Mixed Review: Bisquick Shake 'n' Pour Pancakes


"No eggs, no buttermilk, no baking powder. How simple is that?"


If you missed Sarah Karnasiewicz's excellent piece in Salon last month on preserving, it's worth going back to read. Like Sarah, I was also bitten by the jamming bug this season. But while Sarah made a transcendent batch of Kentucky bourbon strawberry jam, I was less successful.

My strawberry-port jam was more like strawberry-port soup. It tasted intensely fruity and compellingly sweet, but there was no way it would ever adhere to a piece of toast—not even one that had already been slicked with sticky peanut butter.

There was only one thing to do: when life gives you six jars of runny jam, you make lots of pancakes.


Since I had already spent two long, sweaty hours in the kitchen laboring over my failed jam, I wanted something quick, straightforward, and uncomplicated. The easiest pancake mix on the market right now is Bisquick's Shake 'n Pour ($1.99). All you need to do is add 2/3 cup of water to the carton, shake vigorously, and then pour the batter into a hot skillet. No eggs, no buttermilk, no baking powder. How simple is that?

I preheated my trusty nonstick pan and added the water to the Bisquick mix. After 30 seconds of vigorous shaking, the instructions suggested whacking the bottle on a tabletop to loosen the stubborn bits of dry mix at the bottom. I tried this method, but through the bright yellow plastic I could still see pockets of unincorporated mix. I banged it around a few more times, then gave up and mixed the batter with a fork until it was smooth.


I poured three puddles into the skillet. The batter was quite thin and it began to bubble at the center almost immediately. (As I child, I remember my mother reminding me to be patient and wait—it seemed like forever—before flipping the cooking pancakes.) These Bisquick pancakes cooked in less than one minute per side.

I made six large pancakes, piling them high on a plate as I went. Then I topped them with a big pat of butter and poured about half a jar of my jam-syrup on top. Yum. It looked like a pretty good breakfast. The pancakes weren't quite as fluffy and thick as homemade versions, but they were pleasingly golden and smelled sweetly of warm dough.


The tasted pretty good, too. I was worried the flavor would be overwhelmingly artificial, but they were surprisingly light and fresh. If I hadn't made them myself, I never would have known they were prepared with water in place of milk.

Texture-wise, the pancakes were consistent and springy. I was, however, a little disappointed by how thin they were. I like my pancakes thick as couch cushions, the better to absorb all that butter and syrup. In the end, I would say the Bisquick Shake 'n Pour Mix is good enough to eat in a pinch, or alongside scrambled eggs and bacon, but I wouldn't prepare them for a leisurely Sunday brunch or as a stand-alone breakfast dish.