Got an expired pancake mix and wondering if it’s still any good? Does pancake mix ever go bad?
The good news is, your mix is most likely perfectly fine to use.
Even if it has expired a few months or even a year ago.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about storage, shelf life, and expiration of pancake mixes.
Let’s jump right in.
How Long Does Pancake Mix Last?
Pancake mixes come with a shelf life of 6 to 12 months, but you can safely use them for months (or even years) past the best-by date on the label. Opening the package doesn’t shorten that period, assuming that you’ll store the leftovers properly.
Your favorite pancake mix, be it Krusteaz, Hungry Jack, or any other, comes with a best-by date printed on the label. That date informs you how long the product should retain the best quality, and isn’t an “expiration” date by any means.
While most dry ingredients from a regular pancake mix can easily last for years past that date, baking powder can’t because it loses potency. The same thing happens to baking soda if that’s used as a leavening agent.
Plus even though the mix is dry, after storing it for a long time, the pancakes you make using it might not taste that good.
Of course, it’s not like the mix will go bad or pancakes bland after a few days past the “expiration” date, but storing it for an extra year might not work out the way you would like it to. Nevertheless, the blend should still be safe to use and yield okay pancakes (more on that later).
How long is pancake mix good for after the expiration date?
4 to 6 months after the best-by or best-before date on the label is a pretty safe assumption, but your pancakes should turn out great for much longer. All you need is to add some baking powder or baking soda to make up for the raising agent that lost its potency.
Let’s talk about that.
|Pancake mix dry (unopened or opened)||Best by + 3 – 6 months|
Using Expired Pancake Mix
The dry mix usually contains a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda. These are responsible for rising the pancakes and making them fluffy.
Unfortunately, both baking powder and baking soda lose potency over time. So while a five-year-old mix might be perfectly safe to use, the pancakes it makes will likely be dense and flat.
You guessed it – adding extra baking powder and soda to make up for the lost potency.
How to Use Expired Pancake Mix
- Prepare pancake batter the usual way and take note of how much pancake mix you use.
- Cook a single small pancake and check how it turns out.
- If it’s nice and fluffy, your mix is perfectly fine to use without adding anything.
- If it’s completely flat, add 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of pancake mix you used. And if the pancake is somewhere in the middle, add between 1/4 and 3/4 of the mentioned amount. Then mix the batter and cook another pancake. Add more baking powder and soda if needed.
The exact amounts of baking powder and baking soda depend on the recipe, but the 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of pancake mix are close to what most recipes suggest. If you don’t have baking soda on hand, use 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of pancake mix.
For example, let’s say your mix is half a year past its date, and you have four cups. The test pancake comes out a bit flat but isn’t half bad. So you decide to add about half of the recommended amount of the leavening agents. Since you have four cups of the mix, you stir in 4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and cook another test pancake.
I recommend a similar method when working with old cake mix and brownie mix, though when working with those, you don’t have the luxury of testing a small amount of the mix to see how much help it needs.
Finally, every pancake mix is different, and I cannot guarantee your pancakes will rise properly after adding that amount to the batter. Nor that they will taste good.
It’s best to use the mix when the stakes are low, and you have some time to whip up another dish if things don’t go as planned.
How To Tell Pancake Mix Is Bad?
Throw out your pancake mix if:
- There’s mold or wet clumps in the package. That’s a sure sign moisture got it.
- It smells moldy or off in any other way.
- The package has holes, or there are some dead or alive pantry pests in the mix. Or anything else that shouldn’t be there, for that matter.
- You stored an open mix unsealed for months. If that’s the case, chances of something like mold spores getting inside are relatively high, and it’s better to err on the side of caution.
If the mix looks perfectly fine, it’s almost certainly safe to eat. That means you can make some pancakes with it.
Before serving the pancakes, grab one and eat a small bite. If it smells off or tastes “funny,” it’s probably better to discard those pancakes. But if they simply are a bit worse than usual, congratulations, your pancakes are okay to eat.
Now the only thing to do is to assess the flavor. If it’s not good enough for your taste buds, it’s probably better to chuck the pancakes. There’s no point in eating unpalatable pancakes.
How To Store Pancake Mix
You should store pancake mix the same way you store other dry ingredients used for cooking and baking, like flour, baking soda, or cake mix. That means the mix should sit in a cool and dry area.
The pantry is the perfect choice for an unopened package of the mix. Once you open the container, it’s probably handier if you keep it in a cupboard in the kitchen.
Remember that the mix should always be sealed tightly when not in use. If the package it comes in cannot be easily sealed, you can put it in a freezer bag or pour the mix into an airtight container.
Either way, a tight seal makes sure water cannot get inside the package. And as you probably know, moisture getting into the mix is a sure-fire way for it to spoil.
You can also store the mix in the freezer, where it will (probably) retain freshness for a bit longer. Anyway, that’s just an option, and most people go with storing the mix at room temperature.
If you want to make pancakes in no time, instead of relying on the mix, you can make the pancake batter and freeze it.
Is It Safe to Use Expired Pancake Mix?
Ever read one of those horror stories about someone getting really sick after using an expired pancake mix?
I know I did.
It’s only when you read into it, you learn the real reason. And it’s not about the pancake mix being “expired.”
In virtually every one of these stories, the person who ends up sick has a severe allergic reaction to mold, dust mites, or something similar. That’s nothing unheard of.
The thing none of these stories talk about is how the mold spores or dust mites got into the bag in the first place.
I’m fairly sure the pancake mix was “clean” when it got out of the factory. And it’s not like the spores or dust mites magically formed there after the best-by date.
That means someone let them in, probably by accident. And that seems an awful lot like poor storage habits to me.
The bottom line: in most of those stories, people don’t get sick because the pancake mix was expired, but because it was stored poorly and who-knows-what got inside the bag.