Not sure how long your pancake mix will last or whether a box you have on hand is still good for consumption? We are here to help. This post discusses the shelf life of pancake mix including storage techniques and tips to tell when the product isn’t safe to eat. Check it out!
Does Pancake Mix Go bad?
Yes, pancake mix does not retain its quality forever. After some time, the mix goes bad and the resulting pancakes are usually not as nice and fluffy as those from a pack that is not expired.
The “going bad”, however, doesn’t mean that the powder becomes unsafe to eat. It only explains the product’s deterioration in quality. You can still use the mix a few days beyond the expiration date, (often marked as best-by date) and the resulting pancakes will still be okay.
But keep in mind that the longer the product stays in storage past the printed date, the more the leavening agents in it degrade and the poorer its quality gets. Sure, the mix won’t spoil after a week or month past this date, but if you store it for too long, say, a year, it may not work as expected.
How Long Does Pancake Mix Last?
There is really no way to tell how long a box of pancake mix will retain its quality because different manufacturers will usually use different ingredients in their products, which may affect the powder’s shelf life.
However, most packets will come with a lifespan of between six months and one year. It helps to use the mix within the recommended period because that’s when it is at its best quality.
Beyond this period, you can’t know for sure how long the product will stay good for. Depending on the brand, however, you may still be able to enjoy great pancakes for an extra two to six months.
If the mix stays in storage longer than that, one of its most important ingredients, the baking powder or baking soda, will go flat and your mix will not be able to produce fluffy pancakes.
But that doesn’t mean you should toss out the powder. Just add buttermilk or baking soda to the batter when you make your pancakes and you will be able to bring the mix back to life.
Now, if your pancake mix contains dairy products, adding a leavening agent will probably not save it because it is likely that the dairy has already gone bad. In that case, you may just have to get rid of the mix.
Here is a summary of how long pancake mix will stay good for.
|Before Best-by Date||Past Best-by Date|
|Unopened/opened||6 to 12 months||2 to 6 months|
5 Tips to Tell if Pancake Mix Has Gone Bad
Unless it is not stored correctly, pancake mix doesn’t go bad to an extent of becoming unusable or unsafe to eat. But if you notice the following signs, you have probably had your mix for way too long and, in some cases, you may need a new box.
1. Wet Clumps
One of the major reasons this might happen is lack of proper storage. If pancake mix is not sealed tightly, it may absorb moisture from the air and form clumps. You may still be able to use the mix if you notice the lumps early. But if it continues to sit in storage, the lumps will form mold and the mix will become unusable.
If your pancake mix has blue-green spots, then there is no doubt that mold has found its way in and you will be better off not using the product. As mentioned, mold grows on pancake mix if the product is stored in a moist area and is not sealed properly. Throw that mixture away.
3. Holes on the Box
Don’t buy pancake mix if the package is dented or has holes in it. You want to make sure that whatever you are taking home is safe to eat, and holes in the packet could be a sign that the product is contaminated.
4. Insects Coming Out of the Package
If you store an open box of pancake mix unsealed, you make it easy not just for mold spores to settle on the powder but also for bugs to breed in.
Weevils, for example, will feed and deposit eggs inside the mix. If you have found your pancake mix crawling with weevils or if the packet has holes that hint about an insect activity, you should consider getting a new packet.
5. Prolonged Storage
Your pancake mix will still produce okay pancakes a few months beyond the best-by date. But if the mix has been sitting in storage for more than a year past this date or you can’t even remember when you bought it, chances are it is already spoiled.
Check the label to see if the mix contains any products that go bad quickly. If the only ingredient that is likely to spoil is the leavening agent, you may still be able to revive the mix by adding a few spoons of baking powder. But if you are not sure about the lifespan of the products listed on the package, it’s best to not use the mixture.
3 Tips to Store Pancake Mix
Proper storage ensures the leavening agents in your pancake mix retain their potency longer and the mix functions as desired. Because this is a dry ingredient, you should store it the same way you store flour, cake mix, baking powder, and other dry products. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Choose a Cool, Dry Spot
Heat and moisture are some of the greatest enemies of pancake mix. If you want your beloved powder to serve you the longest, put it away from the stove, direct sunlight, or other heat sources, and make sure to tightly seal the package after you have opened it so that no moisture gets inside.
A kitchen cabinet would be a great spot to store pancake mix, but we recommend storing it in the pantry where you keep the rest of your dry ingredients.
2. Keep it Sealed
We know we have said this a million times now, but we can’t emphasize just how important sealing the mix after use is. It is the only way to keep moisture at bay and prevent mold and bugs from infesting the mixture. It also keeps the powder from absorbing odors and flavors from other foodstuffs stored next to it.
If the package the mixture comes in cannot be resealed, consider using an airtight container or Ziplock bag. Simply pour the mix into the container, seal it tight, and put it in storage.
3. Refrigerate Homemade Pancake Mix
Because homemade pancake mix will likely contain ingredients that spoil easily, it is best to store it in the refrigerator or even freeze it. The cool temperatures will help preserve not just the leavening agent but also other ingredients in it, enabling the mix to stay fresh longer.
For more tips on how to store pancake mix, check out this video:
The Risk of Consuming Expired Pancake Mix
Assuming the pancake mix looks okay – meaning, the smell or taste is not off, there is no mold, and no insects are crawling in and out of the package – you can still use it past its expiration date without worrying about getting sick.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the older the powder gets, the more likely that the leavening ingredient in it won’t function as it should. And as we mentioned earlier, you can counteract that by adding baking powder, baking soda, or any other leavening agent to the mix.
If the mixture has mold or insect infestation, however, it is best to get rid of it. Mold contains mycotoxins that can harm your digestive system, and pancakes with bugs in them don’t usually look or taste so good.
Can You Freeze Pancake Mix?
Yes, you can, but because pancake mix is a dry product, you really don’t need to. A store-bought packet can last up to a year in the pantry (and sometimes even longer than that) and not go bad.
The only time you may need to freeze pancake mix is if it contains ingredients that spoil quickly. For example, if you made your mix at home and added dairy products, that mix will likely not last too long and might require freezing to stay fresh.
To freeze the mixture, simply put it into an airtight container and close the lid tightly. If you have freezer bags, even better; these take lesser space and seal pretty well. Your mixture can stay frozen for up to two years! Just don’t forget to date your storage device before placing it in the freezer.
Pancake mix has a relatively long shelf life. You will have plenty of time to get it before it goes stale. For the most part, ingesting expired pancake mix will not make you ill, but if you see mold or if the mix looks, smells, or tastes different, it would be better not to ingest it.
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- Does Pancake Mix Go Bad? Can You Use It After It’s Expired?