Fat Stacks of Flapjacks: We Ranked the 8 Best Pancake Mixes

Pancakes have more aliases than Jimmy McGill. Flapjacks, aka hot-cakes, aka hubcaps, aka griddle cakes are a wonderfully simple, decadent breakfast, and dry pancake mix makes them all the more convenient to cook up. Pancake mix is a big time lifesaver for those looking to create a top-tier Saturday morning breakfast at home. For that reason, I believe it’s one of the most important pantry items to pick up at the grocery store.

The best from-scratch pancakes are made with flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk, and butter. So, to me, a good store-bought pancake mix should just require you to add water. When directions ask you to add eggs or milk, I feel like you’re just making homemade pancakes at that point. Pancake mix should cut out the middle man entirely and be totally trouble-free. For this taste test, we were looking for the pancake mix with the least hassle. 

Taste was high on our requirement list, too. Pancake mix should be sweet, but also buttery, milky, and tart. Then, there’s texture: Most pancake mixes use ingredients like dried egg yolks and buttermilk powder to add a buttery, fluffy consistency, as well as a deliciously fatty taste. I prefer baking soda listed in the ingredients, too. When activated in the batter, baking soda creates tiny, gaseous, air bubbles that add volume and fluffiness. Pancakes shouldn’t be dense and flat, and they shouldn’t taste bland, either.

To conduct this taste test, I mixed all the pancake mixes according to package directions. I sprayed a little bit of PAM into a sauté pan, and then I cooked and flipped these bad boys, making them golden brown and delicious. Which stacks of flapjacks stacked up the highest? These were our top eight.

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best pancake mix

Best of the Best

Birch Benders Organic Buttermilk Pancake Mix

For a just-add-water pancake mix, we were all blown away by the flavor of Birch Benders. When I was making the pancakes, this was the batter I enjoyed the most in its raw form (yes, I was eating the batter raw, so what?). The buttermilk flavor is absolutely delicious; the tangy taste is tamed by additional sweet, sugary notes that create a perfectly balanced batter. Birch Benders is made with organic ingredients, so I believe the quality here is high. Moreover, the batter didn’t produce flat-ass pancakes. There was a nice bubbliness from the added leavening agents in the mix, so you get a light and fluffy yet substantial hotcake. Great flavor. Great texture. Reasonable price. Birch Benders buttermilk pancake mix wins handily. 

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Buttery

King Arthur Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Buttermilk works extremely well with dry pancake mix, which is why King Arthur’s version takes the number two spot. This has that classic buttermilk tang, but also more of a saltiness than Birch Benders. Our favorite thing about King Arthur Buttermilk Pancake Mix is that it somehow tastes buttery. My guess is that this is due to the use of sunflower oil (Birch Benders has no sunflower oil and therefore less fat). In addition to the decadent texture and flavor, these suckers get nice and fluffy, too. No featureless pancakes here; King Arthur provides a complex texture and boldly flavorful taste. I think I prefer Birch Bender’s, but it’s awfully close.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Add Eggs

Lund’s Swedish Pancake Mix

This Swedish mix is super fine, almost like a dense pancake powder instead of a coarse mix. Lund’s does require that you add an egg (and suggests adding milk instead of water), which is kind of cheating if you ask me, but, still, the overall product is great. Swedish pancakes are meant to be quite flat, almost like crepes, but they’re still delicious. These pancakes have a great, buttery flavor with an excellent, toothsome bite. They get really nice and crisp on the outside, too. If you want to cook them a little longer, you’ll be rewarded with an extra layer of crispness that can withstand your river of syrup. These are formidable, tasty pancakes. Don’t sleep on them.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Flavored

Hawaiian Sun Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pancake Mix

Sweet, nutty, and slightly chocolatey, Hawaiian Sun’s Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pancake Mix provides a delightfully aromatic pancake experience with an almost coconut-y flavor. The package even suggests pairing it with Hawaiian Sun’s Coconut Syrup. That sounds good as hell to me. I’ve never had full-on Hawaiian pancakes, but I love the idea of pouring some sweet coconut syrup and freshly cut pineapple on these deliciously fluffy cakes. The chocolate and the macadamia flavors are very subtle, which I appreciate. This mix provides a very understated yet flavorful blank slate for you to add fruity toppings. Hawaiian Sun is a smooth, tasty, fragrant pancake mix. Plus, you just need to add water.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Collab

Betty Crocker Dunkaroos Complete Rainbow Sprinkles Pancake Kit

Three thoughts: These pancakes are wild as hell. They’re probably an abomination. And somebody should check to see if Betty Crocker is alright. The pancake mix is pretty standard, albeit filled with sprinkles, but it comes with sweet, sweet Dunkaroos frosting goo, which is what makes it chaotic. The frosting is just oil and high fructose corn syrup, but it still tastes quite good. It melts and liquifies over the hot pancakes almost like syrup. You could make this as the birthday breakfast for your very stoned roommate or your eight-year-old child. It would be good for either.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Budget

Great Value Complete Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix

Walmart has come through with a solid and extremely cheap pancake mix. It’s slightly sweet and a little bit salty, and honestly when you nail those two things, really what else do you want? It’s got an excellent plain flavor, and the texture is pleasantly chewy. It contains buttermilk powder and dried egg yolks, so you just need to add water. Best part is it costs $1.98 a box. Great value for Great Value.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Fluffy

Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Krusteaz Belgian Waffles took the number one spot in our frozen waffles ranking, but their buttermilk pancake mix didn’t stack up to its competitors quite as well. What I really like about these is how fluffy they are: These pancakes have such a good height. I mean, they literally stand tall for a powdered pancake mix. They lack in flavor, though, and taste somewhat bland. That’s an easy fix—I would go absolutely nuts with sugary fillings and toppings here. 

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best pancake mix

Best Cinnamon

Betty Crocker Cinnamon Toast Crunch Pancake Kit

On one hand, you could argue that this product doesn’t need to exist. You could just buy a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and combine it with your preferred pancake mix. However, Betty Crocker’s collab kit gives you a little pouch of cinnamon toast powder, and I think that’s got incredible value. The powder, when you sprinkle it on the pancakes, adds a wonderful and thoroughly sugary cinnamon flavor. These could use syrup, but are also kind of good plain. I can’t imagine eating these pancakes sober. But are you drunk? Or do you plan on being drunk in the future? If so, buy some Betty Crocker Cinnamon Toast Crunch Pancake mix.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks


Other Products We Tried: Bisquick, Log Cabin, Cap’N Crunch Berrytastic, Mrs. Butterworth’s Double Choco, Pillsbury Funfetti, Hungry Jack, King Arthur Gluten Free, Kodiak Chocolate Chip, Birch Bender’s Chocolate Chip, Pearl Milling Company, Betty Crocker Lucky Charms, Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse, Bob’s Red Mill

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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