This Easy Trick Will Make Your Boxed Pancakes So Much Better

updated Jun 11, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

When writing my first cookbook, which was all about helping busy home cooks smartly navigate the waters between scratch cooking and semi-homemade cooking, I knew there would have to be a pancake recipe. And that meant a lot of pancake testing. 

The big takeaway from my Make It Easy pancake research? Some of the absolute best, fluffiest, most restaurant-worthy pancakes are made with whipped egg whites. Gently folding the egg whites into the batter creates ethereally fluffy cakes, but it also adds a couple of extra steps.

The egg-white technique is usually associated with from-scratch pancakes, but the good news is that it works with boxed pancake mix, too. If you’re willing to put in an extra three minutes (I timed it!), you can give your boxed mix a serious upgrade. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Tessa Huff

How to Make Fluffier Pancakes from a Boxed Mix

1. Combine your pancake mix per the package directions, which usually means stirring the mix with water. If you’re serious about getting maximum height, be serious about not over-mixing. When the instructions say that lumps are okay, trust that they are! Over-mixing any pancake mix, from a box or homemade, toughens the gluten, which limits the space in which air pockets can expand. 

2. For every cup of pancake mix, separate a single large egg. Set the yolk aside and whip the egg white with 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar until you get stiff peaks. The cream of tartar isn’t absolutely necessary, but does help yield the fluffiest and most stable egg whites, which means your fluffy pancakes won’t deflate. 

3. Very gently fold the egg white into your pancake batter. It’s okay to see some small pockets and streaks of egg white. This will help your pancake fluff up, and as long as the pockets aren’t too big I promise that your pancakes will not be part egg white omelet. 

What to Do with the Leftover Egg Yolk

If you’re loath to waste the yolk, you can certainly add it to your pancake batter along with the water. This will give your pancakes a slightly richer flavor, but it will also hinder the rise and give your pancakes a denser texture. Pancakes made with just whipped egg whites look and taste fluffier and lighter, so consider using those yolks for making Caesar salad dressing, custard, lemon curd, a creamy pasta sauce, or aioli