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There are few American breakfast options that are quite as iconic or beloved as some good ol’ pancakes. These golden, fluffy stacks of carbs are delicious enjoyed with some classic butter and syrup, or customized with a myriad of different toppings like chocolate chips and blueberries.
When you have a major pancake craving but don’t have time to stop at your favorite breakfast spot and can’t muster up the energy to whip them up from scratch, where do you turn? Store-bought pancake mixes are a perfectly suitable alternative in instances like these, but these mass-produced flapjacks can sometimes fall a little flat in comparison to fresher, more gourmet alternatives.
Luckily, home cooks are happy to share some of the tips and tricks they use to elevate pancake mixes from good to great. These tricks, all shared by pancake lovers on TikTok, are simple steps that would only require a couple of extra ingredients or elbow grease to get a superior breakfast.
Read on for five tasty tips to upgrade your store-bought pancake mix.
It’s safe to assume that you wouldn’t want to taste clumps of dry, uncombined mix when you bite into a pancake. So take a note from TikToker @dentist_rach, who takes the extra step of sifting pancake mix before combining it with any other ingredients.
The whole sifting process won’t take more than a minute or two, but the resulting batter will be smooth and clump-free so you won’t have to worry about any unsavory, dry bites in your flapjack stack.
Many of the pancake mixes you’ll find at your local grocery store are already “complete,” meaning that you only technically need to add water in order to make the pancake batter per the package directions. However, pancake lovers attest that switching the water for other liquids can make for a richer, tastier batter.
TikTokers @dentist_rach and @clintonsvatos swap milk for the water the mix directions call for. Others also add an egg or two even when the recipe doesn’t call for it to boost to richness factor in their pancakes and make them taste more homemade.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a classic pancake, but you can elevate the flavor of your boxed mix even more with some creative add-ins. In a TikTok with nearly 160,000 views, former Great British Baking Show finalist Crystelle Pereira transformed a humble bag of basic mix into lemonade pancakes by adding lemon zest, poppy seeds, and lemonade in lieu of water. (Take note, people in the United Kingdom are known to use the term “lemonade” to refer to fizzing, citrusy drinks more akin to Sprite or 7-Up.) She also topped the stack of finished pancakes with icing made from powdered sugar, lemon juice, and a splash of milk.
As other TikTokers have demonstrated, flavor mix-ins for your pancake batter can also be as simple as a splash of vanilla extract, a couple of tablespoons of melted butter, or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for some warm spice flavors.
Home chefs can apply this philosophy to any pancake recipe, including both homemade ones as well as those that call for store-bought mixes. TikToker @clintonsvatos cautioned cooks against overmixing the batter, and for good reason. Too much stirring can both deflate the pancake batter and develop too much gluten, leading to flat and tough pancakes instead of light, fluffy, and tender pancakes, according to King Arthur Baking.
So resist the urge to work the batter too much, and instead stir until everything is just combined for the absolute best end product.
If you’re only craving the absolute fluffiest pancakes, eggs (specifically egg whites) are your best friend. The @problemsolved account shared a trick to make the “best pancakes ever,” which turned out to be folding whipped egg whites into the batter for a lighter, airier mixture. The TikToker demonstrated the trick with a homemade pancake recipe but said this method will also work if you opt to add eggs into your store-bought batter.
First, separate the egg yolks from the whites and mix the yolks with your other wet ingredients. Stir together the dry mix and those wet ingredients, and then beat the egg whites separately with a hand or stand mixer until they’re thick and fluffy. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, and then cook your extra fluffy pancakes as you would normally.