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Fluffy Protein Pancakes with Only 3 Ingredients

If you know me at all, then it’s no secret that I’m a huge waffle fan. So, it may seem very strange seeing me post a pancake recipe…

I need to set the record straight. I love ALL breakfast food.

Yes, waffles are my breakfast of choice. I believe they’re the most versatile and delicious of all the breakfast options out there.

But that being said, it would be crazy for me to say I don’t appreciate a stack of fluffy pancakes!

There’s just something about light, fluffy pancakes that make them an incredible comfort food.

We can love waffles and still make delicious pancakes because sometimes you just want a stack of pillowy protein pancakes.

We don’t need any insane ingredients to make this stack of pancakes, either. All we need are 3 very simple ingredients that you likely already have in the house!

 

You only need 3 ingredients to make protein pancakes

Many people request simple recipes from me, and these protein pancakes deliver in that department.

We only need three ingredients to make these protein pancakes.

Yes, three!

Many protein pancake recipes out there require, egg whites, Greek yogurt, rolled oats or oat flour, cottage cheese, and the list goes on. We don’t need ANY of that here.

Here’s what you need to make protein pancakes:

  • Cake mix
  • Diet soda or seltzer
  • Vanilla protein powder (or any flavor of your choice)

Really, that’s it!

You can use any cake mix you’d like to make these pancakes, too. I find Funfetti to be superior when it comes to cakes (maybe it’s just the nostalgia), so that’s always my choice when I’m in the mood for something fun.

If you want to go with classic pancakes, a regular yellow cake mix works unbelievably well for an authentic pancake flavor.

3-Ingredient Cake Mix Pancakes

Since cake mix already includes baking powder, it’s a nice little shortcut for us.

As far as the protein powder is concerned, we only need to use about one scoop here. Depending on the type of protein powder you use, 30g will be roughly one scoop of protein- I kicked it up to 40g of protein, so slightly more than a scoop, but anywhere from 30-40g of protein works just the same.

Note that I did try adding even more protein powder to these pancakes, but I found the final result to be very dry. 40g total (1 & 1/3 scoops) was the sweet spot I found for still having these taste like authentic pancakes.

It’s not a ton of protein overall, about 6g of protein per pancake, but the protein powder actually helps these protein pancakes become even fluffier.

I haven’t tested these protein powder pancakes with any other type of protein, but I would imagine that most types should work. The one I use for my protein pancakes (and pretty much all other recipes on my blog) is PEScience, which is a blend of whey & casein protein.

If you want to try it out, you can use my code “Matt” to save 15% on your order!

Whey protein should work just fine as well, considering the amount is pretty low. Whey protein powder tends to lead to dry results, but it should still work.

I try to test many recipes with various types of protein powder, and you can check out my Protein Powder Substitution Guide if you want to see all the differences.

I have no experience testing these with vegan protein, but if you try it, please let me know if it works!

 

Why do we use diet soda for these protein pancakes?

Cake mix + diet soda is my favorite baking hack of all time. Most cake mix requires adding coconut oil/butter or eggs to make the cake.

My “hack” that I learned many years ago is swapping those out for diet soda! I couldn’t tell you why it works, but it works incredibly well.

When you use this hack to make cake (or cupcakes), look how fluffy they get!

Try this swap next time you’re making a cake or cupcakes, and I promise nobody would ever know the difference.

No matter what type of soda you use, you won’t taste the flavor. I’ve used plain seltzer, lime, peach, and others, and you can’t taste them in the slightest! The flavor cooks right out.

I’ve tested this numerous times and always have fantastic results. Check out my Protein Strawberry Cheesecake CupcakesProtein Churro Bites, or Microwave Mug Crumb Cake to see this same diet soda hack in action.

 

How to make 3-ingredient protein pancakes

These pancakes really couldn’t be easier, but let’s walk through it so I can give ya a few tips.

First, mix your 3 ingredients together in a bowl. Be sure to gently mix everything up until there is no dry powder left, but don’t overmix. If you beat the batter too much, you will flatten the carbonation, and that’s how we’re getting a rise out of these protein pancakes.

The batter you’re left with should be thick, but easily pourable (or spoonable, in this case).

Once the protein pancake batter is ready to go, heat a pan or skillet over low-medium heat for a few minutes.

Spray the pan with cooking spray, then use a spoon to add the batter to the pan. Each pancake was 2 spoonfuls for me, and I am able to consistently fit 2 or 3 pancakes in the pan at a time.

Let the protein pancakes cook for about 1.5 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready to be flipped when the edges thicken and you can effortlessly slide a spatula underneath.

Flip and pancake and cook for another 1.5 minutes.

Remove from the pan and repeat for as many batches as you are making! This recipe will make about 6 protein pancakes, so it should take 2-3 batches.

Keep in mind that the pan will continue to heat up, so if you are making multiple batches, it may get too hot.

Low-medium heat is the perfect heat to crisp the edges of these pancakes while keeping them light and fluffy inside. If you find the pan getting too hot, remove it from the flame for a few minutes to allow it to cool down slightly.

When I initially tested over medium-high heat, it was too much:

I much prefer playing it safe and keeping the heat low. If the pan is too hot, the pancakes will brown and burn without a chance to fully fluff up.

But if you keep the heat low, you’ll achieve beautifully fluffy protein pancakes.

Serve ’em up with maple syrup (I use a sugar-free version, but any maple syrup works great) and dive right in!

 

How to customize Cake Mix Protein Pancakes

If you want to change up the flavor of your protein pancakes, you can use any cake mix you want! Funfetti is one of my go-to’s, and nothing says weekend brunch quite like a stack of pancakes filled with sprinkles.

Stack of funfetti pancakes

If funfetti isn’t your cup of tea, here are some ideas of ways to switch it up:

  • Top with banana to make a delicious banana protein pancake.
  • Use a chocolate cake mix and chocolate protein powder to make rich chocolate pancakes. Bonus points: add chocolate chips.
  • Speaking of chocolate chips– you can use a yellow cake mix and add chocolate chips to make delicious chocolate chip pancakes.
  • Use a plain cake mix, and add cinnamon (or use cinnamon protein) then top with icing to make cinnamon roll pancakes. You can make a very simple icing with powdered sugar + milk like I used for these Cinnamon Roll Cookies .
  • Use a chocolate cake mix with a peanut butter flavored protein, then top with melted peanut butter (or another nut butter) to make Reese’s pancakes!

The list goes on and on. If you get creative with your own cake mix pancakes, please share them with me on Instagram! I always love seeing your creativity.

 

Can you use this recipe to make protein waffles?

I knew I’d receive this question, and as a lover of waffles, I needed to give it a try!

Turns out, the answer is a big YES.

Cake Mix Protein Waffles

The waffles gets super crispy on the outside, and stays soft and cake-like on the inside.

To make 3-ingredient protein waffles: follow the recipe as-is, but use exactly 1/2 cup of seltzer/diet soda (slightly less than the recipe calls for).

For waffles, we want a slightly thicker batter than pancakes! The recipe will make 2 Belgian waffles, each being roughly 300 calories and 15g of protein.

Update: I ended up using this recipe to create Crispy Churro Waffles, so be sure to check that recipe out as well!

Stack of churro waffles

 

More recipes for breakfast lovers

Breakfast food is my favorite food, which is evident by the large selection of breakfast recipes I have here on my blog.

While I’ll never be able to choose my favorites, here are some delicious protein-packed breakfast recipes to check out:

 

Stack of protein pancakes

Easy Protein Pancakes With Only 3 Ingredients

Yield: 6 Pancakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

No pancake mix? No problem! If you have some extra cake mix laying around, all you need are TWO more ingredients to whip up a stack of these high-protein pancakes.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add your cake mix and protein powder to a large bowl and give it a quick mix to fully combine them.
  2. Add the diet soda while lightly mixing the batter. Mine needed exactly 2/3 cup, but the exact amount will depend on the absorbency of your cake mix and protein powder. We want a somewhat thick, but still pourable batter. Do not overmix as we do not want to flatten the carbonation.
  3. Set the batter aside and heat your pan or skillet over low-medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Spray your pan with nonstick spray and use a spoon to add the batter to your pan. Each protein pancake should be roughly 2 large spoonfuls of batter, and you can fit 2-3 in your pan at one time depending on the size of your pan.
  5. Let cook for about 1.5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1-1.5 minutes on the other side. Adjust the cook time based on how light or dark you like your pancakes!
  6. Remove the protein pancakes from the pan and repeat until all your batter is used.
  7. Top with maple syrup and enjoy!

Notes

  • If you're making multiple batches, your pan is going to continue to get hotter. If doing any more than 2 batches, I recommend removing the pan from the flame for a couple of minutes to allow it to cool slightly before your final batch.
  • 1.5 minutes was the perfect time for my pancakes, but you'll need to adjust based on your preferences. You'll know the pancakes are ready to flip when you can easily slide a spatula underneath them. If you prematurely flip the pancake, you can always flip it back over to finish that side.
  • I haven't experimented with different types of protein powder, but I would guess that any type of powder should work here. The one I use is a blend of whey/casein, but whey protein alone would work, and a vegan powder SHOULD also work. I would lower the protein powder amount to just a single scoop (about 30g) to be safe.
  • If you want to make this pancakes recipe for meal prep, you can store the protein pancakes in the fridge or freezer to enjoy later in the week.
  • The nutritional information will vary based on the type of cake mix you use, so be sure to calculate your own.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Servings Serving Size 1 Pancake
Amount Per Serving Calories 105Total Fat 1gCarbohydrates 18gProtein 6.5g

Did you make this recipe?

Share your photos and tag me on Instagram!

Jordan

Monday 11th of April 2022

You changed my life with this diet soda hack.. made this with kodiak flapjack mix and my mind is blown .. I used diet cream soda. Good stuff!

Christopher

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Made these last night and they were amazing!!!

Alyssa W

Saturday 21st of August 2021

I’ve made these twice now because they’re such a quick easy tasty treat. They taste great alone or with sugar free syrup.

Molly Kirkpatrick

Saturday 31st of July 2021

Curious if you can use soda water instead of diet soda?!

Matt Rosenman

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

@Molly Kirkpatrick, I don't see why not!

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