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.
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:
- How to Feed Your Sourdough Starter + Storage and Care Tips
- Is My Sourdough Starter Bad? How to Revive an Old Inactive Starter
- How to Dehydrate or Dry Sourdough Starter to Preserve It
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
You may also enjoy:
- Basic No-Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe
- Simple Sourdough Focaccia Recipe
- Sourdough Stuffing with Apple, Kale, Pecans and Cranberries (Holiday Dressing)
- How to Make Pumpkin Shaped Sourdough Bread Loaf
- 20 Best Sourdough Add-Ins and Topping Ideas
- Rustic Zucchini & Walnut Sourdough Bread Recipe