I tried the Kodiak pancake mix that fitness influencers love, and I was full for hours

·5 min read
A box of Kodiak Cake mix on the left and a stack of Kodiak pancakes on the right
Kodiak Cakes. Frank Olito/Insider
  • Nutritionists and fitness influencers swear by Kodiak Cakes, so I decided to try them out.

  • The $6 mix, which contains whole grains and a protein blend, has 14 grams of protein per serving.

  • Kodiak doesn't taste like a regular pancake, but it's still tasty, and I was full for hours.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

From nutritionists to fitness influencers, everyone seems to love Kodiak Cakes these days.

A line of Kodiak Cake boxes
Kodiak Cakes. KK Stock/Shutterstock

As I scroll through social media, I often see nutritionists and fitness influencers talking about the pancake brand Kodiak Cakes, claiming they're a healthier, protein-packed alternative to a traditional pancake breakfast.

"You can use their mix to make waffles and pancakes because they are higher in protein, higher in fiber, so they leave you satisfied for a lot longer than something like the Eggo's brand," Kylie Sakaida, a registered dietitian, told me.

Andy Bellatti, another registered dietitian, said the brand is a better option than typical mixes — in some ways.

"Kodiak Cakes are made with whole-grain flours, so they are healthier than mixes made with refined flours," he said.

However, there are 8 or 9 grams of added sugar per serving in some of the flavors — that's typically higher than other mixes. So just because Kodiak Cakes are higher in protein, it doesn't necessarily mean they're a better option, Bellatti said.

One morning, I decided to find out if Kodiak was worth the hype.

First, I headed to Stop & Shop to pick up a box of Kodiak.

Kodiak pancakes on the shelves in a grocery store surrounded by other pancake mixes
Kodiak pancakes on the shelves. Frank Olito/Insider

I was worried my grocery store in Brooklyn wouldn't carry Kodiak, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an entire shelf devoted to the pancake mix.

It cost $6.19 for 11 servings, which was much more expensive than any other pancake mix in the section, so I had very high expectations going into this taste test.

When I got home, I realized I picked up the cinnamon-oat flavor instead of the original buttermilk.

a box of Cinnamon oat Kodiak Cakes
Cinnamon oat Kodiak Cakes. Frank Olito/Insider

The company sells multiple flavors, including dark chocolate, birthday cake, pumpkin flax, and almond poppy seed.

The cinnamon-oat flavor contains whole-grain wheat flour, whole-grain rolled oats, cane sugar, wheat protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, leavening, cinnamon, buttermilk, and salt.

I examined the back of the box and realized I could add different ingredients to increase my protein intake.

The back of the kodiak cakes box that has instructions
The back of the box. Frank Olito/Insider

While reading the box, I learned there were 14 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of sugars — including 8 grams of added sugar — in just over one pancake, or each 1/3-cup serving.

But the back of the box also told me I could "power up" and adjust the protein amount.

For instance, if I just added water to the mix, then the pancakes would have 14 grams of protein each. But if I added milk instead of water, then the pancakes would have 16 grams of protein. If I added milk and an egg, there would be 18 grams of protein.

I always like to make things as simple as possible in the kitchen, so I decided to take the just-add-water route.

The pancake mix was a bit chunkier than I expected.

The chunky kodiak pancake mix in an orange bowl
The chunky pancake mix. Frank Olito/Insider

Some of the chunks were pieces of oats, but others were from mix sticking together.

Rather than using just 1/3 cup of mix, I used a whole cup because that seemed like the amount I'd actually want to eat.

When I added a 3/4 cup of water to 1 cup of Kodiak mix, I was surprised by the color of the batter.

The Kodiak pancake batter in an orange bowl
The pancake batter. Frank Olito/Insider

Typically, when I use pancake mix, the batter is paler than the Kodiak pancake batter, which was a light brown due to the whole-grain, non-refined flour.

Although Kodiak Cakes are made with different ingredients compared to other mixes, they didn't require any special cooking instructions.

A kodiak pancake cooking in a pan
The pancake cooking. Frank Olito/Insider

I cooked the pancakes on medium-to-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side.

I made three of varying sizes, and they looked like traditional pancakes.

a stack of Kodiak pancakes on a plate
The finished pancakes. Frank Olito/Insider

The Kodiak pancake could have easily passed as a Bisquick pancake, albeit slightly darker.

By making three pancakes — and three times the 1/3 cup serving size — I made three servings, adding up to a staggering 42 grams of protein.

When I took my first bite, I was surprised by the flavor.

Frank taking a bite of kodiak pancake
Taking my first bite. Frank Olito/Insider

The first bite was fluffy and light, while the cinnamon and oat definitely added an extra layer of flavor. I could taste the whole grains, and it reminded me of whole-grain bread. For me, that wasn't a bad thing, but I can see somebody getting put off by the taste if they were looking for a traditional pancake.

Although they didn't taste anything like a typical pancake, they were still delicious and kept me full for a long time.

a pile of Kodiak pancakes on a plate
The Kodiak pancakes. Frank Olito/Insider

If you're looking to satisfy a pancake craving, these probably won't do the trick, but they are still tasty in their own right. Plus, they kept me full for hours.

Although I'm not convinced the pancakes are worth the hype, they are still a great alternative if you're looking for a more protein-packed start to your day.

A box of Kodiak Cakes held up in front of a white background
Kodiak Cakes. Frank Olito/Insider

After seeing all the hype on social media, I was expecting a delicious breakfast that would make me swear off traditional pancake mix forever. That wasn't the case.

While Kodiak pancakes were tasty, they didn't satisfy my traditional pancake craving. I can definitely see myself turning to Bisquick again in the future, but I can also see myself turning to Kodiak when I'm being more food and health-conscious.

So would I recommend Kodiak? It depends. If you're craving a pancake, then I say skip Kodiak and use your go-to mix. But if you're looking for a way to get in more protein, want to stay satiated for longer, and can afford a splurge, then you won't be disappointed with Kodiak.

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