Pancakes are an indispensable part of any breakfast. There is truly no way for pancakes to be boring, as they are so versatile. You can make them with butter and syrup, and add so many different toppings and fruits.
You love pancakes, and even though you know that the very best pancakes are made from scratch, with your mornings now busier than ever, you don’t have enough time to prepare them.
That’s why you chose to give a pancake mix a try and bought it a few months ago. But now, pulling the half-used package from the back of your pantry, you’re wondering – can pancake mix go bad? Can you still make delicious pancakes out of it?
Similar questions came to our mind, and so we decided to dig deeper into the heart of the matter and give you the best possible answers. We will discuss the shelf life of pancake mix and provide you with some storage advice, so let’s get to flipping!
Does Pancake Mix Go Bad?
Well, unfortunately, for all of us, the pancake mix doesn’t last forever. It will go bad eventually; however, it has a long shelf life. It can even last past its best-before-date, as long as it’s properly stored. In most cases, it won’t show any spoilage signs after that date, but it will drastically deteriorate in quality.
Pancake mix combines all of the ingredients needed to make pancakes, just in a dry form. Those are usually flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. You can easily make pancakes with pancake mix by adding water or milk, depending on manufacturers’ instructions.
Most of the brands also add some vegetable oils, dairy products, and milk, but those are all dehydrated to last longer. Moreover, some of them even add antioxidants and preservatives, which help prevent the oxidation process.
But how long does pancake mix actually last?
The Shelf Life Of Pancake Mix
The shelf life of pancake mix is usually 12 months. But if you properly store it, it can be used even 3-6 months after the date on the label. Without leavening agents, other ingredients in the mix can easily last years past the best-by-date. But, you need to store the product properly, as poor storage conditions can deteriorate the quality and result in altered flavors or texture.
When it comes to an opened package of pancake mix, it can last up to 6 months. For the best quality, we recommend using it within the first 3-4 months. Also, it needs to be appropriately stored, away from sources of heat and moisture.
Unlike some foods that can last indefinitely, fresh pancake mix (pancake batter) will go bad very quickly. That is because of the wet ingredients such as eggs, butter, milk, and water. Because of the moisture, this type of environment is very suitable for bacteria growth. That’s why this pancake mix can be kept at room temperature only for 1-2 hours before it enters the ‘danger’ zone. However, it can last 3-7 days in the refrigerator and even 7 more days in the freezer.
The shelf life of pancake mix will depend on the type of mix, ingredients added, and storage conditions as well. Despite the fact that the dry pancake mix doesn’t have the specific expiration date, you should follow the best-by-date. This date will give you some guidance on how long the product should retain its freshness, thus offering you the best possible quality.
Overall, it would be best to store your pancake mix like any other dry ingredients such as flour, cake mix, or baking soda. Pancake mix is designed to store for quite some time, but there are some storage conditions that you should consider in order to extend its shelf life and preserve it fresh.
That means that you should store it in a dark and cool place, away from sunlight and heat sources. The room temperature will also be sufficient enough. Pantry and kitchen cupboards are the perfect places to store your pancake mix, for both opened and unopened packages.
After you open it, you should seal the package tightly. Also, you can transfer the product into the freezer bag or an airtight container. That is very important because it will prevent the moisture from getting into the package.
As for homemade pancake mix (batter), you can keep it at room temperature up to 2 hours, and after that, it needs to be refrigerated. You can also transfer it in an airtight container or seal it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Moreover, the freezer will extend its shelf life for an extra 5-7 days.
Furthermore, you can also freeze your package of pancake mix. It is for the best to first transfer it into a freezer bag (push the air out) or an airtight container and then put it into the freezer. Stored like that, it can last more than a year.
You can also keep your dry pancake mix in the refrigerator sealed tightly in its original packaging or an airtight container. However, as long as you don’t live in a very hot and humid area, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
You can also make a pancake mix at home and store it as well. If you want a long-term storage option, mix only dry ingredients without a leavening agent such as baking powder. Add the wet ingredients when you decide to use it.
Signs Of Spoiled Pancake Mix
Unlike fresh pancake batter, pancake mix is made of dry and dehydrated ingredients; hence it has a much longer shelf life.
Generally speaking, as long as the moisture doesn’t get into the package, your pancake mix should retain good for a long time, even a few months after its best-by-date.
However, such mixes usually contain leavening agents such as baking powder, and they tend to lose potency over time. If that happens, your pancake mix will be degraded in quality, and the most common problem here is a loss of rising power. Furthermore, moisture will gradually use up your leavening, so you have to keep the product sealed tightly.
Most of the pancake mixes also include vegetable oil, dehydrated eggs, or dairy solids in a dry form. Although they can keep fresh up to a year, the mix will probably lose its flavor after a long period. The telltale sign here is a stale flavor caused by oxidation, and if this is the case, throw the mix away.
Even though most brands use preservatives to extend the shelf life, the oxygen will eventually break down fat molecules and produce some rancid odors. If your mix smells sour or has off-odors, it is a sure sign it has gone bad.
Also, this happens rarely, but if you notice some pests in your pancake mix, discard it immediately. Moreover, if it shows any signs of liquid contamination, such as wet clumps or mold, it is not safe for eating anymore. Those signs will usually manifest as black or blue-green spots all over the product.
In the end, if your mix isn’t showing any signs of contamination, you can test it by making a small bunch of pancakes. If they turn out to be flavorless and flat or feel dense and crunchy, that means that the mix is past its prime. However, it won’t harm your health; it just won’t taste as good as fresh one does.
Does Pancake Mix Go Bad? – Final Thoughts
All in all, pancake mix has a long shelf life. Moreover, if you store it properly, it can be easily used even several months after its best-by-date.
However, pancake mix will degrade in quality over time, so if you notice your pancakes are flat, dense, crunchy, or flavorless, you should probably toss it. Additionally, if there are any signs of mold, big wet clumps, off-odors, or changes in the color and flavor, the mix is past its prime.
Keep your pancake mix in its original packaging at room temperature, sealed tightly, so the moisture doesn’t get into the product. Dry and cool places such as pantry and cupboard are perfect storage options.
If you can’t seal the package, you can transfer the product into an airtight container or a freezer bag. On the other hand, always store your homemade pancake mix (batter) in the fridge.
Ultimately, you can put your dry pancake mix in the fridge or even in the freezer to extend its shelf life, because the cold preserves the baking powder and other ingredients for longer. That way, you can enjoy your favorite treat any time you like!