We’ve all been there. It’s Sunday morning and you’re feeling a little lazy. You don’t want to go through the hassle of making pancakes from scratch, so you opt for the boxed mix instead.
But let’s be honest, those boxed mixes are never as good as the real thing, right? Wrong!
With a few simple hacks, you can turn those dry, rubbery, bland box pancakes into light, fluffy, delicious masterpieces.
Keep reading below to get the scoop on some super quick and easy ways to make box pancakes better. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Improve taste and texture with extra ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, baking powder and carbonated beverages
- Ideas to make pancakes healthier
- Experiment with flavor enhancers like vanilla, spices and extracts
- Get creative with mix-ins and toppings
- Tips and tricks for cooking the perfect pancake
How To Make Boxed Pancakes Taste Better
1. Add Melted Butter For Richness
Butter makes everything better, and pancakes are no exception. Just add a couple of tablespoons of melted butter to the batter and you’ll be rewarded with moist, tender pancakes.
You only need about one tablespoon of melted butter for every cup of mix. You can add more, but it may result in richer, flatter, and more dense flapjacks.
For even more deliciousness, try adding browned butter for a rich, nutty flavor.
2. Use Milk Instead Of Water
If you want your pancakes to be really rich and moist, use milk instead of water. You can replace the water called for in recipe on the box with equal amounts of any type of milk you enjoy. Here are some suitable options:
- Full-fat, 2%, 1% or skim dairy milk
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Other non-dairy milk alternatives
- Eggnog (add a little regular milk if the batter is too thick)
3. Add Eggs For Texture and Flavor
If you want your pancakes to have a bit more structure and flavor, try adding an egg to the batter. You’ll need a 1:1 ratio of egg to each cup of pancake mix.
Adding a whole egg to the batter will definitely help improve your pancakes. But for even fluffier pancakes, try whipping the egg whites, then carefully folding them into your batter.
4. Add Baking Powder
Baking powder is another ingredient that will help your pancakes to puff up and be nice and fluffy. Just add a teaspoon of fresh baking powder to each cup of mix and you’re good to go.
5. Add Sparkling Water or Other Carbonated Drink
Believe it or not, the carbonation in sparkling water helps to add fluffiness and lift to your pancakes. You can simply add a splash to the batter or replace all the liquid the recipe calls for.
You can even get creative with other carbonated beverages to add extra flavor and a sweetness boost. Ginger ale, 7Up or Sprite, sparkling cider or fruity seltzers would all be fun to try.
6. Add Healthy Ingredients
Pancakes don’t have to be an unhealthy indulgence. If you want to sneak in some extra nutrients, try adding healthy ingredients.
Not only will they make your pancakes more nutritious, but they’ll also give them irresistible flavor and texture.
Here are a few ideas for healthy mix-ins for your pancakes:
- Flaxseed meal
- Shredded carrots or zucchini (make sure to squeeze out any excess moisture)
- Grated apples
- Cacao powder or nibs
- Fruits like cranberries, blueberries, bananas or strawberries
- Lemon zest
7. Boost Flavor With Vanilla
Vanilla extract is a secret weapon that every cook should have in their arsenal. A little bit of high-quality vanilla extract goes a long way in boosting the flavor of your pancakes and other baked goods.
If you want something a little different, try experimenting with other extracts like almond, hazelnut, lemon, orange or even peppermint.
I recently tried the Buttery Sweet Dough emulsion from LorAnn. It’s amazing in pancakes!
8. Experiment With Spices
Spices are a great way to give your pancakes some extra flavor. They might taste and smell so great, that you won’t even need syrup!
If you’re looking for a little something extra, try adding some of these spices into the mix:
- Cinnamon (try a pinch of brown sugar too for a snickerdoodle vibe)
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Cocoa powder
- Espresso powder
- Gingerbread blend – ginger, cinnamon, cloves with a touch of molasses
9. Get Creative With Stuffed Pancakes
Stuffed pancakes will take your breakfast game to a whole new level. They are super easy to make and even more fun to eat.
How to Make Stuffed Pancakes
- Choose any of the mix-ins we’ve shared throughout this article. Peanut butter, nutella, fruit spread and chocolate are great choices.
- Ladle some batter into your pre-heated, greased skillet to form a pancake.
- Add a layer of your filling right on top of the batter, leaving plenty of room around the edge.
- Add more pancake batter to cover the filling.
- When the edges start to appear dry and bubbles form on the surface, flip the pancake once and cook until golden brown.
- Remove from the heat and enjoy!
10. Try Sweet and Savory Mix-Ins
Another way to boost the flavor of your pancakes is by adding mix-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit to the batter before cooking them up.
The possibilities are endless. Just make sure not to overdo it or your pancakes will be too heavy and dense.
Here are some great ideas for pancake mix-ins:
- Chocolate chips – milk, dark, white or mini
- Peanut butter chips
- Butterscotch chips
- Cinnamon chips
- Dried, fresh or frozen fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and bananas
- Crushed Oreos or other favorite cookies
- Chopped cherries
- Poppy seeds with lemon zest
- Peanut butter and jelly swirls
- Pureed pumpkin
- Nutella pancakes
- Maple syrup
- Crushed pineapple
- Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles or other favorite cereal
Don’t be afraid to explore savory pancake mix-ins as well.
Some great savory pancake mix-ins are cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, sausage bits and scallions. You could even add seasonings like black pepper, cayenne or garlic.
11. Add Toppings
A stack of pancakes is the perfect canvas for expressing your culinary creativity. After your pancakes are cooked, it’s time to add toppings.
Maple syrup is a no-brainer, but truly the sky is the limit. Get creative and have fun with it! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Creative Pancake Toppings
- Maple syrup or other flavored syrups
- Fresh berries
- Fruit jam, jelly, compote or preserves
- Lemon curd
- Whipped cream or Cool Whip
- Peanut butter
- Frosting or glaze
- Chocolate syrup
- Caramel sauce
- Butterscotch topping
- Ice cream
- Bacon (tastes great with maple syrup)
- Apple butter
- Warm cinnamon apples
- Crushed cookies like Oreos or Nutter Butter
- Small candy like M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces
- Chopped candy pieces like Heath or Butterfinger
Most of the tips and tricks we’ve shared so far are about ingredients you can add to your pancake mix to make it taste better. However, there are plenty of ways to improve the texture of your pancakes when you’re preparing and cooking them.
Keep reading for these secret pancake hacks you need to know about!
12. Sift The Pancake Mix
The first step is to sift the pancake mix. This might seem like an extra step, but it’s worth it. Sifting the mix will get rid of any clumps and give your pancakes a lighter texture.
13. Don’t Overmix The Batter
One common mistake people make when making pancakes is overmixing the batter. This will result in tough, rubbery pancakes that no one will want to eat.
So when you’re mixing everything together, stop as soon as the ingredients are just combined—some lumps are ok.
14. Allow The Pancake Batter To Rest
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but trust us, it makes a world of difference. Allowing the pancake batter to rest for 5-10 minutes gives the ingredients time to fully come together, resulting in airier pancakes.
15. Use A Griddle Or Cast Iron Skillet
Using a greased griddle or cast iron skillet ensures even cooking and helps to prevent sticking. If you don’t have either of these on hand, a non-stick pan will do. Just be sure to heat it up and grease it well before adding any batter.
I personally like to use butter when greasing my cooking surface. I enjoy the deep, nutty flavor it adds. However, some people think butter burns too easily. If you’re in this camp, then you may want to try clarified butter or wiping the griddle with cooking oil.
16. Don’t Flip Too Soon … Or Too Late
Another common mistake is flipping the pancake too soon (or too late). You’ll know it’s ready to flip when small bubbles start to form on the surface and the edges look dryer than the center.
If you wait too long, your pancake will be overcooked on one side and undercooked on the other—so keep an eye on it.
With these simple tips and tricks, you can transform any old box of pancake mix into a delicious breakfast that will have your family coming back for more. These simple hacks will take your boxed pancake game from meh to amazing in no time flat.
So next time you’re in the mood for pancakes, remember that there’s no need to go through all the trouble of making pancakes from scratch—just reach for that box of mix in your pantry, give these tips a try and enjoy some deliciousness sans guilt!