Taste Test: The Best Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Taste Test: The BEST Gluten Free Pancake Mix – We tested 10 of the most popular gluten free pancake mixes to find the best ones! Scroll down to see which mixes were the best!
Pancake mix is one of those things that’s pretty easy to take care of yourself at home, but for travel, gluten free company, camping, or the ease of having something on hand, sometimes a pancake mix just can’t be beat.
It was pretty surprising to me when we went gluten free 5 years ago that gluten free pancake mixes are an entirely different ball game. Without gluten and wheat flour proteins, you’re usually relying on a blend of flours. The flour blends for gluten free pancake mix have to be a good blend of starchy and substantial to get the right texture. Some fall flat when cooking, some are dry and crumbly, others are REALLY thick and struggle to cook through.
I got tired of wasting money on bad mixes, so we had a taste test and today you get the results! I’m breaking down 10 popular brands of gluten free pancake mix and scoring them so you never have to buy a bad gluten free pancake mix again.
BASIC GROUND RULES
- #NOTsponsored. I paid for every one of these mixes out of pocket. I LOVE many of the brands and have even worked with some of them in other capacities in the past, but I have not been paid by anyone for my post or sent any free products to try.
- They’re all gluten free & dairy free. There are a few other brands out there we didn’t try that include a dairy component, like powdered milk or buttermilk powder. Since we’re a gluten and dairy free family, all 10 gluten free pancake mixes below also don’t contain any dairy ingredients.
- Cast iron or bust. For consistency, I cooked all of these pancakes in my cast iron skillet. Cast iron is great for pancakes, and gives you the best chance of that golden bottom and fluffy center. If you’re cooking them in a nonstick pan or on a griddle, the color may vary slightly.
HOW I RATED THEM:
Since I wanted to be thorough, here’s the criteria I’m looking at:
- Price & Location – I’ll tell you a range of what it costs (it varies store to store), and where you might find it.
- Added Ingredients – I’ll tell you what else you need to add to make them, whether that’s just water or a more elaborate combination (oil/butter, milk, eggs, etc.)
- Taste – Overall taste score. Does it taste good?
- Texture – I’ll be looking for a “fluff factor” (how thick or thin they cook), as well as any grittiness or crumbliness.
- Color – I’ll let you know if they brown (some gluten free items don’t brown much when they cook, which can be disconcerting if you’re used to golden brown pancakes.)
- Waffle Notes – Does it also work for waffles? I’ll let you know!
1. Enjoy Life Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix with Ancient Grains
Enjoy Life is one of my favorite brands for allergy free chocolate, so I was excited to try this option from their line. Their gluten free pancake mix includes a good blend of whole grains like buckwheat, teff, millet, brown rice & sprouted brown rice, along with a few starches to lighten things up. It also boasts a probiotic blend, which is unique.
I didn’t feel like these worked very well in the waffle iron and both the pancakes and waffles crumbled quite a bit. There wasn’t a lot of stretch in them.
OVERALL SCORE: 5/10
- Price: $5.09-9.99
- Location: Kroger, Amazon, Thrive Market
- Added Ingredients Needed: oil + water
- Taste: Middle of the road. Not amazing, not terrible.
- Texture & Fluff Factor: Moderately fluffy. The exteriors were semi-golden, but both pancakes and waffles were crumbly and fell apart.
- Color: Semi-golden when cooked. A bit on the light end, but they definitely did color when cooked.
- Waffle Notes: Yes you can make waffles with this mix. The ingredients are the same & cooking directions are included. That said, the waffles were a bit crumbly and stuck to the waffle iron (another mix I tested at the same time didn’t stick, so it wasn’t the iron)
- Certifications: Certified gluten free, certified vegan, non-GMO, Kosher Pareve, Allergy Friendly,
- Allergy Notes: Made in dedicated nut & gluten free facility
2. Namaste Gluten Free Waffle & Pancake Mix
This mix is allergen free (free from the top 8 allergens + 6 other common ones). It’s a bit harder to find, but the company has a good reputation. I like that this mix is naturally sweetened (it uses brown rice syrup).
I really enjoyed this mix. It’s larger than most–it comes with enough for 2 generous batches instead of one–and we liked the flavor and texture.
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10
- Price: $5.49+
- Location: Amazon, Thrive Market, Sprouts, Natural Grocer
- Added Ingredients Needed: eggs, oil, water or milk
- Taste: Neutral (not overly sweet, no strong flavors), and had some faint biscuit-y flavor. I liked them on their own and could see them being delicious with mix-ins.
- Texture & Fluff Factor: Good amount of fluff, nice golden exterior after cooking, and the insides stayed light and tender, while still holding their shape.
- Color: Golden when cooked.
- Waffle Notes: You CAN make waffles with this mix. The directions are slightly different, but are clearly listed on the box. The waffles had a texture more like traditional Belgian waffles–a bit more sturdy on the exterior and still fluffy on the inside. They could hold up to strawberries and whipped cream or plenty of syrup.
- Certifications: Certified Gluten Free, Nut Free, Non-GMO, Kosher
- Allergy Notes: Allergen Free (free from the top 8 allergens + 6 other common ones) & produced in an allergen free facility.
3. Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Bisquick is known for being quick, easy, and inexpensive, but I’d never tried their gluten free mixes. On the plus side, Bisquick is fairly easy to find and it’s budget friendly. As for taste and texture, we found the flavor to be pretty bland, and the mixture produced VERY thick pancakes (it was difficult to get the middles cooked through without burning the outsides) and dense waffles. I thinned out the mix a bit with more milk to get thinner pancakes, and while they cooked better, they still tasted bland. If you go with this mix, I suggest adding some vanilla or cinnamon and maybe an add-in like blueberries, chocolate chips, diced bananas, etc.
OVERALL SCORE: 4/10
- Price: $2.99-4.99
- Location: Target, Kroger, Safeway, Amazon, Wal-Mart
- Added Ingredients Needed: Milk, oil, egg
- Taste: Pretty bland. Could be improved with vanilla, cinnamon, or mix-ins
- Texture & Fluff Factor: VERY thick pancakes that were fairly dense. I thinned out the mix a bit with more milk which helped, but I still didn’t feel like they nailed the texture.
- Color: The waffles didn’t brown at all, even after several rounds in the waffle iron. The pancakes fared better, but with the thick ones (made as directed), the outsides often browned well before the centers were done, even with reduced heat.
- Waffle Notes: It can be made into waffles. The directions and ingredient amounts needed are clearly listed. We found the waffles pretty bland, and fairly dense.
- Certifications: Gluten free. Note: this mix is partially produced with genetic engineering.
4. Simple Mills Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
Simple Mills is known for keeping their ingredients lists simple, nutritious, and easy to understand. (This gluten free pancake mix has only 7 ingredients!) Their baking mixes, frosting, and crackers (which are largely paleo/grain free) tend to run on the pricier side because of the quality ingredients used, but they tend to deliver on taste. This was my first time trying their gluten free pancake & waffle mix.
It was FANTASTIC in flavor, browned beautifully and worked very well for pancakes and waffles. The only “ding” I’d give this mix is price. It’s the most expensive mix sampled, and requires up to 5 eggs if you’re making the full box (which can add up fast if you buy high-quality eggs). But for flavor and texture, it gets nice, high marks!
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10
- Price: $5.99-7.99
- Location: Target, Sprouts, Thrive Market, Amazon, Kroger
- Added Ingredients Needed: Eggs, milk or water, oil
- Taste: Great! No strong flavors of flour or eggs. It’s a nice neutral flavor that can stand on its own. It would also be lovely with some cinnamon, blueberries, or chopped pecans.
- Texture & Fluff Factor: The pancakes are on the thin side, but have a nice browned, crisp exterior with a light interior. The waffles had GREAT texture. Crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside.
- Color: Beautiful golden brown when cooked.
- Waffle Score: Yes, you can make waffles with this mix! The ingredients needed are the same, and cooking instructions are clearly listed.
- Certifications: Gluten free, gum free, dairy free, soy free, paleo friendly, kosher.
- Allergy Notes: Does contain almonds + coconut
5. Cup4Cup Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
Cup4Cup has pretty impressive credentials. The mixes are developed by Chef Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry–on my bucket list!) and come with a lot of great reviews. The blend is fairly starchy, which keeps these light and fluffy, but doesn’t deliver much on the fiber/protein front. We especially enjoyed them as waffles!
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10 (For Waffles. Pancakes 7/10)
- Price: $6.77-9.99
- Location: Amazon, Cup4Cup site
- Added Ingredients Needed: eggs, milk, butter
- Taste: These were great as waffles, where I expect some egg-iness, but I found the egg taste a *little* bit forward in the waffles (not in a deal-breaker way). That said, the package also had suggestions for add-ins (blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.) that could really kick these up!
- Texture & Fluff Factor: They were definitely light and fluffy. I LOVED that the waffles had crisp exteriors and that light stretchy interior I look for in a waffle. The pancakes were on the fluffy side, and were also light.
- Color: The waffles especially, took on a nice golden hue on the exterior while staying light on the inside. The pancakes browned a little less, but still got a bit golden.
- Waffle Score: These work even better as waffles, in my opinion. No changes to the preparation are necessary for waffles and instructions are clearly given.
- Certifications: gluten free, kosher, non-GMO
- Allergy Notes: Manufactured in a gluten free certified facility that is also free of tree nuts, peanuts, and soy. No dairy ingredients in the mix.
6. Pamela’s Gluten Free + Non-Dairy Pancake & Waffle Mix
One thing that makes this gluten free pancake mix great is that it’s based on whole grains. Pamela’s uses a base of sorghum and brown rice flour, along with some starches to lighten it up. The end result is a REALLY nice texture–it’s fluffy and light, has a really nice taste and the texture is a lot like gluten pancakes. It’s also vegan-friendly, which is nice!
(Pamela’s also makes a gluten free buttermilk pancake mix, but we didn’t try it for dairy reasons.)
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10
- Price: $5.29-5.99+
- Location: Thrive Market, Amazon, Sprouts, Natural Grocers
- Added Ingredients Needed: Egg or egg replacer, Water or Milk, Oil
- Taste: Really nice and well-rounded. It had a subtle vanilla taste, which was really nice. Not too sweet, and had a nice neutral flavor.
- Texture & Fluff Factor: Crispy browned exterior and light fluffy middles. They were medium in thickness (you could easily thin them out with more milk or thicken them up with more mix). They were great.
- Color: The pancakes browned nicely! The waffles got moderately browned. Cooking longer to get more color resulted in overcooked waffles, but I think if I turned up the heat on my iron, it would probably work better.
- Waffle Score: Waffle instructions are clearly give on the package. No change to the batter is needed. They were nice and fluffy. The exterior didn’t get quite as crisp as the pancakes.
- Certifications: Certified gluten free, kosher, Non-GMO
- Allergy Notes: Manufactured in a gluten free certified facility. Produced on equipment that processes tree nuts, coconut, eggs, soy, and milk.
7. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Bob’s Red Mill is one of my favorite gluten free brands. (Their 1:1 baking mix is my go-to gluten free flour.) They’ve dedicated themselves to building quality and trust over the years that really shows in their transparency and products.
While I love them forever(!!!) for their fantastic GF flours, oats, cornmeal, and other baking products, their pancake mix didn’t quite win me over. While their mix won points for affordability and availability, overall, the flavor was lacking and they just didn’t brown.
OVERALL SCORE: 4/10
- Price: $3.99-5.99
- Location: Target, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Amazon
- Added Ingredients Needed: Milk, eggs, butter or oil
- Taste: Pretty strongly tasted of raw flour and eggs, even when cooked longer.
- Texture & Fluff Factor: Very fluffy, thick pancakes, but no crisp exterior since they didn’t brown. The waffles were pretty dense and thick.
- Color: No browning. To brown them, I had to burn them. This meant there wasn’t any caramelization on the outside or textural contrast between a crisp exterior and fluffy interior.
- Waffle Score: No waffle instructions are given on the package. We tried them using the pancake instructions.
- Certifications: Certified gluten free, kosher
- Allergy Notes: Made in a dedicated gluten free facility & ELISA tested in a quality control laboratory.
8. Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
Arrowhead Mills carries some of my favorite gluten free flours and products (we LOVE their cornmeal & grits), but this pancake mix really missed the mark. While I loved the affordability and their impressive certification list (organic! plenty of calcium!), the flavor, texture, and color just really didn’t deliver.
*In reading other online reviews, several reviews found success using this mix for things other than pancakes, like scones, battering seafood/veggies for frying, muffins, etc.
OVERALL SCORE: 1/10
- Price: $3.99-5.11
- Location: Amazon, Sprouts, Natural Grocers
- Added Ingredients Needed: Milk, egg, oil
- Taste: They tasted like raw flour even when given LOTS of extra time to cook. I tried adding vanilla and cinnamon to the mix, but even then, it tasted so strongly of flour and nothing else we didn’t finish eating them.
- Texture & Fluff Factor: They were pretty thick, but more spongy than fluffy
- Color: They didn’t really ever brown. I left one on twice as long as I normally would and it only JUST started to turn golden (and was completely overdone in the center).
- Waffle Score: Waffle directions are clearly given on the package. The waffles were moderately better than the pancakes, but the flavor was still pretty bad. They didn’t brown at all either.
- Certifications: Certified gluten free, USDA organic, Non-GMO, Kosher, Good Source of Calcium
- Allergy Notes:
9. Kodiak Cakes Gluten Free Pancake Mix
I’ve heard SO many good things about Kodiak Cakes, but most of their stuff isn’t gluten free. When I heard about their gluten free pancake mix, I was REALLY excited to give it a try. I liked how easy it was to make (just add milk!) and liked that they use a simple ingredient list that includes whole grain oat flour as the main ingredient. We really liked the pancakes (see my notes), and thought the waffles were okay.
The only point they lose is for availability–I live by LOTS of major stores (including health stores) and could only find their gluten free mix online. Find it at Amazon or the Kodiak Cakes website.
(PS – if you ever see their mixed berry syrup for sale it is worth a buy! We got some at Costco and loved it!)
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10
- Price: 5.50+
- Location: kodiakcakes.com, Amazon
- Added Ingredients: milk
- Taste: We liked the flavor, which was a bit oat-y, but also had a hint of sweetness. Really nice on its own, but also GREAT with a pinch of cinnamon, or some add-ins (fruit, nuts, chocolate chips)
- Texture & Fluff Factor: Light and fluffy. These pancakes are made more “flapjack” style, so they’re thin and cook quickly. If you like thicker pancakes, you can add less milk than directed (or more powdered mix than directed). After trying them as directed, we tried slightly thicker ones adding 1 1/2c mix per 1 c milk and liked that ratio best.
- Color: Since they’re made with a mix of oat flour and starch they browned beautifully and cooked up darker than a starch-only mix. The waffles browned better than many of the other GF mixes we tried.
- Waffle Score: Yes, you can make waffles with it. You do need to add a bit of oil in addition to the milk. Directions are clearly labeled on the package.
- Certifications: Certified gluten free, Kosher, Non-GMO
- Allergy Notes: This mix contains dried eggs and is packaged on shared equipment with milk, egg, soy, peanut & tree nuts.
10. King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Pancake Mix
This is our overall winner! King Arthur Flour does an AMAZING job with their line of gluten free products. (Their measure for measure flour, for instance, is a great all purpose baking blend for cookies, quick breads, homemade waffles & pancakes, etc.). I was really excited to try this one. It did not disappoint!
The mix has a buttermilk pancake flavor with some sweetness and a faint vanilla aroma. I love them as pancakes and waffles. They cook well, store well, and taste delicious!
OVERALL SCORE: 10/10
- Price: $3.99-5.99
- Location: Amazon, Thrive Market, Target
- Added Ingredients Needed: Eggs, butter or oil, milk
- Taste: Delicious! Slightly sweet and buttery. They’re the most like traditional pancakes and waffles of all the mixes we tried
- Texture & Fluff Factor: Plenty of fluff and stretch. They get golden and delicious on the exterior while staying fluffy and light on the inside.
- Color: Gorgeous and golden!
- Waffle Notes: Yes! This makes fantastic waffles. No changes to the batter are needed + you simply cook according to your waffle maker directions.
- Certifications: Certified gluten free, Non-GMO, Kosher, Fortified with iron, calcium & vitamin B
OUR FAVORITES OVERALL:
After all that taste testing, our top choices are:
- King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix – Sweet, buttery flavor (even without butter!), fluffy texture and great with all kinds of mix-ins!
- Kodiak Cakes Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix – A close second! GREAT for camping or travel, since you only need to add milk. Also made from mostly whole grains (GF oats).
- Simple Mills Pancake & Waffle Mix – GREAT option if you’re grain free as well.
- Cup4Cup makes great waffles. I really enjoyed them!
Thanks for this list! One our family loves Birch Benders Paleo “just-add-water” pancake mix. It is grain free, gluten free and dairy free. We love them best with blueberries or raspberries. Great for camping!!! I’m curious to hear your opinion!
Thanks for the suggestion Audrey! I’ll have to try that one. 🙂
I’ve just made a batch of the Birch Benders Paleo waffles. The taste : awwww … not that good. For some reason, it has the sweetness taste that makes the waffles taste artificial. I followed the instruction and everything.
I have not loved that mix… so sorry you didn’t either!
Where can I buy king Arthur pancake mix in Irelandj
That’s a great question! I’d reach out to them directly on their contact page to see if they can help.
We used to LOVE Birch Benders when it was made with hazelnut flour. They fairly recently changed their blend to almond flour resulting in a gummy, dense texture with much less flavor. Was it quick and easy, absolutely – just add water. But with the change to almond flour, we’re on the prowl for another really good “complete” mix. Don’t like to pay a premium price for GF and then have to plus up with eggs, milk, et al. And take it from me – I’m a pancake Queen: How about Pina Colada Pancakes with Rum Maple Syrup, Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Blueberry Oatmeal. The sky is the limit with a good, complete mix.
Oh my gosh, I had forgotten this review exists! You are a LIFESAVER!