Does Pancake Mix Go Bad

You love pancakes for breakfast. You used to use this pancake mix, but a few months ago you switched to making pancakes from scratch. Now your mornings are busier than ever, so that’s no longer an option.

You dig up your old pancake mix you put in a cabinet and wonder: does pancake mix go bad?

Or maybe you’re slowly finishing your package of the mix, but noticed recently that the pancakes turn out flat and dense. And you really like them nice and fluffy. Does that mean that the blend is spoiled?

Similar questions come up time and time again. If you’re in a similar situation and not sure what to do, read on. In this article, we discuss the nitty-gritty of storage, shelf life, and going bad of pancake mixes.

Pancakes topped with blackberries
(credit: Coralline Clin)

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.

Tip

If you want to make pancakes in no time, instead of relying on the mix, you can make the pancake batter and freeze it.

Pouring syrup over pancakes
(credit: Chad Montano)

How Long Does Pancake Mix Last

Like other dry goods, pancake mixes come with a best-by date. That date informs you of how long the product should retain freshness.

While some dry ingredients can easily last for years past that date, it’s not the case with pancake mix. In that regard, pancake mix is more similar to baking powder.

In fact, most pancake mixes include some sort of leavening agent, and such substances tend to lose potency over time. Plus even though the mix is dry, after storing it for a long time, the pancakes made using it won’t taste that good.

Of course, it’s not like the mix will go bad or become flavorless after a few days past that date, but storing it for an extra year might not work out the way you would like to.

When it comes to the difference in shelf life between unopened and opened pancake mix, there isn’t any. As long as you make sure you store it correctly, it should easily last to the best by date and some.

 Pantry
Pancake mix dry (unopened or opened)Best by + 3 – 6 months

Please note that the period above is for best quality only.

Preparing pancake mix
Image used under Creative Commons from Christina Welsh

How To Tell Pancake Mix Is Bad

The story here is pretty much the same as with baking powder. Unless water gets to the mixture, it doesn’t really go bad in a way that it’s unsafe to eat. So if there is mold or large wet clumps inside the package, that’s a sure sign moisture got in. And that means you should discard the mix.

Tip

If the mix looks perfectly fine, it’s almost certainly safe to eat. That means you can make some pancakes with it.

If it’s already past the date on the label, it makes sense to start with making enough batter for one or two pancakes and preparing them. This way you can test if they turn out okay.

If they are flavorless, flat, or feel crunchy and dense, that mix is past its prime. And that means you should probably throw it out. Of course, you can still use it, but there’s no point in making unpalatable pancakes.