Can You Substitute Pancake Mix for Flour in Gravy: Expert Tips and Alternatives

When it comes to making gravy, I often find myself wondering if there are alternative ingredients that can be used instead of the traditional flour. One question I recently pondered was whether or not I could substitute pancake mix for flour in gravy. It might seem like an odd choice, but it’s worth considering since many of us have pancake mix readily available in our pantries.

Upon researching the topic, I discovered that pancake mix can indeed be used as a substitute for flour in making gravy, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Most pancake mixes contain sugar, which will affect the taste of the gravy, and may make it slightly sweeter. I also learned that it’s important to adjust the seasonings accordingly to balance out the sweetness introduced by the pancake mix.

In addition to pancake mix, there are other alternatives that can be used to thicken gravy, such as cornstarch or potato starch. These options may offer different textures in the final product, so it’s worth experimenting with these alternatives if you’re not entirely sold on using pancake mix. With a better understanding of my options, I now feel confident in my ability to whip up a delicious gravy with a twist.

Understanding Pancake Mix Composition

As I discovered, pancake mix is more than just flour. It also contains additional ingredients that help to create a fluffy and delicious pancake. The main components of most pancake mixes are flour, sugar, salt, and a leavening agent such as baking powder (source).

These ingredients serve different purposes in the mix. The flour, which is the base, provides structure, while the sugar adds a subtle sweetness to balance the flavors. Salt enhances the overall taste, and the leavening agent creates a light texture through the release of gas bubbles when mixed with liquid and heat.

Using pancake mix instead of flour in recipes can serve as a shortcut since several essential ingredients are already combined, making the process quicker and more convenient. In recipes that call for flour as a thickening agent, like gravy, the substitution of pancake mix is particularly useful.

When substituting pancake mix for flour in gravy, it’s essential to understand the differences in texture and taste that the extra ingredients in pancake mix may cause. For example, the sugar in pancake mix might slightly sweeten the gravy; however, this can be adjusted with other seasonings to suit your personal preferences.

Gravy Basics

When it comes to comfort food, gravy is at the top of the list. A perfect gravy can make any meal feel warm and satisfying, which is why it is important to understand the basic components and methods of making it.

Traditional Gravy Ingredients

The main ingredients in a traditional gravy are fat, thickener, and liquid. The fat usually comes from the drippings of cooked meat, adding a rich and savory flavor to the gravy. The thickener, often a starch like flour, helps create the desired consistency. Finally, various liquids, such as broth, water, or milk, are used to balance the flavors and create a smooth texture.

Role of Flour in Gravy

Flour is commonly used as a thickening agent in gravies. It works by absorbing liquid in the mixture, swelling, and forming a gel-like consistency. This process relies on a perfect balance of ingredients and techniques to avoid lumps and ensure a smooth texture. I typically start by combining the flour with the fat over low heat, cooking it briefly to avoid a raw flour taste. After creating a smooth paste, I slowly add the liquid, stirring constantly, until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.

Substituting Pancake Mix In Gravy

As a food enthusiast, I’ve found that substituting pancake mix for flour in gravy is not only possible but also a fantastic way to simplify the cooking process. Pancake mix usually contains flour alongside other ingredients such as baking powder, sugar, and salt, making it an ideal substitute that retains the desired consistency and texture of gravy. Let’s explore how to adjust the liquid ingredients and modify the seasonings when using pancake mix in place of flour.

Adjusting Liquid Ingredients

When substituting pancake mix in gravy, it’s important to consider the additional ingredients present in the mix, particularly the leavening agents. I recommend slightly reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe (such as stock or water) to achieve the desired thickness. Since pancake mix contains leavening agents like baking powder, it’s important to account for these when calculating the overall liquid ingredients. Experimenting with the liquid-to-mix ratio is key to achieving the perfect consistency.

Modifying Seasonings

Pancake mix contains sugar and salt, so it can add subtle sweet and savory flavors to the gravy that might need to be balanced out. After adding the pancake mix, I suggest tasting the gravy and adjusting the seasoning by adding more salt, pepper, or other herbs and spices to achieve a flavor that suits your preference. You could also consider adding a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to cut through the sweetness, if necessary.

Finally, when using pancake mix as a substitute for flour, it may be a good idea to consider incorporating any additional flavor components, like roasted garlic or shallots, in order to compensate for any potential discrepancies in taste. Remember, it’s all about finding a balance that suits your taste buds and complements the other ingredients in your dish.

Pros And Cons Of Using Pancake Mix


As someone who has experimented with pancake mix substitutions, I found that using pancake mix instead of flour can be quite convenient when making gravy. Since pancake mix is mainly flour-based, it is similar enough to be used as a substitute (Fanatically Food). This is especially helpful when I suddenly run out of flour.

Another advantage of using pancake mix instead of flour is that the additional ingredients in pancake mix, such as leavening agents and flavorings, won’t have a significant impact on the gravy’s taste or texture (Fanatically Food). Using pancake mix might even save me some time, as it already contains certain ingredients that I would otherwise add when making the gravy from scratch.


On the other hand, substituting pancake mix for flour is not without some drawbacks. Depending on the specific pancake mix and its ingredients, the flavor and consistency of the gravy might be slightly altered (Practical Cooks). For instance, if the pancake mix includes sugar or other sweeteners, my gravy may end up with a mild sweetness that I didn’t intend.

Moreover, due to variations in the composition of pancake mixes, it may be difficult to predict precisely how the pancake mix will affect the final product. This could lead to inconsistent results when I prepare gravy using pancake mix, as opposed to using regular flour with known properties.

Alternative Gravy Thickeners

Although using pancake mix as a thickening agent for gravy is an option, there are other alternatives that can be used for similar results. Here are a few of the most popular options I have tried:

Cornstarch: This is my go-to when it comes to thickening gravy. I mix equal parts of cornstarch and water to create a slurry, and then slowly whisk it into the hot liquid. It thickens gravy efficiently without altering the flavor profile.

Flour: A classic option to thicken sauces and gravy is simply using all-purpose flour. I usually make a paste by mixing flour with water or by straining dry flour into the hot liquid using a fine-mesh sieve. This helps to avoid lumps and provides a smooth consistency to the gravy.

Instant mashed potatoes: Not the most conventional choice, but in a pinch, instant mashed potatoes can be used to thicken gravy. I add a small amount to the sauce and stir until it has reached my desired thickness.

Apart from those, some people also experiment with alternative flours like almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour and quinoa flour. While these options may change the flavor and texture of the gravy, they can provide a viable thickening solution, especially for those with dietary needs such as gluten-free diets or keto lifestyles.

My advice is to try these alternative gravy thickeners depending on the specific dish you’re preparing and the ingredients you have available, keeping in mind that each option may provide different results in terms of texture, consistency, and flavor.


In conclusion, using pancake mix as a substitute for flour in gravy is a viable option. The 1:1 substitution ratio makes it a simple and convenient choice when you’re out of all-purpose flour. It is important to keep in mind that pancake mix already contains additional ingredients like sugar, salt, and leavening agents that may slightly alter the taste and consistency of the gravy compared to using all-purpose flour (source). However, it still serves as a handy option in a pinch.

You can thicken your gravy by making a slurry with a tablespoon of pancake mix and water, stirring it into the gravy slowly, and adjusting the thickness as needed (source). It’s essential to be mindful of the amount of slurry used, as exceeding two tablespoons may negatively impact the gravy’s overall texture and flavor.

Ultimately, I find that substituting pancake mix for flour in gravy is a practical and efficient solution when facing a shortage of all-purpose flour. The minor differences in taste and texture are generally forgivable and should not deter you from utilizing pancake mix in your gravy recipes when needed.

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