We compare bottled pancake mixes from B&M, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S
Hooray, it’s Shrove Tuesday! The perfect excuse to eat pancakes for any occasion and mealtime.
Plus, there are so many kinds to choose from, light and thin English pancakes, thick and fluffy American pancakes or large light and airy Japanese pancakes. Versatile food has so many variations that you could spend all day trying to make them all.
But if time is of the essence, or you have hungry little ones who just can’t wait for their pancakes, then a supermarket bottle mix will easily do the trick. Plus, they’re cheap, and the only other thing you’ll need to buy is the milk and toppings of your choice.
Writer Rachel Williams decided to test the premixes. She bought bottles from B&M, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to find the best one.
Here is her story of how she got along and which premix was the best. As originally reported by the Daily Record.
What pancake mixes have been tried?
As mentioned above, I visited three supermarkets and a popular retailer for different pancake mixes and if you notice that one is not like the others, you are absolutely right. I realize B&M might seem like an odd choice considering the other three options are supermarkets, but this was the only other option that was close to me.
Also, many places stock their own pancake mixes, not just supermarkets, so this seemed like a decent replacement. To make it a fair test, I tested each of them on ease of cooking and tried a few without any toppings on the first test to really see how the pancakes turned out without anything sticky. nothing else masks the taste.
Here are the four pancake mixes I tried.
- Tesco pancake shaker mix – £1.00
- M&S pancake shaker mix – £1.00
- B&M Betty Winters shake to cook pancake mix – 79p
- Sainsbury’s pancake mix – £1.00
M&S pancake shaker mix
Since I wasn’t testing homemade pancakes, I could pretty much choose one of four choices to start with, but I ended up choosing M&S as my first choice because, well, it’s M&S and they’re rarely missed. All supermarkets were also prepared in exactly the same way which was easy as I just had to pour in water and shake the mixture until smooth.
Also, the mixes themselves said to use water, so don’t consider me a pancake blasphemer. I’m going to be completely honest here in saying that M&S pancake mix really surprised me – and not in a good way.
First of all, the batter itself didn’t mix really well and I found the mixture was still quite lumpy even after mixing it for quite a while. As for the crepe itself, well, it took greasing the pan a few times to get the mixture to cook properly, and even then the third attempt wasn’t the best.
Did taste bad, no, and it was light enough to work well with my usual maple syrup topping, but I found it to be slightly saltier than I would have liked. Overall, I was slightly disappointed with the M&S mix, mainly for how hard it turned out to be surprisingly difficult.
Sainsbury’s pancake mix
Next to be whipped and sautéed in the pan was none other than Sainsbury’s, the supermarket renowned for its quality and freshness. Also costing £1 like other supermarket options, I could hardly complain about the price.
The immediate difference I noticed between this and the M&S mix was that the Sainsbury’s was much better mixed and left no lumps in the batter. It also cooked much easier in the pan, but I found the mixture to be quite thin and I had to use a lot to get a decent sized pancake.
Once everything was ready and served, I noticed that it remained slightly thinner and had a few crunchy bits near the edges. As for the taste – well, it wasn’t bad. Not as salty as M&S which was a plus, but it still didn’t have the sweetness I was looking for to balance it out.
Overall not bad, but still not something I rush to buy again.
Tesco pancake shaker mix
The next and last of the supermarkets was Tesco, which is a brand that is stocked in many households due to its reputation for value and quality. For their pancake mix, I’m sad to say it’s not.
It was easily the worst of the bunch for preparation, taste and appearance and lacked just about everything I love about pancakes. While the mixture came together quite well and without lumps, it took me a few tries to make it into a good crepe as they kept breaking apart when I tried to make them.
When served it was quite oily and mushy leading to a sort of fluffy pancake – meaning there is no fluffy goodness and I was deeply disappointed. The pancake batter itself wouldn’t take on that golden tone either, the flavor was virtually non-existent after one bite and no amount of maple syrup could save this one.
Easily the worst of the bunch and I wouldn’t buy again.
B&M Betty Winters Shake to Bake Pancake Mix
The last competitor on the list was not a supermarket, and that was my last hope for pre-made pancake mixes. At this point, I was feeling pretty beat up, but to my surprise, the B&M 79p pancake mix was not only the cheapest, but the only one that made the right cut.
This could be because the mix said to use milk – instead of water like the rest – so it resulted in a much fuller and creamier mix that I missed with the other offerings. The mixture? lump-free. The crepe ? golden and soft. Taste? balanced with notes of sweetness and vanilla that the others were sorely lacking.
It was also the only one that was the easiest to prepare, easily dropped into the pan and cooked on both sides, so thumbs up. Other supermarkets should take note.
Of all the choices, it’s pretty obvious that there was only one clear winner, as B&M managed to knock it out of the park with their 79p pancake shaker mix. If you’re looking to skip the hassle of making pancakes in the kitchen, or don’t want to go to the supermarket for missing ingredients you don’t have, then this is a worthy substitute.
It was the only pancake mix of the bunch that gave me a pancake that tasted like a homemade pancake. M&S’ was fine, but that disappointed me as it lacked that M&S star quality that I have come to know and associate with them.
Sainsbury’s wasn’t bad either, but I wouldn’t rush to buy it again, and Tesco was the one I found the worst.