Pancake Mix Makes the Easiest, Tastiest Frying Batter

Pancake Mix Makes the Easiest, Tastiest Frying Batter

Surprisingly, some people absolutely despise boxed pancake mixes. Making pancakes is “easy,” so why buy a pointless mix? Well, my boxed-carb friends, the haters fail to see how versatile this mix really is. Not only can you make killer apple fritters with pancake mix but it makes a versatile and flavorful batter for almost anything. Today, I made a highly snackable mound of veggies with a tempura-esque batter I whipped up from pancake mix, and you can too.

It’s not that I have a hard time eating vegetables, I’m a big fan (go broccoli!), but they can get boring even for the biggest veggie enthusiast. Having an easy-to-remember batter recipe to lean on can make it a breeze to use up leftover red peppers, asparagus, squash, or those last sweet potatoes you can’t seem to finish. The ratio of pancake mix to water is 1:1, which means (for me at least) this batter couldn’t be easier to remember.

Here are tools that can help make frying easier and more consistent:

How to make tempura-ish vegetables with pancake mix

The batter thinly coats the broccoli, pepper, and hot dog slices. Hot dogs aren’t a vegetable, but let me live.
Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Traditional tempura batter is objectively simple to make—it’s a mixture of flour, egg, and ice water—but occasionally using something like complete pancake mix can feel approachable and thrifty. Plus, there are other ingredients involved that give this recipe aeration and that malty flavor you know and love from pancake mix.

1. Heat the oil and prep the veggies

The batter comes together in moments, so it’s best to prepare everything else before adding water to the pancake mix. Most vegetables (and fruits that we view as veggies) taste great lightly battered and fried, so use whatever you like. I usually end up slicing the stray pepper, remaining broccoli florets, sweet potatoes, or mushrooms for this. Cut them into bite-sized, or two-bite pieces. Heat about a half-inch to an inch of neutral cooking oil in a pot or skillet, whatever vessel you like for frying. Aim for 350°F to 375°F degrees.

2. Make the batter

Like I mentioned before, complete pancake mix can make for a versatile batter. You can make a thick and doughy batter, or a light and thin batter akin to tempura. I used three-quarters of a cup each of water and complete pancake mix. I added the water in three additions while whisking to minimize lumps and got enough runny batter to cover about two cups of vegetable pieces. If you decide to make your batter thicker, keep in mind it may take extra time to cook.

3. Dip and fry

Dunk the veggies in the batter and coat them thoroughly. The batter is runny so you’ll want to flip each morsel again just before moving it into the hot oil. I used a fork to flip the veggies and then scoot them into the pot. Allow the veggies to cook for about a minute on each side, or until crisp and lightly browned. Drain them on a paper towel lined plate or a wire cooling rack. Between each batch, use a slotted spoon to scoop out stray chunks of batter floating in the oil.

I like to give everything fried a sprinkle of salt as soon as it comes out of the hot oil. Serve your pan-pura veggies with a flavorful dipping sauce, and enjoy them immediately, as they’ll start to lose their airy, crunchy quality if they sit around.

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