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Can You Store Leftover Pancake Batter? (What to Do With It)

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Have you ever made a really good batch of pancake batter and only cooked about half of it? Then you have to deal with the problem of what to do with the rest of the batter. Do you just toss it out, which seems like such a waste, or can you store the leftover pancake batter and use it later?

Pancake batter rises better when it has just been made, but if you cannot use it all at once, it can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days or in the freezer for up to three months. The pancakes made from leftover batter will not, however, rise as well as freshly made batter.

Let’s be honest here. Any kind of batter, whether it is pancake batter or cake batter, cooks and rises better when it has just been made. This is a result of the action of the leavening agents to produce the gas which gives cakes or pancakes their light texture. We will discuss this phenomenon in more detail in the following paragraphs along with how pancake batter can be stored for later use.

How Long Does Pancake Batter Last?

Pancake batter should not be left unrefrigerated for more than an hour because it contains fresh eggs and milk that will spoil rather quickly. But, freshly made pancake batter will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days, or up to three months in the freezer. But, the length of time from making the batter until cooking it should be kept at a minimum because the effectiveness of the leavening agent in the batter will be less as time passes, and flat pancakes are pretty unappetizing.

How Long Can Pancake Batter Remain at Room Temperature?

Pancake Batter in a Measuring Cup

Pancake batter should not be left at room temperature for more than one hour, because it contains ingredients such as eggs and milk that spoil rapidly. If the pancakes are not made within one hour, the batter should be covered and placed in the refrigerator.

How Can You Store Pancake Batter?

Pancake batter that will not be cooked within one hour can be stored either in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

If you plan to use the batter within the next three to four days, just place it into the refrigerator in a covered container until time to make the pancakes.  But, if you will not be having pancakes within three or four days, just put it into a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to three months. 

How Do You Store Pancake Batter in the Refrigerator?

To store pancake batter in the refrigerator, place it in a covered container and refrigerate it for up to three or four days. After four days in the refrigerator, the pancake batter should either be used or discarded. If you do not think the batter will be used within four days, it should be frozen right away, not after it has been in the refrigerator for four days.

When you are ready to use the refrigerated pancake batter, take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before making the pancakes and stir it well just before cooking.

How Do You Store Pancake Batter in the Freezer?

If you have leftover pancake batter that you are not planning to cook within four days, it can be frozen by using one of these two methods:

  1. In freezer-safe containers such as plastic freezer boxes– Pour the batter into one or more freezer boxes, label, and date the boxes, and place them into the freezer until needed. By using more than one freezer box, the batter will take less time to thaw when you are ready to use it.
  2. In freezer bags- Pour the batter into one or more freezer bags. By using a large freezer bag or more than one smaller bag and flattening the batter before freezing, the batter will take less time to thaw when you are ready to use it. When the batter is frozen in freezer bags, a quick way to prepare it for cooking is to thaw it completely in the refrigerator, mix the batter well by squeezing the bag, cut a corner off the freezer bag, and then using the freezer bag like a decorating bag, squeeze the batter from the bag into the skillet to cook the pancakes.

The pancake batter stored in the freezer should be used within three months for the best results. The batter will still be good after three months, but the quality and taste of the pancakes will not be as good.

When you are ready to cook the frozen pancake batter, it should be completely thawed in the refrigerator and then allowed to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before making the pancakes.

How Do You Cook Cold or Frozen Pancake Batter?

Refrigerated – 

  1. To make pancakes from batter that has been refrigerated, remove the batter from the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes before cooking. 
  2. After the pancake batter has been out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes, stir it well before cooking.
  3. Pour the batter into a preheated skillet to cook.

Frozen –

  1. To make pancakes from batter that has been frozen, take the batter out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to thaw. This will take one to two days depending on the size of the container.
  2. After the pancake batter has thawed, take it out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  3. When the batter has been out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes, stir it well before cooking.
  4. If the pancake batter was frozen in a freezer bag, after thawing it, mix the batter by squeezing the bag, then cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze it directly into a skillet to cook the pancake.

Keep in mind that pancake batter that has been refrigerated or frozen will not rise as well as freshly made pancake batter.

Why Doesn’t Leftover Pancake Batter Rise Like Fresh?

Cooked Flat Thin Pancake in a Skillet

Leavening agents used in pancake batter, particularly baking soda, begin to work right away as soon as the liquid ingredients are added to the dry ingredients causing a chemical reaction that produces CO2 that gives the pancakes their fluffy texture. But, baking soda also begins to lose its effectiveness within a short time. 

Batter made with baking powder lasts longer because it has a double-action process which begins acting when the liquid ingredient is added and then a second time when it is subjected to heat, making the pancakes and other quick breads made with baking powder rise better when made with leftover batter.

The longest acting leavening agent is yeast which rises twice before baking and then a third time during the baking process.

This is a very simplified explanation for very complex processes that take place when cooking and baking with the different leavening agents, but the main takeaway here is that all leavening agents perform their chemical reactions, then they react no more, making leftover batter likely to produce flatter pancakes or other quick breads since those chemical reactions do not take place after a certain point.

Do Flour, Pancake Mix, and Bisquick Dry Mix Need to be Refrigerated?

No matter whether your pancake recipe of choice calls for Bisquick mix, pancake mix, or flour and you just don’t use either one that often, the shelf life of the flour, pancake mix, and the Bisquick mix can be extended by storing them either in the refrigerator or freezer.

Like most of your staple food items, flour, pancake mix, and Bisquick mix can be stored in a plastic bag or any airtight container in a cool dry area such as your pantry. But, for long-term storage, either place the container of flour, pancake mix, or Bisquick into the refrigerator or freezer to extend its shelf life.

If your flour, pancake mix, or Bisquick have been frozen, be sure to let them set at room temperature to thaw before using.

Final Thoughts

Even though unused pancake batter can certainly be refrigerated or frozen for a limited time so that it is not wasted, the results will usually not measure up to freshly made pancake batter. It will not rise as well and the pancakes will probably not be as light and fluffy as fresh. The degree to which it will rise will depend on the method of storage and length of time it is stored.

My recommendation would be that if you don’t need the entire amount of pancakes at the time you originally make the batter, go ahead and make all the batter into pancakes and just wrap individually and freeze the pancakes that you don’t need. They can then be taken directly from the freezer and heated in the toaster for a quick breakfast when time is short. 

Why risk having to store the pancake batter that may not rise as well when you can go ahead and make your own toaster pancakes to enjoy any time you want? What a great idea! 

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss How Long Can Pancakes Last in the Fridge? | Storage Guide.

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