Love Your Leftover Food: Ideas For Using Up Leftovers

  • Article
  • 4 min read March 20, 2023

We’ve all been there. A creamy new sauce pops up on Pinterest or a friend shares a recipe for the world’s fluffiest buttermilk pancakes.

You race to the store to buy all the ingredients and before you know it you have a delicious creation… and leftover ingredients that sit in your fridge because you have no idea how to use those last few tablespoons or cups. But there’s no need to worry – check out these tips to make sure those days are gone for good!


Select the Size

The best way to avoid leftovers is to buy the right amount of an ingredient in the first place. Pay attention to what the recipe calls for and do a little research before you head to the store — it can make all the difference.


If your recipe calls for a cup or less of an ingredient, go with the smallest carton available: the half-pint. A half pint is 8 fluid ounces (one cup).


There are 2 cups in a pint, making this the perfect for most creamy sauce recipes. Pay attention to the ingredients list. Unless you’re doubling, or making a recipe that is largely cream-based, the pint will likely be enough for you.


When it comes to ingredients like buttermilk, cream and heavy whipping cream, a quart is generally the largest size available. There are 2 pints in a quart, which means there are 4 cups in every quart. If you’re doubling a recipe or making something that calls for a lot of a certain ingredient, a quart might be the right size for you.


Using Leftovers

Now that you’re buying the right amount of your ingredient, here are ideas to use those extras.


Heavy/Whipping Cream

Scrambled Eggs 

If you find yourself with a few tablespoons of cream to use, try adding 1-2 tablespoons of cream to scrambled eggs for an extra creamy and fluffy version of this breakfast fave.

Chicken Marsala 

This classic Italian dish is easy to make and topped with a savory and slightly sweet cream sauce.

Browned Rolls & Crusts 

If you’re making bread, putting together the perfect pie, or even popping some frozen dinner rolls in the oven, use leftover cream to take your results to the next delicious level. Using a silicone pastry brush, brush 1-2 tablespoons of cream over the top of your pie crust, bread or rolls and bake as you normally would. The fat in the cream browns during the cooking process, giving you a bakery-quality finish for your favorite breads and pastries.


Sixty years ago buttermilk was a popular a beverage in many American households, but today most people use it for adding moisture to cakes or imparting a soft tang to a fluffy set of pancakes. If you find yourself with extra, just get a little creative.

Roasted Chicken 

If you love the taste of fried chicken, but want to avoid the calories, try brining your chicken overnight in a mixture of buttermilk, oil and spices. Roast it the next day for an easy and delicious dinner. The meat will be tender and golden brown, without sacrificing the delicious flavor you’ve come to expect from your favorite fried drumstick.

Biscuits and Gravy 

Switch up your weekend breakfast routine with a southern brunch classic. Use leftover buttermilk in both the biscuits and the gravy, or choose one if you don’t have enough for both.

Homemade Ranch Dressing 

Grab a packet of dried ranch dressing mix the next time you’re at the store or find a recipe that uses spices already in your pantry. Combine them with low-fat Greek yogurt and your leftover buttermilk for a delicious dip or salad topper.


Smoothies and Yogurt Pops 

If you find yourself with extra yogurt to use or are trying to beat the “best if used by” clock, whip up a batch of smoothies or yogurt pops. You can find our homemade Blueberry Lavender Lemon Yogurt Popsicles recipe or experiment with different fruit and yogurt flavors. Store these kid-friendly, nutritious pops (in their molds) in an air-tight container for a week or up to a month for best flavor results.

There are hundreds of ways to use your extra dairy portions and these are some of our favorites. What delicious ideas do you have for using extra buttermilk, cream, or yogurt?