You dig up that expired pancake mix you put in the cupboard a long time ago and wonder: does pancake mix go bad?
Or you’re finishing your box of pancake mix, but have recently noticed that the pancakes come out flat and dense. Does that mean the mixture has gone bad?
The good news is that your pancake mix is probably fine to use.
Even if it is “out of date” for a couple of months.
And those flat pancakes? You can probably fix them too.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the storage, shelf life, food safety, and spoilage of pancake mixes.
pancake mix container
How long does the pancake mix last?
Pancake mix has a shelf life of 6-12 months, but typically helps you make great-tasting pancakes for at least 2-3 more months.
Once the package is opened, the shelf life of the pancake mix does not really change. Assuming you save it correctly, of course.
Your favorite pancake mix, whether it’s Krusteaz, Hungry Jack or any other, comes with an expiration date printed on the label. That date tells you how long the product should keep at its best quality, and it’s not an “expiration” date at all.
While most of the dry ingredients in a regular pancake mix can easily last for years after that date, baking powder can’t because it loses potency. The same goes for baking soda if it is used as a leavening agent.
Also, even if the mixture is dry, after storing it for a long time, the pancakes you make with it may not taste as good.
Of course, it’s not like the batter goes bad or the pancakes go bland after a few days past the “use by” date, but storing it for another year might not work out the way you’d like. However, the mix should still be safe and make proper pancakes (more on that later).
How long does the pancake mix last after the expiration date? There’s no way to know. Three to six months is a pretty safe assumption, but chances are you’ll be fine for at least twice as long.
|Dry pancake mix (unopened or opened)||Best before date + 3 – 6 months|
Please note that the period above is for best quality only.
Please note that the above period is only for the best quality.
Is it safe to use expired pancake mix?
Have you ever read one of those horror stories about someone who used expired pancake mix and ended up in the hospital?
I know yes.
Only when you read about it, do you find out the real reason. And it’s not about the pancake mix being “out of date.”
In virtually all of these stories, the person who ends up sick has a severe allergic reaction to mold, dust mites, or something similar. That’s not unlikely.
What isn’t talked about in any of these stories is how mold spores or dust mites got into the mix in the first place.
I’m pretty sure the pancake mix was “clean” when it left the factory. And it’s not like spores or dust mites magically formed there after the expiration date.
That means someone let them in, probably by accident. And that sounds a lot like bad storage habits to me.
In summary: An expired pancake mix should be safe if you store it properly. If you don’t, you can end up sick after using an opened mix, regardless of whether it’s expired or not.
How do you store leftover pancake mix? A tight seal is super important.
Using expired pancake mix
With the safety aspect out of the way, let’s talk about using an expired mix.
As you already know, the longer the mixture is stored, the less power the carbonator will have. And that means dense, flat pancakes.
Add a little more baking powder or soda to make up for the loss in potency.
This is my method.
The basic ratio for pancakes is about 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of pancake mix. Skip the baking soda if you don’t have it on hand or the amount is minuscule.
Now, add the following amount to your mixture:
- 1/4 of that amount if your mix is between 3 and 9 months old
- 1/2 of that amount if it is between 9 and 18 months “expired”
- the whole amount if it is even older
For example, let’s say your blend is half a year past its date, and you have two cups. After doing some basic calculations using my suggestions, you add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/16 teaspoon of baking soda (or simply omit the baking soda).
I recommend a similar method when working with cake mix and brownies.
|Every pancake mix is different, and I can’t guarantee that your pancakes will rise well after adding that much to the mix. They don’t taste good either. It is best to use the mix when nothing is at stake and you have time to prepare another dish if things don’t go as planned.|
How do you know if the pancake mix is bad?
Throw out the pancake mix if
- There is mold or wet lumps on the package. It’s a sure sign that it has moisture.
- It smells like mold or something else.
- The package has holes in it or there are some living or dead pantry pests in the mix. Or anything else that shouldn’t be there, for example.
- You’ve stored an open mix unsealed for months. If so, the chances of something like mold spores getting inside are relatively high, and it’s best to err on the side of caution.
If the mixture looks perfect, it’s almost certainly edible. That means you can make pancakes with it.
|If your pancake mix is past the date on the label, and you have a little more time, start by making enough batter for one or two pancakes and preparing them. So you can test if they turn out well. And don’t forget to add more yeast and soda if the mixture is very old.|
Before serving the pancakes, grab one and eat a small bite. If it smells bad or tastes “funny,” those pancakes are probably best discarded. But if they’re just a little worse than usual, congratulations, your pancakes are fine to eat.
Now all you have to do is assess the taste. If it’s not good enough for your taste buds, it’s probably best to ditch the pancakes: there’s no point in eating less-than-tasty pancakes.
How to Store Pancake Mix
You should store pancake mix the same way you store other dry ingredients used in cooking and baking, such as flour, baking soda, or cake mix. That means the mixture should be in a cool, dry place.
The pantry is the perfect option for an unopened packet of the mix. Once the container is opened, it will probably be more convenient if you store it in a kitchen cabinet.
Remember that the mixture must always be well closed when not in use. If the container it comes in cannot be easily closed, you can put it in a freezer bag or pour the mixture into an airtight container.
Either way, a tight seal ensures that water can’t get into the pack. And, as you probably know, getting moisture into the mix is a sure way to spoil it.
You can also store the mixture in the freezer, where it will (probably) keep fresh for longer. It’s just one option anyway, and most people opt to store the mixture at room temperature.
|If you want to make pancakes in no time, instead of relying on batter, you can make pancake batter and freeze it.|
Pancake Mix Shelf Life and Expiration Summary
Thanks for reading this article. Let’s quickly recap what we’ve covered:
- Does the pancake mix go bad? Pancake mix doesn’t really go bad unless it gets wet or pantry bugs. But if it’s been more than a few months since their expiration date, your pancakes may not be as light and fluffy as they used to be, because the raising agent in the batter may not work as well as it should.
- How long does the pancake mix last? The pancake mix has a shelf life of 6-12 months, and usually works well for at least a couple of months after the printed date. If you’re not sure if yours is still good, consider giving it a try by cooking a pancake or two to see how it goes.
- Can expired pancake mix be used? Assuming there is nothing wrong with your expired pancake mix (i.e. the mix is dry and looks good), you can use it. The thing to remember is that the older the mix, the more likely it is that the leavening agent it contains (your baking powder, probably) won’t be as powerful as it should be. To counter this, you can add a bit of baking powder to the mix.