What to Add to Pancake Mix: 17 Must-Try Additions

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Pancakes, a beloved breakfast! Like many, I, sometimes rely on boxed mix for those busy mornings. But why settle for plain when you can easily elevate it? Let’s dive into delicious ways to give that mix a homemade touch, reminiscent of grandma’s secret recipe. Ready to stir things up?

What to add to pancake mix

Melted Butter

Ah, the magic of melted butter. It’s not just a topping, my friends! By adding melted butter into your batter, you’re introducing a bit of richness and a delightful buttery flavor. Remember, fat equals flavor in the world of cooking. So next time you’re mixing up that batter, pour in a tablespoon or two of warm, melted butter, and enjoy the transformation.


Skip the water that many boxed recipes call for and opt for milk instead. Milk imparts a creamier texture and enhances the overall taste. Whether you prefer whole milk, skim, or even almond, it’s a simple switch that really changes things up. Plus, it’s a great way to improve the nutritional content.

Hint: For those seeking dairy-free options, almond milk is an excellent choice.


Buttermilk in pancakes? Yes, please! This ingredient is a game-changer. Not only does it lend a tangy flavor, but it also reacts with a leavening agent, like baking powder, helping the pancakes rise and turn light and airy. If you find your pancakes on the denser side, buttermilk is the answer.


Eggs are a staple in many pancake recipes. Whisking them into your mixture ensures an even, creamy batter. But here’s a tip: for extra fluffy pancakes, separate the yolks from the whites. Whip the whites until they form stiff peaks, and then gently fold them into your batter. This technique introduces air bubbles, making for incredibly light pancakes. And who can resist that?

Also, consider beating the egg whites before folding them into the batter for extra fluffiness

Vanilla Extract

A teaspoon of vanilla extract can elevate the flavor profile of your pancakes in such a delicious way. It’s an easy addition, and the aromatic warmth it brings is undeniable. It’s my go-to, especially when I want a touch of sweetness, like caramel,  without adding more sugar.

Almond Extract

For a nutty twist, try almond extract. Just a hint will transport you to a French patisserie. It pairs exceptionally well with fruits like strawberries and blueberries, turning your ordinary breakfast into something extraordinary!

Experimenting with different extracts can introduce a medley of flavors to your breakfast. Tossing in some chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts can also throw in a delightful crunch.


This warming spice is not just for your oatmeal or flip cookies. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon into your batter for a cozy touch that feels like a warm hug on a cold morning.


Cloves might be more associated with holiday cooking, but don’t forget them in your pancake mix! They lend a depth and complexity, taking the flavor to new heights. Just remember, a little goes a long way.


Another spice that’s a favorite in my kitchen. Cardamom has a unique flavor that’s slightly citrusy and wonderfully aromatic. Give it a try; it’s especially great when combined with orange or citrus zest.


This is a favorite during the winter months. The spicy and sweet aroma of nutmeg gives your pancakes a festive feel. It’s a match made in heaven with toppings like maple syrup or whipped cream.

Baking Powder (especially if the mix is old)

Sometimes, boxed mixes can become dry if they have been sitting on the shelf for a while. If your mix isn’t giving you the rise you desire, add a teaspoon of baking powder to breathe new life into it. The outcome will surprise you!

Also, look for gluten-free versions if you have sensitivities.

Baking Soda

Similar to baking powder, this can also help with the leavening, especially when paired with an acid like buttermilk. Just a quarter teaspoon can do wonders.

Club Soda

Want to know a secret? “Here’s a small tip that can totally shake things up.
Swap out some of your milk or water for club soda. The bubbles in the sparkling water lend the pancakes an extra lift, making them even fluffier. It’s like magic in a bottle!


While most mixes already contain sugar, a tablespoon extra can add a touch of sweetness. But be cautious: too much can result in easily burned pancakes.

You can also dust some powdered sugar on top for an added hint of sweetness.

Sour Cream

A dollop of sour cream can transform pancake mixes, making them richer and tangier. It also lends a soft, delicate crumb. It’s one of those ingredients that once you try, you’ll always want to add!


Fresh or frozen, blueberries are always a hit! Just fold them into your batter and watch as they burst with flavor upon cooking, creating juicy pockets of deliciousness.


Sliced bananas in pancakes? Oh, what a treat! They caramelize slightly when cooking, offering a sweet bite that’s to die for.

Chocolate Chips

Last but definitely not least, for those mornings when you want something indulgent, throw in some chocolate chips. Because let’s face it, chocolate for breakfast is always a good idea. Or maybe stir in some pumpkin puree for a seasonal twist.

Tips for upgrading your boxed mix

Sift the Pancake Mix to Aerate It for Lighter, Fluffier Pancakes

Have you ever wondered how your favorite brunch place manages to serve such fluffy pancakes? The answer could be as simple as sifting! By sifting the pancake mix, you’re introducing air, which can make your pancakes rise better and come out airy and light. So, before you start working on your batter, make sure to set aside a few minutes to sift that mix. Ensuring there are no clumps will get you a smooth pancake batter ready for the griddle.

Substitute Water with Milk (or Buttermilk) for Richer Pancakes

Let’s talk about the main liquid component. While water is the usual go-to, why not add a little more richness? Milk or buttermilk can be the game-changer your pancakes need. If you’re using milk, be cautious with the amount. Maybe consider going halfsies – half water and half milk. Oh, and if you’re in a creative mood, squeeze in some lemon for an extra zesty kick!

Add an egg to the batter to improve the texture and flavor

If you’re looking to get closer to the homemade pancake taste, an egg can work wonders. It brings a certain warmth to the flavor and improves the texture. Want to go a step further? Whisk the egg whites separately and then fold them into your batter. It’s like giving your pancakes a soft, fluffy blanket to wrap themselves in!

Nothing beats the texture and flavor when you add eggs fresh.

If your pancake mix is old, increase the leavening

Got an old pancake mix lying around? Don’t worry! We have a few tricks up our sleeve to rejuvenate that mix! Sometimes, all they need is a little nudge to step up to the occasion. Adding a smidgeon of baking powder can ensure your pancakes don’t fall flat. 

Remember, the storage of your pancake mix matters. Always ensure to keep the box sealed and stored in a cool, dry place. This ensures the freshness and quality of the mix, ready for your next breakfast endeavor.

Be cautious not to overmix the batter

It’s easy to get carried away, especially when you’re excited about a delicious breakfast. But remember, overmixing can be the enemy of soft, fluffy pancakes. After all, a few lumps here and there are totally fine!

You want to mix just until combined, so those pancakes don’t end up dense. We’re going for cloud-like, not hockey puck!

Remember, once the dry and wet ingredients meet, gentle stirring is key.

Incorporating the ingredients in the right bowl makes a significant difference too. Choose a big enough bowl that gives you ample space to mix without splashing.

Allow the batter to rest for a few minutes before cooking

Patience is key! After mixing, let your batter sit for a few minutes. This pause allows the leavening agents to work their magic and lets the dry mixture fully absorb the liquid for optimal consistency. 

Imagine it as the batter’s little spa moment before the heat of the griddle. The result? Pancakes that have a better fluffiness to them. This also ensures an even consistency throughout your batter.

Trust the process and you’ll be delighted with the results.

Cook on Low Heat

Let’s turn down the heat, shall we? Cooking your pancakes on low heat ensures they cook through without getting those burnt edges. It’s like a slow dance for food, ensuring each side gets the love and attention it deserves.

For those who prefer a golden-brown exterior with a soft middle, a medium heat might give you the perfect balance.

Use a non-stick pan or griddle

No one wants a pancake that sticks to the pan, right? Using a non-stick pan or griddle ensures that your pancakes get cooked evenly and makes flipping them a breeze. A little oil or butter can also add some extra flavor to those edges.

Tip: If you’re feeling old-school, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet can also contribute to the process, working its wonders and giving those pancakes a crisp edge.

Employ a measuring cup when pouring out the batter

For those looking for that picture-perfect pancake stack, here’s a tip. Use a measuring cup to pour out your batter. This ensures all your pancakes are siblings, not distant cousins, in size, leading to even cooking.

A consistent measure ensures evenly cooked treats every time.

Consider the ratio of ingredients

To get that optimal fluffiness, consider this: for every cup of mix you use, add one egg. It’s a simple ratio that can be the difference between ‘meh’ and ‘wow’ in the pancake world. 

Tip: Certain pancake styles might require adjustments, so always taste and adjust.

Elevate with High-Quality Toppings

Lastly, let’s talk toppings. Sure, you could go with the usual syrup or butter, but why not explore? Fresh fruit, a dollop of whipped cream, genuine maple syrup, or even some sprinkles for the little ones. Feeling adventurous? How about some Nutella, peanut sauce, a drizzle of peanut butter, or even cheese and bacon for a savory twist? 

Maybe you prefer a scoop of ice cream for a truly indulgent treat?”

The options are endless, and the best part? You get to decide and share with your loved ones. Just a couple of gourmet toppings (whatever you decide to put on top) can make all the difference.

Remember that even a basic boxed pancake mix holds endless potential. With just a few additional ingredients, often times you can elevate your pancake game and serve a tasty dish that everyone in your family will love. Happy cooking!