The Secret Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Your Breakfast Potatoes

Potatoes may not play a leading role in any breakfast meal, but they are usually a reliable supporting player. At least, they can be a pretty solid side dish, there to help soak up excess egg yolk and bacon grease. At times, though, breakfast potatoes can be more of a disappointment, as they can turn out too greasy, too mushy, or too bland.

If you'd like your potatoes to give a really standout performance, there is one ingredient that will make them crispy on the outside and tender on the inside while lending them a subtle hint of sweet, all without anybody but you ever knowing it's there. Just like a stealthy lift or tuck, this potato enhancer is nobody's business but your own, unless you decide to let others in on this little secret. What could this hidden helper be? Why, it's none other than pancake mix! Together, these two-bit players can have superstar potential.

How to transform your plain potatoes with pancake mix

The food blog Oh, Bite It gives the following instructions for making perfect pancake mix potatoes: First wash and dice two to four medium to large potatoes into one-inch cubes, with peels on or off (whatever your preference may be). Then, boil the potato cubes in a large pot of water until they're tender but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes well, then let them rest on a comfy bed of paper towels until they're cool and dry — about 10 minutes, maybe a little longer.

While the potatoes rest, stir two tablespoons of baking powder into a cup of pancake mix. Once the potato cubes are dry enough, sprinkle them evenly with the pancake mix, gently tossing to make sure they're evenly coated. Heat a pan of vegetable oil to 350 degrees, then fry the potatoes until they're golden on all sides. Drain them on paper towels once more, then salt them to taste while they're hot and serve them up right away.

With this breakfast hack up your sleeve, your yummy potatoes should "disappear before your eyes like... magic." Basically, what this secret ingredient will do is make those no-longer-plain breakfast potatoes into the star of the (breakfast) show.

Pancake mix also improves fried fish

Potatoes aren't the only dish enhanced by the secret addition of pancake mix. Taste of Home suggests using pancake mix, combined with just a splash of carbonated water, to make beautifully browned fish fillets. Just whisk two tablespoons of the water (seltzer, club soda, whatever you want to call it — heck, even use hard seltzer if you like) together with two eggs in one dish. Combine a cup of pancake mix with a half teaspoon of seasoned salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper in another dish.

Dip one 6-ounce fish fillet first into the egg wash, then into the pancake mix, then fry in hot (375 degrees) oil for two or three minutes until golden brown. This recipe should make enough mix to coat four fish fillets in all, and you should be able to fry two at a time if there's room in the pan. While Taste of Home's recipe uses catfish, a pancake mix coating would be tasty with any other type of fried fish, as well. One commenter called it "a real good tempura type batter," and suggested further enhancing the recipe by adding a pinch of turmeric to deepen the golden color.

How to make your own pancake mix

What's that, you say? You have no boxed pancake mix? In fact, you won't have such a thing in the house, since you prefer to make your pancakes from scratch? That won't be a problem. If you have the ingredients to make pancakes on hand, you can easily whip up a DIY pancake mix that can be used in the breakfast potato or fried fish recipes, and you can even use it to make pancakes without feeling as if you're cheating since it needn't involve any assistance from a storebought mix.

The Spend With Pennies blog provides a simple recipe for dry pancake mix. Simply combine 4 cups of all-purpose flour with 3 tablespoons of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir all the ingredients thoroughly to combine them, then store the mix in a tightly-sealed contained in a cool, dry place (probably the same old cabinet where you store the rest of your baking stuff). If you do want to make pancakes out of this mix, just combine a cup of it with a cup of milk, an egg, and a tablespoon of melted butter or vegetable oil for a batter that's all ready to go. That should still leave you plenty left over to enhance your breakfast potatoes and even fry some fish for dinner, as well.