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Can I Use Pancake Mix to Thicken Sauce?

by Shailynn Krow, studioD

A watery or overly thinned sauce has the potential for ruining a dish, especially if the dish relies on the flavor from the sauce to bring the plate together. By combining your sauce with a thickener, you can achieve the right consistency so that your sauce plays its role appropriately. While flour and cornstarch are the usual go-to's, pancake mix can thicken your sauce because it contains thickening ingredients.

Pancake Mix Ingredients

A basic pancake mix has all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. The flour in the pancake mix acts as the thickener for your sauce. While the small amounts of sugar and salt in the mix won't affect the consistency of the source, they both can impact its flavor by making it too sweet or too salty. Avoid getting an oversweetened or oversalted sauce by only adding additional salt and sugar after the sauce has thickened from the pancake mix and you have tasted it.

Using the Mix

Adding pancake mix directly to a boiling sauce will make it clump up. Instead you need to measure out your pancake mix into a bowl, using a ratio of 1 tablespoon for every 1 to 2 cups of sauce. Add just enough water or stock to the pancake mix create a thin, watery paste. Add the pancake slurry into the sauce while whisking the sauce. Bring the sauce pan to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add another slurry if the sauce hasn't thickened. Your sauce does thicken more off the heat as it cools, so only thicken until it coats the back of a spoon lightly while on the stove, and then remove it from the heat.


Buttermilk and sour cream pancake mixes work as thickeners while adding texture and taste. A buttermilk mix contains dry buttermilk powder in addition to the standard pancake ingredients. This adds creaminess and richness to your sauce. A sour cream pancake mix has dry sour cream powder, which adds a tangy flavor to the sauce.


Avoid flavored or specialty pancake mixes, such as blueberry or maple. These have a higher sugar content than traditional pancake mix and can over-sweeten your sauce. If the pancake flavor is too strong in your sauce, add a small amount of milk or heavy cream at the end to minimize the flavor.

About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

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