Is it OK to eat pancake batter raw? No, it is not and here are the reasons why. Pancake batter is made from baking powder, eggs, sugar, flour, butter/oil, and milk/water (or both). Some of the ingredients in the pancake batter isn’t considered food safe for consumption until they have been cooked at the proper internal temperature (135°F).
The flour for making the pancakes is considered raw before it is cooked. It can possibly contain E Coli or other bacteria that can cause food poisoning. At the least it can make someone sick from eating it this way. After the flour has been moisturized, it becomes even more susceptible to growing bacteria.
It is also advised that parents don’t even let their children play with raw dough made from flour in the form of oobleck.
If it wasn’t for the runny appearance of pancake batter, then it would be considered to be nearly dough. Some forms of raw dough and batter (bread, cakes, cookies, brownies) are made from nearly the same things, just of different proportions for each ingredient when compared to pancakes.
The eggs are raw in pancake batter. When pancake batter is eaten with eggs in it, the individual is consuming raw eggs too. Raw eggs are known to possibly carry salmonella, just like other raw meat can. Salmonella can cause the same food poisoning symptoms, being commonly diarrhea. It also can make an individual fill like they have the flu with chills, fevers, and stomach aches.
Butter and Oil
Ever hear the saying, “oil and water don’t mix?” Well, since they don’t mix, then they are one of the only ingredients besides milk that is safe to eat at room temperature without cooking them. One or the other will be used to make pancakes, but they basically both do the same thing when pancakes are made from either one.
Of course, milk and water are safe to consume, as long as they have been purified. These two ingredients along with the sugar, and butter/oil in the pancake batter are the only ingredients that can be consumed raw. They do not require cooking to kill off any potential bacteria in the batter that could make an individual sick from eating the raw pancake batter.
This is because bacteria doesn’t have much place to grow in butter or oils, since they contain little water. Water and moisture are necessary for bacteria. Even though the flour is initially dry when used to make pancake batter, it was not initially cleaned before it was dried to effectively remove all traces of bacteria during processing.
Can you eat boxed pancake batter?
No. It is not safe to eat boxed pancake batter. Boxed pancake batter is also made with raw flour. All the other ingredients have been dried and mixed into the pancake batter, sometimes only requiring adding water to the mix to make the batter. It still has the potential to carry bacteria in the flour.
Flour is an essential ingredient for making pancakes. It is the flour in the pancake mix box that can still contain harmful bacteria. During the processing of flour, the flour still can contain germs, even while it is dry. Consuming dry pancake mix straight out of the box can still make an individual sick.
It is advised that flour (and even pancake batter, since it contains raw flour) be kept away from other foods that are already cooked and ready to eat. The hands should be washed after handling raw flour before touching other foods that are already ready to serve. Touching pancake batter and then touching other foods will result in cross contamination.
This same thing applies to restaurants and bakeries that make foods from scratch like pancakes, cakes, pizza, bread, and other baked goods. The flour can contaminate these foods again after they have been cooked if an individual touches the baked goods with flour on their hands/gloves.
Is it safe to eat slightly undercooked pancakes?
It depends on the individuals definition of undercooked. If we are talking about undercooked as in the outside of the pancakes are brown, but the inside is still batter, then it may or may not be safe.
It is basically the same concept of dealing with poultry. To be sure that undercooked pancakes are safe to eat, the internal temperature of the pancakes need to be above 135°F, regardless of how they look on the inside or outside.
Slow cooking pancakes to make them fluffy or perfect at temperatures less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit, will not guarantee that they are safe to eat, even if they appear to be fully cooked over time.
To test this, use a food thermometer to check the inside of the pancakes while they are cooking. Once they have reached an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit or more, then they are safe to eat. The temperature should be checked after the pancake has been flipped and cooked, once the first side is cooked. If they have not reached this temperature over time, then turn the heat up.
This same testing can be done with gooey pancakes that have been made really thick. The thicker the pancake is, the less likely the inside of the pancake will be safe to eat while it is gooey on the inside. A higher temperature will have to be used to reach the middle, but it could result in faster browning on the outside of the pancake. Gooey pancakes are only safe to eat once the middle reaches the proper temperatures.
There is really only a few safe ways to get away with eating “undercooked” pancakes, or even pancake batter without risking getting sick.
How can I safely eat pancake batter?
These methods are a little different than what an individual might be used to, but sous vide can be an option. The pancake batter can be placed temporarily into a jar with a lid on it, then placed in heated water until it reaches at internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
The lid on the jar can be removed, and a food thermometer placed in the batter while it is cooking, to check the internal temperature, to see if it is safe to eat. If the batter isn’t cooked at a high enough temperature, and it cooks for too long, it will begin to form a bready gooey cake substance.
If this is ok with you, then mission accomplished. However, if it is not, then the batter will have to be removed asap, as soon as it reaches the safe internal temperature to make the batter safe to eat.
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