If you've ever prepared flapjacks from scratch, you know that measuring precise amounts of flour, baking powder, milk and eggs can take some time and lead to a Googling black hole without the right ingredients. That's why store-bought pancake mixes are convenient when you're in a pinch.
So how do you choose a healthy protein pancake mix to make the perfect stack?
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"If you're eating pancakes often or as a post-workout meal, you might want to boost the protein," Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN and author of Eating in Color, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
We took the guesswork out of shopping for you and rounded up the best protein pancake mixes so all you have to do is pre-heat the griddle and get flipping.
How We Chose
We spoke to a registered dietitian, evaluated nutrition info and tested some of these pancake mixes to round up the best ones. We chose the mixes below based on the following criteria:
- Protein content and source
- Added sugar
1. Kodiak Cakes Chocolate Chip Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix
Per three-pancake serving: 200 calories, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 390 milligrams sodium, 30 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar), 14 grams protein
Made with whole-grain flours and whey protein isolate, this hearty pancake mix has 14 grams of protein for a stack of three. It also has some chocolate chips folded into the mix so you'll get the sweetness you crave.
For those who can't tolerate whey, Largeman-Roth also likes Kodiak Cakes' plant-based mix, which has pea and brown rice protein, as well as wheat protein isolate. One serving of these flapjacks has 9 grams of sugar, so skip the maple syrup and enjoy your stack with some low-fat Greek yogurt or nut butter, which pairs nicely with the chocolate chips in the pancakes.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $5.29
2. Bob's Red Mill Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix
Per 1/3-cup serving: 170 calories, 1.5 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated fat), 340 milligrams sodium, 24 grams carbohydrates (5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 1 gram added sugar), 15 grams protein
At 15 grams of protein and 170 calories per serving, these hearty flapjacks will keep you full for hours thanks to the hunger-curbing whole-wheat pastry flour, whey protein concentrate, pea protein isolate and psyllium husk powder (which is a type of fiber).
Unlike other pancake mixes that call for eggs and milk, this mix requires only water. Add a dash of ground cinnamon or cardamom and a splash of vanilla extract to the batter.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.65 per pack of 4
3. Krusteaz Protein Buttermilk Pancake Mix
Per 1/2-cup serving: 220 calories, 2 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 600 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar) 15 grams protein
For protein-rich flapjacks with restaurant quality, consider this mix from Krusteaz. Fun fact: During the '60s, Krusteaz Kurtesy Kitchen was serving pancakes through the Northwest in its "traveling diner."
This pancake mix features whole-wheat flour, wheat protein isolate, whey protein isolate and buttermilk. Ready in just a few minutes, all you need is some water to add to the mix.
Because this mix has a higher amount of added sugar than what Largeman-Roth generally recommends, opt to sweeten your stack with a side of fresh berries instead of maple syrup. You can also make your own natural fruit compote or syrup to go over the pancakes by cooking down the fruit in a saucepan with water and lemon juice.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $17.77 per pack of 2
4. Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Protein + Collagen Pancake Mix
Per 3-pancake serving: 300 calories, 18 grams fat (7 grams saturated fat), 520 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates (6 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 11 grams protein
If you're a fan of Purely Elizabeth's tasty granola, the brand's pancake and waffle mix is equally delicious and good for you. This nutrient-dense pancake mix has superfoods chia seeds and flax seeds for heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber.
For grain-free heartiness, it combines almond, arrowroot, tapioca, coconut and tigernut flours with grass-fed collagen, so you get six grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein in just one serving. The best part is you just need one egg, water and oil to prep the batter.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $26.90 per pack of 2
5. Phoros Nutrition Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix
Per serving: 220 calories, 2.5 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated fat), 210 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 30 grams protein
You can use this high-protein mix to prepare more than just pancakes; it's great for baking muffins, doughnuts, cookies and much more if you want to keep the carb count low. Oat flour and whey protein isolate infuse this flapjack mix with protein and fiber while ground cinnamon adds some heartwarming flavor.
To prep the batter, combine a scoop of the mix with a half-scoop of liquid, like water, unsweetened almond milk or another alternative of your choice. Phoros also has high-protein buttermilk and cinnamon roll pancake mixes if you desire other flavors.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.99
6. Orgain Whole Wheat & Oat Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix
Per 1/3 cup dry mix: 170 calories, 1.5 gram fat (0 grams saturated fat), 390 milligrams sodium, 28 grams carbohydrates (1 grams fiber, 4 grams added sugar), 10 grams protein
Orgain mixes wheat and oat flours along with pea protein to create its delicious pancake mix. To add more protein to your breakfast stack, combine the dry mix with egg and milk to form a batter. Once the pancakes are ready to serve, beef up the fiber content with some fruits and chopped nuts as a topping.
Buy it: Orgain.com; Price: $20 for a 3-pack
7. Birch Benders Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix
Per 1/4 cup dry mix: 130 calories, 1.5 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 190 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 4 grams added sugar), 10 grams protein
Birch Benders adds whey protein to its just-add-water mix for extra staying power — each serving provides 10 grams of the muscle-building macro. Pour the batter into a skillet or into your waffle iron for a fluffy, filling breakfast.
This mix doesn't contain any fiber, unfortunately, so try adding fresh berries and chia seeds to your flapjacks to help you stay fuller for longer.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $5.29 per box
8. King Arthur Gluten-Free Protein Pancake Mix
Per 1/2 cup mix: 210 calories, 2.5 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 430 milligrams sodium, 33 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 0 grams added sugar), 14 grams protein
This gluten-free mix is made with whole-grain brown rice flour and gluten-free oat flour as well as pea protein and pea hull fiber — so it's A-OK for gluten-free folks. We also love this mix because it contains zero added sugar and an impressive 14 grams of protein per serving.
Bonus: Three pancakes also serve up 20 percent of your Daily Value (DV) of calcium and 40 percent DV of iron.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10.78
9. Trader Joe's Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix
Per 2-pancake serving: 140 calories, 1 gram fat (0 grams saturated fat), 260 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, less than 1 gram sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 10 grams protein
Add this mix to your list of favorite Trader Joe's products. TJ's protein pancake mix combines whole-wheat and whole-grain oat flours with whey protein concentrate and buttermilk powder for a protein-packed stack.
Just combine equal parts water and the mix, and pour some of the batter into a hot griddle or skillet. Feel free to fold your favorite berries into the batter and top your stack with some nut butter for more protein and fiber.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $17.38 per pack of 2
10. My Protein Protein Pancake Mix
Per 2 scoops: 190 calories, 2 gram fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 830 milligrams sodium, 20 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, less than 1 gram sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 22 grams protein
This one comes in a bag with a scooper, much like your regular protein powder. Choose from two flavors: buttermilk and unflavored (feel free to add vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and a drizzle of honey to flavor the plain mix).
You'll get an impressive 22 grams of protein per serving — which makes this mix a great post-workout treat. Top with some whipped cream and nuts for crunch.
The sodium content is on the higher end, so be mindful of your salt intake for the rest of the day.
Buy it: MyProtein.com; Price: $34.99 per bag
How to Shop for Protein Pancake Mixes
1. Look for Whole Grains
A good place to start is to find a pancake mix that has whole grains, which will provide more fiber and nutrients, Largeman-Roth says.
"Look at the ingredient list — does it start with a whole grain or oats?"
Whole-wheat, buckwheat, rolled oats, and quinoa flours are all good choices. Largeman-Roth recommends choosing a whole-grain pancake mix with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
2. Choose Pancake Mixes Low in Added Sugar
Chances are you're going to drizzle your stack with some maple syrup, so you'll want a mix with under 10 grams of sugar. Even better, Largeman-Roth suggests finding a pancake mix with no more than 4 grams of added sugar per serving.
This includes pancake mixes that use coconut sugar in place of refined white sugar. At the end of the day, natural sugar is still sugar, no matter how you add it.
And speaking of maple syrup, you want to go for the pure stuff — not ones that have corn syrup and other ingredients.
3. Aim for High Protein and Fiber
Looking for pancake mixes with 10 to 13 grams of the muscle-building macronutrient will help you reach your protein goals. "Ideally, you'll also include a protein source [in your breakfast], like Greek yogurt or eggs," Largeman-Roth points out.
Using whole-grain pancake mixes automatically increases the fiber content, compared to those that contain white flour. Largeman-Roth says going for pancake mixes with 4 grams of fiber per serving is a good base for the rest of your meal, which should also include some fruits.
"Choose mixes made with almond flour since the almonds contribute fiber and protein," she says. Largeman-Roth also suggests looking for whole-grain pancake mixes that include whey protein, wheat protein, brown rice protein or pea protein isolate for a boost.
4. Consider Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Pancake Mixes
You don't have to have a gluten allergy or sensitivity to appreciate gluten-free pancake mixes.
Many gluten-free pancake mixes usually include oat, almond and coconut flours, which contain protein and fiber, while also being low in carbs. Pancake mixes based on oat flour are particularly great because they make hearty pancakes, leaving you more satisfied for a longer period of time, Largeman-Roth says.
When it comes to portion sizes, aim for a serving that's two or three pancakes, which should be around 250 calories or fewer, Largeman-Roth says.