The Gluten-Free (GF) Skeptic was originally created to share and test GF recipes and to try GF foods from grocery stores, restaurants, and major brands to report back to you guys what’s worth trying and what’s literal overpriced GF trash. I kept eyeing these mixes everytime we went to Walmart (which has the most GF options in our area surprisingly) and I finally realized no one was gonna review them for me and I need to just do it. Also, this is the cheapest GF Skeptic that has ever skeptic-ed. So here is a detailed review of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Great Value line of GF mixes.
How This is Gonna Go Down
So you thought I was joking when I said we were going to do this in terms of the good, the bad, and the ugly, but I think this classification is perfect for this line of mixes. The good and the bad are pretty obvious in meaning, but the ugly will be the mix that was the worst of the worst and something that should never be bought on the face of the earth again. Oh, also, this post is not sponsored in any way, which I think will become very obvious throughout the post with my frighteningly brutal honest 🙂 . I will also include at the very bottom a
quick summary of everything for easy reading, but I recommend reading the detailed review on the products you’ve been eyeing so you can decide for yourself what to think (everyone’s taste buds are different). Click the links below to jump to a specific section:
Oh, I should probably tell you what I tested: waffle and pancake mix (yes, I made both), cake mix, brownie mix, pizza crust mix, GF all purpose flour in which I made the two recipes recommended on the back (dinner rolls and buttermilk biscuits). Let’s get to the darn review already!
This is in order of goodness/what I would recommend the most (the first being the favorite and the last being kinda meh overall).
Buttermilk Biscuits from the All-Purpose Flour Blend
This was the agreed upon favorite of the bunch. I used the recipe that is provided on the back of the mix (wanted to give everything a fair shot) and we were pretty surprised. The dough actually behaved like a biscuit dough (unlike most GF wet and sticky messes of doughs) and we already bought, made, and devoured these again.
In terms of texture: On the scale of scone to biscuit, this is still definitely a biscuit but leaning slightly to scone. The inside is soft and fluffy (but not as much as other gluten-filled biscuits), but the outside is a little hard. I do think the slight lack of fluffiness and presence of scone-ness may be caused by the instructions. I think after adding all the ingredients, the dough should be refrigerated for 20 minutes before rolling out. This should help keep the butter from melting (which I think mine did a bit) while trying to roll out and cut, which butter is a large part of the flakiness and rise in recipes like this. I just wish they rose a bit more and then I think they would be nearly perfect.
However, even though the texture wasn’t perfect in terms of a biscuit (which again may be caused by the dough getting too warm and butter melting), there was no grittiness or classic GF yuckiness. The taste was really great. It was buttery, you could taste the buttermilk, and they were amazing for being one of the cheapest GF mix range. This recipe is perfect for biscuits and gravy, breakfast sandwiches, and with some butter and jam. Now, this might not be the best biscuit mix in the world of GF, but for the price, ease of making, and overall flavor/texture its a pretty darn delicious biscuit.
Pancakes from the Pancake and Waffle Mix
These were super surprising. Out of all the GF things we have tried, we have probably tried the most pancake and waffles mixes, so we know a bit about what there is out there.
Let’s talk texture. Holy cow were these fluffy. You know the fluffy diner-style pancakes you get at breakfast places? These are them. I was really surprised by how fluffy they were and how easy the batter was to whip up. This is definitely one of our favorite pancake mixes now (and the one we will probably make when we have gluten eating friends over because you can’t tell it’s GF). Straight up, these were better than a lot of gluten mixes I had pre-GF.
When making these, don’t fuss with the batter too much. Since I was trying to get them all evenly round for pictures I flattened the batter a bit and wish I didn’t (it knocked a lot of the fluffiness right out). So, I recommend scooping the batter into the griddle and not touching it again except when turning it over.
The taste was nothing to complain about, just a good old-fashioned diner pancake. They are a bit sweet on their own and have a buttery taste, but there isn’t much else to report. For the sake of testing I didn’t add anything special to them like I normally do, so when we make these again I’ll be interested to see how they hold up getting chocolate chips, banana, and whatever else we desire added to them. Plus, I’m excited to add a bit more flavor to them with some vanilla extract and cinnamon. Since I didn’t even add vanilla extract and they were that good, I’m very impressed since I almost always have to embellish pancake mixes.
Even though this one wasn’t our collective favorite, it’s not far from the biscuits and they were the most surprising turn out of the bunch (maybe because there are a ton of pancake mixes out there but not many biscuits?).
Dinner Rolls from the All-Purpose Flour Blend
Now we’re starting to get into things that were good, but not crazy good or surprising. These dinner rolls were incredibly fluffy and I was very happy they rose so nicely (a thing I personally struggle with the most in GF baking). The dough was that sticky, wet mess I was talking about, but I wasn’t expected to handle it like other recipes make you do. After mixing I just had to spoon the dough into my pan, let it rise, and bake so it being a sticky and wet hot mess was no issue here. I think the tops would have looked super smooth and nice if my plastic wrap didn’t touch the tops during the rise and then proceed to rip them off when I removed it (I’ll try harder next time).
Overall, these were incredibly fluffy and had a strong yeast flavor (which wasn’t my personal favorite). The yeast flavor isn’t as strong when the rolls are cold, but they are also not as good and fluffy. I think these would be great to try in an overnight cold rise as the yeast flavor will develop in a better way and may provide a nicer flavor overall, but it was still very good. They did have a bit of that classic GF taste that I think we all are a bit familiar with, but I think someone who isn’t familiar with that GF flour taste wouldn’t be able to guess these are GF. A solid roll overall.
These would be great as garlic
knots rolls and I’m interested to play with the flavors/adding things to it since the texture is so good (maybe some cheese or as monkey bread 😲 ). I definitely see a lot of potential in this and their GF flour mix as a whole.
Waffles from the Pancake and Waffle Mix
These were surprisingly not as good as the pancakes. They tasted the same (duh) but the texture was not as amazing. When making these the batter was rather thick (a bit less moist and I could have rolled them out like dough), and I think that lead to the waffles becoming dense and chewy instead of fluffy like the pancakes. The texture was generally disappointing and the main reason these are lower on the good scale, but next time we make them I want to try adding more liquid to see if we can get the same fluffiness as the pancakes. Also, these looked beautiful compared to most GF mixes so that was a plus.
On a side note about the pancake and waffle mix overall, there was about a 1/4 cup short of being able to make something twice with this mix (meaning I had to scale back the pancake wet ingredients because I was short flour). This was annoying since I had a surplus with the all-purpose flour, yet there was a shortage with this mix to where I couldn’t quite make anything twice.
Pizza Crust Mix
This is horrible as a pizza crust, just plain bad. It had a good flavor, but the texture was where it all went downhill for us.
It was a little yeasty (but not bad and welcomed in a pizza dough) and had a good pizza crust flavor – nothing to complain about. However, the texture was pretty bad. The way the instructions are written for how to roll out the dough causes a very thick and bready crust (see picture below). This texture may be nice for other uses but the chew expected in a crust just wasn’t there and it was more like sandwich bread (which if making pizza on a slice of sandwich bread doesn’t make you sad, then go for it). However, I think with some changes this could be halfway okay. I think rolling it a lot thinner is a good start and maybe letting it rise for a shorter time would also help with it being so crumbly and sandwich bread like. Or, we could abandon this as a pizza crust and make focaccia.
The texture of it really reminded me of focaccia and I think adding some classic focaccia flavors would make this outstanding. I think we may buy this again to try as a bread product, but never again as pizza crust. Overall, I think there are better mixes and recipes out there.
I made the brownies following the fudgy recipe on the back of the bag (compared to cake-like).
The brownies weren’t great. There are so many options out there for cheap GF brownie mixes (plus they are relatively easy to make from scratch) that I just can’t recommend this one. If you are interested in finding what GF brownie mix would be best for your brownie needs, read my GF Brownie Mix Ranking.
To be thorough though, I’ll talk about why they weren’t great. First, the texture was perfectly fine, they were chewy, fudgy, moist, and had a good flaky top. However, the taste was all wrong. They were very chemically tasting, had a weird flour taste, and just generally undesirable. They would be alright in a pinch (we didn’t spit them out), and they would not be in last place in my brownie ranking (linked above), but they would not be first. Just get something else, don’t waste the money on this.
Yellow Cake Mix
The cake mix was horrid. 100% do not recommend. I haven’t tried making many GF cake mixes, but just as a human with tastebuds this was pretty bad (we all agree). The texture was sorta flat and dense (the cake was a weird mix between a wedding cake and angel food cake or something). Oh, and the taste, blehhhh. It was really sweet (not in a good cake way, in an ‘oh crud, we need to cover up something horrible’ way). The taste was also flat in a way, had a chemical taste, was sorta boring for a cake, and had the GF flour taste the brownies had. Again, there are many GF cake mixes out there, so just go with something else. Even if you were struggling with money and all you could afford was this, I would recommend making it from scratch or not at all!
We were very surprised that the ‘cheap Walmart stuff’ tasted so good compared to the $5-$7 we normally drop on a mix to be overall disappointed. Also, for being cheap, there weren’t any weird or chemically ingredients, just what you would probably add to make it from scratch at home (their flour mix used all the same ingredients my go to one does and costed less than mine). Also, all mixes are certified gluten-free!
We were really happy with the quality of the all-purpose flour and personally, I am excited to try it out with some other recipes. We will definitely be making the biscuits again and will probably make the rolls for Thanksgiving or something (with possible changes to the recipe). I was happy with how quickly the mixes came together as a whole and that the recipes behaved and were prepared similarly to gluten ones. We were also very happy with the pancake mix and plan to use that more often (also excited to add mix-ins to this and see how it behaves).
The waffles weren’t as good as the pancakes for some reason, but the batter was also very thick and may make less dense waffles if we add some more liquid. The pizza crust straight sucked, but I think it could be ah-mazing as focaccia (or something besides what it’s supposed to be). The cake and brownies also, sadly… sucked and since there are so many GF options out there for GF brownies and cake, I would recommend trying something else and not wasting the money on this.
The pancakes, biscuits, and rolls will probably become a staple in the house since they are so cheap compared to other GF mixes (we can actually afford to buy them regularly and they are decently good).
Thank you so much for reading and I would be very interested to read your opinions on these mixes if you tried them. Have a wonderful week!