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All the buttery goodness of homemade biscuits, without breaking a sweat.

By Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme
April 08, 2021
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We love Trader Joe's for many reasons — the list seems to get longer every day. There are Instagram accounts and TikTok hashtags dedicated to celebrating all of their weird and wonderful snacks, frozen meals, and seasoning blends. There are plenty of novel hacks when it comes to Trader Joe's products — and I am especially loving the one that I recently discovered: Their pancake mix makes insanely good biscuits.

Lots of pancake mixes can be used for a variety of breakfast-y items. Bisquick, of course, kind of has the market cornered on being the go-to all-purpose baking mix. But Trader Joe's is actually better; here's why.

To be fair, it's not exactly a secret that you can use Trader Joe's pancake mix to make excellent biscuits. There's a recipe right on the back of the box, but that recipe is significant. Most boxed baking mixes say you can use them to make biscuits. Some of them, like Bisquick, even have the recipe right there on the box. But Trader Joe's recipe is for a cut biscuit recipe, not a drop biscuit.

Trader Joe's Pancake Mix Biscuits
Credit: Getty Images

If you know anything about biscuits, you likely agree that, while conveniently simple to make, a drop biscuit is inferior to a cut biscuit. You still get all of the buttery goodness, sure, but a cut biscuit has a level of flakiness and texture that a drop biscuit could never compete with. Not to mention, cut biscuits are 100-percent better for breakfast sandwiches, which is the highest calling of biscuits everywhere, in my opinion.

This mix is also assertively buttermilk-y. Typically buttermilk mixes don't have much flavor to them, but when you add liquid to Trader Joe's mix, the dough smells unmistakably like buttermilk — rich, a little sour, and very much like a homemade breakfast. They use buttermilk powder, a product lots of people actually keep in their pantries to use in place of fresh buttermilk. The acidity that it adds improves the flavor of the finished item, but it also makes the pancakes, waffles, or biscuits that much more tender.

The recipe on the Trader Joe's mix calls only for cold butter and cold milk — it's super simple. The technique is one that biscuit-makers everywhere will recognize: Cut the butter into the dry mix, use a pastry cutter to smash the butter into pebble-sized pieces, and then gently stir in the milk until a rough dough forms. Then comes the most important part: They instruct you to pat the dough out on a flat surface and fold it on itself before cutting. This is key, as that folding is what will create the individual butter layers that set this mix apart from so many others.

There are many shortcuts in cooking and baking that aren't worth using — in the quest to make things faster and with less mess, the thing you're trying to cook gets so compromised, that it's basically a different item altogether. This is certainly the case with plenty of other biscuit mixes, but Trader Joe's, as they so often do, seems to understand us better than we even understand ourselves. Just because we're using a shortcut doesn't mean we want a crappy end-result.

Thankfully, with this mix, the biscuit-making is easier, but the biscuit is no less delicious.