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Recipes,  Sourdough

Sourdough Pancakes Recipe (Active or Discard Starter)

Are you searching for a fun and delicious way to use discarded sourdough starter? Look no further! You’re going to love these fluffy golden sourdough pancakes. Truth be told, we’re not usually big pancake eaters in this household… but we make an exception for these extra special cakes! With the addition of a little cinnamon, plus natural yeast and beneficial bacteria from the starter, homemade sourdough pancakes are definitely a healthier alternative to boxed pancake mix – and much tastier too! Yet they’re just as quick and easy to make. 

While sourdough pancakes are the perfect use for sourdough starter discard, you can absolutely use active starter too. Chances are you already have one… right? If not, you can follow this tutorial and try to make a starter from scratch. Or for an even more foolproof option, pick up an organic sourdough starter from our shop here.

Don’t miss the printable recipe and list of our other favorite sourdough recipes at the end of this article!



What do sourdough pancakes taste like?


Let’s get this out of the way: no, sourdough pancakes aren’t sour-tasting! That is a common misconception with all sourdough. Homemade sourdough doesn’t taste like the stuff you buy in the store, which is often artificially-flavored to taste super sour. Homemade sourdough is simply called ‘sourdough’ because it is made with fermented wild yeast and natural bacteria – the sourdough starter culture. That is what gives it an airy rise without the need for commercial instant yeast. 

Sourdough pancakes taste much like regular pancakes; perhaps a bit more rich, rustic, mildly sweet… and I don’t know how else to explain it but GOOD. If you do choose to allow your raw pancake batter to ferment for a day or two before using it, the sourdough pancakes will develop a slightly more earthy and tangy flavor, but I still wouldn’t consider it sour


A close up of the tines of a fork that have speared a bite size portion from three pancakes stacked atop each other. There is cranberry sauce on the top layer that is obstructing the view of the pancake. The lower layers of pancake are fluffy and golden grown. Below in the background lies a white plate with the remaining three pancakes stacked on top of each other with cranberry sauce covering half of the top sourdough pancake.
What do sourdough pancakes taste like, you ask? Damn good. End of story.


How long can you keep or store sourdough pancake batter?


Like most sourdough baking, the timing on this sourdough pancake recipe is quite flexible. You can mix the batter and make pancakes right away, let it sit for a few hours first, or even refrigerate the batter overnight (or longer). If the batter is going to sit for more than an hour or two, move it to the refrigerator since it contains egg. 

For the best results, I recommend using sourdough pancake batter within 24 hours of mixing it, though it is still technically ‘good’ after several days! Simply keep the batter in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. When cooked the next day, we find the sourdough pancakes are just a teeny tiny less fluffy than the first day, but not bad at all. The baking soda and powder will start to lose some of their oomph over time, yet there is one definite benefit to waiting. The longer it sits, the more fermented the batter becomes, and therefore the more nutritious and easy-to-digest it is. 


Are sourdough pancakes good for you?


Let’s be real: pancakes aren’t salad… but that doesn’t mean they are bad for you! Like most meals, it’s all about moderation, serving size, and choice of ingredients. For instance, I love that we can use all organic ingredients in homemade sourdough pancakes, and they don’t contain all the extra preservatives in a boxed mix. 

The simple fact that these pancakes are made with sourdough starter makes them more healthy than classic pancakes. Because they’re fermented, sourdough baked goods are scientifically-proven to be more nutrient-dense, easier to digest, contain less gluten, and have a lower glycemic index than their traditional non-fermented counterparts. Fantastic news, right? Learn more about all that good stuff here.

To keep your sourdough pancakes extra healthy, go light on the syrup – or skip it altogether! We love to serve ours with a little butter, fresh tangy homemade cranberry sauce (aka superfood jam), and walnuts or pecans for a pop of protein. Or, sprinkle some hemp hearts on top for added protein and essential omegas. You can also dress them with savory toppings like goat cheese, kalamata olives, fresh herbs and a drizzle of flavored olive oil – fit to be enjoyed any time of day!

One final way we make our fluffy sourdough pancakes recipe even more nutritious is by adding cinnamon. Did you know that cinnamon is proven to lower post-meal blood sugar levels? It has even been dubbed an “anti-diabetic spice”. I have type 1 diabetes so I love incorporating cinnamon in as many recipes as possible, like our spiced sourdough chocolate chip cookie recipe! Reducing blood sugar spikes is great for your health, even if you aren’t diabetic.


A birds eye view of a sourdough pancake that has been topped with cranberry sauce and walnuts. The pancake is golden brown and a fork is slicing into the pancake for a bite.
Find our tangy fresh homemade cranberry sauce recipe here. It’s definitely not just for Thanksgiving!


Enough yakkity-yakkin’ – let’s get flap-jackin’.


Ingredients for Sourdough Pancakes 


Makes: approximately 6 large pancakes, or 8 to 10 small/medium cakes
 

  • 1 cup sourdough starter, unfed discard starter or active
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk of choice. We love this recipe with oat milk! Yet you could use any type: almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, buttermilk, or regular dairy milk.
  • 1 large egg (or 2 medium, either way works)
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil. Sub with olive oil or butter if you prefer. 
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (ditto as above)


INSTRUCTIONS


Mix Sourdough Pancake Batter


In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients first: the sourdough starter, milk, egg, vanilla, and melted coconut oil (or butter/olive oil). Then add the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. 

Do not overmix your pancake batter! Overmixing can lead to rubbery sourdough pancakes. Mix well until just combined. It is 100% okay if there are some lingering lumps and clumps. 

Now, you can either make your cakes right away, let the batter sit a while, or use it within the next couple of days. If possible, let it sit for at least 15 minutes so the starter can get friendly with the flour. Since it contains egg, store the batter in the refrigerator if it’s going to be more than a couple of hours before you make pancakes. You can use the batter cold. See the storage notes above for more details.


Cook Your Cakes


It is best to cook pancakes over medium heat. A cast iron skillet or griddle does a particularly superb job! To keep your sourdough pancakes warm until serving, turn the oven on low (200°F). Then, tuck finished pancakes inside the oven on an oven-safe plate as they come off the stove.  

Allow the pan to get nice and hot before adding any pancake batter. Once hot, add a small pad of butter (or drizzle/spray of oil) to the pan, and then ladle or pour in some batter. I typically eyeball it, but the general recommendation is about a quarter cup of batter per pancake. Make them any size you want! Either use the back of a spoon or gently swirl the skillet to help the batter spread into a fairly even circle.

Allow the sourdough pancakes to cook on the first side until bubbles rise to the surface and the bottom becomes golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Then flip and continue to cook until the second side is also lightly brown. Wipe the pan and add a fresh bit of butter or oil between each pancake for the best results. Also adjust the flame or heat if needed. 

Serve warm and enjoy! 


A birds eye view of a cast iron skillet with a sourdough pancake batter freshly poured into the middle of it. The melted butter streaks are visible in the pan, there are bubbles forming throughout the pancake and the edges are starting to firm up and turn slightly brown.
A birds eye view of the pancake after it has been flipped. The top of the pancake is golden brown with some remaining visible holes from the bubbles.
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.
A stack of pancakes sit atop a white ceramic plate. A dollop of cranberry sauce sits on the top pancake.  A ramekin of fresh cranberry sauce sits in the background next to a gold spoon that is now red from the sauce.


Are you drooling yet?


Well, I know what I’m making this weekend… 🤤 I hope you love these fluffy sourdough pancakes just as much as we do! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below. Please pop back by for a review, tag me in your pancake party pics on Instagram (@deannacat3), and spread the love by sharing or pinning this post. Bon appetit!


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4.93 from 27 votes

Sourdough Pancakes

Please enjoy these fluffy, golden sourdough pancakes. You can use discarded sourdough starter or active starter in this recipe. Homemade sourdough pancakes are absolutely delicious, and more nutritious than boxed pancake mix!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Sourdough
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sourdough pancakes, sourdough starter pancakes
Servings: 8 pancakes*

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Skillet or griddle
  • Spatula

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1.75 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups milk of choice, such as oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, or cows milk
  • 1 large egg (or 2 medium)
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil (sub with butter or olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients first (sourdough starter, milk, egg, vanilla, and melted coconut oil (or butter/olive oil)
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon) and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Refrigerate batter until ready to use if you are going to wait longer than a few hours until you cook the pancakes.
  • Before you cook your pancakes, preheat your oven to 200 degree Fahrenheit if you want to keep them warm until serving.
  • Next, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat on the stove. Once the pan is hot, add a pad of butter or oil to the pan.
  • Pour or ladle pancake batter into the pan. Use the back of a spoon or gently swirl the pan to help the batter spread into an even circle.
  • Allow the pancake(s) to cook until the bubbles rise to the surface and the bottom becomes golden brown (about 2 to 4 minutes) until you flip them.
  • Once the pancake(s) is flipped, cook on the remaining side until golden brown.
  • Remove the pancake(s) from the pan and place on an oven safe plate and keep in the warming oven until ready to serve.
  • Before cooking another pancake, wipe out the pan and add a fresh pad of butter or oil in between pancakes.

Notes

*This recipe makes about 6 large sourdough pancakes, or 8-10 small/medium cakes.


23 Comments

  • Jennifer

    5 stars
    Just as easy to make as any other pancake recipe but tastes ten times better. They came out tasting like buttermilk pancakes without buttermilk! I used unsweetened almond milk and even halved the recipe because I had half the amount of starter. It worked perfect (I still used one egg, just used the smallest one I had).

    I’m at that beginner stage with starter that I feel guilting discarding it LOL sooooo lots of pancakes have been made, and put in the freezer for later. And, ahem crackers too 🙂

  • Janine Broesamle

    5 stars
    Fabulous and tasty recipe! Easy to make and so yummy! Nailed it on the first go and my family loved them. Will definitely make them again and happy to have another use for my sourdough starter.

  • Kathy E

    5 stars
    In a word: DELICIOUS! I used some of my sourdough discard and added blueberries to the batter versus serving with blueberries on top … these pancakes were a hit! Thick and fluffy, just the way pancakes should be. I served with homemade breakfast sausage links and patties (made from our original recipe spice blend) and warmed maple syrup — a breakfast to remember and enjoy time and time again. Thanks for sharing such a great pancake recipe!!

  • carlyn covington

    5 stars
    I’ve tried lots of “from scratch” pancake recipes – and these are my new “go to”! So easy, really quick to whip together, super fluffy, and I love that I can use my discarded starter.

  • Jessica W

    5 stars
    I made these today and they were so awesome! I had 4!!! I normally don’t do that, but that’s how good they were. My whole family liked this Thursday treat! Will make these again.

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