When I first adopted a healthier lifestyle it was hard to fit my favorite breakfast meals into my new diet.
Back then it seemed like the easiest way I could do this and hit my nutritional targets, was to add protein powder to my favorite pancake mix.
Since I had no idea whether I could actually mix both of these ingredients, I had to roll up my sleeves and do some research.
So after enduring the pangs of hunger for a while longer, I found out there’s no reason you can’t put protein powder in a pancake mix.
In fact, it turned out that many pre-made mixes contain buttermilk which has similar chemical properties to whey.
Naturally, the next question that popped into my mind was how much protein powder should I add to my pancake mix and how exactly am I supposed to do it.
Let me answer these questions and give you a good recipe idea too!
How much protein powder should you add to your pancake mix?
To make the perfect protein pancake, I had to carefully fine-tune each of the ingredients so it didn’t end up dry, soggy, or flat.
As a result, I had to play around with different pancake mixes until I was able to finally achieve this:
Impressive isn’t it?
Who said the first pancake should always turn out wrong?
What’s even more impressive is that I made it by simply replacing some of the pancake mix with protein powder.
But before you go and tighten up your aprons, you should keep in mind that this approach has its flaws. This is because the precise amount of protein powder you’ll need will largely depend on the brand of your mix.
Even though most mixes contain similar ingredients, each one usually has its own twist on the pancake formula:
- Krusteaz’s Light & Fluffy Buttermilk Mix, for instance, is one of the few ones that contain egg whites. While this may seem like a trivial difference, replacing part of it with protein powder will result in pancakes that are flat and dry.
- Pearl Milling Company’s mic (previously Aunt Jemima’s mix), on the other hand, is made of nothing more than flour, sugar, and leavening so it can be easily substituted.
Since listing all of the brand differences would’ve been a stretch, I’ve come up with an easy way to calculate the exact amount of protein powder that needs to be added to a pancake mix.
Here’s how much protein powder you should add to your pancake mix:
If your pancake mix contains egg whites, add a scoop of protein for every cup of the mix and increase the amount of liquid your recipe calls for by 1/3. Otherwise, add the same amount of protein for every 2/3 cup of any standard pancake mix.
Let’s say you’re following one of Krusteaz’s pancake mix recipes and you need to add ⅔ cup of water.
Since the mix is made with egg whites, you’ll need to increase the amount of water by a third which amounts to a total of 1 cup.
If, however, you choose a mix that contains egg whites and calls for ⅔ cup of water, then you’ll need to add another ⅔ cup or a total of 1 ⅓ cups of water.
Anyways, getting the right amount of protein powder I could add was only part of my pancake equation or dare I say panquation…
Author’s note: You can follow the same approach and add protein powder to your favorite waffle mix. You could even make high-protein waffles by using pancake mix instead of a waffle one.
Next, I set out to find how to improve their texture and flavor.
And even though you may find it hard to believe, you can make wonders out of a simple box of pancake mix, protein powder, and some other ingredients…
What’s the best way to make protein powder pancakes using a pancake mix?
Making pancakes is one of the simplest things in life.
It’s a staple breakfast meal made by stay-at-home dads, broke students, and single men all across the globe.
Or at least that’s how it’s portrayed in movies.
In truth, many unfortunate children, wives, and friends have to swallow the overcooked failures of their loved ones.
And I should know.
I used to cook mounds of rubbery pancakes for my brother and he didn’t even blink once.
Anyways, if you don’t want to end up in the same situation as me and many other unfortunate cooks, just don’t overwork your batter. Overworking a pancake better develops its gluten strands and makes it chewy.
There’s nothing wrong with having a few lumps here or there.
You’ll know the batter is ready when it’s thick enough to drip from your whisk but still has some lumps.
Another way to take your protein pancakes to the next level is by increasing their fluffiness.
There are several factors that affect fluffiness, but I’ll focus my attention on the most important one: baking powder.
Adding baking powder to our batter causes a reaction that releases carbon dioxide. When the batter gets heated the CO2 expands and increases its volume.
What’s more interesting here is that you can boost this chemical reaction by increasing the acidity of the batter. In other words, you can make your pancakes even fluffier by simply substituting part of your liquid with yogurt or buttermilk.
So if you typically make your pancakes with a cup of water, just replace half of it with yogurt or buttermilk.
Needless to say, you should also make sure your pan is hot enough before you pour in the batter.
Otherwise, it won’t be able to rise and you’ll end up with flatcakes instead of pancakes.
While still edible, they’ll certainly not be a feast for anyone’s eyes.
The last thing you should consider is the type of protein powder you’re going to use for your pancakes.
A quick reminder of the 4 main types of protein powder:
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Plant-based protein such as pea protein
- Egg protein
I’ve found that using whey protein or casein makes my pancakes lighter and gives them more volume.
The pancakes on top were made with whey protein powder, while the ones on the bottom of the photo comparison were made with a vegan protein:
Protein powder pancakes made with whey protein by KIFF_82 and the same made with vegan protein by MilesOseliM
So if you want to achieve the same results with another type of protein powder, simply increase the baking powder by half a teaspoon.
In terms of flavor, I mostly use vanilla-flavored protein powder and garnish my pancakes with honey, peanut butter, or jam.
Although I must admit that when I’m on one of my chocolate sprees I use chocolate protein powder and top off my flapjacks with syrup.
Why not make your own homemade protein pancake mix?
While you can certainly improve the nutritional quality of your pancakes by adding protein powder, they’ll still contain some ingredients you might want to avoid.
If you take a look at what’s under the hood of your favorite mix, you’ll probably notice it’s full of various additives, vegetable oils, and even sugars.
One of the most common ingredients that’s present in most brands is soybean oil.
Since soybean oil is a known source of phytoestrogens, it would be a good idea to stray away from it if you want to keep your hormonal levels intact. Studies show that diets rich in phytoestrogens can significantly lower testosterone levels in men.
Another common ingredient shared by almost all commercial pancake mixes is modified corn starch.
Consuming modified corn starch might cause digestive issues or even an allergic reaction in some people.
By making your own homemade protein pancake mix, you can avoid these potential adverse effects and create a healthier, artificially-free alternative that tastes just as well.
To make your own homemade protein pancake mix you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 2/3 cup flour
- 3 teaspoons baking Powder
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
After mixing all of the ingredients, you can store them in an airtight container for up to six months.
You now have a homemade pancake mix that’s high in protein and you can make flapjacks whenever you’re in the mood for a nutritious meal.
I personally like to make a batch of post-workout pancakes when I get tired of drinking protein shakes.
The only thing you should keep in mind is that if you exclude the sugar, your pancakes might turn out chewy.
My short recap
Despite what many people believe, you can easily create a healthier alternative to any meal without sacrificing its taste.
Protein pancakes are a prime example of this.
By including a scoop of protein powder you turn an otherwise nutritionally empty dish into a breakfast fit for champions.
A breakfast that’s equally yummy and nutritious.
A breakfast that you can’t get off your mind once you’ve tried it.
So what are you waiting for?
The stove beckons you…
Stay tuned for more tips and don’t forget to try out my three-ingredient protein powder pancake recipe listed below.
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How to Add Protein Powder to a Pancake Mix - Recipe
For the protein powder pancakes:
- 1 cup of Krusteaz's pancake mix or any other mix containing egg whites
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup of whole milk
For the homemade blueberry jam (OPTIONAL):
- 2 cups fresh-bought blueberies
- 1 tbsp juice from a fresh lemon
- 1/2 tsp Bourbon Vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water best if it's purified water
For the frosting (OPTIONAL):
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 medium-sized banana
- 1 pinch salt
For the pancakes:
- Combine the protein powder and the pancake mix in a bowl.1 cup of Krusteaz's pancake mix, 1 scoop protein powder
- Add in the milk and gently whisk the mixture until it becomes even. The batter should be thick enough to drip from your whisk but still have a few lumps here and there.1 cup of whole milk
- Pour a ladle of the batter on a skillet, preheated to 320°F (160°C).
- Cook the pancake until the edges are cooked and you see bubbles appear on its surface.
- Cook the second side for about half the time you cooked the first side or until the bottom turns golden brown.
- Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
For the blueberry jam (OPTIONAL):
- Mix 1 cup of the blueberries with the rest of the ingredients for the jam. Simmer at medium heat for about 10 minutes, and stir every 3 minutes.
- Add the other 1 cup of blueberries to the mix and cook for about 8 minutes. Stir every 3 to 4 minutes.
- Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. The cooler it is the thicker and more jam-like it will become.
- Let the pancake mixture rest for 3 to 4 minutes before you start cooking it. This will help with a more even cooking and fewer bubbles will form.
- For me, the first side took about 70 seconds to cook, and the second side - about 40 seconds. However, depending on the pancake mix you use these times could go up to 2 minutes for the first side and 1 minute for the second one. Your best way to tell if the pancake is ready to be flipped is to watch for bubbles and cooked edges.
- I've covered my pancakes with my mom's homemade jam and poured some crushed store-bought cookies over the frosting.
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I do my best to provide you with the nutritional information for recipes but I'm not a certified nutritionist. The nutritional information provided should only be treated as an estimate since it will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.