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We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

The world of boxed cake, cookie, muffin, and brownie mixes is confusing at best, debilitatingly overwhelming at worst. Spend more than 45 seconds in any grocery store baking aisle and you’ll see what we mean.

The shelves are lined top to bottom with brightly colored boxes, all covered in tiny font, bombastic claims (The gooiest! The fluffiest! Just like Grandma’s!), and edge-to-edge photos of piping hot baked goods beckoning to hungry shoppers like Sirens taunting Odysseus with their bewitching songs.

OK, we’re being dramatic, but the point stands: When you’re pressed for time and a premade mix is your only option, sifting through the din to find a box not teeming with hydrogenated oils and unpronounceable preservatives is a real needle-in-a-haystack situation.

We tried them out so you don’t have to. Here are the six best boxed cake mixes.

And it was all yellow…

1. Miss Jones Baking Organic Vanilla Cake Mix

Free of GMOs, trans fats, artificial colors, and hydrogenated oils, this certified USDA organic baking mix fluffs up like a charm.

We’re going to say it: Miss Jones might be, pound for pound, the best no-frills cake mix on the market. 😱 (Yep, we went there.)

With no dairy or soy in the box, it’s totally up to you whether you add eggs, butter, and milk or swap in vegan substitutes (they even provide a vegan recipe online).

The organic cane sugar, tempered with earthy vanilla and a dash of sea salt, doesn’t dominate, so this cake is perfect for doctoring up with a custard or jelly filling, fresh fruit, glazes, or frosting. Go ahead and get crafty.

If it ain’t choc, don’t fix it…

2. Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin and Cake Mix

Muffins, cake, brownies, or cupcakes — this Paleo-friendly and dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free mix can do it all.

The ingredients are fittingly simple: almond flour, organic coconut sugar, cocoa, arrowroot, organic coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt. No preservatives, no BS.

The mix itself packs only a relatively low 8 grams of sugar per serving, and recipes printed on the box include suggestions for optional add-ins like sweeteners or vanilla extract to make things extra versatile.

Because who needs gluten anyway?

3. Whole Note Naturally Gluten-Free Create-a-Muffin Mix

If you’re looking for a reliable blank canvas to satisfy all your gluten-free muffin-making needs, this is it. On its own, the mix is neutral yet tasty, with a light, pleasant vanilla scent and a hearty texture.

But where it really shines is as a base for antioxidant-rich blueberries, walnuts, or any other flavorful additions that might catch your eye.

Going vegan is easy with this one, and no matter how you prepare it, you’re looking at 14 grams of whole grains in each muffin, plus a dose of protein from fava bean flour and flaxseed meal.

4. Immaculate Baking Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

These rice flour-fueled gluten-free treats are the ideal combination of light and crispy at the edges and plump and gooey in the center.

They’re packed with velvety semisweet chocolate chips but skip bleached flour, GMOs, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors.

One box makes twenty-two 2-tablespoon cookies, so don’t forget to pick up that extra carton of (nondairy) milk — you’re gonna need it.

5. Krusteaz Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix, 18 Ounce, Pack of 8

This is a mix that’s easy as all heck, free of preservatives, and thoroughly edible for people following a gluten-free eating plan.

Krusteaz is a family business, so if you want a mix with home-cooked vibes, this might be the choice for you. All you need to do is mix in eggs, butter, and milk.

And — boom! Cake.

As an added treat, because it bangs.

6. Foodstirs Organic Snickerdoodle Blondie Mix

Fall is prime snickerdoodle weather. What’s better than the intoxicating cinnamon-sugar smell combined with crisp weather, cozy flannel blankets, and a roaring fireplace?

These warm, tasty, 100-percent organic squares — a straightforward mix of brown sugar, wheat flour, sunflower oil, sea salt, baking powder, vanilla, molasses, and cinnamon — hit the spot like none other.

They’re like snickerdoodle cookies taken to another level… and yet somehow still have only 80 calories per serving. Thank you, healthy baking world.

Being easy to make and delicious to eat doesn’t mean baking mixes have to be packed full of additives and flavorings. You need little in the way of extra ingredients, and some mixes are even relatively nutritious.

If you feel like getting a bit more hands-on with your dessert, check out these high protein desserts you can whip up yourself.

(Or just stick to cake mix. We won’t tell anyone.)