Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough Pancakes

It's a sourdough baker's constant conundrum: What to do with all that discard? Lucky for us, the answer is quite simple: pancakes. With the addition of sourdough discard, the breakfast and brunch staple becomes pleasantly chewy with a light texture and sweet, tangy flavor.

If you already have sourdough starter in your refrigerator, this recipe comes together easily. But it does require some planning ahead since the pancake batter has to sit on the countertop overnight. Come morning, you simply mix in the other ingredients and get them on the griddle.

Why Does the Batter Need to Sit Overnight?

Like sourdough bread, these pancakes start with a sponge (also called the levain or preferment) made from the discard, flour, and milk. Leaving the sponge to sit overnight allows time for the wild yeast to do its work, leaving you with a bubbly mixture that’ll add the wonderful tang that sourdough is known for.

Once you're ready to mix everything together in the morning, be sure to check that the melted butter is completely cooled (but still liquid) before adding it to the batter. If warm butter combines with cold ingredients, it will solidify into clumps.

The Secret to Perfectly Light and Golden Sourdough Pancakes

It's all in the heat. The key to cooking up golden, yet light pancakes is an even low heat. This is especially important for sourdough pancakes because the batter is thicker and therefore takes more time to cook through than typical pancakes. If the heat is too high, the pancakes will burn on the outside while remaining uncooked on the inside.

What to Serve With Sourdough Pancakes

Serve these sourdough pancakes with some fresh berries and maple syrup, or top them with powdered sugar, butter, or fruit syrup. Complete your meal with crispy bacon or your favorite breakfast sausage.

The Spruce / Leah Maroney

“Those who maintain sourdough starter for bread baking are always looking for ways to use the discard. These pancakes had a delicious depth of flavor thanks to the starter, and their texture was amazingly tender and light. I got 14 pancakes out of 1 batch of batter, using a 1/4 cup measure.” —Danielle Centoni

Sourdough Pancakes Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil (or butter), for greasing the pan or griddle

  • Berries, garnish

  • Maple syrup, garnish

  • Powdered sugar, garnish

  • Melted butter, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Sourdough Pancakes  The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  2. Combine the sourdough starter with the milk and flour in a large bowl that is big enough to allow the mixture to rise.

    Mix pancake batter The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight; the batter needs to rise and continue to develop its sourdough flavor. This will be your overnight sponge and the base for the pancakes.

    Let the pancake batter rest The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  4. In the morning, add the beaten eggs, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the sourdough starter mixture. Whisk until combined and smooth.

    Add in the eggs The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  5. Whisk in the cooled melted butter and the vanilla extract. The batter will be very thick and almost like a slack bread dough after you are done mixing.

    Whisk the batter The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  6. Heat up a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and add a little bit of neutral oil or butter. Turn the heat down to medium-low and ladle 1/4 cup batter to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until bubbles start forming on top and the pancakes are browned on the underside.

    Cook pancakes on a cast-iron pan The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  7. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute on the other side. It doesn't take as long on the second side, so watch carefully. Repeat with the remaining batter.

    Cooked sourdough pancake The Spruce / Leah Maroney

  8. Serve the pancakes with fresh berries, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and/or melted butter.

    Sourdough pancakes

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

How to Store & Freeze Sourdough Pancakes

Leftover pancakes can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and reheated in the microwave or toaster oven.

Pancakes can also be frozen for up to three months. Slip piece of parchment or wax paper between pancakes to keep them from sticking to each other once frozen. Pancakes can be microwaved or toasted directly from the freezer.

Helpful Links

  • Tips for Making Perfect Pancakes
  • Are Lumps OK in Pancake Batter?
  • 22 Creative Pancake Ideas


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