Easy Pancake Mix Funnel Cakes

Pancake mix funnel cake lightly dusted with confectioners' sugar on dark-blue serving plate with more powdered sugar in a sieve nearby

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 2 mins
Total: 7 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
182 Calories
9g Fat
22g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 182
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 297mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 90mg 7%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 84mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Funnel cakes are a fun treat, often sold at outdoor festivals, amusement parks, and carnivals. The sweet, deep fried aroma draws in the crowds and everyone has fun diving in to pinch off a bite. It is also fun and easy to make this sharable treat at home. People often wonder if funnel cake is made from pancake batter or if you can use pancake mix for funnel cake batter. In fact, it is possible to make a perfect funnel cake batter using a pancake mix you probably already have in your pantry. All you need is prepared buttermilk pancake mix, a bit of sugar, vanilla, and water. That's it. Whisk it up until it can be easily drizzled through a funnel, pastry bag, or zip top bag. Fry it up in hot oil and then serve warm. It can be topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, or even ice cream sundae toppings.

"Why make flat, uninteresting pancakes when you can make a crispy, fun-to-eat funnel cake? This was so good, I may never make a flat pancake again! The thing you'll love is the crispy edges throughout. Just take care when turning it over in the hot oil—I used tongs." —Diana Rattray

Pancake mix funnel cake on a white plate with a shaker filled with confectioners' sugar nearby
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pancake mix funnel cake recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  2. Fill a 10-inch (or larger) heavy skillet halfway with the vegetable oil. Over medium heat, bring the oil to 350 F. 

    Heavy skillet filled halfway with vegetable oil

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  3. Combine the pancake mix, sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Whisk in the water, a few tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. It should be similar to a cake batter, not too runny but not too thick.

    Pancake mix, sugar, and vanilla extract combined in a large bowl and water being added by the tablespoon

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  4. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch-wide tip. Or use a plastic zip top bag with a small portion of the corner snipped off.

    Smooth batter in a bowl with an empty pastry bag next to it

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  5. Working quickly, squeeze all of the batter in a circular motion into the hot oil, forming a large disk.

    Funnel cake in a round, squiggly pattern almost entirely filling the skillet with the hot oil

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  6. Cook about 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute or until golden brown. Lift and remove from the oil using a large slotted spoon or spatula.

    Golden-brown, puffed up funnel cake filling the skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  7. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain off excess oil.

    Golden brown funnel cake lying on paper towels

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  8. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve warm.

    Funnel cake on a blue serving plate being dusted with confectioners' sugar with a small sieve

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Funnel Cake Tips

  • Check the temperature of the hot oil by using a candy thermometer. If the oil is too hot it will burn the funnel cake. If it is too cool, the batter will sink to the bottom of the pan.
  • While you can use a funnel, you don't actually need a funnel to create a funnel cake. A pastry bag with a 1/4 inch tip, or a zip top plastic bag with the corner snipped off, both work great.
  • You can also use a squeeze bottle with the nozzle snipped to make a 1/4-inch opening.
  • To avoid hot oil splatter, carefully turn the funnel cake over using tongs or two spatulas.
  • You may also use a heavy Dutch oven to cook the funnel cake.

Funnel Cake Variations

  • Instead of confectioners' sugar, drizzle your funnel cake with maple syrup or a fruit-flavored syrup.
  • A dusting of cocoa powder along with the confectioners' sugar also works well for a chocolate twist.
  • You can top funnel cakes with scoops of ice cream or whipped cream and a drizzle of your favorite hot fudge sauce or caramel sauce.
  • Make a strawberry shortcake funnel cake with a generous dollop of whipped cream and macerated strawberries.

Funnel Cake Storage

  • Funnel cakes are best enjoyed warm, right after cooking. They don't keep well.
  • You can refrigerate funnel cake batter for up to 24 hours.

Why is my funnel cake falling apart?

A funnel cake needs to be drizzled with portions overlapping so that when it puffs up and cooks, the streams of cake hold together. If your funnel cake is falling apart, try overlapping the drizzle as it falls into the hot oil.

Why is it called funnel cake?

Beginning as a Pennsylvania Dutch festival food, funnel cakes get the distinct name from the original preparation technique of pushing the batter through a funnel to fry the cakes.