What to do with leftover pancakes - including how to freeze batter

How to freeze pancake batter, readymade pancakes, and other ways to use up leftovers this Pancake Day...

A breakfast table covered in an array of pancakes and pancake toppings
(Image credit: Future / Getty)

From lunchtime wraps to pancake bread and butter pudding, we've got plenty of ways to use up leftover pancakes and pancake batter.

Pancakes are perfect at any time of year, not just Pancake Day. You might be used to eating them sweet, with a classic topping of lemon and sugar, ice cream, or melted chocolate - but with a bit of creativity, leftover pancakes can be used in a range of other dishes as a lighter alternative to bread, pasta, or other bases.

Swap your usual pancake toppings with bacon and eggs for breakfast, use them as an alternative for tortilla wraps, or layer them with ricotta, spinach, and tomato sauce to make a ‘pancake lasagne’ for dinner. You can even freeze pancake batter to make sure nothing goes to waste.

"Pancakes can actually be frozen - both the batter and the cooked pancakes," says Food Editor, Jessica Dady. "This is so handy if you've got lots of batter leftover from Pancake Day or you've made a glut of pancakes at the weekend which won't get eaten. The batter and readymade pancakes are best eaten within one month of freezing."

What to do with leftover pancakes

Breakfast pancakes

1. Serve with a fry-up instead of toast

If you're a fan of a hearty fry-up you'll be glad to know that pancakes are the perfect swap for a slice or two of toast. Opt for smaller, thicker pancakes and serve alongside the poached egg, bacon medallions, chestnut mushrooms, and fresh cherry tomatoes with our delicious breakfast pancakes recipe.

"Thick, fluffy, American pancakes are great to serve up with a classic fry-up. Warm them up in the toaster or under the grill. You can even fry them in the frying pan you’ve used for bacon, to pick up some of the bacon flavour. Scotch pancakes work too, but are slightly sweeter than American pancakes, so I prefer to use them in a sweet-and-savory, bacon, and maple syrup-type breakfast," says Food and Lifestyle Writer, Octavia Lillywhite.

Other ideas:

  • Pancake French toast: Turn your leftover pancakes into a classic breakfast treat - French toast. It’s simple really; just make them as you would French toast. Dip your cooked pancakes into the egg, sugar, and cinnamon mix and pop on a pan, and cook until golden and delicious. Serve with fresh berries.

ham and cheese pancake rolls

2. Roll to make wraps for lunch

Pancakes make a great alternative to tortilla wraps. Grab a crepe-style pancake and load up with your favourite sandwich fillings – bacon, lettuce, and tomato, burrito-style with beans, or how about our ham and cheese pancake rolls (pictured above) the choice is yours. Wrap in tin foil or cling film and pop into the fridge ready for your packed lunch the next day.

"One of my favourite ways to use up thin, crepe-style pancakes is with lunch the next day. But rather than adding the filling in a line and wrapping them up, burrito-style, I like to spread the filling in a thin layer and roll them up like a mini roulade," adds Octavia. 

"This works with classic white-flour crepes but also wholemeal galettes or buckwheat pancakes. You can’t do it with thicker, American pancakes, but use them for Danish-inspired open sandwiches, or use them instead of pitta bread with Greek dips like hummus and taramasalata."

Italian crespelle pancakes 

3. Make enchiladas with pancakes instead

Pancakes are so versatile they can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes. Italian crespelle pancakes are packed with garlic, onion, spinach, and ricotta and topped with a rich tomato sauce. Sprinkled with cheese and baked in the oven, this has to be one of the best ways to serve pancakes for dinner.

Octavia says; "It’s actually worth making sure you have some leftover crepe pancakes specifically to make enchiladas and quesadillas the next day. Just use them in place of wraps. With enchiladas, the pancakes soak up even more of the flavours of the cheesy filling than traditional wraps and have a lovely chewy texture as well as crisp edges where you grill them at the end. And pancakes make beautifully crisp quesadillas. Make both for a Mexican-inspired leftovers feast."

Other ideas:

  • Panchiladas: Quesadillas or enchiladas are really easy to make with pancakes. You might always associate pancakes as a sweet dish rather than savoury but a sprinkling of cheese, a scoop of tomato sauce and plenty of veggies make one delicious dinner. Turn your pancakes into panchiladas in just a few simple steps.

Baked pear and caramel pancake

4. Add to your favourite desserts

Transform your pancakes into different desserts. Our favourites have to be pancake bread pudding, pear pancake pudding, and a classic trifle with a pancake layer at the bottom to create the 'sponge'.

If you're looking for an indulgent way to transform your leftover pancake batter try whipping up our baked pear and caramel pancake pudding. The soft, sweetness of the pear and the richness of the caramel work wonders together. All wrapped in a pancake and you've got one mouth-watering dessert.

"A poll by Clarence Court found that sweet pancakes are far more popular on Pancake Day than savoury - 75% of people prefer them," says Food and Lifestyle Writer, Octavia Lillywhite. "The classic lemon and sugar are consistently voted the nation’s favourite topping but there are far more exciting things you can do with your leftovers to make them into fun puddings." 

"For crepes, lay them flat and add a dollop of mascarpone cheese and one of fruit compote to the middle, then fold the pancake up to make a little square parcel around the filling. Fry the parcels in a little butter to warm the filling and crisp up the edges and serve with a drizzle of cream."

Other ideas:

  • Pancake bread and butter pudding: For the bread and butter pudding, tear or cut up the pancakes into small pieces. We’d recommend using thicker pancakes for this dessert. Pour over your custard mix and top with raisins or chocolate chips. Bake in the oven on low heat (160-180C) for about 30 mins.
  • Trifle with a pancake 'sponge': For the pancake trifle, all you have to do is replace the sponge fingers or Swiss roll in the base of your favourite trifle recipe with pancakes instead. Leave smaller pancakes as they are but tear the bigger pancakes up to fill the base of the trifle. Delicious!

Crepe cake

5. Bake a pancake cake

If you’re up for a baking challenge this week, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get creative with pancakes. This crepe cake is a great way to make the most out of your homemade pancakes. Our cake expert Victoria Threader guides you through making your own in our simple step-by-step recipe.

"Lots of people make cakes with stacked crepes, but I find they look nicer than they taste. In fact, I think this is a much better way to use up fluffy American pancakes. Slather a tower of five between layers of sweetened whipped cream then drizzle with a caramel or chocolate sauce and top with strawberries," adds Octavia.

Other ideas:

  • Pancake S'mores: Pancake S’mores is made pretty much like you would make classic S’mores except you’re replacing the biscuits part with pancakes instead. Sandwich with gooey marshmallows and your favourite chocolate bar and serve.

How to make Yorkshire puddings

6. Make Yorkshire puddings with pancake batter

There’s really no need to bin your leftover pancake batter especially as you can make so much with it. How about whipping up a batch of Yorkshire puddings using your pancake mix? They’re pretty much the same recipe – you just need a little oil for cooking.

"A classic, traditional pancake batter is the exact same thing as Yorkshire pudding batter: plain flour, eggs, and milk, so those little puffed puds are one of the best things you can do with leftover batter," claims Octavia.

"Don’t worry about leaving it in the bowl for a day or two, it’s actually good to leave it to rest. For the best rise on your Yorkshires, bring the batter to room temperature before you start, and make sure you heat the well-oiled bun tin in the oven before you pour in the batter."

How long are leftover pancakes good for?

Like most food, for the best flavour, texture and taste - pancakes are best made and eaten on the same day. This will ensure that they are fresh, unlikely to be spoilt from being left at room temperature for too long or freezer burn from not freezing properly. 

The same goes for pancake fillings and toppings - these are best made on the same day you intend to serve the pancakes.

Can you keep leftover pancakes and pancake batter in the fridge?

You can keep leftover pancakes or pancake batter in the fridge for up to 2 days. The sooner you use the pancakes, and the pancake batter, the better.

To store the pancake batter, pour the mixture into a glass bowl or jug and cover with clingfilm. If you want to stop the batter from forming a 'skin' make sure the clingfilm touches the top layer of the mixture.

Readymade pancakes can be stored in an airtight container or bag once completely cooled. We'd recommend reheating in the microwave or popping into the toaster for a few minutes to give them a new lease of life.

Can you freeze pancakes and pancake batter?

For cooked pancakes, leave them to cool before freezing. Once cooled, pop a few into a sandwich bag – depending on how many you’d want in one sitting or how many members of your family would want some when it comes to reheating. Store in an airtight container or Tupperware for up to 1 month.

When it comes to storing your leftover pancake batter, we’d recommend portioning your batter out. If you don’t think you’re going to use all the leftover mix in one go, separate it into a few sandwich bags.

Tie and store these in an airtight container or Tupperware. Make sure you label them up so you know what they are. You could also store your leftover pancake batter in an ice cream tray – one ice cube will make a mini pancake.

Blueberry and marmalade pancakes

(Image credit: Westend61/REX/Shutterstock)

How to defrost and reheat pancakes and pancake batter

To reheat readymade pancakes, take the pancakes out of the sandwich bag - they might be stuck together so leave them to sit on the kitchen side for a while before carefully peeling them apart with a knife. Reheat in the toaster or in the microwave on low heat.

To defrost your pancake batter, leave it in the fridge overnight or in a bowl of warm water on the kitchen side. Once the mixture has defrosted, cut off the corner of your sandwich bag and carefully pipe your pancake batter into a preheated frying pan and cook.

Related features

Video of the Week

Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies

With contributions from