When you make pancakes or waffles at home, chances are you buy pancake mix from the store.
They come in different varieties and flavors like apple pancake, bacon pancake or banana pancakes, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t last forever.
Pancake mix has an expiration date on the package, but it doesn’t specify exactly how long the mix will keep in your pantry.
It’s best to follow the instructions on the label until you notice any signs of spoilage.
If you smell something funky, throw it out immediately.
Don’t take chances with your breakfast!
Is it safe to eat expired pancake mix?
The short answer is no.
Pancake mix is not a food item that should be consumed by anyone who does not want to risk getting sick.
Even if a product has been stored properly up until the point when it turns bad, there’s still a chance that it could get contaminated during its shelf life.
As such, you should always assume that anything that comes from a box or bag of pancake mix is potentially dangerous to consume.
Even though you might not see any obvious signs of spoiled pancake mix, it’s never a good idea to go against your instincts.
The only way to be sure that your pancake mix won’t cause harm to you or others is to throw it away completely.
Here’s what you need to know about the safety of expired pancake mix.
How do you know if pancake mix is bad?
If you’ve ever made homemade pancake mixes before, you probably know that they lose their potency over time.
This isn’t just true for flour — it applies to other ingredients like sugar as well.
The longer you leave the mix sitting around, the more likely it is to go stale.
And once it goes bad, it’s game over.
The best way to avoid this problem is to use pancake mix right away.
Pancakes and waffles aren’t complicated recipes, so there’s no reason to let them sit around for too long.
That said, when you do decide to keep pancake mix in your fridge, try not to open the container.
Instead, seal it tightly with plastic wrap or a lid.
Store it in a cool place (around 40 degrees) to prevent it from going rancid.
If you want to be extra careful, you can also freeze pancake mix.
According to Food Safety News, freezing preserves the flavor and texture of pancake mix, but it won’t prevent it from going stale.
When you thaw frozen pancake mix, stir it thoroughly to ensure that it’s completely mixed.
Then, follow these tips to avoid spoiling your mix:
Don’t refrigerate it after opening, and definitely don’t use it past its expiration date.
Keep it sealed in a plastic bag or airtight container.
Don’t open the container every day to add more mix to your batter.
Make sure to remove excess water before using the mix.
Store the mix in the refrigerator, not the cupboard.
As with most foods, if you find yourself in a bind, you can always swap out the pancake mix for another brand.
But what if you’re out of options?
Maybe the only pancake mix available in the local grocery store is old and bad.
In that case, you’ll need to make due with what you have.
Here are some things to look out for when considering whether or not to use an expired pancake mix:
If you see mold growing inside the box, toss it out.
If the mix smells sour or rotten, toss it out.
If the pancake mix is lumpy, runny, or has strange colors, throw it out.
If the mix looks dry or crumbly, toss it out.
In addition to these warning signs, there are plenty of other ways to tell if pancake mix is bad.
For example, if you can’t taste the maple syrup in the mix, it’s probably gone bad.
Another clue that it’s on its way out is if the mix separates into two layers.
Finally, don’t forget about the expiration date on the label.
While it may seem counterintuitive to think that you should wait until the mix expires before using it, the truth is that it’s better to use up the mix sooner rather than later.
As we mentioned above, keeping pancake mix in your pantry can lead to spoilage over time.
Once it starts smelling bad, you’ll never get the chance to enjoy it again.
Does pancake mix actually expire?
You may be surprised to learn that pancake mix isn’t always made fresh every day.
In fact, most pancake mixes contain ingredients that aren’t even edible.
The manufacturer uses them to create the flavor, so they won’t go bad as quickly as other food products would.
Some manufacturers add preservatives, which slow down the breakdown process.
These chemicals can linger in the mix for weeks, months, even years.
That means you should eat up any of these mixes before their expiration dates.
Keep reading to find out what other signs indicate that the mix is going bad.
Is it OK to use expired pancake mix?
If you bought some pancake mix when it was still fresh, there’s no reason to worry about using it up before its expiration date.
But if you bought it after the expiration date has passed, you should probably toss it.
The good news is that you can save money by buying pancake mixes in bulk, so you won’t need to worry about wasting ingredients by using them too early.
The truth is that pancake mix doesn’t really go bad in the same way other foods do.
When food spoils, it becomes less nutritious and tastes worse over time.
Pancake mix isn’t going to become unappealing or bitter just because it’s past its prime.
In fact, the longer you leave pancake mix around, the more likely it is to develop new flavor profiles that you might enjoy.
That said, we do recommend making sure that you use pancake mix within six months of opening the package.
After that, you might want to consider freezing leftover batter for quick-and-easy pancakes later on.
Also, if you’ve been saving leftover pancake mix, it’s worth tossing it now instead of waiting until it goes bad.
But even though pancake mix doesn’t change much over time, it’s still important to read the expiration date on the packaging carefully.
This is especially true if you have children who like to help themselves to whatever they find in the kitchen.
Not only could this lead to unhealthy eating habits, but it could be dangerous as well.
How long can you use pancake mix after the expiration date?
The expiration date found on the packaging isn’t necessarily the end of the life span for your mix.
Pancake mixes vary in composition, so it’s hard to say exactly how many days they’ll stay good before going bad.
The truth is, there’s no exact number you can count on.
Some mixes are better than others, and some expire faster than others.
If you stick to the recipe, you should be fine, but if you deviate too much, you may find that your mix goes stale sooner than expected.
Here’s what to do when your mix starts to go bad:
Throw away old, moldy, or sticky-looking mix.
This includes the lid as well as the contents inside.
Wash down the sides of the mixing bowl with warm water to remove the dried batter.
Replace the lid on the mixing bowl, and put it back into the fridge to cool completely.
Remove the lid again, and pour the remaining batter into a new container.
Use the same amount of fresh mix you used for the first batch.
You might want to wait until the mix is fully cooled before pouring it into a new container, but this isn’t necessary.
If you need more information about what causes pancake mix to turn bad, read on.
What does expired pancake mix look like?
If you open up a box of pancake mix and pour some into a bowl, you might be surprised to see that there isn’t much left.
The mixture is often more liquid than solid, and you may find that it’s mostly water by the time you finish mixing it with your ingredients.
This means that most of the flavor and nutrients are already gone.
The pancake mix may still look good to you, but it probably won’t taste as delicious as when you first bought it.
When you start cooking with pancake mix, you’ll notice that the texture changes drastically.
For example, if you add eggs to your mix before cooking, the batter will become thick and sticky.
Pancake mix that’s old enough to be considered “spoiled” starts to get lumpy and clumpy.
After a while, you’ll notice that it’s just not working anymore.
In fact, it’s likely that your pancake mix will go rancid before it ever expires.
If you’ve been using pancake mix for a few years, you should definitely throw out what you have. It’s better to eat fresh ingredients than spoiled food.
How long does pancake mix last?
Pancake mixes usually contain baking powder, salt, and other ingredients that are designed to produce a fluffy and tender pancake.
As such, most mixes expire quickly, typically within six months.
But there are some exceptions.
Here’s what you need to know about the shelf life of pancake mix:
If the box says “use by” or “best if used by,” then the mix should be good for up to two years after opening the container.
If the box says “expiration” or “use by,” then the mix will be good for six months after opening the container.
If the box says “expires,” then the mix will be good for four weeks after opening the container.
If the box says “sell by,” then the mix should be good for up to three months after opening the container.
If the box says “store,” then the mix will probably be good for up to nine months after opening the container.
If the box says “perishable,” then the mix should not be kept longer than six months after opening the container.
Keep in mind that these are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.
Pancake mix may still taste fine after its expiration date, so you might want to try it out before throwing it away.
Can you freeze pancake mix?
No matter what type of pancake mix you use, you can freeze it for later use.
Just put the mix into a freezer-safe container, seal it up tight, and place it in the freezer overnight.
The next day, remove the mix from the freezer and let it thaw out completely before using it.
You should always follow the manufacturer’s directions when freezing food.
Some mixes may not work properly if frozen too quickly.
If you want to add some extra flavor to your pancakes, try adding liquid ingredients like milk or water to the mix before freezing.
This way, you won’t be limited to just plain old pancake mix.
If you’d rather avoid storing your mix in the fridge, you can buy a large bag of premade pancake mix instead.
These bags usually contain enough pancake mix for several batches of pancakes, so you can get through them pretty fast.
You can find premade pancake mix in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
Banana pancakes with Bisquick
- 2 cups Bisquick baking mix
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs beaten slightly
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Lightly smear the skillet with cooking oil and heat over medium-low heat.
- Mix milk, eggs, and the Bisquick baking mix with a fork or whisk until they blend. The pancake mixture will be ready for cooking once it starts to bubble.
- Separately, mash one of the bananas and stir into the mixture. Put aside the second one for slicing and use for garnish.
- Add pancake batter to the skillet, depending on the size you prefer for your pancakes. Use ¼ to ⅓ cup of batter for each pancake.
- Cook the pancakes for about 1-2 minutes until the edges are dry and bubbles start forming on the top of the pancakes.
- Turn the pancakes to the other side using a pancake turner and cook until the pancake is golden brown.
- Top the pancakes with the sliced banana, warm maple syrup or honey, and butter, and serve it hot. You may garnish with pecans or walnuts.