Pancake Day is one of Britain’s most popular traditions, with a YouGov study indicating that nearly half of people asked were planning to take part. The study also found that those who do indulge eat at least two pancakes each for tea — an amount which, nationwide, calls for 52 million eggs, 22 million more than any other day in the year (National Geographic Kids).
However, Google Trends data shows that, after our Shrove Tuesday feasts, many of us are left wondering what to do with our excess batter, as searches for “what to do with leftover pancake mix” often peak around this time.
As batter is so cheap and easy to make, it might be tempting to just put it in the bin. But why throw away such a useful and versatile ingredient? To save unnecessary food waste, SkipsAndBins.com have come up with five of the best things you can do with leftover pancake batter.
Powdered pancake mix might last longer, but a standard pancake batter made with fresh eggs, flour, and milk will typically only last around three days in the fridge. If you don’t manage to get through it all during this time, you can always freeze your mix and use it later.
The easiest way is to divide your mix into portions and pour it into freezer bags, then simply defrost as many as you need in the fridge the night before you plan to use them. If you don’t want to portion it out, a tub with a lid will do — just make sure you use up all the batter once it’s defrosted and never refreeze it.
If you’re tired of pancakes after Shrove Tuesday, there are plenty of other ways to dress them up so you can enjoy them all week long. You could whip up some blinis, which are mini pancakes topped with salmon and cream cheese. Or, you could add bicarbonate of soda or baking powder to your mix to make fluffier, American-style pancakes.
You could even try something new, such as corn dogs, which are hot dogs dipped in batter and served on a stick. Or, how about Takoyaki? These are round batter balls, a common street food in Japan that are usually filled with savoury octopus — but you can fill them with whatever you like!
While pancakes are traditionally made in a frying pan, if you bake the batter instead you can end up with delicious Yorkshire puddings.
Pour your whisked batter into a hot, oiled pudding tray for individual Yorkshires that are ideal for a mid-week roast, or you could go large and add sausages for a crowd-pleasing toad in the hole instead. If you make your pancakes quite thick but prefer a light and airy pudding, add an extra splash of milk to your batter before you bake it.
Deep fry it
Most pancake mixes are a runny batter made from eggs, flour, and milk. But did you know that this is the same basic batter that’s used for deep frying? That means you can simply add herbs and spices to leftover pancake mix to create the perfect coating for fried chicken, or recreate a pub-style fish fry at home with beer-battered cod.
If you don’t have a deep fat fryer, you can spray your battered food with oil and shallow fry it in a frying pan, skillet, or wok to achieve a similar level of crunchiness.
Share it (with your dog)
As there’s nothing nasty in a basic batter mix, it’s safe to share your pancakes with your dog as a special treat. They’re not very healthy, though, so this is a good option if you only have a few scoops of batter left.
Be careful with toppings like chocolate chips or blueberries, which may be toxic to pets. Instead, you could use things like plain cooked chicken, tuna, or peas as dog-friendly toppings.
“Pancake Day is a lot of fun, but it can be wasteful. I know plenty of households that turn it into a competition to see who can eat the most, cooking up more and more of them until everyone is full. And, because the ingredients are so cheap and basic, it’s easy to forget just how much food waste we generate by throwing away what we don’t end up using.
“Batter is one of those magical, versatile ingredients that can be used for so many things, from Yorkshire puddings to fried chicken. Plus, although it only lasts a few days in the fridge, it freezes well. So, there are plenty of ways you can make your pancake mix go further.
“After all, Shrove Tuesday was traditionally the day where people used up what they had in their cupboards, so that nothing spoiled during Lent. I think it’s important that we recover this principle and use it to minimise food waste by finding alternative uses for our leftover pancake batter. “
– Scott Hawthorne, Managing Director at SkipsAndBins.com