter and they cooked more evenly. The recipe includes milk, egg and melted butter like Stonewall Kitchen’s mix, but Williams Sonoma’s calls for less liquid and more butter. Once we poured it into our pan, we were surprised how long it took for bubbles to form. By the time we had to flip, there were barely any bubbles showing on the pancake’s surface. So, be sure to check the underside of the pancake for browning so you don’t accidentally burn your breakfast waiting for bubbles to show up. For all our worrying at the stove though, wow they tasted amazing and turned both golden and fluffy. We think their wonderful flavor has a lot to do with the mix’s surprise ingredient: vanilla.