The Ultimate Ranking Of All-Purpose Baking Mixes

Assorted all-purpose baking mixes
Assorted all-purpose baking mixes - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

All-purpose mixes can be a saving grace since you can use them to make a variety of sweet and savory baked goods. Unfortunately though, some fall short on their promises, so, I went on an adventure to determine which products are actually reliable. In order to do so, I picked up seven different mixes and pitted them against each other to find a winner. Instead of only making classic pancakes, I knew I needed to use the mixes to bake something in the oven as well. I decided on a drop biscuit. Everyone loves biscuits, right?

For the pancakes and biscuits, I followed the directions carefully on each box, from the measurement amounts to the cooking times. I was blown away by the differences in each. I'm a pastry chef, so it was quite easy for me to see the strengths and weaknesses of every all-purpose mix. Using my baking knowledge, I assessed the taste, texture, and presentation of the pancakes and biscuits. I won't get into specifics here, but you can see a more detailed breakdown of my methodology at the end of this article. Honestly, it wasn't hard to choose a winner, because it was clear as day. Come along to see which mixes you'll want to avoid and which you'll want to pick up on your next grocery run.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

7. Pamela's Pancake & Baking Mix

Pamela's pancake and baking mix
Pamela's pancake and baking mix - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

Pamela's baking mix is gluten-free (GF) with brown rice flour, white rice flour, cultured buttermilk, and almond meal as the primary ingredients. I purchased it for $6.38, so I expected it to be a solid product. Sadly, though, it was an easy decision to put it in last place. It wasn't as if one of the pastries was amazing while the other lacked. Both of them were a disappointment.

The pancakes were the thinnest out of the bunch, making me instantly think of the phrase "flat as a pancake." The batter spread so quickly on the pan and didn't rise at all. Although the flavor and texture were okay, it didn't taste like a pancake. All I could taste was the ground nuts, so it wasn't even comparable to the others on this list. Concerning the biscuit, it was also the worst out of all seven mixes. It was super dry and crumbly, and those features became worse as it cooled to room temperature. If the inside of the biscuit had been soft, I wouldn't have minded the crispy edges, but that just wasn't the case.

6. Great Value All-Purpose Baking Mix

Great Value all-purpose mix
Great Value all-purpose mix - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

Next, we have the Great Value all-purpose mix, which is Walmart's brand, made with enriched bleached flour as the main ingredient. This product ranks just slightly higher than Pamela's because the texture of the pancakes and biscuits was definitely better. At least the pancakes puffed up, and the biscuits rose. However, when I mixed the biscuit dough, its texture was off from the start. It looked dry. My natural instinct was to add more liquid, but since I was following the recipes to the letter, I decided not to.

Confirming my suspicion, the baked biscuits were awfully brittle. It wasn't an enjoyable experience to eat them because I felt like I needed a drink to wash them down. I will say that the taste wasn't too bad, but it was hard to enjoy because of the texture. Then, when I made the pancake batter, it had an ideal consistency. The cooked pancakes were relatively soft but were definitely not sweet enough. They were bland and almost savory, even though the box requires you to add two tablespoons of sugar.

All in all, the Great Value mix just didn't impress me. Walmart groceries are often cheap, and this mix was predictably affordable at $3.98, but I still wouldn't purchase it again because it would need modifications to turn out right. You'd have to adjust the liquid ratios in the biscuits and the sweetener in the pancakes, which takes away the convenience of using a boxed mix.

5. Namaste Organic All Purpose Baking Mix

Namaste organic baking mix
Namaste organic baking mix - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

Namaste brand baking mix costs $6.79, so it was the most expensive item on this list. It's gluten-free, with organic white rice flour, organic tapioca starch, and organic cane sugar being the primary components. Despite my high hopes, it was an average product. It wasn't disastrous, but definitely had room for improvement. I placed it above Walmart's all-purpose mix because it at least had some flavor. The pancakes were wonderful, in fact. They were light and soft with a pleasant taste.

However, this mix seems to lack versatility because the biscuits weren't the best. Their mouthfeel wasn't reminiscent of a biscuit at all. They did have a good presentation, but when I actually took a bite of one, it was gritty, and it felt like I was eating cornbread instead of a classic biscuit. Although it had a decent taste, it just didn't hit the mark in regard to texture. If Namaste's biscuits were as great as the pancakes, the brand would've been higher on the list, but the delicious pancakes weren't enough to save it because we're looking for a well-rounded product here.

4. Open Nature Gluten Free Pancake & Baking Mix

Open Nature gluten free mix
Open Nature gluten free mix - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

Open Nature is another gluten-free, all-purpose mix. It was $4.99, and the manufacturer makes it with rice flour, potato starch, sugar, and a few other ingredients. Overall, this product ranked higher than Namaste because its texture was much better in comparison. During cooking, the pancakes effortlessly rose and had a nice, circular shape. Also, I had no complaints about how they tasted, since they were just sweet enough.

Meanwhile, the biscuit dough was noticeably soft and a bit loose. When the biscuits baked, they were perfectly tender. My only critique was how eggy they tasted. The eggs that were called for definitely overpowered the mix. I'm guessing they're needed for structure since this is a gluten-free blend, so I'm not sure how well the biscuits would turn out if you decreased the eggs in the recipe. The big picture with Open Nature is that the consistency of the pancakes and biscuits was spot on, but the biscuits could use a little work in terms of flavor. This is why it didn't place higher on the list and seemed to just be another average product to me.

3. King Arthur Baking Company Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Mix

King Arthur gluten free mix
King Arthur gluten free mix - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

The King Arthur brand surely impressed me. Compared to all the other gluten-free mixes on this list, it was by far the best. I would even say that if someone gave me a pancake or biscuit made with this mix, I wouldn't have guessed it was gluten-free. The product was $5.28, so it was also one of the cheaper GF mixes. Its primary ingredients are whole-grain brown rice flour, rice flour, and potato starch. I ranked it above Open Nature because both its taste and texture were better, and I enjoyed eating the pancakes and biscuits. I will say the biscuits are much better with jam or butter.

An important observation was that the dough for both items was on the thicker side. It didn't stop them from rising or browning but, as imagined, the mix didn't spread much on its own, resulting in pancakes that were actually a bit too thick and biscuits that didn't spread even a little bit. To me, this problem doesn't make or break it. It can be solved by slightly pressing the biscuit dough down and manually spreading the pancake batter. Aside from that, it's definitely a good product for those who follow a gluten-free diet. It does the job, and you won't have to wonder whether it'll turn out right.

2. Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix

Jiffy baking mix box
Jiffy baking mix box - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

Jiffy all-purpose mix was $3.78, so it was inexpensive. Its main elements are bleached wheat flour and vegetable shortening. This was a fun product to work with because everything went smoothly, and the batters had a pretty standard thickness. This mix ranked higher than the King Arthur brand because the pancakes and biscuits spread on their own without needing assistance.

In comparison, the pancakes were magnificent because they were pillowy and had an excellent taste. The biscuits were impressive because they had a deep flavor that was actually buttery and rich, unlike the previously mentioned biscuits. They also puffed up when they baked and had a nice rounded shape with some browning on top. In the middle, they were fluffy. The only drawback? The outer edges were dry, just ever-so-slightly. Honestly, this is the only reason why this mix didn't reach first place.

Overall, this is a reliable product. It doesn't just make a good pancake but can also successfully make an entirely different baked good. I'd be curious to make blueberry muffins and other foods with it, too, seeing how easy it was to work with and how everything turned out.

1. Betty Crocker Bisquick Pancake & Baking Mix

Bisquick baking and pancake mix
Bisquick baking and pancake mix - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

Among all of the mixes, the Bisquick all-purpose mix was the winner by far. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. This mix has many ingredients, with the main ones being enriched flour and cornstarch. It costs just $2.92, so it's great for those on a budget, but the product's versatility is what makes it number one. Some mixes made yummy pancakes but lousy biscuits, while others made fantastic biscuits but not-so-great pancakes — but you can make all sorts of things with Bisquick. I saw firsthand how it produces perfectly fluffy pancakes and round, tall, uniformly-shaped biscuits.

When I was mixing the batters, the biscuit dough was slightly loose, but that was the only red flag. Its consistency clearly worked in its favor and wasn't an issue. Once they baked, the biscuits had a nice golden brown color, and their bottoms were crisp. Inside, the crumb was buttery, tender, and flavorful. In regard to the pancakes, they had a nice, visible lift. They weren't dense or dry but had just the right amount of moisture.

I do think the pancakes are just slightly short on sweetener, but once you pour syrup over them, it's not so noticeable. Both the pancakes and biscuits passed the quality test, for sure, as I couldn't just stop at just one or two bites. Bisquick definitely has me sold for the next time I need an all-purpose mix, and its cheap price is just the icing on the cake.


Assorted all-purpose mixes
Assorted all-purpose mixes - Courtney Yost/Daily Meal

For this baking test, I chose products that were widely available and generally popular. When deciding how to rank them, I took a few things into consideration. The most important thing was how adaptable they were. Since the mixes are marketed as all-purpose, I was looking for a product that could reliably make an assortment of baked goods. Making just one good item wasn't going to cut it. This meant that both the biscuits and the pancakes had to be of good quality in terms of taste and texture.

I observed the presentation of both, seeing which ones cooked the most evenly and had a nice color. With biscuits, I was looking for a golden brown color with a fluffy center and buttery taste. On the other hand, the ideal pancake would be tender, fluffy, and slightly sweet. You know, the type of pancakes that are so pillowy that they absorb maple syrup like it's their job. Although I tried the items plain, I also tried the biscuits with butter and the pancakes with syrup, just to be sure of my judgments.

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