Can I Use Pancake Mix Instead Of Flour? (And 4 Alternatives)

On several different occasions over the years, I have been in the middle of a baking project only to discover that I didn’t have quite enough all-purpose flour, and have often wondered whether I could use pancake mix instead of flour. After doing some research and talking to other foodies like myself, I have discovered the answer to the question.

Pancake mix can be substituted for flour because it consists of flour, baking powder, or another leavening agent, salt, and sugar. Therefore, pancake mix should make a good substitute for flour in many recipes.

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some of the variables involved in substituting pancake mix for flour.

How Do I Substitute Pancake Mix For Flour?

Now that I know that pancake mix can be substituted for flour, how do I make that substitution? The best way to substitute pancake mix for flour is to follow the recipe you are making exactly as far as the directions on how to combine the ingredients and for the baking time, and 

  • Simply substitute pancake mix for flour on a 1-to-1 basis if the recipe calls for self-rising flour. 
  • But, if your recipe calls for all-purpose or plain flour, be sure to leave out the leavening agent, which is usually baking powder, and the salt. All other ingredients will remain the same.

Alternative Substitutes for All-Purpose or Self-Rising Flour

There are several different products that most people have in their kitchens that can be substituted for flour.

1. Bisquick

Bisquick is made of flour, a leavening agent, salt, and oil and can be substituted for flour by adjusting the other ingredients called for in your recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for flour, salt, baking powder, and oil, just leave out the salt, baking powder, and oil, and just substitute the Bisquick for the flour on a 1-to-1 basis.


2. Bread Flour

Bread flour can be substituted for all-purpose or plain flour on a 1-to-1 basis because the only difference between the two types of flour is that bread flour is milled from a different type of wheat that has a higher protein content than the wheat used in milling all-purpose flour.

3. Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour can be substituted for all-purpose or plain flour on a 1-to-1 basis, but because it is milled from a different kind of wheat, red wheat, and is not as refined as white flour so that it retains at least part of its nutrients and fiber, the cake or bread you are making will have a denser and more nutty flavor. 

If you have some all-purpose or plain flour on hand, it is better to substitute only half of the flour called for in your recipe for whole wheat flour which will result in a less dense final product. So, if your recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, it will be better to use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

4. Most Any “Alternative” Flour

The ones that come to mind are almond Flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, chickpea flour, oat flour, and rice flour. In fact, almost any type of flour found in your kitchen will be usable for most recipes.


There are also many alternative flours available now that are all gluten-free, which is very helpful to cooks who are preparing foods for a gluten-free diet. I usually keep a few gluten-free flours on hand myself.

But, because these flours contain no gluten and because gluten is necessary for the bread-making process by helping to hold the bread together and causing it to rise, you can substitute a small amount of the alternative flours for the all-purpose flour, but to use these gluten-free flours alone for baking, you will probably need a recipe written specifically for that type of flour because other ingredients must be added to supply the benefits provided by the gluten in flour made from wheat.

If you only need a small amount of flour for frying chicken or as an ingredient in making gravy or mac and cheese, then by all means, any of these alternative flours will provide you with a good substitute.

Can I Substitute Pancake Mix For Flour In Fried Chicken?


If you are in the process of frying chicken and discover that you don’t have enough flour to coat the chicken, you can definitely substitute pancake mix for the flour. There will almost certainly be a slight change in the taste of the fried chicken because most pancake mixes do contain sugar, but the taste change will not be extreme, and many people actually like the taste.

Can I Substitute Pancake Mix For Flour In Making Cookies?

It is very easy to substitute pancake mix for flour in making cookies. Simply follow your cookie recipe exactly for the other ingredients and the directions. The only exception will be to substitute pancake mix for the flour on a 1-to-1 basis and leave out the baking powder and salt. The only change will be that the cookies will probably be a little sweeter than those made with flour.

Can I Use Pancake Mix For Flour In Mac And Cheese?

Pancake mix can be substituted for flour as a thickener in making homemade macaroni and cheese. However, since pancake mix does contain sugar and other ingredients, there will be a slight flavor and texture change in the finished product.

If you are out of flour when making the sauce for mac and cheese, it might be a better idea to thicken the sauce with cornstarch rather than risking the flavor and texture changes that are sure to happen when substituting pancake mix for flour.

Can I Substitute Pancake Mix For Flour In Making Gravy?

Anne James' Homemade Gravy
My “famous” homemade gravy

You can substitute pancake mix for flour in making gravy, but the sugar that is in most pancake mixes will have an effect on the taste of the gravy. You can also substitute Bisquick and any of the alternative types of flour in making a roux for gravy. However, if you do not have any flour of any kind, you can still make gravy by using cornstarch to make a slurry that can be added to broth or pan drippings to make gravy.

To make a gluten-free gravy, here are two different methods you can use:

  1. Either use one of the alternative flours to make a roux for the gravy, or
  2. Use cornstarch to make a slurry that can be stirred into broth or pan drippings to make gravy.

What To Do If You Run Out Of Flour For Bread?

If you are making bread and find that you don’t have the bread flour that is called for in your recipe, the best substitute for bread flour is all-purpose or plain flour.

What Is the Difference Between Bread Flour and All-Purpose or Plain Flour?

In reality, the only difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour is that bread flour is milled from a different wheat than all-purpose flour. Bread flour is milled from hard spring wheat, whereas all-purpose flour is milled from hard winter wheat. Hard spring wheat contains a higher percentage of protein and gluten, resulting in a flour that makes bread that rises higher and that is denser and chewier than bread made with all-purpose flour.

An additional benefit of substituting all-purpose flour for bread flour is that the cost of bread flour is usually higher than all-purpose flour.

What Is the Difference Between All-Purpose Flour and Plain Flour?

All-purpose and plain are simply two different names for the same flour. Some people call it all-purpose flour, while others use the term plain flour. You will find both names used on bags of flour at your local supermarket.

Related The 8 Best Similar Substitutes for Almond Meal.

Is Complete Pancake Mix the Same as Bisquick?

The “complete” versions of packaged pancake mix are very similar to Bisquick, but pancake mixes usually have a higher sugar content. The higher sugar content of complete pancake mix makes it a better choice as a substitute for flour when making quick breads, also known as sweetbreads. 

Some examples of quick or sweetbreads are banana bread, pumpkin bread, muffins, and scones.

Can Bisquick Be Used Instead of Self-Rising Flour?

Sifting Flour For Biscuits

Bisquick is not the same thing as self-rising flour. Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour that has salt and a leavening agent such as baking powder in it. Bisquick is also made from all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder, but it contains hydrogenated fat as well. 

So, when substituting Bisquick for self-rising flour, take a look at your recipe and check the other ingredients that are called for. In some cases, it may be necessary to adjust the oil content of your recipe because Bisquick already contains some fat.

Can I Make My Own Flour?

If you have ever wondered whether you can make your own flour, the answer is yes, you can. If you have whole wheat grain (often called wheat berries), you can make your own flour by grinding that grain until it is the consistency of flour. 

There are several different ways you can mill your own flour. Having your own grain mill is a very good way to make flour, but you can also use other kitchen gadgets that you probably already have on hand. Those kitchen gadgets that can be used as a grain mill include blenders, food processors, and coffee grinders. The process of grinding your own flour normally takes 2 to 3 minutes in a blender, a food processor, or a coffee grinder to make a small amount.

But, you are not limited to making your own wheat flour. You can also make homemade alternative flour by grinding rice, amaranth, chickpeas, oats, almonds, buckwheat, millet, coconut, quinoa, and spelt. This is not a comprehensive list, as there are many different kinds of flour that you can make. You can pick and choose the type of flour that fits your cooking style, your family’s taste and preference, and your dietary needs.

Your homemade flour can be stored for up to 3 months in a cool, dry area in an airtight container. Good canning jars, such as Mason jars, make excellent storage containers for your homemade flour.

One of the primary benefits of grinding your own flour is the better flavor and higher nutritional value of your home-milled flour. Plus, you can make your flour as coarse or as fine as you like.

Can I Make My Own Self-Rising Flour?


If you find it is quite difficult to always have the right kind of flour on hand when you need it, it is easy to make your own self-rising flour. That way, all you have to buy, or mill, is all-purpose flour, and use that all-purpose flour to make your own homemade version of self-rising flour.

Here is an easy recipe that can be doubled or tripled, depending on how much you want to make. Just combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder and a half teaspoon of salt. You can either make the amount you need as you need it, or make up a large batch ahead of time to store and have on hand at a moment’s notice.

Can I Make My Own Bisquick?

It is also quite simple to make your own homemade version of Bisquick. Just combine 1 cup of flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 ½ tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil to make a cup of Bisquick.

To make homemade Bisquick from self-rising flour, all you have to add is 2 ½ tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil to each cup of self-rising flour.

A gluten-free version of Bisquick can be made by using one of the alternative flours, such as brown rice flour or oat flour.

Here again, you can either mix up a batch every time you need it, or you can make a large batch to keep on hand for use at a minute’s notice.

Please note that homemade Bisquick can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry area such as your pantry. For long-term storage, homemade Bisquick can be refrigerated or frozen.

Final Thoughts

Even though I usually keep pancake mix on hand, I normally make my own scratch pancakes with only 3 ingredients: self-rising flour, eggs, and milk. I tend to think that syrup is sweet enough, so why add sugar to your pancakes?

Just in case you would like to try it, my recipe is 1 cup of self-rising flour, 1 egg, and just enough milk to make a thick batter.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss Can You Store Leftover Pancake Batter? (What to Do With It).

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or

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