Who doesn’t love pancakes? They’re quick, simple and versatile, and can be eaten sweet or savory, hot or cold.
Whether you make your pancakes from scratch or using a store-bought mix, it’s always useful to have these ingredients on hand to knock up a quick breakfast or sweet treat.
Pancake mix is not completely resistant to spoilage but it can keep for a long time when stored in its shop-bought powder form.
The lack of moisture in the mix helps prolong shelf life, however, it also depends on how well you store the mix to prevent exposure from air spoiling it.
The pancake mix must be kept sealed at all times to minimize air exposure and reduce the risk of mold growth, which can occur easily if you keep the mix in a humid environment.
How do I know if the mix has gone bad?
It’s always a good idea to check the texture, color, or flavor of the mix, as these are the best indications of whether the mix has gone off or not.
If the pancake mix has developed an “off” odor that smells moldy or musty, the product is no longer safe to eat.
Flecks of blue-green spots are also a sure indication of mold growth, in which case, you need to toss the mix in the trash and opt for a fresh box of mix or whip up your own batter.
How to store pancake mix
It’s best to store sealed, unopened boxes of pancake mix in the pantry, at room temperature. Since the powdered product is kept sealed in its original packaging, it is also safe to keep the product on the kitchen counter or in the cabinet.
The main thing is to keep the mix in a cool, dry place away from sources of moisture and direct sunlight.
For opened boxes of pancake mix, it's best to transfer the product to an airtight container before storing it in the pantry to prevent air exposure. If you made the pancake batter from scratch, you should keep it refrigerated.
To do this, simply pour the product into an airtight container or a mixing bowl and ensure it’s well sealed. Then write the storage date on the lid and transfer it to the fridge.
If you used a mixing bowl to mix your batter, you can simply cover it with cling wrap before storing in the fridge.
If you keep your pancake mix in the pantry, and it’s in sealed, unopened packaging, the product will keep for around 12 months, or maybe even longer if the storage conditions are optimal.
Opened boxes of pancake mix will not keep as long and will last for 6 months or less in an airtight container. For homemade pancake batter (liquid), this will only keep for a week or less and needs to be kept refrigerated.
Alternatively, dry homemade pancake mix will have a slightly longer shelf life than the batter, maybe lasting 2 weeks or more when kept in a sealed container.
Can you freeze pancake batter?
There’s no real need to freeze pancake mix, as provided the product is kept in a cool, dry place, it should last for a year or more in its original packaging.
On the other hand, for homemade pancake batter, which won’t last as long, you can freeze it to prolong the shelf life. However, you should expect some clumping or separation between the ingredients once the product has been thawed before cooking.
This can be partially solved by giving the defrosted batter a good mix to blend all the ingredients prior to cooking. You can also freeze your cooked pancakes. Once they’ve cooled, simply seal them in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze them for up to 6 months.
Thawing your pancakes
When you’re ready to cook some pancakes, simply remove them from the freezer and thaw the freezer bag of pancakes in warm water or alternatively, overnight in the refrigerator.
You can easily snip off a corner of the bag to pipe the pancakes directly onto the hot griddle.
Is expired pancake mix dangerous?
There have been several instances whereby people have suffered serious and even fatal allergic reactions to expired pancake mixes.
One 19-year-old made pancakes from an opened box of pancake mix that was two years old and subsequently went into anaphylaxis—a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction where you struggle to breathe—and eventually died.
The mix was later tested and found to contain high levels of different types of mold, one of them being Penicillin which the man had a severe allergy to.
While we’re not able to issue any medical advice, it was the man’s reaction, rather than the expired mix itself, which resulted in his fatality.
That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t take any chances, particularly with pancake mix that has been opened and exposed to air for prolonged periods.
Don’t use your unopened mix after around a year, and don’t use an opened mix after around six months, and of course, always ensure you place it in a sealed, airtight container and that it’s kept in a cool, dark place.
Pancake mix can go bad, but it also takes a pretty long time for it to do so. If you’ve got an unopened box of pancake mix, you can store this for around a year before using, while an opened box that’s been stored in an airtight container may last up to 6 months.
Homemade pancake batter is a bit of a different matter, as it’s liquid and therefore needs to be kept refrigerated. It will also have a far shorter lifespan - around 2 weeks.
That said, you can easily freeze your pancake batter or cooked pancakes, and this is an easy way to prolong their shelf life and also be able to enjoy pancakes at your convenience.
The main thing is to always pay attention to the appearance, smell, and taste of the pancake mix, and, if you have doubts, it’s probably best to go with your gut and throw it out.