There’s nothing quite like waking up on a Sunday morning after a long, exhausting week and whipping up a batch of fluffy pancakes. It’s a sweet treat to start off one of those no-alarm-clock, ready-to-relax kinda days.
While pancakes are not necessarily the go-to breakfast on your clean eating menu, they should be a relatively low-risk cheat meal. But after analyzing a few of the grocery-store classics and specialty diet mixes for Zero Belly Breakfasts, certain brands sure take the (pan)cake for being belly bombs. You don’t want your weight loss dreams to turn into a nightmare before the morning is even over, do you?
To factor out what we should and shouldn’t be piercing with our forks, we looked at the nutritionals and ingredients of a mountain of pancake mixes. We then divided them into two categories—traditional and specialty—and ranked 10 in each category from best to worst. Overall, if you’re choosing a pancake mix, go with one of the “best” specialty blends over the classics; they’re usually a much easier way to avoid any extreme processing, and they tend to have more nutrients like protein and fiber.
Now see how the brands stack up—and choose wisely before your next short stack! For more insight into how you should tweak your mornings to score a better bod, find out the 37 Worst Breakfast Habits for Your Waistline!
TRADITIONAL MIXES: FROM BEST TO WORST
STONEWALL KITCHEN FARMHOUSE PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (50 grams), 170 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 500 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 4 g protein
With only one gram of sugar per serving, this pancake mix is one you can enjoy for that made-from-scratch flavor. Unlike most other pancake mixes, this one contains less than two percent sugar, salt, and artificial flavoring, and includes a malted barley flour to give it both a touch of fiber and an extra fluffy texture. Speaking of fiber, do you know there are 30 Foods With More Fiber Than an Apple?
ARROWHEAD MILLS NATURAL BUTTERMILK PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ¼ cup dry mix (40 grams), 140 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 6 g protein
Organic whole grain wheat flour is the first listed ingredient, which is a good sign for your health. It’s also low in calories and filled with 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup serving. So, when it comes to choosing a pancake mix, this can be a go-to product.
FLAPJACKED BUTTERMILK PROTEIN PANCAKE MIX
Nutrition: 1/2 cup dry mix (53 grams), 200 calories, 3.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 23 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 20 g protein
Rather than nutrient-devoid white flour, FlapJacked’s pancake mix is made with whole oat flour—a grain that’s packed with belly-nourishing fiber and energizing micronutrients. Even better than traditional mixes, this blend comes with 20 muscle-building grams of protein per servings thans to whey protein islate and pea protein.
KING ARTHUR FLOUR ESSENTIAL GOODNESS CLOUD 9 PANCAKE MIX
Nutrition: ½ cup dry mix (56 grams), 200 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 320 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 6 g protein
This mix steers clear of flour bleaching and shuns artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and corn syrup. Instead, whole grain oats and whole wheat flour make up this mix to get a wholesome and fluffy pancake. You getting hungry yet?
BISQUICK ORIGINAL PANCAKE AND BAKING MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (40 grams), 150 calories, 3 g fat (.5 g saturated) , 380 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein
This mix may have less sugar, but it uses hydrogenated oils to make the product shelf life last longer and to save costs. While this might save the company a few bucks, it sneaks in trans fats that will risk your heart health by increasing your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. In our opinion, spending an extra dollar or so for good health is well worth it; skip this one and the following…
HUNGRY JACK ORIGINAL PANCAKE MIX
Nutrition: ½ cup dry mix (47 grams), 160 calories, 1 g fat (0 saturated fat), 530 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 4 g protein
To get a perfectly pure white looking flour, tons of brands use a bleaching process to remove any yellow. This process involves harsh chemicals that destroy nutrients and then later re-“enriches” them into the mix. This does not enhance the nutrition of the mix; instead, it takes away vital protein and fiber for fewer calories in return.
KRUSTEAZ LIGHT & FLUFFY BUTTERMILK COMPLETE PANCAKE MIX
Nutrition: 57 grams dry mix, 210 calories, 2 g fat (.5 g saturated), 560 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugars, 6 g protein
Enriched bleached flour, sugar, dextrose, and partially hydrogenated soybean oils are just a few of the health no-no words of this ingredient list. Skip this processed breakfast and find a mix that betters both your health and your appetite. If you’re still not sure what the big deal is about processed food, then find out What Happens When You Stop Eating Processed Foods; it will blow your mind!
STONEWALL KITCHEN BUTTERMILK PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (40 grams), 130 calories, .5 g fat (0 g saturated), 670 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 3 g protein
This mix may have fewer ingredients and skip the bleaching process, but it’s still heavy on the sugar, sodium, and carbs. You’ll wind up with a stack that will overload your morning instead of keeping you feeling light and free.
AUNT JEMIMA BUTTERMILK COMPLETE PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (45 grams) 150 calories, 1.5 g fat (.5 g saturated), 450 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 5 g protein
Aunt Jemima is the face of pancakes. But while her face might be familiar, these ingredients are anything but! The more ingredients you see on a box the worse it probably is—and it’s a major red flag when there are more mysterious words on the list than ones than you can even pronounce.
AUNT JEMIMA ORIGINAL PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (47 grams), 150 calories, .5 g fat (0 g saturated), 740 mg sodium, 33 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 4 g protein
Auntie J. is back with more bad ideas. This box is filled with way too much sugar per serving, nearly no fiber, and a high carb load—so, it’s no way to start your day. Avoid grabbing this unknown-ingredient-filled box from the shelf on your next grocery shop!
MARKET PANTRY ORIGINAL COMPLETE PANCAKE MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (about 40 grams), 140 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 470 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugars, 3 g protein
With the most potent ingredient being bleached flour, this pancake mix comes in as the worst pancake mix to be stirring up on Sunday morning. It’s packing in so many questionable ingredients (like Dextrose and Sodium Aluminum Phosphate) that this is one mix you should definitely steer clear of. See what else you need to avoid at all costs by familiarizing yourself with this list of 23 Worst Food Additives in America.
SPECIALTY MIXES: FROM BEST TO WORST
SIMPLE MILLS ALMOND FLOUR PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: 2 pancakes or ½ waffle (30 grams), 130 calories, 6 g fat (.5 g saturated), 180 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 3 g protein
The list of ingredients is short for this mix! (Almond flour, arrowroot, organic coconut sugar, organic coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, sea salt, the end.) It’s completely Paleo-friendly by using almond flour and coconut flour as the base. Organic coconut sugar naturally sweetens it up with a low glycemic index that won’t spike your blood sugar so rapidly. With almost half the amount of carbs as other mixes, this comes in as our favorite mix of the bunch with super simple and nutritious ingredients!
BOB’S RED MILL 10 GRAIN PANCAKE & WAFFLE WHOLE GRAIN MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (52 grams), 190 calories, 1 g fat 90 g saturated fat), 430 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 8 g protein
If you’re looking for whole grain organic baking mixes, Bob’s Red Mill is usually a good pick. The company typically uses only the necessary ingredients to make a perfectly fluffy and delicious pancake and skips any of that artificially processed stuff. Ten different whole grains pack in 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving; there are few mixes better for you than this one.
MAPLE GROVE FARMS SUGAR-FREE PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ¼ cup dry mix (24 grams), 80 calories, 2.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 4 g protein
Besides being a waistline wonder, sugar-free products give you the option to add your own touch of sweetness. This box skips any added sugar, so you can drizzle on some all-natural maple syrup and fruits for the exact levels of sweetness you’re looking for. Pair your plate with a cup of metabolism-boosting, fat-blasting green tea and your breakfast is good to go!
JULIAN BAKERY PALEO PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: 32 grams dry mix , 170 calories, 13 g fat (1 g saturated), 290 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 9 g protein
Low carb and gluten-free makes this a pancake mix worth getting out of bed for. It’s a short list of ingredients and keeps the carbs and sugar to a minimum. As you’ve probably noticed, there are more good-for-you options in this category than in the traditional one!
PROTIDIET PANCAKES NATURAL
Nutrition: 1 pouch (27 g), 100 calories, 1 g fat (.5 g saturated), 400 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 15 g protein
Protein-packed pancakes are a great way to start your day with a boost of energy. By increasing your protein intake, you’ll feel fuller for longer and help build lean muscle—all while keeping the sugar and calories to a minimum. For more ways to get more protein into your routine, scope out these 25 Ways to Up Your Protein Game!
P28 THE ORIGINAL HIGH PROTEIN PANCAKE DRY MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (45 grams), 160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 410 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 14 g protein
If you have a jam-packed day of activities ahead of you, this is the mix for you. It starts you off with 14 grams of protein and only 2 grams of sugar. Both buckwheat flour and oat flour help make up this blend. Buckwheat is actually a fruit that is gluten free and filled with nutrients including niacin, amino acids, and vitamin D.
KODIAK CAKES FRONTIER FLAPJACK AND WAFFLE MIX WHOLE WHEAT AND HONEY
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (38 g), 130 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 360 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 7 g protein
Whole grain wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, non-fat dry milk and dry honey are what up most of this flapjack. Oat flour adds an extra boost of fiber and no extra fat. The natural sweetness honey keeps the flavors high but the sugar low. Speaking of sugar, have you seen these 35 Restaurant Foods With Crazy-High Amounts of Sugar?
ENJOY LIFE PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ¼ cup dry mix(40 grams), 140 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 370 mg sodium, 29 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 5 g protein
Buckwheat, teff, millet and whole grain brown rice are all superfoods used in this gluten free pancake mixture to give it 5 grams of energy-boosting protein and 2 grams of filling fiber without any gluten, wheat or soy.
ARROWHEAD MILLS ORGANIC GLUTEN FREE PANCAKE AND WAFFLE MIX
Nutrition: ¼ cup dry mix (46 grams), 150 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 290 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 2 g protein
Gluten-free is a trendy health term that doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, like a lot of people think. When it comes to gluten-free foods, make sure they’re still using wholesome nutrient-dense ingredients in place of. This blend of gluten-free flour includes rice, potato, and yellow corn flour—all of which are fine alternatives to gluten, but are a little bit carb heavy and don’t help that much with fiber. If you’re buying more gluten-free products, make sure you check out our exclusive report on the 40 Best and Worst Gluten-Free Products.
BISQUICK HEART SMART PANCAKE AND BAKING MIX
Nutrition: ⅓ cup dry mix (28 grams), 140 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 3 g protein
One of the hardest parts about sticking to healthy options and avoiding the bad ones is all the false labels out there. This mix may say “heart smart,” but we’re not exactly sure why. It still uses bleached flour, chemicals, and sugar, but claims to be naturally low in cholesterol and high in calcium. I