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15 Best Sourdough Discard Recipes: Ways to Use Starter Discard

If you’re searching for creative, tasty, and easy ways to use sourdough starter discard, you’ve come to the right place! Please enjoy this round-up list of the 15 best sourdough discard recipes including delicious crackers, cookies, pancakes, cornbread, pretzels, pizza, pie crust, and more.

This list includes recipes of all types: some healthy sourdough discard recipes, some on the sweeter side, others that are savory, some you can bake right away, or recipes you can let sit to ferment for a while… There are plenty of ideas and options for every occasion! 

Looking for more ideas to use sourdough discard, beyond the kitchen? See this post for 7 ways to use discarded starter – besides cooking or baking with it. And if you’re in need of a healthy, active, established starter, we offer organic sourdough starter in our shop! It’s basically foolproof.

What is sourdough starter discard?

Sourdough starter must be routinely fed to keep it alive and healthy. In the process, it’s often required to remove or “discard” a portion of the old starter before feeding it more fresh flour and water. Discarding some starter serves two purposes: 1) it makes room in the jar for fresh ingredients and for the starter to rise, and 2) reduces volume and competition of overly-acidic hungry starter culture, making it easier for the beneficial bacteria and yeast to become active again once fed. 

Yet despite its name, sourdough starter discard doesn’t actually have to be discarded, composted, or thrown away! Tip: save extra discard in its own jar in the refrigerator as you generate it. Then, you’ll have a nice little supply stocked up to use in sourdough discard recipes when you’re ready.

A small flip top glass jar is full of bubbly sourdough discard with air bubbles prevalent throughout the starter. Beyond is a large jar mostly full of sourdough starter.

Using sourdough discard in recipes

Sourdough starter discard isn’t “active”, so it won’t help bread rise as well as recently-fed (active) starter. Depending on the age, sourdough discard also tastes significantly more sour and acidic than fresh active starter. 

Instead of wasting it, there are a number of recipes that are perfect to use sourdough starter discard in. The key is to choose recipes that don’t need a big fluffy rise like sourdough bread or focaccia, OR recipes that also call for baking soda, baking powder, or instant yeast to give it rise instead. Plus, using sourdough starter in recipes naturally makes it more healthy than other non-fermented baked goods (learn more about that here).

When using sourdough discard in recipes, you may not want to use reallllllly old neglected starter – like the one that’s been forgotten in the back of your fridge for many months, and has a dark layer of hooch on top. It won’t hurt, but will definitely add a stronger tart flavor to the recipe. Instead, I like to use sourdough discard that has been fed at least once in the last few weeks but isn’t active at the time of use. 

For more tips on sourdough starter maintenance and care, see these related posts:

15 Recipes to Use Sourdough Starter Discard

1) Sourdough Discard Crackers

Instead of wasting your discarded sourdough starter, make our popular herb whole wheat sourdough crackers. They’re crispy, savory, and delicious – perfect for holidays, parties, or just as a healthy snack. We love to pack ours full of fresh herbs, though you can use dried herbs, no herbs at all, add cheese, everything-but-the-bagel seasoning, or other creative add-ins. You can also make sourdough discard crackers with regular all purpose or bread flour too. We simply like the added oomph of nutrition and fiber that whole wheat flour provides!

A large plate full of sourdough discard crackers. Flakes of salt and pieces of herbs are visible on the crackers. A variety of fresh herbs garnish the area surrounding the plate.

2) Sourdough Discard Pancakes

Please enjoy these fluffy, golden, easy sourdough pancakes. Homemade sourdough pancakes are absolutely delicious, and more nutritious than boxed pancake mix! I especially love them with homemade fruit preserves like apricot jam or fresh cranberry sauce plus nuts or seeds sprinkled on top. You can use active starter or sourdough discard in this recipe.

A stack of sourdough pancakes sit atop a white ceramic plate. A pad of butter is sitting on the top pancake and is shrinking in size as it melts throughout the top portion of pancake. A ramekin of fresh cranberry sauce sits in the background next to a gold spoon. Use this sourdough discard recipe to make delicious pancakes.

3) Spiced Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies with Discard

Sugar and spice, and everything SO nice. Come dig into these drool-worthy spiced sourdough chocolate chip cookies. With flaky sea salt on top, a dash of cinnamon snickerdoodle love, and a hint of warm gingerbread spice, they’re a step above your average chocolate chip cookie. 

Sourdough chocolate chip cookies cooling on a wire rack after being pulled out of the oven. The cookies are brown with dark chocolate and white flakey sea salt accents.

4) Delicious Sourdough Zucchini Bread (or Muffins)

You’re going to love this healthy sourdough zucchini bread recipe. It’s easy, flexible, and melt-in-your mouth delicious. Make it vegan, with active or discard starter, turn it into muffins, bake now or later, add chocolate, walnuts or dried fruit… the options are endless. Even better, the recipe has zero refined sugar, and options to use whole wheat flour! This sourdough discard recipe is especially perfect for the summer garden zucchini season. 

A slice of sourdough zucchini bread with a tab of butter sitting in the middle of the slice on a small ceramic plate,  a small butter knife is resting on the plate. Nearby is the rest of the loaf as well as some fresh summer squash. Using extra zucchini for sourdough discard recipes is a great way to use up a surplus harvest.

5) Sourdough Starter Granola

I love making sourdough recipes that you can eat and enjoy over several days – like this healthy sourdough discard granola from King Arthur. The recipe offers a lot of flexibility and room to customize it with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit of your choice. 

A baking sheet is full of homemade granola, a mixture of nuts, oats, and dried fruit are lightly brown in color. A flat spatula is sitting on the sheet pan, partially covered in granola.

6) Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Soft and chewy on the inside, a tad crispy on the outside, with plenty of warm gingerbread spices and a sugary crackled top… These sourdough ginger molasses cookies are quite possibly the most delicious cookies we’ve ever made. I especially love them around the holiday season, but really… any time is good! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

A flat lay image of sourdough ginger molasses cookies on a cooling rack with a small plate beyond with a few cookies on it, one of them having been torn in half, revealing the soft inside. Cinnamon sticks and crystallized ginger garnish the area surrounding the cookies. Using this sourdough discard recipe is always a hit, not just during the holiday season.

7) Sourdough Cornbread

When sourdough and cornbread get together, they make some incredibly delicious babies. Golden homemade sourdough cornbread is a delectable combination of fluffy, moist, crumbly, a tiny bit gritty, and perfectly sweet. You’ve gotta try this! Vegan and gluten-free variations included.

Sourdough cornbread after it has baked sitting in a cast iron skillet on top of a wood cutting board. A slice has been cut out of the cornbread as if it were a pie, leaving an empty triangular space behind, showing the black cast iron below.

8) Healthy Sourdough Pumpkin Spice Bread (or Muffins)

You’re going to love our healthy sourdough pumpkin spice bread. It’s soft, fluffy, mildly sweet, perfectly spiced, and oh-so-delicious. Made with whole wheat pastry flour, ample pumpkin, and no refined sugar, it’s far more nutritious than other sweet breads. I really love it with a schmear of cream cheese on top – no need for sweet frosting! 

Two thick slices of sweet bread on a small plate. The bread is slightly orange and brown in color, sourdough pumpkin spice bread. The plate is resting on a cooling rack, and the cut loaf of pumpkin bread is blurry in the background with crumbs scattered around.

9) Homemade Sourdough Tortillas 

Sourdough discard tortillas anyone? Pop over to this recipe from my friend Maurizo to learn how to make them. The recipe only calls for a ¼ cup starter, but is very easy to make – or mess up! You can also prep, roll, and freeze them before cooking.

A few flour tortillas that have light brown spots here and there are sitting flat on a surface. Use sourdough discard recipes to make delicious tortillas.

10) Easy Sourdough Pie Crust Recipe

Come learn how to make a flaky, buttery, absolutely delicious homemade sourdough pie crust. This sourdough pie crust creates the perfect “home” to hold any of your favorite sweet or savory pie fillings – from apple or pumpkin pie to quiche or pot pies. If you’re new to making pie crust from scratch, our clear step-by-step photos and tips should be a big help.

An apple pie with a latticed crust has just finished baking. The crust is golden brown and the space between the lattice pieces reveal apples below. Use this sourdough discard recipe for a delicious pie crust.

11) Long-Fermented Sourdough Biscuits

If you’re looking for a sourdough discard recipe that you can mix and leave overnight, try these buttery, fluffy long-fermented sourdough biscuits from Farmhouse on Boone. A long fermentation time makes this healthy sourdough discard recipe more nutrient-dense and easier to digest.

A few fluffy and flaky biscuits are sitting on a blue towel. More biscuits are sitting in the background on a wood cutting board.

12) Baked Sourdough Corn Tortilla Chips

Here’s a unique sourdough discard recipe! Come learn how to make baked sourdough corn chips. The recipe is easy to make, has flexible timing, and can be used with either sourdough starter discard or fresh active starter. Crunchy, flaky, and delicious – these sourdough tortilla corn chips are perfect for dipping in salsa, guacamole, bean dip, hummus, and more. Make a batch for holidays, parties, or just as a healthy homemade snack.

A close up image of a bowl of sourdough corn chips. They are golden to golden brown in color and triangular in shape. Specks of sea salt are visibly baked into the top of the chips. The bowl is overflowing with a few chips scattered around the perimeter of the bowl and a smaller white ramekin of fresh guacamole garnished with halved cherry tomatoes sits nearby.

13) Soft Sourdough Pretzels

Who doesn’t love a big, salty, soft pretzel? Try this popular sourdough soft pretzel recipe from good ole King Arthur Baking. The recipe calls for sourdough discard AND instant yeast to help make them puffy.

Three soft pretzels with chunky salt sticking to the outside are lined up in a row, one after the next on a towel. Use this sourdough discard recipe to make delicious pretzels.

14) Sourdough Discard Waffles

Sourdough waffles are another great way to use starter discard. These well-rated “No Wait Sourdough Waffles” from the Pantry Mama sound fantastic. She also has a long-fermented waffle batter version of the discard recipe as well. 

A close up image of a lightly brown waffle with blueberries on top of it. A few loose blueberries garnish the area around the waffle along with an antique butter knife.

15) Sourdough Discard Pizza Crust

Last but not least, pizza. We have our own whole wheat cast iron sourdough pizza crust recipe, but we honestly haven’t made it with discard instead of active starter! (Perhaps I should try…) So in the meantime, please enjoy this popular sourdough discard pizza dough recipe from Taste of Lizzy T. It’s described to have “an amazing flavor without a long waiting time”, and includes tips to achieve the perfectly golden-brown, bubbly crust.

A close up photo of a pizza fresh out of the oven. The parchment paper is poking up from around the crust, and there is now chopped basil lightly spread across the pizza surface with a sprig of basil sitting in the middle. You can now see some of the tomatoes have blackened from the bake and the edges of the pizza crust look crispy brown. Using a sourdough discard recipe to make your own pizza is downright delicious!
Photo from our cast iron sourdough pizza crust (with active starter).

That concludes the list of sourdough discard recipe ideas.

Did you find some great new ideas here? Or, did I miss any of your favorite ways to use discarded sourdough starter? Please let us know in the comments below. I greatly appreciate you tuning into day, and hope you have fun trying these recipes yourself!

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