Ranking Boxed Cake Mix From Worst To Best

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Whether you are an experienced baker, are looking for a simple shortcut, or are just starting to dip your toes into the wonderful world of baking, boxed cake mixes are here to help. They enable you to create a delicious cake quickly and easily. They also serve as a great base and allow you to add ingredients that will take it to the next level. If you play your cards right, a boxed cake mix can almost taste homemade, so don't underestimate them.

Regardless of your experience, starting with the best boxed cake mix ensures premium texture, moisture, and flavor. If you opt for a sub-par boxed cake mix, you could just as easily wind up with a dry, dense cake that lacks the rich taste you desire. To help avoid this, I ranked 12 boxed cake mixes from worst to best.

I researched consumer reviews, feedback from taste-testing panels and pro bakers, and more to establish my ranking of boxed cake mixes. I'll explain my methodology more in-depth at the end, but I also factored in how the 12 options I ranked compared to each other regarding taste, texture, how moist they are, and ease of use. Keep reading to find out how your favorite boxed cake mixes ranked, which options to avoid, and which products make for the best cake all around.

12. Jiffy Golden Yellow Cake Mix

Jiffy may be a champion of cornbread, but sadly, its Golden Yellow Cake Mix falls flat. Unlike the brand's iconic cornbread mix, Jiffy Golden Yellow Cake Mix leaves much to be desired. From a taste that lacks sweetness to a crumbly texture, it misses the mark on several fronts.

Taste testers at BuzzFeed reported that Jiffy's Golden Yellow Cake Mix has a confusing taste and texture. They noted it was overly dry and crumbly. Instead of being sweet, testers found it was missing the classic yellow cake flavor. Even though it was a blind taste test, one person equated it to tasting similar to cornbread. Of course, you could always add an extra sweet frosting to counterbalance the less sugary flavor or use an instant pudding hack to remedy the dryness. Still, if you're looking for the best boxed cake mix, this isn't even close.

The only redeeming quality of this cake mix is that you don't have to add any fat. All you have to add is water and one egg to the mix and you're set. This means you don't have to worry about an extra ingredient, like vegetable oil or butter, but it could very well be the reason why cake is dry and crumbly. So, is this trait really a good thing, or does it contribute to its downfall? Either way, Jiffy Golden Yellow Cake Mix comes in last place due to its poor texture and less-than-desirable flavor.

11. Krusteaz Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix

There are quite a few delicious gluten-free cakes that taste just like the real thing, but Krusteaz Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix isn't one of them. It has a weird texture, an off-putting color, and it lacks flavor. Surprisingly, it has a few fans, but not enough to earn it a place higher than second to last. Due to its appeal for gluten-free diets, it ranks slightly higher than last, but only on a technicality.

According to one reviewer on Amazon, Krusteaz Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix has a metallic flavor, a gritty texture, and it is missing the richness you'd expect from a cake. A panel of taste testers at the The Washington Post pointed out this cake mix's hard, brick-like texture and dingy, unappealing hue. If that's not bad enough, another Amazon reviewer said the flavor and aftertaste were so unbearable that they threw the entire cake away. So, if you're looking to make a boxed cake mix that is at the very least edible, I can't recommend this as an option, even if you are gluten-free.

10. 365 Whole Foods Classic Yellow Cake Mix

Slightly better than the two worst boxed cake mixes, 365 Whole Foods Classic Yellow Cake Mix still ranks pretty low on our list. It isn't the absolute worst, but it is still far from the best. Compared to the last two picks, it has a slightly better texture and taste, but according to reviews, not by much.

Tasters at BuzzFeed called this cake, "simultaneously moist and dry," sponge-like, and lacking sweetness. Overall, they reported the texture was confusing, and that's not something you want to hear about a cake mix. A reviewer on Amazon stated that Whole Foods Classic Yellow Cake Mix "tasted old" and was tough as opposed to light as cake should be. With multiple complaints about texture, it's not difficult to see why this mix is ranked in the bottom portion of this list.

The recipe for this boxed cake mix calls for milk, whereas most other options use water. If you do make this one, plan accordingly so you don't accidentally wind up short one ingredient. Also, make sure to finish it with a sugary frosting, like chocolate or s'more.

9. Trader Joe's Yellow Cake and Baking Mix

Rounding out the bottom third of our ranking is Trader Joe's Yellow Cake and Baking Mix. According to consumers, the texture is better than the previous boxed cake mixes. It also boasts versatility and can be used to make all kinds of yummy baked goods. However, it still doesn't quite hit the mark.

The Trader Joe's Yellow Cake and Baking Mix recipe involves butter instead of milk, resulting in a heavier texture. I'm kind of obsessed with Trader Joe's, so I've actually made this boxed cake mix before. I wasn't as impressed as I normally am with the brand's products. I thought it was just okay, and I probably would not buy it again. Still, it wasn't bad by any means, just far from my favorite Trader Joe's grocery items.

The review panel at BuzzFeed found this cake to be "dense, short, and slightly on the drier side." They also decided the texture and taste were less like a yellow cake and more like a pound cake. If you're expecting yellow cake and wind up with something similar to pound cake instead, it's not the end of the world. Still, it's nice to get what you expect. If you find yourself with a box of this cake mix, I recommend adding some additional ingredients or using it as a shortcut to delightfully lazy banana bread. The addition of bananas should add some much needed moisture to the cake.

8. King Arthur Golden Yellow Cake Mix

King Arthur Golden Yellow Cake Mix's mid-list ranking is largely attributed to its elevated price. On the brand's site, a single box is sold for $8.95 (most boxed cake mixes are only $1 to $2). The high cost is likely due to the company's prioritization of quality ingredients that are strictly non-GMO and do not contain preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors. While this can be a huge draw for some consumers, the price is simply too high for this boxed cake mix to earn a position lower than eight.

Consumers buying King Arthur Golden Yellow Cake Mix from BJ's gave it varied reviews. One reviewer said it was "moist and dense ... just like a cake from scratch," but another person said it lacked flavor and "wasn't near as good as a box of Betty Crocker." The taste testers at the The Washington Post said it was overly dense and dry but could be good for supporting the weight of layered cakes.

All things considered, this boxed cake mix is pretty good, it's just not as fluffy, moist, or flavorful as some of the better options coming up. Plus, that added cost is a deal-breaker for many. However, if the absence of artificial ingredients speaks to you, you can easily improve the taste by swapping out the plain milk for a flavored one.

7. Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix

Coming in at number seven on the list is the Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix. It seems to be fairly well-liked overall, although there are some complaints. It also comes from a reputable baking brand: Betty Crocker. A reviewer on Amazon said this cake mix was in fact, super moist as the name suggests, but they didn't "taste the chocolate very much." See what I mean?

A professional baker agreed with the Amazon reviewer in a piece published by Business Insider. They said Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix was "missing the chocolatey flavor" and was "bland and lackluster." However, they did note that the cake's texture was soft, had a "nice crumb," and was moist.

The moist texture puts this boxed cake mix higher in the ranking than the previous options, but the lack of a super chocolatey flavor sets it back quite a bit. After all, chocolate cake should taste like the flavor, not just have a dark brown color.

6. Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix

Smack dab in the middle of my boxed cake mix list is Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix. As one reviewer on Amazon (who claims to be a professional baker) noted, it is a great, high-quality product for a great price. They also said they would "recommend this to anyone." Another reviewer said it was the "best cake mix ever!!" While all of this sounds ideal, an inability to wow some consumers held it back from achieving a higher ranking.

At BuzzFeed, tasters enjoyed the nostalgic taste and color of the Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix. They also mentioned it was moist and had a good texture. Although, it was more on the sweeter side, which could work for or against it, depending on your preferences.

A panel of taste testers at the The Washington Post said this cake was standard or had a basic yellow cake mix. One person said it was their favorite, but basic isn't really something you'd say about the best cake mix, right? To make the top of the list I'm going to need something that wows people, not blends into the crowd. Plus, the bright yellow color of this cake is a bit over the top.

5. Pillsbury Moist Supreme White Cake Mix

Pillsbury Moist Supreme White Cake Mix is similar to the brand's yellow cake mix, but doesn't have the vibrant yellow color and is slightly less sweet. As a result, it is ranked higher on my list. Even so, white cake isn't everyone's favorite, so its place as the fifth best boxed cake mix is appropriate.

A pro baker tasted several boxed cake mixes for Simply Recipes and found Pillsbury Moist Supreme White Cake Mix had a nice crumb, browned evenly, and didn't crack when sliced. However, they didn't like it as much as Betty Crocker mix, hence its slightly lower ranking.

Another reason this cake makes the top half of my list is that it is great for adding an array of other ingredients. It is like a blank canvas waiting for a flavor infusion. From sprinkles to spices to fruit, you can add anything you like for an added splash of color or flavor. Something tells me it would be fantastic if you swapped out the wet ingredients for the super moist ingredient every boxed cake mix needs: ice cream.

4. Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix

Duncan Hines is a beloved baking company and people have been enjoying their boxed cake mixes for many years, so it's no surprise the brand's Classic Yellow Cake Mix is ranked fourth. It has all the elements you'd want from a yellow cake, including a lovely hue, a perfectly sweet taste (without overdoing it), fluffy texture, and a moist mouthfeel.

At The Washington Post, taste testers marveled at the buttery-yellow color and fluffy texture. They also appreciated the level of sweetness, which wasn't too much or too little, it was just right. At BuzzFeed, they found the cake to be fluffy and moist, but a bit spongy. They also liked that it wasn't excessively sweet and had a subtle, pleasing taste.

With the previous feedback on Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix in mind, a sweet frosting wouldn't take the flavor profile into an overwhelmingly sweet territory, which is a huge perk in my book. Pair that with the fluffy, moist consistency, and this boxed cake mix is more than worthy of the number four spot on this list.

3. Betty Crocker Super Moist Favorites Vanilla Cake Mix

Betty Crocker Super Moist Favorites Vanilla Cake Mix is one of the best boxed cake mixes on the market. It hits all the taste, texture, and moisture marks a top cake should, and people love it. An Amazon consumer titled their review of this product "Really nice flavor, sweet enough without frosting, add a bit of fruit for variety." If that doesn't say it all, the absence of negative feedback on Amazon should reinforce this boxed cake mix's greatness for you.

A pro baker at Simply Recipes dubbed Betty Crocker's Super Moist Favorites Vanilla Cake Mix their top boxed cake mix (of the seven they tried). They noted that compared to Pillsbury's Moist Supreme White Cake Mix, which they also liked quite a bit, "Betty Crocker has a more even texture, better flavor, and is more moist." All of the things mentioned are top priorities for cakes, whether they come from a boxed mix or not.

Honestly, this cake mix could have easily taken the first or second place position, but the next two picks have a slight edge when it comes to flavor, pro baker approval, and overall appeal.

2. Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix

Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix is the obvious choice for the second best boxed cake mix. In my opinion, it could be number one, but I wanted to save the top spot for something more versatile. Plus, I'm extremely partial to chocolate, so it always ranks extra high for me.

I developed a craving for chocolate cake while conducting research for this article and bought a box of this mix so I could taste it for myself. Let me tell you, it left me wanting for nothing. It was decadently moist, super fluffy, had a rich chocolate taste, and wasn't overly sweet (even though I slathered it with chocolate frosting). I definitely found myself going back for a second slice and probably could have enjoyed a third — thank goodness for willpower!

I'm not the only one who loves this cake, either. A pro baker at Business Insider determined this was the best of the three chocolate cakes they tried. They liked its fluffy consistency, flavor, and level of moisture. On Amazon, consumers love it as well. They say it is "super moist," has a great chocolate flavor, is easy to make, and many other favorable things.

Overall, it makes a solid second place winner. Of course, if you like chocolate as much as I do, it could easily be number one.

1. Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix

The winner of the all-around best boxed cake mix award goes to Betty Crocker's Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix. It is fluffy, moist (as the name clearly states), and has the quintessential yellow cake flavor we all know, love, and aim to achieve in our cakes.

Our taste-testing friends at Buzz Feed said this mix was "perfectly balanced with a consistent crumb," and wasn't overly spongy or too sweet. It still had the nostalgic flavor people love, but it didn't taste artificial. The moisture was also spot on, and one person said it was like "eating a sugar-laced cloud." The panel ultimately gave this boxed cake mix their number one spot, too.

Customers on Amazon also sing the praises of the Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix. They mention it is "full of flavor," has a great color, is super moist, and is easy to make — so maximum marks all around.

Boxed cake mixes may be seen as a shortcut for pro bakers, but many of them agree that this is the number one option on the market. Who are we to argue? When I considered the mix's attributes and how it compared to other options on this list, it was clear it deserved the number one spot. Give it a try and you may never reach for another type of boxed cake mix again, at least not a yellow one.

Methodology explained

Creating a list and ranking boxed cake mixes made me hungry, but cravings alone couldn't help me determine the specific placement of each option. So, I considered recommendations from pros and consumers alike. I referenced Google and Amazon reviews, feedback from taste-testing panels at The Washington Post and BuzzFeed, and pro baker reviews and recommendations.

I also factored in some of my own experiences making various boxed cake mixes (of which there have been many). After gathering heaps of information and insights, I formed my specific ranking based on taste, texture, flavor potency, moisture, and ease of use. The options that excelled in all categories earned the highest ranking. Adversely, the mixes that lacked in certain areas were placed in the least desirable positions.