6 Of The Best And 6 Of The Worst Box Cake Mixes At The Grocery Store

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Okay, so you're standing in the grocery store baking aisle, surrounded by box cake mix — and you're thinking, "Gosh, it never looks like that picture on the packaging." Well, we're here to sort out the best and worst box cake mixes so you don't have to. (Thoughts and prayers for Riley's birthday cake that might have tasted better off the actual floor.)

We're done with mixes that turn out like gritty sawdust, soggy sponges, and everyone's least favorite rapper: Flavorless Flav. We want pillowy texture, nostalgic flavors, and Instagrammable slices. Is it too much to ask for a boxed cake mix that tastes like something you'd actually want to eat?

We hit up reviews galore from home bakers across the nation, in order to source the most delicious brands you can buy — and the boxes you should leave on the shelf. From yellow cake to devil's food, Pillsbury to Duncan Hines, and everything in between, these are the best and worst box cake mixes at the grocery store. Trigger warning: It's about to get all kinds of moist.

Worst: Aldi's Baker's Corner Devil's Food Cake Mix

Womp, womp. We love Aldi, but it seems like nobody's loving on their cake mix. Aldi's Baker's Corner Devil's Food Cake Mix serves up runway fashion looks, with old T-shirt flavors. It's a steal for roughly $1 for a 15.25-ounce box. But that dollar's gonna come back to haunt you faster than you can say, "Milk" with a mouthful of inedible cake.

Reviewers were quick to complain that the flavor wasn't even close to being devil's food-worthy (which should be intensely chocolate, and named after a cute cocoa devil — if hell were a fudgy paradise where there was cake and ice cream). Aldi's version doesn't even come close. One person posted, "I smell and taste that unpleasant artificial chocolate flavoring you find in things like Chocolate Tootsie Pops," later commenting, "I'm not sure how you can screw up boxed cake mix, but this is a good example." Other testers also thought it had an odd, lingering aftertaste.

Still, if you hit up TikTok or Instagram, you'll find plenty of bakers blowing up your feed with Aldi's Baker's Corner Devil's Food Cake Mix done up as brownies, dump cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. Most of those desserts were also pumped up with cherries, candy bars, sodas, coffee, and legitimate pounds of icing. Hey, you gotta do whatever it takes to make this cake taste like something.

Best: Walmart Great Value Deluxe Moist Yellow Cake Mix

Sound the alarm — or a cute little egg timer. Walmart Great Value Deluxe Moist Yellow Cake Mix is the greatest grocery store box cake mix of all time. (Well, that is, according to you. Does anyone else matter?) With on-theme mid century-style branding, and an average price point of $1 per 15.25-ounce box, Walmart's signature brand is coming in hot on our best list.

All you need is water, vegetable oil, and three eggs — and you're ready to party. Whip up a sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes, this one's a guaranteed winner. Plus, who doesn't like the flavor "Yellow" (okay, it's technically vanilla). "This cake mix is as good, or better, than the two major name brands," read one five-star review, with another calling it, "So SOFT and moist and just the most tasty and satisfying cake mix. Great Value hit a home run on this."

Not only does it taste like yellow, it looks yellow too, with an appetizing color and satisfyingly moist, bouncy texture. Plus, it looks like the picture on the box. "The instructions are easy and the cake mix comes out moist like the box indicates. Add a chocolate frosting and then show up at my house," joked one fan. It's also the perfect base for your favorite cake or even cookie recipes. Another reviewer shared, "This cake mix is absolutely amazing! It's so easy to prepare and it tastes like heaven in a pan I swear!"

Worst: Krusteaz Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

Despite seeming as if it were the name of a character on "SpongeBob SquarePants," Krusteaz took a royal dump cake on their Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix. Not only will you still be gluten free after tasting this, you'll also be cake free.

"This cake tastes like metal no matter what I do," posted one 2-star reviewer, who seems to have eaten it anyway, hence the two stars. Running around $5 per 18-ounce box, there are also thumbs-down for the color, which apparently comes out as a sort of grayish-yellow, like "banana bread." Maybe it's the sorghum flour and rice flour combo, but the texture isn't winning any fans either. "It's a brick," commented someone who didn't want construction materials for dessert.

Giving the Krusteaz line a single star, this customer posted, "This is horrible! All Krusteaz gluten free mixes ... are grainy and don't cook up well. [Lack] in taste!" While some fans appreciated an affordable gluten free option ("Tastes almost normal!!" noted one), others allowed it zero margin for error. "The color ... was more of a dingy tan. It has a dense consistency and was very dry," wrote a non-fan.

Best: Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix

We admit we're officially riding an emotional rollercoaster of good and bad cake baking, but luckily we've hit another high with the Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix. At roughly $3 for a 13.25-ounce box, you'll be whipping up a stellar dessert in no time. (Well, definitely in under an hour.)

"I have tried them all ... Always came back to Betty," posted one fan who claims she sends photos of her Betty Crocker cakes to relatives who don't live close enough to eat them. Another shared, "It is what it says. It's simple to prepare ... also inexpensive but tastes like an expensive or homemade cake." This mix calls for water, three eggs, and vegetable oil, which appears to be the magic behind the moistness. (Sorry, there's no other word to describe it.) Looks like Betty Crocker Super Moist isn't the best-selling brand in America for nothin'.

While some pegged the iconic flavor for being too one-note in its sweetness, others gladly leaned into the childhood throwback vibe. "Would definitely eat and feel like a kid again," said one very happy big kid (via The Washington Post).

Worst: Jiffy Golden Yellow Cake Mix

It kind of seems like Jiffy would be one of those old-school brands that looks outdated on the surface, but then we make it, and go, "Ah, the nostalgia of an old-timey bake. And as low as a hundred pennies for a 9-ounce box? Golly, what a steal!" But it doesn't do any of that. Instead, it ruins lives.

In the 1930s, Jiffy was the first pre-made cake mix to hit the market. But we've eaten a whole lot of cake since then. And, happily, we never have to eat this one. "These cake mixes are horrible. They burn around the edges, stick to pans no matter what you do to keep them from sticking, and they are very dry cakes," shared one user who gave it one sad little star.

Even fans of the cake mix warn that it bakes into a rather measly 8x8-inch pan-sized portion, instead of a full sheet cake. But the shortlist of additional ingredients (egg and water) might be part of the problem. "The flavor was not good; the cake was dry. Don't bother wasting your money," read a one-star review. Some even compared the texture to cornbread with icing on it.

Best: Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Classic Yellow Cake Mix

What's the difference between something that's Super Moist and one that's Perfectly Moist? We don't know either. But while you can't have it "perfectly super moist," you also can't go wrong with Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Classic Yellow Cake Mix. With an average price somewhere between $1 to $3 per 15.25-ounce box, how many dollars does it cost to bake 500 cupcakes? (Just kidding. But you deserve a slice of cake for those math class flashbacks.)

One five-star reviewer posted, "It is almost laughably easy to make — you literally just combine all the ingredients ... and mix it till it's all combined and creamy. That's it." This Duncan Hines mix calls for water, three eggs, and oil, just like Betty Crocker's does, and it tastes like a vanilla party in your mouth. "The cake comes out of the oven all fluffy and moist. My kids can even make this cake by themselves," wrote one parent.

While it might be too springy and spongy for some, others are all in on the classic flavor. Many loyal brand followers use the mix as a base for their own recipes, but sometimes you just can't beat the simple things. A fellow cake lover posted, "Not only is this cake mix affordable, it is absolutely delicious! Pair it with Duncan Hines chocolate frosting and it will send your taste buds to another dimension."

Worst: Trader Joe's Yellow Cake & Baking Mix

Well, TJ's, you can't win 'em all. Trader Joe's Yellow Cake & Baking Mix landed on our worst list because it's part cake mix, part everything else, and also nothing — all at the same time. And $2.99 is too much to pay for a 16-ounce box of indecision.

We appreciate the attempt at an extraordinarily well-rounded baking mix — it's also fluent in three languages and plays piano and flute — but most of us are left wondering where its talent really lies. According to eyewitnesses, it lands with a thud in pound cake territory. Which is indeed yellow-colored, but also much heavier than people expect from a typical cake. While adding the additional eggs and milk certainly paves the way for success, let's just say, the reviews are "mixed."

Some people didn't like the higher price point considering that the mix isn't certified organic. Ingredient origins aside, the cake didn't come out of the oven looking very appetizing either, with one person noting, "I can't imagine how unimpressive a finished cake would be" (per The Washington Post). But more than one person longed for the previous version of cake mix at TJ's that this yellow one replaced: Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake & Baking Mix. Commenters on the official Trader Joe's Instagram pleaded, "Please bring back the vanilla cake," and, "Please, please, please ... bring back the vanilla!!!! It was so much better than this one," (okay, one more), "The vanilla cake mix was so much better! This yellow cake mix was very disappointing!" The people have spoken, Trader Joe's.

Best: King Arthur Baking Company Deliciously Simple Chocolate Cake Mix

All hail King Arthur, legendary medieval ruler of Britain, and master baker of blueberry crumble mini muffins in his free time. (Okay, minus the baking, he's the character that inspired the King Arthur Baking Company name.) Despite a higher than average price point of $5 to $9 for a 22-ounce box, the King Arthur Baking Company Deliciously Simple Chocolate Cake Mix brings those boutique bakery results right to your oven.

Like a chocolate cake from the movies, it's literally been referred to as "'Matilda'-esque.'" You'll need four eggs, vegetable oil, water, optional chocolate chips (do it), and optional chopped nuts (eh, up to you). One fan threw down the gauntlet, writing, "The BEST chocolate cake ever. You will never have to search for and try another recipe, or buy another mix. If you want perfection, here it is."

Serious chocoholics have used it as a base for Black Forest gateau, cupcakes — and tricking friends and family into thinking they baked it themselves. It's so good, people even eat it plain. One person who was skeptical of any brand of boxed mix raved, "VERY, VERY GOOD. Moist, light but dense enough for a satisfying chew, strong but not overwhelming chocolate taste, it's perfect." Sold.

Worst: Whole Foods 365 Classic Yellow Cake Mix

Here's the deal: Whole Foods has their own in-house bakery. If their cake mix was good, too, they'd go out of the baking business. But that's still not a good excuse for the Whole Foods 365 Classic Yellow Cake Mix to resemble a dry sea sponge. Not even $60 manuka honey can save this $3, 16-ounce tragedy.

The reviews were as bad as they were judgy. One person wrote, "Who uses vegetable oil anymore?" referring to the additionally required three eggs, milk, and vegetable oil. Someone shared, "Ugh! Awful taste. No idea how something like this could be so bad." Yet another posted, "Should be fluffy and light, but instead is heavy and indigestible, like an old flat tire. Stick with Betty Crocker [or] Duncan Hines."

Rounding out the unidentifiable texture of a cake that looks good, but tastes weird, we appreciate the person who summed it up with this review: "Kinda gummy." Ick.

Best: Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix

Attention Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix: Get in our bellies! "Devil's food? Or your key to chocolate heaven!" wrote one convert. For the low price of just $2, this beautiful 16.5-ounce cake mix can be yours.

As pro baker Alana Al-Hatlani described this mix, "It nailed that fudgy flavor without being dense or too sweet. It was moist throughout and baked off evenly." Many reviewers mentioned their ease in mixing the batter, noting that they didn't even need much equipment other than a spoon. And even when they subbed ingredients, or accidentally missed one, the cake still came out great every time. A fan of the brand wrote, "The texture is perfectly balanced, with a soft crumb that holds together well and is easy to slice and serve." With a well-balanced flavor profile that's not too sweet, this is one you can come back to again and again. (All on the same night.)

Worst: Simple Mills Almond Flour Vanilla Cupcake & Cake Baking Mix

Okay, last "worst" cake mix on our list. The wholesome-seeming Simple Mills brand promises "... nothing artificial, ever." But when it comes to the Simple Mills Almond Flour Vanilla Cupcake & Cake Baking Mix there also seems to be nothing in the flavor department, either.

Despite calling for even more vanilla extract when there's already vanilla bean listed in the ingredients, the flavors still don't pop. And at roughly $8 to $10 for an 11-ounce box, that's a hefty price point for a cake that fails to work its magic. Some pointed to the almond flour for creating suss texture, with one reviewer noting, "They don't use ultra fine almond flour so everything is like eating sand." And, speaking of sand, another chimed in, "It's fine if you are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat." This is why we always travel with a box of Simple Mills cake mix — for emergencies.

Many disappointed cake eaters pointed to the bake resulting in something akin to bread, or muffins — or maybe a brick. "It didn't rise and get fluffy, and it was also dense," one recalled. Someone else explained, "It's more dense and whole grainy tasting than a regular boxed cake as well as less sweet." Overall, this one took a giant swing and a miss on actually tasting like cake.

Best: Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix

We're so frazzled from all these lackluster cake mixes that we just want to lay our heads on the Pillsbury Doughboy's squish and take a nap. (If only he weren't constantly giggling.) Lucky for us, our final cake mix sounds like it won the grand prize at the local beauty pageant: A round of applause for the Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix. And you better believe it's moist!

Just $1 or $2 gets you a 15.25-ounce box of pure cake-lovin' joy. Requiring the addition of water, oil, and eggs, it's ready in a jiffy (no relation to the brand on our worst list), and gone in minutes. Fans love the brand recommended substitutions if you want them (applesauce for the oil, and Greek yogurt for the eggs), and even Pillsbury newbies give it five stars. One wrote, "Pillsbury has the softest and most delicious cake to bite into. Deliciousness in every bite."

How does it stack up against some of the others on our best list? This reviewer confirmed, "[It's] the best-tasting yellow cake mix, period. I tried all the others, this one is the best." We might need a second slice, y'know, just to be sure.