Baking will undoubtedly lead to leftover ingredients—things in cans, spices, and even some perishable items. Cookbook author Saura Kline gives suggestions for how you can use them.


You’ll find a lot of baking recipes that call for one egg white or one egg yolk, which means you’ll likely end up with some leftovers. Don’t waste these! I love to save egg whites to make myself an egg-white omelet filled with vegetables and cheese. Egg whites are also great to make a quick meringue topping for a bowl of fruit. If you’re feeling fancy, you can use your leftover egg white as a whipped foam garnish on a cocktail. If you have leftover egg yolks, those have many uses as well. Save the yolk and add it to your next egg scramble for a little more richness. You can whip egg yolks into a classic hollandaise sauce or use one to make homemade mayonnaise.

Sour cream

Sour cream is a versatile ingredient that you can use in various ways if you find yourself with leftovers. I always have sour cream in my refrigerator because I am partial to putting it on my baked potatoes. I also like to mix it with lime juice to make a zesty, creamy taco topping, or mix it with eggs to make the fluffiest scrambled eggs ever. Often, I use it to make a creamy sauce for beef stroganoff or even stir it into some marinara to make it extra rich. You can use it to replace mayonnaise in just about anything and even replace the milk in some baking recipes.


A jug of buttermilk
: bit245

Buttermilk is one of those baking ingredients that’s commonly bought for the sole purpose of being baked into something. If you find yourself with leftover buttermilk, there are many ways to use it up. Try making a buttermilk ranch dressing or Sunday morning pancakes. You can also use buttermilk as a marinade for fried chicken, as it helps tenderize the meat. Mix buttermilk with mayonnaise and vinegar and toss it with some cabbage the next time you’re making coleslaw, or add it to potato salad. Buttermilk has an expiration date and should be kept in the refrigerator until that date.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Leftover sweetened condensed milk can be used for a variety of things, including as a sweetener in coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Thai iced tea is a strong tea that is best when mixed with sweetened condensed milk. I like to repurpose sweetened condensed milk by making whipped cream with it. Leftover sweetened condensed milk should be kept in a sealed container and stored in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Puree

A small bowl and spoon full of pumpkin puree
: nerudol

The smallest can of pumpkin puree you can buy is 15 ounces (425 g). That means you’ll likely have leftovers after your small-batch pumpkin bakes. My favorite way to repurpose leftover pumpkin puree is to make a pumpkin banana smoothie. Simply blend the puree with 1 banana, 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/2 cup of milk and enjoy!

Other great ways to repurpose your pumpkin is to mix it into waffle batter or to combine it with some whipped cream to top a bowl of berries. Mix leftover puree into a hearty bowl of chili or cook it down with some herbs and chicken stock to make a pumpkin soup. I personally like to make my own pumpkin latte by adding a spoonful of puree along with cinnamon and ginger to taste in my regular coffee. You can also use pumpkin puree to make pumpkin muffins or Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust. If you have leftover puree, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla can be used for a wide variety of things. It lasts a long time, so you can keep it stored in your cabinet for years and years. Use a splash of vanilla with milk in your next cup of coffee for a vanilla latte. Vanilla is wonderful added to baked goods. This includes cinnamon rolls, muffins, pancakes, waffles—you name it, vanilla will make it better. I’ll even toss a drop of vanilla onto some fresh berries as a quick afternoon snack.


A small bowl of cardamon pods
: yelenayemchuk

This is one of my favorite spices. I love the depth it gives my baking. Store leftover cardamom with the rest of your spices in an airtight container. It will keep for about a year. If you find yourself with leftover cardamom, try mixing it into a smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal. It’s great for spicing up a cup of tea, coffee, or even hot chocolate. Cardamom is often used in Indian cuisine, and I love to sprinkle it into any Indian stew I’m making.

Active Dry Yeast

Active dry yeast is most often found in small packets, each containing 2 1/2 teaspoons. I usually tear open those packets, pour their contents into an airtight container, and leave that container in my refrigerator for months and months. It’s very convenient for small batch bread making. If you have leftover active dry yeast, try making homemade bagels or burger buns. Yeast should always be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

About Saura Kline

Saura has been cooking in a professional kitchen setting for over 10 years. Originally drawn to the beautiful design of wedding cakes, she found her passion for creating restaurant-quality desserts. She currently is the Executive Pastry Chef for a restaurant group in Denver and creates menus and pastries for three restaurants. In addition, Saura works as a recipe developer for Yummly. Saura started a dessert blog in 2017, where she creates and shares her favorite recipes so dessert lovers out there can easily re-create them at home.

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  1. My suggestions for:

    Sour cream: Make sour cream pancakes (smitten kitchen & The Pioneer Woman have the recipe). These are not the traditional fluffy pancakes but they are still delicious and almost decadent.

    Sweetened condensed milk: If you are from anywhere in SE Asia region, you’ll know that dipping French bread (sweet, not sourdough) into sweetened condensed milk is an absolute treat!