10 Ways To Use Up Leftover Glaze

In baking and pastry, a glaze is a pourable mixture of two simple ingredients: powdered sugar and a liquid, usually water. Glazes are used to coat cakes, dress up desserts, and add flavor to baked goods. It's a simple way to embellish food and add another layer of sweetness.

Sometimes, a recipe doesn't call for a glaze — but we feel like it should. So we eyeball the ingredients into a bowl (it's just powdered sugar and water, after all) and start whisking. Inevitably, we need to add more sugar, then water, and well, you know how it ends. We've overshot the amount of glaze needed — by, like, a lot.

Thankfully, a leftover glaze can be used in all sorts of ways. And adding ingredients to change its texture or jazz up its flavor makes leftover glaze even more versatile. Keep in mind, you can store glaze in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 3 months, so there's no need to use it immediately.

Jazz up store-bought goods

These days, you can readily find high-quality store-bought baked goods. But sometimes, they need a little jazzing up — especially if you want to serve them to guests. Leftover glaze can make store-bought delicacies look enticing and homemade with a few simple steps.

Brighten store-bought pound cake by mixing lemon zest and juice into your leftover glaze. Remove the pound cake from its disposable foil pan and set it on a wire rack over aluminum foil. Pour the citrusy glaze over the top of the cake and allow it to drip down the sides. Your guests will never know you didn't make it from scratch.

Here's an easy way to turn plain store-bought doughnuts into something tastier — and prettier. First, mash some frozen blueberries into the glaze and watch it become an eye-catching shade of bluish-purple. Then, dip the doughnuts into your freshly made blueberry glaze and place them on a wire rack to set.

What's better than brownies? Boozy brownies, of course. Splash some whiskey into your glaze, then pour it over store-bought brownies for a spiked chocolate dessert. Sprinkle with toasted chopped pecans for some added texture, and remember to serve the brownies on a decorative plate to boost that homemade look.

Coat cake pops and petit fours

Candy melts aren't the only things you can use to coat cake pops. Yes, we know they melt like a dream. Still, we recommend you stay away from candy melts since they're nothing more than an artificially flavored confectionary coating made of palm kernel oil and sugar that's pretty tasteless and not that great to eat.

Instead, use leftover glaze for dipping cake pops. You'll want the glaze to be opaque yet thin enough to quickly coat the pop and form a thin shell around it. Add more water if the glaze is too thick. If it needs to be thicker, mix in some powdered sugar. If you want to add color, use gel or pastes, not liquid, so the glaze consistency remains the same.

You can also use leftover glaze to cover petit fours, those dainty, bite-sized cakes that came by way of France. You'll need to add a touch of corn syrup (or invert sugar) to the glaze so it sets up glossy and smooth.

Sweeten up beverages

Sometimes a touch of sweetness can elevate a beverage from good to great. Everything from milkshakes and coffee to after-dinner cocktails can benefit from that leftover glaze you've been storing in the back of your fridge.

Blending glaze into a milkshake takes it to a level of yumminess that you'll crave over and over again. Add a spoonful (or two) of glaze into the blender with the milkshake ingredients, and get ready for a heavenly, creamy, and refreshing treat.

Sweeten up your next after-dinner cocktail by rimming the drinking glass with glaze. It's a quick and easy way to ensure every sip tastes just a bit sweeter (and better). You can also sprinkle the glaze with edible glitter before it sets for some pizazz. So next time you're shaking up an after-dinner espresso martini, take a minute to dress the rim of your coupe glass. It's totally worth it.

Lastly, try stirring some leftover glaze into your morning cup of joe, and your coffee will taste like you've dunked a glazed donut into it a few times. Yup, you know exactly what we're talking about.

Use as a filling

Jam may be the popular choice for filling thumbprint cookies, but if you've got some extra glaze lying around, use that instead. Thumbprints are the perfect vessel for holding puddles of sweet glaze, and you can even garnish the glaze with chopped nuts for some crunch.

If you want to use leftover glaze as a piped filling, you'll need to beat in some soft butter or cream cheese to stiffen it, then stir in vanilla or almond extract for a boost of flavor. Our favorite fillable treat? Whoopie pies. These soft, cakey cookie sandwiches stuffed with creamy filling are always a welcome treat. Pipe the filling over one cookie and top it with another for a taste of your childhood.

If you're not up for a nostalgic moment, grab some strawberries at the market and turn them into bite-sized desserts. First, cut an "X" into the tip-side of a berry, about halfway down. Then pipe a little filling into the center. These luscious bites can be made ahead of time for parties, too.

Donut holes are another great fillable treat. Swirl raspberry preserves into the filling and pipe it into the centers of each donut hole. Kids and adults will love the creamy, fruity center with a burst of sweetness.

Create a sweet dip

Leftover glaze can easily be made into a sweet dip for a dessert board. Simply blend in softened cream cheese and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Serve with an array of fresh fruit like orange segments, sliced bananas, and apple wedges.

For some flair, try adding some spices to the dip. Cinnamon is always a great start. Add-ins like chocolate chips, sprinkles, and toasted nuts provide a nice texture. A drizzle of caramel would be heavenly. You really can't go wrong!

If you're a chocolate lover, you'll love this indulgent, fondue-style dessert idea. Whisk some cocoa powder and melted butter into your leftover glaze to create a luscious chocolate sauce. You can even pour in heavy cream for extra creaminess. Serve the sauce warm with your favorite foods for chocolate fondue, like churros, shortbread, and pretzels.

If fondue seems too fancy, pour the chocolate sauce into an ovenproof dish and spread a single layer of mini marshmallows over the top. Place under your oven broiler until the top is puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with graham crackers for a delicious, s'mores-inspired dip.

Smear it

It's easy to turn leftover glaze into something smearable. Whisk in some powdered sugar and soft butter until you're left with a thick, creamy frosting that holds its shape.

Cinnamon rolls are the no-brainer choice when it comes to smearing. Give just-baked, steaming rolls a healthy smear of frosting and watch it melt and seep into the buns. Allow the buns to cool, then top them with a second smear. Pro tip: Add a touch of sour cream to the frosting for a tangy twist that will elevate your cinnamon rolls.  

If you've never had a graham cracker sandwich, you're in for a real treat. The distinct flavor of graham crackers goes incredibly well with sweet buttery frosting. Smear a spoonful over one graham cracker, then sandwich it with another for an irresistible dessert. Or, smear one graham cracker and garnish it with colorful sprinkles for a kid-friendly, after-school treat. 

Not a fan of graham crackers? Bake off your favorite cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter, oat raisin, you get the idea) and smear some frosting between them for an epic cookie sandwich.

Drizzle it

There are so many baked goods that can be drizzled with icing: scones, coffee cakes, and muffins. But what we really love drizzling are dishes from our favorite meal of the week — brunch.

Upgrade your Sunday French toast with a drizzle of vanilla icing made by mixing a splash of vanilla extract into a leftover glaze. You can also serve the icing as a dip alongside baked French toast sticks for the kids.

Elevate your Saturday pancakes with a drizzle of brown butter icing. You can make brown butter in less than 5 minutes, so why not? Melt some unsalted butter in a small pot over medium heat, and stir continuously until the color turns golden brown and smells nutty. Whisk the brown butter into the leftover glaze for a rich icing with deep flavor.

If weekend waffles are more your thing, listen up. Flavor your glaze with pure maple syrup and maple extract, then pour it over steaming waffles for a decadent, fall-flavored brunch dish. We also love this maple icing drizzled over oat scones and sweet potato muffins.

Make a drip cake

Leftover glaze is a perfect substitute for ganache when used to decorate drip cakes. The most important thing is for the glaze to be the right consistency, and you want it to be thin enough to drip down the sides of the cake yet thick enough to hold its shape as a long line. You can also heat the glaze in the microwave for a few seconds to make it runnier and easier to work with.

Once your glaze is ready, use a small spoon to pour it over the edge of a chilled, buttercream-frosted cake. Allow it to run down the sides of the cake, creating the look of a dripping wax candle. If you prefer, you can use a squirt bottle instead of a spoon to work faster and cleaner.

Pro tip: If you're a drip cake newbie, perform a test drip first. Drop one spoonful of glaze over the edge, then allow it to drip down the side of the cake and set up. If you like what you see, you're good to go. If it needs to be adjusted, now's the time.

Frost some baked goods

Think of your favorite baked goods. Now imagine them covered in frosting. Better, right? Well, lucky for you, that leftover glaze you've been staring at is the perfect starting point for making creamy buttercream frosting.

Place the glaze into a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat in softened butter, powdered sugar, and your favorite extract until the buttercream is light, fluffy, and spreadable. Now let's find something to frost.

Cupcakes are a delicious way to use frosting. These individual desserts appeal to almost everyone, are great for feeding crowds and can be decorated in fun and creative ways.

We love buttercream on pumpkin bread (yes, even more than cream cheese frosting). Slather a thick layer of buttercream over a pumpkin loaf, then sprinkle with toasted pepitas for a moist, sweet quickbread that slays.

Cranberry bars aren't for everyone. But cover them with buttercream, and you'll convert naysayers with one bite. Take a minute to flavor the buttercream with orange extract or zest for a burst of citrus that pairs incredibly well with tart cranberry.

Pipe into flowers

Piped flowers are great to have on hand and not just for cakes. You can use them to dress up desserts like a slice of pie, cheesecake, or brownie for a special occasion.

First, you'll need to turn your leftover glaze into royal icing by adding meringue powder (dehydrated egg whites). This allows the icing to set up quickly and sturdily. Place the glaze into a bowl and whip in powdered sugar and meringue powder, a little at a time, until the icing is stiff yet pipeable. The thicker the icing, the more detailed your piped flowers will look. After the icing reaches the right consistency, you can mix in gel or paste color if desired.

To pipe flowers, transfer the royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a flower tip. You can use a flower nail and parchment squares — or pipe drop flowers directly onto a parchment-lined tray. Place the flowers in the freezer until completely hardened, then peel them from the parchment. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Static Media owns and operates Mashed and Daily Meal.