Sourdough Discard Pancakes

Sourdough starter is a beautiful thing.  You care for it, warm it, feed it . . . rock it to sleep.  Ok maybe not rock it to sleep.  But you care for it.  You care about it.  And throwing away half of your precious little leavening child when you feed it just seems wrong.  Luckily, there are lots of delicious recipes that use sourdough discard (or the “unfed,” throwaway part of the starter that you take out when you feed the rest). Sourdough Discard Pancakes might change your mind about discarding any of that beautiful starter– and you may find yourself making extra starter just to have these tasty little circles of happiness for breakfast.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Sourdough Discard Pancakes


2.5 cups all purpose flour

2 tbsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1-2 cups sourdough starter (can be discard, as we just need flavor and won’t be relying on this for leavening power).


Whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and sugar.  In a separate bowl whisk together beaten eggs, milk, and oil, and add all at once to dry mixture.  Whisk ingredients together and add sourdough starter.  Stir together and add a little flour, if necessary, to make a thick pancake batter.  Bake pancakes on low heat on a cast iron griddle until pancakes show small bubbles.  Flip them over and allow to finish cooking on the other side before serving.

Now, in pictures!

Lately with so many yeast shortages, sourdough is all the rage. But this delicious style of baking isn’t new– in fact, it is one of the oldest forms of leavening in baking history.  Last week we made basic Sourdough Bread.  This week we are going to start talking about some ways that you can use up sourdough starter discards– because let’s face it.  Once you’ve loved and cared for and fed something, it just kind of hurts to throw it out.  Yes, that counts for your old Aunt Mabel, too.  Please don’t throw her out either.

Sourdough pancakes are a great way to use up starter– and the great thing is that you can use the “discard” starter– the weaker half that is removed when you feed your starter to get it foamy and happy and on the rise again.  Since we are using other leavening for the rise, the sourdough starter is just for that yummmmmmmmy sourdough flavor. 🙂

Start out by whisking together your dry ingredients.  See how easy this is?  You’re a genius.  I love working with you.

Now let’s talk starters.  There are many kinds of sourdough starters, and the one I’m using is roughly the consistency of pancake batter.  See how happily it is bubbling away for me?  Aww.  Just bubbling over with joy!  😉    Other starters may be a little thicker, and others may be a little thinner.  Some may be more bubbly than others.  The reason I mention this is because you may need to add either (1) a little more flour or (2) a little extra milk, depending on the thickness of your starter.  Mine is just about the same consistency as pancake batter already– so when I add my wet ingredients and then stir in the starter, I’m ready to go.  It just depends how thick you like your pancake batter to be.  You’re the queen of the kitchen here.  We await your command.

The sourdough starter will make your batter kind of “spider webby.”  Yes.  That should be a word.  Ahem.  Words.

But seriously– you can see the sticky, viscous quality of the batter when the sourdough starter is added, vs. when you make pancakes with regular leavening.  The “spider webbiness” is how you know your sourdough is working away in there to make your pancakes deeeeelicious.  Even though we are using sourdough discard and the starter won’t raise the pancakes very much (baking powder will do that), it will still give that sticky, spider webby texture and sourdough flavor.

Since this starter will also make your batter kind of bubbling and sticky, it can be hard to pour the batter out evenly to make your pancakes.  I recommend using a cookie scoop to portion your batter onto the griddle, since the stickiness makes it difficult to pour.  Plus then you will have an excuse to make cookies.  You can call it kitchen necessity.  You can call it getting your money’s worth.  You can say that Mommy needs cookies for medicine.  You’re welcome.

If you decide to go all pancake rebel and pour your batter anyway, just be warned.  Probably your entire bowl of batter will pour out in one sticky lump to make one gigantic pancake.  Yes.  Although I see the wisdom of your reasoning here.  That will count as ONE pancake, even if it’s as large as a basketball.  Mark that down in your weight watchers’ diary.  You’re a genius. I love working with you.

Next, you can gently cook your pancakes on a cast iron griddle.  This is my favorite one (and the one in the photo).  My love of Le Creuset is no secret, and my Big Blue skillet makes the most beautiful pancakes ever.  Keep the heat low and slow, and your pancakes will be almost an inch thick.  (Yes.  This still counts as one pancake.  You’re welcome).

Sourdough Discard Pancakes

The key to thick, fluffy pancakes is “low and slow.”  High heat will give you dark pancakes that taste almost “grilled,” or even burned, if you let them go too far.  Thick batter, low heat, and a cast iron pan makes the FLUFFFFFFYYYYYYY, diet busting pancakes that you deserve after, say, a breakup or the kids knocking over your new lamp for the thousandth time.  You’re welcome.  Quarantine calories don’t count– let’s just agree to this now.

Lamp breaking calories don’t count either.  Your kitchen, your rules.  Makes sense to me.

Sourdough Discard Pancakes

So what kind of pancakes are you going to get after all this tender loving care?  Mmmmmm.  Well, let’s see.  They are HUGE, fluffy, light as air pancakes.  They have that gorgeous sourdough flavor.  They smell like heaven while they’re baking.  They might lure Ryan Reynolds into your kitchen too, but I can’t 100% guarantee it.  Just saying.  You never know what could happen.

They’re that good.

Sourdough Discard Pancakes

You can make a cute little stack of hotcakes and smother them with syrup and strawberries.  It’s fruit.  That makes it healthy.  Bon Appétit.

Sourdough Discard Pancakes

However you choose to enjoy them, there are really no rules.  Oh . . . except for one rule.

Make sure you grab seconds.

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.

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