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As a nutrition coach, I encourage my clients to start the day with a quality protein source at breakfast. Pancakes typically don’t have enough protein, so I’m often asked if adding protein powder to the pancake mix is okay.
The short answer is: yes!
- The benefits of mixing your protein powder and pancake mix include boosting your daily protein intake, decreasing hunger levels, supporting muscle growth, and stabilizing your energy levels by reducing blood-glucose spikes.
- The potential downsides of adding protein powder to your pancakes include a change in texture (potentially a more dry consistency). I recommend using casein protein for a fluffier pancake consistency.
- Protein pancakes can be great for those on a muscle gain OR fat loss diet. The difference will depend on the number of pancakes eaten and any additional ingredients to the recipe (syrup, butter, etc.).
Benefits of Mixing Protein Powder With Pancake Mix
1. Boosts Protein Intake
One of the main benefits of adding protein powder to pancake mix is that it boosts your protein intake to help you meet your daily protein requirements.
The ideal protein intake is 1.4 to 2.0 g per kilogram of body weight.
Most people struggle to reach high protein levels, especially when they prefer higher-carb foods like bread or cereal for breakfast.
Adding protein powder to your protein pancakes is an extremely easy way to boost your protein intake and does not require any additional prep time like other protein sources such as eggs.
2. Helps Increase Fullness Levels
Another benefit of adding protein powder to pancake mix is its satiating effect.
Carbs digest quickly and won’t fill you up for as long, especially if they are processed carbs (such as white flour). Protein takes longer to digest, meaning you feel fuller for longer.
You might have noticed that after eating regular pancakes, you feel hungry just one or two hours after the meal. You may be tempted to snack more throughout the day or increase portion sizes at lunch.
This can result in weight gain from a higher calorie intake.
Adding protein powder to the pancake mix allows you to feel fuller for longer, resulting in less snacking and better portion control at other meals.
3. Supports Muscle Mass
Protein plays an essential role in muscle formation.
For certain individuals, getting enough protein to support muscle recovery and growth can be difficult, especially if you have a busy schedule, cannot stop to eat often, or do not have the time to cook protein sources such as chicken, fish, etc.
Adding a protein powder into your diet is a great way to ensure you are hitting your targets to support muscle growth, and providing your body with all of the essential amino acids that are necessary to help your muscles recover and rebuild from training.
4. Better Glucose Control
Finally, adding protein powder to the pancake mix allows you to have better glucose control.
Most pancake mixes are high in processed carbs, which can spike your sugar levels immediately after eating them.
Irregular glucose levels can lead to unstable energy throughout the day (having a sugar rush followed by a sudden crash). It can also lead to more cravings and poor mood.
Since protein takes longer to digest, it allows the glucose from the pancakes to be released more slowly and creates more stable glucose levels.
- Related: What Can You Mix With Protein Powder? 13 Examples
Drawbacks of Mixing Protein Powder With Pancake Mix
1. Might Change the Texture
The major drawback of mixing protein powder with pancake mix is that it can change the consistency.
Protein powder might absorb more water than the recipe intends, resulting in dry and untasty pancakes. More specifically, using a whey protein in your pancakes can result in a drier pancake consistency.
However, you can fix this by adding more milk or water. I’ll provide instructions on how to do this in the following sections.
2. Can Produce Stomach Distress
For certain individuals, protein powder can cause stomach issues such as bloating, gas, cramps, and even diarrhea.
This can be due to a dairy intolerance (if you are using whey or casein), or even a lack of fiber in the protein powder. Some people may even have sensitivities to plant-based protein powders as well.
It is important to try different protein powders to find the one that suits you best.
If you find most protein powders cause digestive discomfort, I recommend experimenting with a collagen/bone broth protein powder.
In my experience with clients that have digestive issues, I have found that collagen/ bone broth protein powders can be much easier on the stomach compared with both dairy and plant-based options.
How Much Protein Powder Should You Add?
On average, men should consume around 30-40 g of protein per meal and women should have 15-30 g of protein per meal.
Depending on the brand of protein powder used, one scoop (~25-30 g) may be enough for men, and half a scoop may be enough for women.
Other Factors To Consider When Mixing Protein Powder and Pancake Mix
1. Increase the Amount of Liquid
As mentioned, adding protein powder to a pancake mix can change the pancakes’ texture. Since protein powder absorbs more water, it can leave you with dry pancakes.
To avoid this, add an additional one or two tablespoons of water or milk for every scoop of protein powder. You can add more to make the mix a little runnier.
You may also need to add up to three additional tablespoons of liquid if using casein protein powder.
2. Don’t Over-Mix
One of the most common mistakes most people make when making pancakes is over-mixing the batter.
When you overmix the batter, it can leave you with flat and tough pancakes instead of fluffy pancakes.
You only need to stir it a couple of times to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.
3. Choose The Right Protein Powder
Finally, one last thing to consider when mixing protein powder in the pancake mix is the type of protein powder.
Whey protein is often the go-to source, however, whey can easily denature (breaking down and altering the amino acids and other molecular structures that are found in protein) when exposed to heat.
While this doesn’t impact the amount of protein you ingest, it can result in crummy or dry pancakes.
On the other hand, casein easily binds to water and fats, allowing you to have more fluffy pancakes.
With that said, casein absorbs more water than whey, so you will want to add extra water to the mix (2-3 tablespoons per scoop might be enough).
You can still get good results with whey protein powder as long as you are adding the right amount of liquid, using a high-quality protein powder, and ensuring that you are not cooking your pancakes at extremely high heat.
- Related: Can You Cook With Protein Powder?
Best Protein Powder To Mix With Pancake Mix
Naked Protein Powder Blend
Naked Protein Powder Blend is the best option if you want a protein powder to mix with your pancakes.
It offers a combination of whey, casein, and egg white to help boost the protein content. Since it uses different types of proteins, some of which you already put in regular pancakes (egg whites), it won’t change the texture and taste of the pancakes too much.
Additionally, since it comes unflavored, you don’t have to be tied down to one flavor. You can add any mix-ins or toppings you want, like chocolate chips, berries, or nut butter.
Two scoops of this protein powder contain 25 grams of protein.
Pancake Mixes That Go Well With Protein Powder
1. Pearl Miller Company: Traditional Pancakes
If you want a traditional pancake mix to add some protein powder, Pearl Miller Company’s Pancake mix is the best option. Since it is made with simple carbs, it won’t be difficult to mix with a protein powder.
Additionally, its flavor pairs nicely with both vanilla and chocolate protein powders.
Because this mix uses processed carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar, it does not contain a significant amount of fiber.
This makes it an ideal pre-workout snack since simple carbs help to replenish glycogen stores in your muscles that are depleted while training at a faster rate
2. Birch Benders Pancakes: High Protein
If you want to boost your protein intake even further, you can add some protein powder to a high-protein pancake mix.
Birch Benders Pancakes is a great option for a high-protein pancake mix and contains 10 grams of protein in ¼ cup of the mix. Therefore, adding one scoop of protein can boost your protein intake to up to 30-40 g in this meal.
The Birch Benders Pancake mix contains significantly more protein per serving when compared to a traditional pancake mix, which is typically 3 grams of protein per ¼ cup of the mix.
Protein Powder With Pancake Mix Recipe
High Protein Banana Pancakes
Serving size: 6 large pancakes
While this recipe calls for a high protein pancake mix, you are welcome to use the pancake mix of your choosing. I only mention this since it will change the macronutrient content of the pancakes.
Nutrition Information (per 6 pancakes, no toppings):
- Calories: 815
- Protein: 72 grams
- Carbohydrates: 113 grams
- Fat: 13 grams
- 1 cup Birch Benders Pancake Mix
- 2 scoops of Naked Protein Powder
- ¾ cup skim milk (or milk of choice)
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl
- Mash ripe banana in a bowl and combine with wet ingredients
- Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine until batter is smooth without any lumps. Do not overmix the batter
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat with nonstick cooking spray
- Slowly pour 1/4 cup circles in the pan, and cook each pancake for about 2 minutes before checking edges
- After 2 minutes if the edges of the pancake are golden brown, flip the pancake and let cook for another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have used all of the batter
- Top with desired toppings (maple syrup, butter, nut butters, fruit) and enjoy!
When To Consume?
While you can choose to eat a high-protein pancake at any time of the day, the best time to consume this meal would be as your pre or post-workout nutrition since these pancakes are primarily made up of protein and fast digesting carbohydrates.
As mentioned earlier, eating a fast-digesting carb alongside a protein source is a great post-workout meal since the carbs will help to replenish depleted glycogen stores, and the protein will help to repair and rebuild muscle that was damaged during your workout.
Eating a protein pancake as a pre-workout snack is also a great option since the carbohydrates will give you an easily digested fuel source for your training session. The protein in the pancake will help to ensure you stay fuller for longer and don’t experience an energy spike followed by a crash while you train.
Of course, you could always eat your protein pancake at the most convenient time to consume pancakes; breakfast time.
Eating a protein pancake as opposed to a regular pancake in the morning is a much better option to give you fuel for the day while also keeping blood glucose levels stable and hitting your protein target.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Protein Powder Instead of Flour For Pancakes?
Yes, you can use protein powder instead of flour for pancakes, but it might change the consistency and taste of the pancakes. If you are wanting a true pancake consistency, it’s better to add the protein powder as an extra ingredient instead of a replacement.
Will Protein Powder Mix Well With Pancake Mix?
Yes, protein powder mixes well with pancake mix. However, it depends on the type of pancake mix used and the type of protein powder. Plant-based protein powder may not mix quite as well compared to animal options like whey or casein, but can still be used as long as you add more liquid for the right consistency.
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Jäger, R., Kerksick, C.M., Campbell, B.I. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 20 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8
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About The Author
Colby Roy is a holistic health and nutrition coach. She is certified through Precision Nutrition and has a passion for all things nutrition and healing the body. More specifically, Colby likes to work with clients who want to optimize their gut health and energy levels.
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