Pancakes are almost universally adored, and many people would happily eat them every day for breakfast if they didn’t take quite so long to make. For a lovely Sunday brunch, it might not be a problem to spend 30 minutes making breakfast, but if you’re trying to beat the traffic on your way to work or dropping the kids off for school, every minute matters.
The logical solution would be to simply pre-make your pancake batter so that it’s ready to hit the pan first thing in the morning, but will it still create light and fluffy pancakes if it’s made in advance?
Can you refrigerate pancake batter? Yes, you can refrigerate pancake batter overnight or for up to four days. For best results, make sure to store the pancake batter in an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator. You can also place the pancake batter into a liquid-safe Ziploc bag or sealable piping bag.
This article will take a close look at all the different kinds of pancake batter you can make and the best ways to store it overnight.
What Happens When You Refrigerate Pancake Batter Overnight?
There are a surprising number of recipes to create the ideal pancake, and each of them incorporates ingredients that store uniquely and may end up changing the consistency of your final product.
The biggest concern is the rise in the batter.
If you love fluffy, American style pancakes, before deciding whether or not your batter can be stored effectively overnight, check your recipe for the following ingredients that we’ll discuss in the following section.
Also, the picture is there because these are my absolute favorite pancakes, and you can pick them up on Amazon!
Also, no matter what type of pancakes you’re trying to refrigerate, you’ll want some quality food-safe air-tight jars (I like these from Amazon), or, you can even store it in a lidded batter-dispenser like this one from Amazon.
Refrigerating Pancake Batter: Thin Pancakes or Crepes
If you’re wanting to make thin, flat pancakes or crepes in the morning, then preparing your batter ahead of time is actually ideal.
When you mixed the dry and wet ingredients of a batter, it aerates and creates bubbles. The air bubbles are what help pancakes puff up and rise, which is not what you want out of a crepe. To get really flat pancakes, you want all the bubbles to collapse.
These cakes are perfect for rolling up on the go with some peanut butter and jam or other fillings inside them or topping with a dollop of whipped cream for a fancy feast in only a few minutes.
Refrigerating Pancake Batter That Contains Baking Soda
Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps to make your batter rise so that your pancakes turn out nice and fluffy and light.
Unfortunately, baking soda starts to work as soon as it’s mixed into your batter and will fall flat if not cooked relatively quickly. If your recipe calls for baking soda as the sole means of getting a rise out of your batter, it’s not an ideal recipe to make ahead.
Refrigerating Pancake Batter That Contains Baking Powder
Baking powder, on the other hand, will generally store quite well. Most baking powder is “double acting” which means it will activate as soon as it meets your wet ingredients, but it will reactivate when it comes into contact with heat.
Your pancakes may not have quite as much height as they would if you made them immediately, but if you notice the first pancake cooked looks a little too flat for your liking, you can add a bit more baking soda to your batter in the morning to refresh it.
Try to stay within about 25% – 50% of the original quantity required.
Refrigerating Pancake Batter That Contains Yeast
Making pancakes using yeast is usually a great option for making ahead of time. The yeast remains active, which means your pancakes will have the volume you love even if cooked the next morning. Some people even think that letting the yeast rest and proof overnight adds to the flavor.
It’s even possible to make your pancakes or waffles using sourdough starter, which is often made weeks in advance of baking.
In both these cases, it’s best to take the batter out of your fridge about an hour before cooking to let it return to room temperature.
Refrigerating Buttermilk Pancake Batter Overnight
If buttermilk pancakes are your raison dêtre, making your pancakes ahead of time could get a little tricky, but certainly not impossible.
Buttermilk will deflate if left to sit too long, so the fix, in this case, is to mix all your dry ingredients ahead of time and fold in the wet ingredients just before you’re ready to fry your batter.
The dry ingredients don’t even have to be refrigerated, and the wet ingredients can be combined in a single bowl and stored in an airtight container overnight, but it’s best to beat them together just before adding to your dry ingredients in the morning.
This isn’t the ultimate in time-saving techniques, but it’s not the worst-case scenario either. In most cases, it won’t take you any longer to mix your ingredients than it will take to warm up your pan or griddle anyway.
If you’re determined to mix the entire batter and refrigerate overnight, simply find a recipe that also uses yeast and you’ll be perfectly fine to mix everything ahead of time.
If you’re curious about long-term dry pancake mix storage, check out this article we wrote.
Refrigerating Pancake Batter That Contains Egg Whites
Some recipes will call for whipped egg whites to use as a leavening agent, instead of yeast or baking soda.
If this sounds like your favorite recipe, the best solution is to pre-make your pancake batter the night before, but save the egg whites to whip and fold into the mixture just before cooking.
This will give you the convenience of overnight pancakes with the light, fluffy effect of making them the same morning.
How to Store Pancake Batter Overnight
If you’re going to store pancake batter overnight, the most important thing to pay attention to is the complete absence of air exposure.
For best results, this is how to refrigerate pancake batter overnight:
- Pour your batter into a Tupperware container that has an airtight seal
- Before closing the lid, cover the very surface of your batter with plastic wrap. This will give you the maximum protection against air possible.
Another method for refrigerating pancake batter overnight:
- Pour the batter into a liquid-safe Ziploc bag
- Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it shut
- When you’re ready to use it, you can simply cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze it out, similar to using a piping bag
Or, you can even store it in a pancake dispenser like this one from Amazon.
Some people like to eat pancakes daily, and to those people, I say, “why not?”
If this sounds like you, you may find it easiest to make a large quantity of pancake batter on your day off and store it for use throughout the week.
The most convenient way I have found to store large batches of pancake batter is inside a large, empty old ketchup bottle or another type of squeeze bottle that has a decent seal.
This will make it nice and easy to simply squeeze the batter directly onto your pan or griddle for nearly instantaneous pancakes on demand.
If you’re wanting to store pancake batter for long periods of time, your best bet is to use pancake batter that has yeast in it, rather than baking soda or eggs.
The flavor and rise will only develop better over time and you won’t have to worry about fussing with extra mixing when you’re in dire need of breakfast.
The exception to this, of course, is if you prefer flat, Scandinavian style pancakes or crepes, in which case it won’t matter if your baking soda or powder loses it’s lifting power over time.
The final ingredient you’ll want to watch out for is milk. If your recipe calls for milk, you won’t want to store the pancake batter for any longer than 1 week at a time to be sure it doesn’t sour on you.
Why does my pancake recipe call for resting?
It’s unusual, though not unheard of, for a pancake recipe to call for a resting period. Whenever you’re working with flour, a lot of mixing can make the gluten get tough and resting your batter or dough will loosen the gluten again, preventing a rubbery pancake.
That being said, the secret to a great pancake is not to over mix the batter. Lumps are completely fine, but an overmixed batter will be flat and, as this question indicates, potentially rubbery.
Can you freeze pancake batter?
Yes, you can. Keeping all the above advice about refrigerating your batter in mind, you can pour your batter into a liquid and freezer safe Ziploc bag in order to freeze it for up to 3 months.
Make sure you remove as much air as possible before placing it flat in your freezer.
To thaw your batter, simply take it out of your freezer and allow it to come to room temperature on your counter. You can also place it in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot!) water to help it defrost quicker.
Can I freeze previously cooked pancakes?
Yes, you can! In fact, many people find it easier to cook a huge batch of pancakes and freeze them for quick eating later than making batter ahead of time. Once your pancakes are cooked, let them cool completely before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap.
To give them extra protection, you can place all individually wrapped cakes inside a single freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container. Label the container with the date frozen and try to eat your pancakes within 3 months.
To eat, you can pop the frozen pancakes into your toaster or toaster oven, or you can let them thaw on your counter and reheat in a frying pan or in your oven in larger batches.