Taste Test: Which store-bought pancake mixes are the best?

I just received a coupon for Krusteaz, and it got me thinking…pancakes. Delicious, light and fluffy homemade (and by that I mean, made-at-home-out-of-the-box) flap jacks. My first thought was, “How can I use this article as an opportunity to eat twice my body weight in pancakes?” Ooooooh, how about a blind taste test of store-bought pancake mixes!

Next immediate thought:  Now I have to 1) make them all, and 2) clean up. Nixed. So after a quick search, I discovered this Real Simple article where a panel of “tasters” tried out a few of the most popular store brands. See their comments below and let us know if you agree!

I also included my thoughts on the Stonewall Kitchen’s mix and posted a “real” pancake mix recipe for those of you who have the time and inclination (and cooking chops) to go the “from scratch” route.

(This taste test was performed by Good Housekeeping, and not me, unfortunately.)

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Winning Pick: Hungry Jack Buttermilk Mix
Tasters dubbed this mix as their favorite of our buttermilk category. These pancakes won volunteers over with their markedly “buttery” taste, “fluffy” consistency and sweet, but “not too sweet” quality. As one taster noted, this mix “has all the components of a great pancake.” When pressed in an iron, it yielded waffles that were crisp on the outside and “cake-y” on the inside. ($2.39 for 32 oz.)

Runner-Up Pick: Pioneer Original Buttermilk Mix
While not the winner of our buttermilk category, tasters were struck by this mix’s “extra crispy exterior.” Tasters were not as impressed by the center of the pancake, which they found “floury,” “slightly soggy,” and “pita bread-like.” If you’re more interested in waffles, however, the thinner consistency of this batter made for picture-perfect waffles. ($3 for 40 oz.)

Krusteaz Buttermilk Mix
Many tasters noted this mix’s fine cake-like consistency — sweet and fluffy with a “hint of vanilla.” However, it lost points for leaving a salty aftertaste and for being “a bit too fluffy” for a pancake. ($2.50 for 32 oz.)

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Market Pantry Mix
This mix stood out for its spongy texture. Although not thrilled with the density of the mix, volunteers enjoyed its toasty vanilla flavor. Some volunteers enjoyed the “nutty aftertaste,” while others found the nuttiness off-putting and not ideal for pancakes. ($1.80 for 32 oz.)

Aunt Jemima Original Mix
Tasters noted this mix’s striking sweetness. Some liked their pancakes “very sweet,” whereas others found it a tad cloying. Several volunteers wrote that the taste and soft texture of these pancakes reminded them of yellow cake. ($2.38 for 32 oz.)

Bisquick Complete Mix
Volunteers pegged this mix as “salty” and “eggy.” Though tasters weren’t thrilled with this mix as a pancake, Bisquick works for other breakfast items such as scones, muffins and biscuits. ($3.66 for 40 oz.)

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Great Value Buttermilk Mix (Walmart brand)
Many tasters commented on the “blandness” of this mix. While they found the flavor lacking, volunteers liked the pancakes’ fluffiness. One taster noted: “bland, but great with syrup.” ($1.62 for 32 oz.)

365 Organic Buttermilk Mix
This mix struck many as “soggy.” One volunteer even likened the mix to an “underworked biscuit.” However, this 100% whole grain mix provides breakfasters with a slightly healthy option that’s also the only organic one of our tested bunch. ($3.99 for 32 oz.)

Winning Pick: Quaker Oatmeal Whole Grain Mix
Of all our whole-grain options, this won won the most raves. Tasters liked the “perfect texture” of these pancakes: “moist,” “fluffy,” and “airy.” They were also fans of the mix’s wholesome, vanilla taste, reminding many tasters of “ a bowl of oatmeal” or “whole-grain cereal.” ($3.12 for 32 oz.)

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Runner-Up Pick: Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Mix
Cornmeal gave this mix a “nice nuttiness.” Some likened the taste and texture to that of a corn muffing, albeit a “slightly dry” one. ($4.10 for 32 oz.)

Arrowhead Mills Multigrain
The hearty texture of this mix was a bit too crumby for many tasters. However, volunteers did like the earthy, nutty flavor of these pancakes. As one taster said, “a good balance of salty and sweet.” Plus as a good-for-you bonus, this mix provides 22 grams of whole grains per serving. ($4.29 for 26 oz.)

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Mix
Tasters found these pancakes to be sweet, but too flat and thin for their choice pancake. Some found the cakes tasted “raw” and “undercooked,” likening the mix to cake batter. As a health bonus, these cakes contain flaxseeds, and thus, a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus the side of the bag has instructions for making different types of pancakes: apple, cheese, blueberry, nut and banana. ($3.69 for 26 oz.)

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Nature’s Path Multigrain Mix
Volunteers were not thrilled with the “gummy,” “underdone” texture of these pancakes. However, they did like the rich taste, which reminded some testers of “buttered bread.” ($6.38 for 26 oz.)

Kodiak Cakes Buttermilk & Honey Mix
This mix impressed volunteers with its sweetness and honeyed undertones. Tasters billed the cakes as “good even without syrup.” However, this mix lost points for its texture, which many described as “bread-like” and “doughy.” ($4.99 for 24 oz.)

Not on the list, but my personal review: Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix
This mix is definitely more expensive than the others, but in a word, it’s wicked-frickin-good! It’s no secret why—this pancake mix calls for whole milk and melted butter. And, if you cook them on a buttered skillet, then add butter and syrup before eating…I think you can see where I’m going with this, mmmmm. Diet starts tomorrow.

My Personal #1 Pick: My Friend Jen’s Favorite Homemade Mix
This recipe came from Jen’s mom. Thanks Jen’s mom.
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbs Canola oil
1 cup flour (can use white or wheat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Whisk it all together and pour onto the hot griddle.

Do you agree with the taster’s comments? What’s your favorite box or homemade recipe?

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