This Healthy-ish Box Mix Is My Secret to Early Morning Breakfasts

As a pancake connoisseur, Kodiak Power Cakes is the only boxed mix I buy

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Kodiak Power Cakes

The Spruce Eats / Rachel Knecht

This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.

Weekend breakfasts are a big deal in my house. I have a handful of go-tos, such as homemade biscuits, muffins, and waffles. But it’s no secret that my favorite breakfast is pancakes. I’m quite picky and skeptical when I order them on vacation with my usual comment being that they taste like a box mix and that I should’ve ordered the French toast instead. But when the pancake craving hits, I can’t help myself! I need a stack of pancakes with a pat of butter and warm, pure maple syrup. Unlike me, the boys (including my husband) take a savory route by tucking a sausage link inside for “pigs in a blanket” or spreading peanut butter on top. How they can resist golden syrup dripping down fluffy pancakes is beyond me.

Kodiak Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix

Kodiak Power Cakes


What We Like
  • Just add water for pancakes

  • Simple ingredients

  • High protein

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

  • Recipes on the box didn’t turn out as well

The same ingredients that make the muffins and waffles are used to make pancakes as well, so it may surprise you that I stock a pancake mix, especially knowing how much I love pancakes and dislike the “boxed pancake mix” flavor. I’ve made many, many pancakes from scratch with delicious results, but these days, I turn to Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix in the buttermilk flavor. (I should note that Kodiak Cakes calls griddled cakes “flapjacks” as opposed to “pancakes.” These words are interchangeable in America so I’m going to stick with my Midwestern roots and refer to them as pancakes.)

Kodiak Power Cakes with finished pancakes on a platter and on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Rachel Knecht

You see, I’m not a morning person, especially on the weekends. But my 15-year-old son plays soccer, and the soccer gods do not care that I’d rather be in bed. He has games every weekend and with half the games being “away,” we can easily have an hour drive with an arrival time of 8 a.m. Do you know how long it takes a groggy teen to make toast and eggs and how frustrating it is for him to say that “he’s still hungry” when we really need to be getting in the car? I’m sure a lot of you do. I know I’m not alone in trying to come up with ways to feed hungry kids hearty, tasty breakfasts quickly. My solution? Whip up a large batch of Power Cakes. If I’m thinking ahead, I’ll have the pancakes made the night before, but even if not, mixing just-add-water pancake mix in the morning is something this tired mom can accomplish before she has coffee in hand. 

But this is not just any pancake mix—it’s “power” cake mix. It has 14 grams of protein, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and only 3 grams of  sugar per serving. In fact, if I want more protein, swap out the water and use milk, or for even more (20 grams), use milk and an egg. I don’t usually do this though because the pancakes have a great texture as-is and are plenty filling without making any swaps, which I really appreciate.

I know I’m not alone in trying to come up with ways to feed hungry kids hearty, tasty breakfasts quickly.

But most importantly, it tastes good! I’m happy eating these even on our leisurely mornings. We always get the buttermilk flavor since it's slightly tangy, fluffy, and very customizable. I’ll toss in blueberries, chopped strawberries, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips, depending on my mood. If you want to leave the add-ins to the professionals, there’s  a variety of flavors: Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate, or Cinnamon Oat and all can keep pancake boredom at bay. 

And while the back of the box has recipes for muffins, chocolate chip cookies, and waffles, ignore them. I’ve tried the waffles but they stuck in the waffle maker more than my homemade recipe. The muffins were tasty but if I’m melting butter, mashing bananas, and cracking eggs, then I’ll just grab the flour and baking powder and leave the Kodiak Power Cake mix for those times when all I want is a stress-free morning, a stack of pancakes dripping with syrup, and a satiated teen.

Plating finished Kodiak power cakes off a griddle

The Spruce Eats / Rachel Knecht

Servings Per Container: 11 | Calories Per Serving: 190 | Total Fat Per Serving: 2 grams | Total Carbohydrates Per Serving: 30 grams | Protein Per Serving: 14 grams

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Rachel Knecht is a recipe developer, food writer, and recipe tester based in Seattle. Her recipes and writing have appeared on Simply Recipes and she began writing for Spruce Eats in 2022.