Taste

Here's Exactly What's In That Store-Bought Pancake Mix

What on earth is sodium aluminum phosphate, anyway?

If you’ve ever made pancakes from scratch, you know the ingredients are pretty benign. Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar make up the dry ingredients ― butter (or oil), milk (or buttermilk) and eggs get mixed in later; vanilla, too, if you’re feeling fancy. And that’s pretty much it.

But, when you buy that pancake mix that’s already been made, the list of ingredients can read a little differently. A look at the back of a box of Bisquick reads like this:

  • Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil
  • Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate)
  • Dextrose
  • Salt

At first glance that list is not as innocuous as you might have hoped. What is sodium aluminum phosphate and why is it in pancake mix, anyway? Not to mention thiamin mononitrate and riboflavin.

While the ingredients in the enriched flour bleached sound scary, they really serve just to give the flour some nutrition back that was lost during processing. Niacin is just vitamin B3. Thiamin mononitrate is the synthetic version of vitamin B1. Riboflavin is vitamin B2. And folic acid is vitamin B9. Nothing scary, but it should be noted that if you just use whole wheat flour, nothing has to be added back in.

The ingredients listed under leavening are equally harmless. Sodium aluminum phosphate is a chemical additive that helps baking powder do its job (it’s also added to baking powder). And monocalcium phosphate is an acidic chemical additive that helps baking powder react (also found in baking powder).

Dextrose is just a form of glucose, which is a simple sugar and carbohydrate.

The one ingredient that is found in the pancake mix that most of us don’t want served on our morning plates is the partially hydrogenated oil. It’s basically the manufactured form of trans fat, and we all know how bad trans fat is for us. If you don’t, you should know that it raises your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol, and is generally bad news for your heart.

So make your own pancakes, skip the trans fat in lieu of butter and enjoy a better tasting breakfast. Here are some from-scratch recipes you should try:

1
Classic Buttermilk Pancakes
Damn Delicious
Get the Classic Buttermilk Pancakes recipe from Damn Delicious
2
Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes
Two Peas and their Pod
Get the Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes recipe from Two Peas and their Pod
3
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes (Vegan and Gluten Free)
Minimalist Baker
Get the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes recipe from Minimalist Baker
4
Blueberry Oatmeal Yogurt Pancakes
Damn Delicious
Get the Blueberry Oatmeal Yogurt Pancakes recipe from Damn Delicious
5
Roasted Acorn Squash Pancakes
Bev Cooks
6
Cappuccino Pancakes With Mocha Syrup
Pastry Affair
7
Sourdough Pancakes
Completely Delicious
Get the Sourdough Pancakes recipe from Completely Delicious
8
Nutella Pancakes
Bel'allimento
Get the Nutella Pancakes recipe from Bel'allimento
9
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Pancakes With Roasted Blueberry Honey Syrup
Half Baked Harvest
10
Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes (Vegan And Gluten Free)
Minimalist Baker
Get the Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes recipe from Minimalist Baker
11
Gingerbread Pancakes
The View From The Great Island
Get the Gingerbread Pancakes recipe from The View From The Great Island
12
Buttermilk Sweet Potato Pancakes With Coconut Whipped Cream
How Sweet It Is
13
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (Vegan)
Minimalist Baker
Get the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes recipe from Minimalist Baker
14
Chocolate Lovers Pumpkin Fudge Brownie Pancakes
Half Baked Harvest
15
Whole Wheat Zucchini Pancakes
Two Peas and their Pod
Get the Whole Wheat Zucchini Pancakes recipe from Two Peas and their Pod
16
Ombre Ricotta Pancakes
A Beautiful Mess
Get the Ombre Ricotta Pancakes recipe from A Beautiful Mess
17
Whole Wheat-Flax Buttermilk Pancakes
Portuguese Girl Cooks
Get the Whole Wheat-Flax Buttermilk Pancakes recipe from Portuguese Girl Cooks
18
Chocolate Chip Lemon Baklava Pancakes With Salted Vanilla Honey Syrup
Half Baked Harvest
19
S'mores Pancakes
Pastry Affair
Get the S'mores Pancakes recipe from Pastry Affair
20
Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Two Peas and their Pod
Get the Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pancakes recipe from Two Peas and their Pod
21
Rum And Cranberry Pancakes With Butter Rum Syrup
Half Baked Harvest
22
Banana Nut Pancakes
A Beautiful Mess
Get the Banana Nut Pancakes recipe from A Beautiful Mess
23
Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes
How Sweet It Is
Get the Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes recipe from How Sweet It Is
24
Toffee Nut Pancakes
A Spicy Perspective
Get the Toffee Nut Pancakes recipe from A Spicy Perspective
25
Apple Pie Pancakes
Averie Cooks
Get the Apple Pie Pancakes recipe from Averie Cooks
26
Bourbon-Maple Syrup On Egg Nog Pancakes
Jerry James Stone
Get the Bourbon-Maple Syrup on Egg Nog Pancakes recipe from Jerry James Stone via Food52
27
Chocolate Pancakes
Foodie Crush
Get the Chocolate Pancakes recipe from Foodie Crush
28
Rice Krispie Treat Pancakes With Browned Butter Syrup
Half Baked Harvest
29
Cake Batter Pancakes
How Sweet It Is
Get the Cake Batter Pancakes recipe from How Sweet It Is
30
Apple Cider Pancakes With Cinnamon Syrup
Buns In My Oven