Whether you’ve just prepared some pancakes and have some pancake mix left over, or you’re running off somewhere and just want to make a quick breakfast, funnel cake with pancake mix is your go-to solution.

If you’re reminiscing about varieties of that deep-fried dough which always marks a carnival and you happen to think of the beloved funnel cake, embrace the thought. When you’re yearning for a fair treat, this is one delicious meal you can’t afford to miss.

It’s goodbye to the days of boring breakfasts. Your typical weekend can now be filled with some carnival excitement. Instead of an ordinary pancake breakfast, your breakfast can be converted to a state fair experience!

How so?

Rather than using your pancake mix for pancakes, you can easily use it for funnel cakes. This can be thought of as pancakes in disguise but in a fun and tasty way. Wouldn’t this be a fun way to start the day?

Funnel Cake – The Basics, Tools, and A Little Story

Funnel cake is a sweet, crunchy food—a carnival treat that is enjoyed by many, summer after summer, both at fairs and festivals. Among the categories of food present at outdoor summer events are a whole host of indulgent temptations, including salty snacks, sugary treats, smoky meats and a lot of deep-fried foods. One of the best on the list is the funnel cake, which is a crispy and crunchy snack. Did I forget to mention it’s deep-fried?

Funnel cake ingredients are basically: pancake mix with a little water, some vanilla extract, sugar, and of course vegetable oil. The funnel cake is made by pouring the batter through a funnel into a pan of hot frying oil in a circular motion, creating the zigzagging, overlapping mass of circular shapes and crunching confection that everyone loves.

It can be served as a midday snack or as dessert. Whether you are craving a carnival treat or thinking of trying out a new recipe, homemade funnel cake is the perfect meal to try out. It can also be prepared from a boxed pancake mix to make funnel cake with pancake mix.

So what’s the most important tool used to make funnel cakes?

Well, a funnel. This fair food gets its name from the shaping tool used in its preparation—the funnel. Without a proper funnel, we would not have the squiggle-shaped funnel cakes we so enjoy. The funnel is used for pouring the batter and is also responsible for the dizzying circular swirls that make it one of the most recognizable treats in carnivals and fairs.

The first funnel cakes were made by pouring the batter through a simple bowl with a hole cut out of the bottom. Consistency in the batter is of paramount importance and hence, makeshift piping bags were introduced to ensure the even distribution of batter into the hot oil.

Background story?

Early mentions of funnel cakes can be traced back to medieval times cooking recipes, which used words like mincebek, mistembec, or cryspes. The names indicate that the batter was poured through a spout or funnel.

Unlike now, the small fritter cakes were made back then with sourdough or yeast batter poured through a bowl with a small hole at the bottom. They were also salty-sweet treats drizzled with syrup and sprinkled with salt.

Other people give credence to German immigrants for the origin of this treat. The Germans apparently came into Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries, bringing this snack with them. The actual legitimacy of this is unclear, but the cakes were made popular in the 1960s during the Kutztown Folk Festival, an annual fair that promotes the culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Since then, funnel cakes have been widely spread and are not just found at confection stands. They can also be found at theme parks, restaurants, and bakeries, and they come in a variety of tasty toppings like ice cream, fruit sauce, and hot fudge.

There are similar desserts to funnel cakes (otherwise referred to as its fried cousins) in other countries and cultures. They include Jalebi (Indian), Churros, Frybread, Rosettes (Sweden), Strauben (Austrian), and Tippaleipä (Finland). But in the United States, the variations are narrowed down to the choice of topping like the ones mentioned above, or the classic powdered sugar.

How To Make Funnel Cake With Pancake Mix

If you’ve been yearning for a recipe that’s super easy to follow and yet will still retain the original awesome taste, then this funnel cake recipe pancake mix combination is for you! Your homemade funnel cakes can be prepared right there in the comfort of that beautiful kitchen of yours to send your taste buds on a jolly ride.

For all ye pancake lovers, you can use the remainder of your pancake mix to come up with your funnel cake. If you have no leftover batter, you can get any ready-to-use pancake mix from your local grocery store.

These are available from several different manufacturers. I recommend you use Aunt Jemima’s, though you can also make use of Bisquick if you have any in your cabinets. Don’t worry, your funnel cakes will come out wonderfully either way.

For lovers of anything deep-fried, this is one meal you can’t afford to pass on. For a midday treat, you can indulge in some crispy, fluffy funnel cakes. Funnel cakes can also be eaten as desserts using pancake mix.

When it comes time to pour the batter into the oil, you don’t need to worry if you don’t have a funnel. Rummage through your cupboards for a squeeze bottle. Just make sure that before preparation, you’ve found or bought some sort of tool for pouring your batter into the hot oil.

I actually recommend using the squeeze bottle as it will give you a great deal of control when trying to squirt the batter into the oil. If you don’t have one, your homemade funnel cakes can still be created with a pastry bag or plastic zipper bag with one end cut. Tada!

Funnel cake ingredients

To create the most delectable funnel cakes, the following ingredients will be required:

  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 ½ cups “complete” buttermilk pancake mix
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • Powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar for the topping

What else would you need to get started? Simple, just some basic tools and equipment that should be lying around right here in your kitchen.

Your whisk, heat resistant tongs or a spatula, the funnel (1 cup funnel with a ¼ inch opening will do the trick) or a plastic squeeze bottle with the same opening, a bowl, paper towels, a frying pan, deep fryer, Dutch oven or any other type of heat source for frying.

This recipe is for a serving of 4 people.


  • Pour vegetable or canola oil about 2 to 3 inches deep in a large stockpot or dutch oven and set it over medium-low heat, until it reads 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. If you have a deep fryer, just set it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, pour pancake mix, vanilla extract, and water, and whisking everything together until you get all the lumps out. The thickness of the batter should be the same as cake batter, not too thin or too gloppy (thick paste consistency). To be sure you have the right texture, lift the whisk from the batter. Formations of ribbons falling down mean you are on the right path.
  • Next, pour the batter into your funnel, pastry bag, or squeeze bottle, and position this over the center of the pot or deep fryer. Allow the batter to flow quickly, swirling it in a circular pattern to make a 4 to 5-inch large disk.
  • Fry the funnel cake for 30 to 45 seconds until the underside is golden brown. Using a spatula or tongs, carefully flip to the other side and let fry for another 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Remove the cake and let it cool on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar as desired.
  • Continue cooking until all batter is used up.


  • To make your homemade funnel cakes a bit more complex with tasty flavors, you can add a teaspoon of a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ground ginger or allspice to your batter.
  • For healthier funnel cakes, use whole wheat pancake mix.
  • If you want to be extra creative, you can go all out to make your funnel cake as a sundae topped with chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.

There’s some age-old advice that should not be taken for granted when making this dish. When deep-frying, it isn’t that difficult to get hot oil splashed on your body. All you have to do is get a little careless and boom—hot oil is on you, and that stings. Be especially careful when dropping the funnel cake batter in the oil, lest you get burnt.

The oil should be kept at 350 degrees for optimum results. You may also need to allow some time between funnel cakes for it to heat up again.

Funnel cake with Bisquick

So let’s say you finally rummage through the kitchen cabinets and you happen to not find any pancake mix—well, don’t worry. Your pack of Bisquick is there to save the day. With the ingredients you probably have at home already, you can still make a delightful treat of funnel cakes.

With your Bisquick original baking mix, your funnel cake recipe pancake mix remains the same with a little alteration. Under step two in the directions to prepare your funnel cakes, instead of whisking pancake mix, vanilla extract, and water, you will whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and your Bisquick Original baking mix.

Your funnel cakes will still come out perfectly adorable.

I bet you just found a handy new use for your Bisquick, aside from making scones and other recipes. Also, you don’t have to run out of pancake mix before using that pack of Bisquick. You can use it now, just to know how it will taste.

Funnel cake with Aunt Jemima

Aunt Jemima is one of the better brands of pancake mixes available in the market. Store-bought pancake mixes like Aunt Jemima’s have different varieties too.

When it comes to making funnel cakes, Aunt Jemima pancake mix can be used. To make your funnel cakes, any variation can be used from the host of pancake mixes available. For the complete buttermilk pancake mix, there will be no need to add eggs or milk to the batter, just water.

This is where saving time comes to play in the preparation of the meal: use a pancake mix that just needs water and nothing else.

After making your funnel cakes, don’t forget to choose from the different topping options that can make this fair food perfect. Creativity has a role to play here and it is left up to you to explore the world of toppings and see what works for you.

Aside from powdered sugar, there are a number of topping ideas to incorporate in your carnival treat, and they include whipped cream, syrups, chocolate sauces, strawberries, blueberries, sprinkles, and cherries. Apple or cherry pie filling with ice cream topping would also make for a more decadent dessert.

If making funnel cakes as a breakfast treat, especially for kids (who love excitement), you can shower them with powdered sugar, a drizzle of syrup, and a dash of sprinkles. This funnel cake recipe pancake mix will make your funnel cakes a fun meal to dig in to.


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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