Cooking Tips

Why You Should Add Malted Milk Powder to Your Pancake Mix

It's the surprising ingredient for sweet, nutty pancakes.

Published Nov. 5, 2021.

Combine milk, eggs, and pancake mix. Stir and cook. 

You can’t argue with the simplicity of pancake mix—it’s perfect for rushed mornings and lazy evenings. But even with the convenience, store-bought mix just doesn’t cut it in the flavor department. 

We spent months developing our Better-Than-The-Box Pancake Mix, and the key to better flavor was an ingredient you probably associate more with milkshakes than pancakes: malted milk powder.

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

When the Cook's Country team set out to develop a recipe for homemade pancake mix that would provide the convenience of store-bought with a homemade taste, they found that most boxed mixes added additional preservatives and extra baking powder. These ingredients increased shelf life and rise, but they often left an unpleasant aftertaste. Even without the preservatives, most homemade recipes produced pancakes that were bland, dense, and unsatisfactory.

After eating their way through dozens of subpar pancakes, the test cooks came up with a winning combination: 1 cup milk powder and ¾ cup malted milk powder.

Milk powder fortified the dry mix and malted milk powder—which the team had tried on a whim after spying it in the supermarket near the powdered milk—added a sweet, nutty flavor. (Plus, it complemented interesting syrup choices, like Nutella.)

The unique flavor of malted milk powder is achieved by evaporating and pulverizing malted barley. Some manufacturers further process and fortify the powder with flour or milk powder. 

The team included a few other thoughtfully chosen ingredients, such as butter (it made better-tasting pancakes than the usual shortening) and cake flour (in addition to equal parts all-purpose flour, for a sturdy yet tender texture). But malted milk powder is the only one that belongs in both a pancake mix and a milkshake.

Better-Than-The-Box Pancake Mix

Want to see what a difference this carefully curated ingredient list makes? Try the recipe today.  
Get the Recipe

These six recipes are among our all-time breakfast favorites. Start a free trial to access all these, plus our other home kitchen–tested, foolproof recipes.

This is a members' feature.