Giada De Laurentiis Shakes Up Boring Pancake Mix With Just A Few Ingredients

Given that she's a cooking show host, cookbook author, and restaurateur, it's safe to say Giada De Laurentiis is the kind of person who makes the majority of her meals from scratch. When it comes to pancakes however, apparently the celebrity chef doesn't mind settling for the store-bought kind. She's previously shared recipes for ricotta pancakes and almond pancakes on "Everyday Italian" and "Giada at Home," and both recipes call for Krusteaz brand pancake mix.

As De Laurentiis explained on her shows, the reason she chooses to use the boxed mix is simply that it's easier and saves her time. Even when she makes pancakes from scratch, De Laurentiis shared on Giadzy that she makes extra and freezes them so they can be easily reheated during the week. But although convenience is clearly a priority for her when making pancakes, De Laurentiis still makes sure they're never lacking in flavor and does so by adding a few key ingredients.

Giada De Laurentiis never follows the instructions on the box

According to the instructions printed on the Krusteaz pancake mix that Giada De Laurentiis likes to use, you only need to add water. The rest of the standard pancake ingredients — the baking soda, salt, sugar, even the eggs and buttermilk — are already included in the mix. If you've ever made pancakes from a boxed mix, you know that they taste perfectly fine if you follow the instructions, however they're definitely on the plain side, especially if you decide not to add butter or maple syrup on top.

Instead of only adding water, therefore, De Laurentiis recommends jazzing up the batter with ricotta cheese, honey, blueberries, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. For nuttier pancakes, De Laurentiis suggests a different combination of ingredients, including almond extract, almond paste, vanilla extract, butter, sugar, and mascarpone. Whichever flavors you decide to go with, they'll significantly improve the taste and texture of your pancakes.

Why Giada De Laurentiis' tip improves pancake mix

Most pancake mixes — especially the ones that also double as waffle or biscuit mix — don't include any additional flavors. If you want chocolate chip or blueberry pancakes, you have to supply your own. Many of the ingredients Giada De Laurentiis adds, mainly the vanilla, blueberries, and almond paste, serve the same purpose. The ricotta and mascarpone, meanwhile, have a different, crucial function.

Ricotta and mascarpone may technically be cheeses, but they change the texture of pancakes more than the taste. Ricotta makes pancakes light and fluffy because it creates a buffer between the flour in the batter. Mascarpone on the other hand, also changes the texture, but mainly because of its fat content. Being high in fat but creamier than butter, mascarpone makes pancakes ultra moist and decadent. Combine the effects of mascarpone or ricotta with the fruity, nutty ingredients Giada De Laurentiis suggested, and you'll end up with pancakes that you'd never guess were made from boxed mix.