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How to Make Boxed Pancakes Better

by insanelygood

There’s no shame in using a box of pancake mix. We’re all looking for shortcuts. And with a box of Aunt Jemima, you can have breakfast on the table in minutes!

Boxed pancakes don’t have to be bland and boring. If you’ve ever been disappointed by your pre-made pancake mix, worry not! With a few simple tweaks, you can make your boxed pancakes taste homemade.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few simple tricks to make boxed pancakes extra fluffy and flavorful. No one will ever know you used a box 🙂

For extra fluffy pancakes that taste just like grandma’s, follow these tips and tricks. But don’t let anyone know our secret!

Sifting Flour

Sifting

The first thing that you can do to improve that box mix is to sift the powder. Sifting the dry mixture will aerate it, resulting in lighter, fluffier pancakes. Yum!

Quick Tip: Many recipes suggest holding the sifter at least 18 inches above your bowl to maximize the results.

Butter

Often pancake mixes don’t even require butter, but to me, that is one of the key components to a great pancake. Add a little melted butter to the mix, and you’ll get fluffier pancakes with their signature buttery flavor.

Some recipes suggest 1 tablespoon of butter for every cup of powder mixture. This simple change can take your pancakes from flat and boring to iHop level goodness.

Milk

Milk

Milk or buttermilk will increase the fat content of your pancakes, making them more tender. If your box mix calls for water, replace it with whole milk or buttermilk! This makes for a rich, creamy pancake that melts in your mouth.

Eggs

Eggs

Your boxed pancake mix may already tell you to crack in a few eggs, but even if it doesn’t, go ahead and add a couple. They improve the texture and the flavor of your pancakes so they are more like made-from-scratch pancakes.

A secret tip – beat your egg whites before folding them into the pancake batter for extra fluffy flapjacks.

Baking Powder

Baking Powder

If your box pancake mix is a little old, the baking powder might have lost some of its rising power, so the pancakes will turn out super flat and boring.

Add in some extra baking powder (or baking soda if you’re using buttermilk). Then sit back and watch your pancakes fluff up and rise beautifully.

Vanilla Extract

Flavor

If your box pancake mix is resulting in bland pancakes, simply add in some Vanilla or Almond Extract. It’s amazing what a little vanilla can do.

For an extra kick of flavor, I recommend cinnamon, all spice, or pumpkin spice. Or add in a little zest from your favorite citrus for a refreshing twist.

Another fun spin is to substitute milk with apple cider for tasty, seasonal pancakes.

Don’t Overmix

Another tip is to make sure you’re not mixing your batter too much. Overmixing deflates all the air bubbles caused by the leavening agent (like baking powder).

It can also increase gluten development which might make your pancakes too chewy. And no one wants flat, chewy pancakes.

So don’t worry if there are still small lumps in your batter, mix until the wet and dry are just combined.

If this is your first time baking pancakes, try counting your strokes – swirling your spoon or rubber spatula through the batter 8 to 10 times should be enough to fully incorporate everything without over-mixing and causing issues.

Follow A Recipe

A lot of Bisquick mixes have a recipe for yummy pancakes on the sides. Betty Crocker suggests using some other ingredients like sugar, lemon juice, and the above mentioned baking soda. So before you get pancake anxiety and wonder what you need to make your box mix better, just check the box!

Ricotta Cheese

Cheese

Another box mix hack for super moist, fluffy pancakes is to add in a little bit of ricotta cheese. This will make them extra fluffy and of course creamy, and would be delicious if you’re adding in citrusy flavors or toppings.

Make Them Healthier

Especially if you have kids, making pancakes healthier is a great way to improve them. Add in a mashed banana, replace the egg with applesauce (¼ cup of sauce for every egg), scoop in a few spoonfuls of yogurt, or grind up nuts or flaxseed as an omega-rich replacement for some of the flour mixture.

Flipping Pancakes

The Right Pan

Using the right griddle or pan can also make a big difference in how your pancakes turn out. Cook your flapjacks on a seasoned cast iron skillet or a heavy non-stick griddle, at medium heat, for the best results.

And don’t forget to grease the pan. Don’t use butter because it burns more easily. Use oil or clarified butter to grease your pan.

Shape

Use an ice cream scoop or a ¼ cup measure to pour your pancakes so that they’re all about the same size. This way there’s more consistency in the baking too.

It’s also fun to use cookie cutters to turn your same-old round pancakes into fun shapes. Put a cookie cutter on the cooking surface, pour in the batter, and then carefully remove the cookie cutter when it’s time to flip the flapjacks over.

Breakfast is all the more fun when your pancakes are shaped like hearts, stars, or Mickey Mouse!

Know When to Flip

If you’re a pancake newbie, you might not know when the pancake is done on one side and is ready for you to turn it over. Here’s a trick!

When the edges start to become dry and the bubbles on top start to pop, it’s ready to flip. Then just cook another minute or two, and resist the urge to squish your pancake with your spatula! That smooshes out all the air!

When it comes to pancakes, air is a good thing – as it makes for a light and fluffy pancake.

Toppings

You can’t have pancakes without toppings. Here are a few of my favorite toppings. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

  • I always love fruit on my pancakes. Add some strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, or bananas on top for a refreshing twist.
  • Nuts add great texture and crunch for some extra variety in each bite.
  • Chocolate is good on anything, but especially pancakes. Go with chocolate chips, a little chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, or some nutella.
  • Sprinkles can add in some color and make pancakes extra fun and special for the kids!
  • Syrup! Always syrup. Whether you prefer berry, maple, or a simple sugary sweet syrup, all are great options and add some much-needed moisture to your flapjacks. 
  • Yogurt, bacon, peanut butter… Really the toppings are endless. Any breakfast side or spread can go with pancakes! Get creative and enjoy your perfect pancakes!
How to Make Box Pancakes Better

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