When stacked against protein pancakes, enhanced shakes, bars, and other supplements simply can’t compare. A chalky, artificial-tasting drink seems cheerless when there’s fluffy, syrup-soaked pancakes to enjoy. Since pancakes can be quickly prepared, a protein-enhanced batter can also be an easy morning option for anyone with enough time to heat up the stove. But with so many companies developing their own mix, it can be hard to know which brand delivers the best pancake taste. That’s why we tested seven brands of protein pancake mixes this week, all of which are available in stores are online. Here’s our rankings, from best to worst.
A note: some protein pancake brands give instructions for substitutions that can increase the total protein content in a serving. Usually these substitutions involve swapping water for milk, adding an egg, adding oil, or all three. Whenever the instructions suggested a substitution, we went for whichever method provided the highest protein content. We’re trying to bulk up, y’know?
Birch Benders Performance Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix ($6.33 per 16oz bag)
This mix packs 16 grams of protein into three or four pancakes. The smallest suggested portion, if eaten alone, would provide 32 grams overall. But despite that relatively high protein count, the batter doesn’t taste much different from conventional pancake mixes. Birch Benders’ pancakes were slightly sweet and tasted faintly of vanilla, even without syrup, and the batter crisped up nicely when fried in butter. We would definitely keep this one in our pantry.
Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes, Flapjack, & Waffle Baking Mix in Buttermilk ($4.48 per 20oz box)
Kodiak Cakes is probably one of the most recognizable brands in our lineup, and there’s a reason for the company’s relative popularity. The product is a good, basic choice for those looking to swap out a regular mix for a higher-protein version. Kodiak Cakes’ one downside is that the batter seems to take longer to cook than most pancake mixes. You’ll want to make a smaller pancake, or turn down your heat a bit more, or both. But beyond that slight technical issue, it’s probably one of the best and most affordable choice for getting a boost in with breakfast. Plus, the mix is customizable; on its own, it provides 14 grams of protein per serving, but if you use milk instead of water and add an egg, the per serving protein amount jumps to 21 grams.
Krusteaz Protein Pancake Mix in Buttermilk ($4.39 per 20oz box)
Krusteaz tastes pretty close, if not identical, to Kodiak Cakes. Close your eyes and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. The biggest change to this mix is that it’s slightly cheaper, and it cooks a little better. The protein amount is pretty comparable too; Krusteaz has 15 grams when mixed with water, and delivers 20 when you add milk and egg. I’d probably reach for Krusteaz over Kodiak, but they’re basically interchangeable.
Best Whole Grain Taste
Flapjacked Protein Pancake & Baking Mix in Buttermilk ($11.99 per 24oz bag)
If you’re really into a whole grain flavor, this mix is for you. Made principally from oat flour, it definitely provides more of an earthy taste than some of the other mixes. And each serving delivers about 20 grams of protein. But even if whole grains are your favorite part of a balanced breakfast, Flapjacked’s price is a little hard to swallow. You could buy three boxes of Kodiak Cakes for one bag of Flapjacked. It might be worth saving only for special occasions.
Not Our Favorites, But Still Pancakes
Phoros Protein Pancake Mix ($19.99 per 12oz bag)
At 30 grams of protein per serving, Phoros seems like a potentially good option. But it smells, and tastes, like artificial bananas. Why? We’re not quite sure. Nothing in the ingredients immediately leapt out as the banana culprit. The pancakes themselves cooked up fine, so if you like artificial bananas, this mix might be the one. But given the weird taste and the price for such a small amount, we probably won’t be grabbing this one again.
MET-Rx High Protein Pancake Mix in Original Buttermilk ($26.71 per 64oz container)
MET-Rx’s movie theater butter taste remains as big of a mystery as Phoros’s banana essence. It’s not a bad flavor option for a pancake mix, but when you’re not expecting it, it’s still a little off-putting. Still, the mix does contain 18 grams of protein per serving, which is respectable. The only other upside of this literal tub of pancake mix is that you’ll definitely be buying in bulk; four pounds is the default size. But since the cost breaks down to roughly $9 per 20oz, you could definitely do better by sticking with the cheaper options above.
Don’t Waste Your Time
P28 The Original High Protein Pancake Mix in Buttermilk Buckwheat ($13.99 per 16oz container)
From start to finish, this mix was a disaster. The batter is extremely thin, and the pancakes never puff up, so you’re left with slightly crispy discs and zero fluffiness. Supposedly P28 packs 28 grams of protein into two pancakes, but it’s hard to care when the results are so disappointing. And the taste is equal to whatever you cooked the batter in; it has no flavor on its own. It’s technically food, but that’s about the highest praise we can offer.