Don’t Store Cake or Pancake Mixes for Long-Term Storage.

When we first began storing food for emergencies and building up our food storage pantry, my wife would buy things like cake mixes and pancake mix. Over time, as they sat on our pantry shelves, we encountered a couple of problems with them that made us re-think this particular strategy, one we thought would save us time in food prep in a crisis.

So, bottom line, my advice is to not store either of these for several reasons. Now, first, I am talking about the cake or pancake mixes, you purchase at your local grocery store and come in cardboard boxes, not the canned products produced by reputable long-term food companies.

cake or pancake mixes

One reason for my caution is that you have no control over what goes into the mixes. Many of them contain oils of different types, dairy, and who knows what else. The labels on the packages often don’t give you enough information for you to make an intelligent decision about storing these products. Because it is a mixture, the shelf life is determined by the ingredient with the shortest shelf life. In the case of added oils it can be as short as a few months with the entire mix becoming rancid and unusable.

Even packed in Mylar packs with oxygen absorbers, the shelf life may not be the best. I prefer to store the ingredients to make cake or pancake mixes separately and make my pancakes from scratch. If something goes wrong with one of the ingredients, you can still make something from the remaining ingredients that are still fresh.

Making pancakes from food storage ingredients

If there is one “survival skill” you should master, it’s making everything you eat from scratch. This allows you to stock up on individual ingredients that can be used to create hundreds and hundreds of different foods. I’ll have to write a separate article on that topic one of these days!

In the meantime, I wanted to give you an example of how you can always have fresh ingredients on hand when you get a hankering for something like pancakes. Let’s take a look at this copycat recipe for Denney’s famous buttermilk pancakes and how I would go about having these ingredients stored for long-term use.


1 1/2 cups buttermilk — Use dried milk powder to mix this up and then add a tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to curdle.
3 tablespoons cooking oil — We stock up on coconut oil as it’s healthier* and has a longer shelf life than other oils.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda — Easy to stock up on and store.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour — Flour has a shelf-life of at least a couple of years, but you can always grind wheat to make fresh flour.
1/4 teaspoon salt — Super cheap and easy to stock up on.
1 egg, slightly beaten — Use egg powder like OvaEasy and don’t worry about having fresh eggs on hand.
2 tablespoon granulated sugar — Another ingredient you can easily stock up on and store for long-term use
2 teaspoons baking powder — Make a DIY batch of this or just stock up and store.

In case you’re wondering how to put all this together, you’ll mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then whip together the egg, oil, and buttermilk. Stir this together until it creates a lumpy batter and then pour about 1/4 cup onto a griddle. Cook for a minute or so on each side.

Find cake and brownie recipes that you love and then begin stocking up on the individual ingredients just as we did here with our copycat Denney’s pancake recipe. You’ll find that many ingredients overlap, so as you stock up, you’ll be able to make pancakes, sweet breads, brownies, cookies, and many other delicious, favorite foods.

Other issues with long-term storage

I have read articles about people getting sick from these products being used well after their expiration date. Now I have not been able to find any hard facts on this, but suspect it was from improper storage that allowed mold to form.

Another problem that I have read about is people saying that the baking powder loses its strength over time. I have not been able to verify this, but have found information that baking powder stored by itself will store for many years. Here is a link to a post that I wrote a couple of years ago that reference a study done by BYU on the shelf life of baking powder. The shelf life may be shorter when it is mixed with other products.

My advice is if you want cakes and pancakes as part of your food storage pantry, store the ingredients separately, and make sure they are each packaged for long-term storage. Besides, homemade baked goods taste better than store-bought cake or pancake mixes any day of the week!

* Most all oils will become rancid over time, but coconut oil is one of the healthiest you can use and stays fresh much, much longer. Reading the book The Big Fat Surprise opened my eyes to how our public health organizations have used flawed data to promote the worst possible fats, such as vegetable oils. If you haven’t read the book, you need to!

17 thoughts on “Don’t Store Cake or Pancake Mixes for Long-Term Storage.”

  1. I understand your concern and will head your advice…a little.
    We use both Krusteze pancake mix and Bisquick. We have used Krusteze that were 4+ years old and all we do is store it in one of the large (CHRISTmas)popcorn tins, and it was fine. (but I believe you are addressing long term such as 10 years or more?)
    I am aware of not buying ‘butter’ or cheese flavored potato flakes for long term storage as the dairy ingredients can go rancid, so I will look into your findings and go from there. Just FYI…We do store the separate ingredients also.
    Thanks for all your info.

  2. Not as “long term” storage, but I have stored Bisquick, pancake mix, all-purpose flour and cornmeal, in its original cardboard or paper bag packaging, vacuum sealed in a plastic bag with an oxygen absorber and placed in the freezer for 4-5 years and it was OK. It is important to date and rotate stock. This was less intended as food storage than taking advantage of sales and keeping a quantity which could be used at the hunting camp or to donate for community food kitchens to feed the needy, though our church, and so far all has been OK using the old stock first.

  3. I actually found some of Emergency Essentials gallons of pancake had started to bulge slightly after about 4-5 years. I opened them and used them and they were ok but I wasn’t very happy about “20 year” cans showing bulging.

    1. We had that happen with Thrive Life pancake mix. I wonder if it might have been the same batch from the same food production plant.

  4. Well crap – I’m still new to prepping and I guess I made a rookie mistake. The 25 pound bag of mix from Sam’s Club, I stored in Mylar in a 5 gallon bucket with 2000 cc O2 absorbers just may have to be donated. It’s only a few months old at this point and I hate to see it go to waist.
    I still have GP flour and I freeze dry my own eggs so I’ll just have to make scratch pancakes.

  5. Take all storage advice with a grain of salt. Prior to LDS testing of how long different stored foods will last the estimates were very low. LDS actual research proved that many of the assumptions were completely wrong. 95% of “advice” online is people repeating what they have read from other people repeating what they have read repeating…. etc.

    Here is a link to someone who ate 7 year old Krusteaz pancake mix that was in it’s original packaging… no mylar… no oxygen absorbers.
    He said it was perfectly fine.

    Date the food you store and do your own tests. Store smaller amounts in mylar with oxygen absorbers then test them after 3 years or 5 years or 7 years. Not everything lasts 30 years… so what?… I replace my beans after 3-5 years just because… they are cheap. I store krusteaz pancake mix. I store “just add water” cake mixes. I haven’t tested them after 5 years, but I will. They are cheap! $5 for 5 lbs… 5 lbs is 40 servings. So you could store 400 servings of pancakes for $50. If you don’t trust it after 5 years throw it out and store some more….

    My point is, don’t take everything you read as gospel. I, personally, get paid to write “homestead articles” but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert. People sharing their personal opinions online aren’t either. This is a good site, but what do they Personally KNOW from Actual Testing of Krusteaz mix over 10+ years of storage? Nobody giving advice is actually doing long term tests except for the LDS church. Yes, it has soybean oil, dried egg whites and dried buttermilk in it. OK… how long will it be good? Find out for yourself.

    1. Those are all very good points. One caveat I would add to certain mixes that you mention is that if it smells rancid, I wouldn’t eat it just as I wouldn’t consume rancid oil.

  6. Is it normal for pancake mix to come straight from the grocery shelf in a cardboard box and no plastic bag or wax paper bag?

      1. Similar to our strategy except we use canning jars. With the vacuum sealer, I’ve had problems with the system sucking the dry powder into the tube and getting clogged.

  7. Saying someone stored a mix for seven years…perhaps is OK, but

    temperatures make a lot of difference !

    Dry, low temperature is perfect.

    HOT room is NOT a perfect storage area.

    1. David, you’re talking my language here, man! Heat is the worst thing you can do to stored food, and you’re exactly right about temperatures affecting pancake mixes.

  8. I would love to know what brand and where to find “just use water” cake mixes.
    Also, powdered eggs are extremely hard to find these days and very very expensive if you do find some. Does anyone know where to find these products? And can eggs be frozen and used effectively?

    1. Yes – you can freeze eggs! I have found that scrambling first helps with consistency. Another option (big investment but big payoff) is freezedrying – I will pay off the thousands the FD cost probably just with the eggs (joking but not really:) FD foods are rediculously expensive. Having your own FD allows to controll ingredients, no disgusting preservstives or too much sugar.

  9. I bought baking mixes that I was planning to store, not long term but in my 2-3 year pantry. I was planning to use mylar with oxygen absorbers. My question is, should I freeze these first? I’ve read some blogs that say to do that with flour to kill incects.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top