16 Creative Ways To Use Leftover Pancake Batter

We couldn't possibly choose between the holy trinity of breakfast foods: French toast, pancakes, and waffles. But, if there was a food that needed to take the top spot on versatility alone, our bet is on pancakes. 

These cooked rounds of batter are wholesome, fluffy, and the perfect vector for real maple syrup. Plus, they don't really require special equipment to make — and pre-made pancake mix comes in a convenient package at the grocery store. The only qualm we have with pancakes is what to do with the leftover batter. If we accidentally have to play the back-and-forth game by adding more water or extra mix, or we just overestimate how hungry we are, we end up with a bowl of batter left over. And while it's important to let pancake batter rest, leaving it on the counter for too long — or worse, popping it in the fridge overnight as you rack your brain on how to use it — will cause all the carbon dioxide to escape, in turn rendering your batter useless.

Since time is of the essence, we've come up with the best ways to use leftover pancake batter. These applications span meals, so you won't be confined to breakfast-only options. 

Use pancake mix for homemade corn dogs

There isn't a fair food quite like a massive corn dog on a stick. For the uninitiated, a corn dog is an American treat that is made by covering a hot dog in batter and dropping it in the deep fryer. The result is a crispy crust and a soft, moist hot dog that is best paired with copious amounts of ketchup and mustard.

You don't have to wait until the Ferris wheel is spinning to indulge in one of these treats, though. Instead, grab your leftover pancake batter and a package of hot dogs. Place a skewer through the hot dog and pour your pancake batter into a tall glass — just be sure to leave enough room at the top to account for displacement. Carefully and slowly stick the hot dog into the batter-filled cup. From there, take your pancake-battered corn dogs to an awaiting pan of hot oil (or your air fryer) and cook them until they're golden brown and crispy.

Make a bacon-pancake hybrid

The song from "Adventure Time" rings in our ears whenever we think about dunking bacon in pancake batter. Not only is it a good jingle, but it's also a delicious way to use up the leftover bit of pancake batter you have in your bowl.

You'll want to start with cooked bacon for this recipe since there won't be enough time on the griddle for the meat to cook all the way through. If you're using freshly cooked slices, you'll also want to pat your bacon with a towel to remove some of the excess oil before you dredge it. This helps the batter stick to the meat and encourages it to fry up well. Then, once your slices are ready, coat them on all sides in the batter (this is where a pair of chopsticks would help you flip the pieces) and pop them in a hot, greased pan. After the pancake-dredged bacon is cooked on both sides, you can serve it with a cup of maple syrup for dipping. 

Fry it for a decadent funnel cake

A simple cinnamon sugar funnel cake couldn't be easier, thanks to pancake batter. The best part about this dessert (besides preventing your pancake batter from meeting its sad demise in your trash can) is that it has the perfect crispy bite and soft, donut-like center that will make your tastebuds happy. 

You can transform pancake mix into funnel cake by mixing it with a bit of sugar to create a similar flavor profile to funnel cake batter. Part of the fun in eating this fried treat is also enjoying its unique, twisty shape, which is made possible when you transfer your batter into a squeeze bottle, piping bag, or a resealable bag with the tip sliced off. Alternatively, you can also pour the batter into the dessert's namesake funnel, but we think the other options are a bit more amusing. Top your treat with fruit, powdered sugar, or chocolate sauce.

Reminisce on fair season with deep-fried Oreos

Fried Oreos: It's like someone decided the cookie alone wasn't decadent enough. Fairgoers will know how delicious this sweet treat can be, especially when each one is coated with too much powdered sugar.

You can dredge Oreos in pancake batter for the easiest deep-fried cookies you've ever had. Pancake batter takes the guesswork out of perfecting your coating, and you can use almost any boxed mix you have in your kitchen. Once your cookies are well coated, plunge them into a large pot of hot oil for a couple of minutes; you'll know they're done when they come out golden and slightly puffy. 

You don't have to stick with plain Oreo cookies for this recipe, either. Swap the traditional cookie for one with a unique filling, or go with an indulgent Golden Oreo to complement the vanilla notes of the pancake batter. As for serving, your options are seemingly as endless as your cookie combinations. A decadent chocolate sauce is always a good option, while a vanilla icing can kick the sweetness up a notch. 

Make TikTok-famous pancake cereal

We admitedly aren't on food TikTok, but we still get to hear about the wildest TikTok trends on social media. Some of these are total flops — we're looking at you, baked feta pasta — while others don't seem to be so bad. In the latter camp, we have this bite-sized pancake cereal breakfast that's as novel as it is whimsical. 

If you are unfamiliar with this recipe, it simply involves making very, very small pancakes and serving them in a bowl with or without milk (though we would argue it's not actually cereal if there's no milk involved). You'll want to get your pancake batter into a bag before you pipe it into coin-sized pieces. It's important to keep your drops small because, like regular-sized pancakes, the batter will quickly spread and cook when it hits a hot, buttered pan. Once your pancakes are cooked, you can flip and scoop them with a large spatula and add them to your bowl. After you've cooked enough bite-sized flapjacks to fill your bowl, add your milk, or skip it in favor of a pat of butter and drizzle of maple syrup. 

Fry a batch of donuts with leftover pancake batter

Donut batter and pancake batter likely have a lot more in common than you'd think. Both batters, at least the variety used for baked donuts, have leavening agents, flour, and other basic ingredients. When you thicken up your pancake batter and pipe it into your donut molds, you can rest assured that your circular treats will puff up perfectly. 

The one caveat for this is that you have to get your pancake mix to the perfect consistency by mixing it with milk, which may require you to reserve some of the dry mix for after you whip up your batch of pancakes. From there, you can either fry your donuts or pop them in a silicon mold and bake them. The texture of these donuts isn't like the ones you'd get from your local donut shop but is instead more like the fluffy ones you'd find at a Chinese buffet. Cover your treats in a layer of granulated sugar for the best eating experience. 

Use it as a topping for your cobbler

We have fond childhood memories of diving into a bowl of peach cobbler on a humid summer evening. But, with pancake batter, this treat can be made year-round with whatever fruit — fresh or frozen — that you can get your hands on. You'll want to start by mixing your pancake mix as normal until no lumps remain. Then add any additional seasoning, like a sprinkle of cinnamon or baking spice, to amp up the flavor and make it more cobbler-like. From there, spoon it on top of your fruit and pop it in the oven. Like a standard cobbler recipe, you'll know that this one is ready to pull out of the oven when the top is solid and golden brown and the fruit is juicy and soft. 

The best part about this recipe, besides not having to measure precise amounts of flour, salt, and sugar, is that the sweetness is a bit more subdued than a standard cobbler recipe. That means your fruit can rightfully assume its place as the star of the show. Complement your cobbler with a sweet addition like whipped cream or a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. 

Make a simple stew with pancake mix dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is the homestyle dish that you didn't know you needed. It's warm, full of savory notes, and isn't complete without a few pillowy dumpling puffs. Luckily, you can whip up a batch of quick and easy dumplings with a box of pancake dough. 

You can make an easy dumpling recipe by mixing together your pancake mix with a little bit of milk — just make sure you don't use too much. If you've ever made drop biscuit dough before, you know that the texture of it is quite stodgy, rather than the smooth, liquidy, spreadable consistency of traditional pancake batter. Once your stew is on the stove, you can plop a few spoonfuls into the pot, cover it with a lid, and simmer until the dough is cooked through. While this recipe may require that you pay specific attention to the thickness and consistency of your dough to ensure it comes out dumpling-like, the tasty result will surely be worth the effort. 

Try making breakfast spaghetti

Before you get yourself all worked up, rest assured that this hack does not involve covering spaghetti pasta in pancake dough and dropping it in a deep fryer. Instead, it's merely a matter of cooking your pancake batter so that it resembles thin ribbons. 

To turn your pancake batter into breakfast spaghetti, fill a squeeze bottle with your leftover batter and pipe it into thin ribbons in your pan. One upside to this method is that the thinness allows the batter to cook much faster, but it also means that you'll have to be more observant to prevent it from burning. Once your batter has cooked on both sides, you can transfer it to a plate and cover it in maple syrup, fruit, or a sweet sauce to give your pasta a more traditional feel. You can also crumble up some bacon or add sausage for a more savory variation. Although unique, this pancake cooking hack is great for when you just have a little bit of batter left — or when conventional pancakes get boring.

Transform your pancake batter into fried ice cream

Fried ice cream is a special treat on the menu at a restaurant — and we doubt anyone has looked at it and said, "Yeah, I think I could make that at home." After all, the mystery is how to keep the ice cream cold, but that secret is out. 

For ultra-crispy fried ice cream that doesn't melt from the heat of your fryer, you have to freeze the ice cream super well before you even think about frying it. Some Japanese fried ice cream gurus will also recommend wrapping the ice cream in an insulative layer of bread or cake, which will both protect the ice cream and help the batter adhere to it. 

Pancake batter is an easy way to make fried ice cream at home. Start by rolling your frozen balls of ice cream in crushed cornflakes before dipping the entire thing in prepared pancake batter. From there, you can pop the balls into the deep fryer and cook them until they're perfectly crispy and golden brown. 

Use pancake batter to upgrade your breakfast sausage

Breakfast sausage is much smaller in size than other types of sausage, but that's not the only thing that sets it apart. These succulent links have a distinct maple flavor that goes well with one breakfast food in particular: pancakes. 

To instantly upgrade the humble breakfast sausage, grab your pancake batter and make a breakfast take on pigs in a blanket. There's no need to grab a can of crescent rolls; all you need to do is bring your sausages to room temperature, coat them in pancake batter, and drop them into the fryer or the oven. A popsicle stick stuck through the meat will help to dunk it without covering your fingers, but this isn't entirely necessary if you have a good spatula around. Once you've allowed the oil to drain off your pancakes, you can serve this recipe similar to your bacon dippers — alongside a generous serving of maple syrup. 

Toss it into your waffle maker

If you're working with a boxed pancake mix, chances are that you can easily make some small alterations to the recipe to transform it into a batch of waffles. You can take any pancake batter and add a couple of tablespoons of oil to it to thin it out. For each cup of dry mix, you'll need to add about two tablespoons of oil to make it compatible with your waffle maker. Some people also prefer to add an extra egg to their batter to help add more structure to it, so this really depends on the mix you're starting with and the texture you're looking for. 

The key to making a delicious waffle is always to strike while the iron is hot — both literally and figuratively. This is because a hot, greased iron will ensure your waffle develops the crispy texture you crave. You'll know your waffles are done cooking when the iron starts to release steam.

Cook up the pancakes and layer it in a breakfast parfait

There's a time and a place for heavy breakfast foods. After all, a plate-sized pancake swimming in maple syrup isn't everyone's cup of tea on a busy weekday morning. If you're looking to make a lighter alternative but still use up your pancake batter, look to a delicious stacked pancake parfait. 

Your pancake parfait is relatively easy to customize depending on your favorite type of yogurt or fruit. You can also pile it high with granola for an extra crunch. The pancakes in this recipe act like a cake in a trifle; they soak up all of the juices from the fruit while also imparting a more hearty bite that will keep you full long after you finish eating it. Assemble your parfaits with the ripped, cooked pieces of pancakes, yogurt, and fruit to create a towering, colorful creation that is as fun to eat as it is satisfying. 

Use it as a hack for the world's easiest apple fritters

We can't think of a food as perfect and as decadent as an apple fritter. Not only do you get some of the fruity notes that are reminiscent of all things autumn, but you also end up with a perfect sticky glaze that covers your fingertips — which we think is pretty darn satisfying to lick off shamelessly.

Apple fritters don't just have to be an item reserved for the fair or for when your local donut shop has them in stock. This recipe couldn't get much easier when you have a box of pancake mix at your disposal. You'll want to mix in some extra sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to give your fritters an edge before gently folding in the apples. When you're ready to cook, carefully drop your fritters into the hot oil. Remember to watch out for splattering grease, as these fried treats are extra sputtery. After your fritters have cooled for a brief moment, you can top them with your glaze and serve them warm. 

Make it into a quick bread

When you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between quick bread and pancake batter. Both contain flour, leavening agents, and binders. So, you can easily swap your pancake mixture for a basic quickbread batter — like the kind you would use for banana bread. Or, even better, you can whip up a simple pancake bread to serve at your next brunch gathering. 

Pancake bread is just as it sounds: pancake mix baked into a loaf pan and baked until golden. It has the perfect rise and consistency of fluffy bread, and it can be easily tweaked to bring out your favorite flavors. If you love everything about the traditional pancake batter, you might consider adding a sprinkle of maple sugar on top for a crispy crunch. You can also add frozen blueberries or chocolate chips for a subtly sweet profile or mix in a fruit jam or pumpkin purée for a delectable twist. 

Dip your French toast into pancake batter

This is the breakfast hybrid you didn't know that you needed. Instead of just dragging your day-old bread slices through an egg and milk custard, flopping them on a griddle, and calling it a day, you can add a delectable element to your French toast slices by coating them in a layer of pancake batter. The pancake batter eliminates the need for an additional custard since it already has eggs and milk. Plus, the pancake batter will act as a protective element and prevent your slices from drying out when they hit the hot pan. 

Once you've dredged your slices in this unconventional dip, you can pop them on your griddle and cook them until golden brown and fragrant. We love topping the slices with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and fresh fruit, which can soak through the double layer of pancake batter and French toast. 

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and The Daily Meal.