Pancakes are a go-to breakfast item for many people, as they’re easy to prepare at home. The smell of fresh pancakes cooking and the aroma it leaves floating through the house is so divine. There are also many ways of serving pancakes. You can top the pancakes with fruits like strawberries, pour maple syrup or honey over them, or sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
Just to let you know, not everyone makes pancakes from scratch. Many people find it convenient to use commercially prepared pancake mix. This saves them time and the hassle of measuring ingredients to make pancake batter. The average commercial dry pancake package mix is 32 0z. And depending on your family size, can you use it up? If not, how long will it take you? Will the pancake mix go bad? Let’s dig deeper!
Does Pancake Mix Go Bad?
Pancake mix is a stable non-perishable food item with a long shelf life. But it does go bad eventually. Going bad here means quality deterioration, not safety deterioration unless the mix is not stored correctly and becomes infested with bacteria or mold. So, consuming pancakes made from spoiled pancakes does not necessarily mean you’ll get food poisoning, but the pancakes would not come out as fluffy and delicious as those made from fresh pancake mix.
When properly stored, regardless in an opened or unopened package, pancake mix has a shelf life of six to twelve months from the time manufactured. This is usually labeled as a best-by date. Best-by date simply means the food product will retain the quality and freshness the manufacturer intended within the specified period. So, consuming pancakes during this time will give you great-tasting pancakes.
Note that most non-perishable products like pancake mix come with a best-by or use-by date instead of an expiry date. That’s so because these products don’t expire (technically) but rather lose some of their best features, making them have poor quality.
Although pancake mix has a shelf life of 6-12 months, using it longer than this duration, by two or three months, would still yield good results. However, using the mix past 18 months would not give as fluffy pancakes as you’d desired.
That’s so because the leavening agents used to make the mix, baking soda, or powder have a shelf life of about 18 months. And beyond that time, they begin losing their potency, making them less effective. This causes flat and dense pancakes when you use pancake mix past its date. But that’s something you can rectify.
Add a leavening agent to the batter before cooking, and you’ll be good to go. Remember to use the same leavening agent as used to make the mix. As a step guide, mix two teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 baking soda per cup of pancake mix. Depending on how long your mix has been on the shelf past the use-by date, you may want to adjust the quantities.
Suppose the mix is 3-9 months after its best-by date; use ¼ of the amount and ½ if it’s 9-18 months past the use-by date. But if the pancake mix is older than 18 months, use the whole amount.
How Can You Tell Your Pancake Mix Is Bad?
There are a few tell-tale signs to determine if it’s time to discard your pancake mix or continue using it. If your pancake mix has the following signs, discard it:
- Presence of mold – mold comes in different colors, green, blue, brown, red, etc. If your mix has such spots in it, discard it. Sometimes you may not be able to tell if there’s mold inside. But any signs of wet clumps show moisture and a high probability of mold.
- Determine the smell of the mix – fresh pancake mix does not have a smell. So, if the mix has an off smell or smells moldy, don’t use it.
- Destroyed package – establish whether the package is still compact at it was or destroyed. If the package has holes or pests in the mix, whether dead or alive, the pancake mix is likely infested with bacteria and unsafe to eat.
- The pancake mix is very old – if it is super old and has been lying on the counter for months, it’s best if you don’t use it. That’s because there is a high chance bacteria or mold spores get inside the unsealed package and contaminate it. And discarding it is the best way to ensure you are on the safer side.
Sometimes your pancake mix may be past its date but doesn’t exhibit any of the signs above. What should you do in such a case? Assume it’s safe and enjoy some pancakes or discard it?
If that’s the case, and you don’t want to be wasteful by discarding it, the best thing to do is to make a small amount of batter, just enough for one or two pancakes as testers. Remember to add a little baking powder when making the pancakes.
Once prepared, taste your pancakes. How are they? If the pancakes have a weird taste or smell, they are likely spoiled and should not be eaten. However, if they are slightly off than usual, they may be okay to eat.
The best indicator would be how well do you like their flavor? If you find them good enough to eat, enjoy them. But if they don’t feel great to your taste buds, better throw them. You don’t want to eat unpalatable pancakes, do you?
Pancake mix does go bad but after such a long time. Going bad in this case means the pancake mix has deteriorated in quality, not safety.
Generally, pancake mix has a shelf life of six to twelve months, but it can as well kept for extra two to three months without quality changes. When using pancake mix past its date, establish whether it’s safe to eat before consuming. The presence of mold, clumps, bugs, and pests means it’s unsafe. But everything looks fine, do a tester and make one or two pancakes. If they come out fine, enjoy them; if not, discard the mix.