For a weekend breakfast to remember, make a batch of sourdough discard pancakes! They’re light and fluffy, slightly tangy, and delicious! This sourdough pancake recipe includes buttermilk and a natural sweetener (no added sugar!), for a healthier breakfast that your kids will absolutely love!
We have a lot of sourdough discard recipes that we enjoy making, but this is one of our favorites! Seriously, when your weekend starts with a tall stack of fluffy sweetness that’s actually good for you, how can it be anything but an amazing day?!
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Reasons to Make Sourdough Discard Pancakes ASAP
- Helps prevent food waste.
This is a great recipe to use when you have an active sourdough starter that needs to be used. Why throw it out or waste flour feeding it to use later when you can make something delicious with the discard now?
- It’s a better-for-you breakfast.
Sourdough and buttermilk are fermented foods, both of which carry a lot of potential health benefits. Buttermilk’s health benefits include bone-strengthening due to the high amounts of calcium, vitamin D, and protein.
Sourdough starter is essentially just fermented grains, but fermented foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory properties, and microbes. All of these help to promote good digestion and gut health.
- Easy to make, kid-friendly meal.
What kid or grandkid would turn down a plateful of fluffy sourdough buttermilk pancakes topped with maple or strawberry syrup? No kid that we know of!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Most sourdough pancake recipes include added sugar, but this one is sugar-free! You could add a natural sweetener like honey, or use fresh fruit on top.
- Butter: Make sure to use unsalted butter, melted, and cooled.
- Eggs: Slightly beat the eggs in a bowl before adding them in. If you don’t have eggs, you can substitute 1 mashed banana or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for 1 egg. However, the flavor and rise will be different.
- Buttermilk: If you don’t have any, you can substitute regular milk, or easily make a buttermilk substitute! Just stir together 3/4 cup of milk and adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to make 2/3 cup of buttermilk.
- Maple extract: If you don’t have any of this, vanilla or even lemon extract would be delicious.
- Sourdough starter: If your starter is being kept in the fridge, bring it to room temperature before using it.
- All-purpose flour: You can substitute this with bread flour, Kamut flour, einkorn flour, or 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. We use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour.
Tips for Fluffy Sourdough Discard Pancakes
- Use room temperature ingredients.
Allow your milk and eggs to come to room temperature. If you’re worried about leaving milk out of the fridge, microwave it for 5-10 seconds to take the chill from it. Using cold milk and eggs will make your pancakes dense.
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh the starter discard.
If you don’t own one, we highly recommend making this inexpensive investment. It makes feeding and maintaining your sourdough starter a breeze!
- Don’t over mix the batter.
Working the sourdough pancake batter too much will reduce the air bubbles, which is what you need for the fluffiest pancakes. Mix the ingredients together until they’re just combined.
- Use flour with any add-ins.
If you want blueberry pancakes, or you plan to add other fruit or chocolate chips to the sourdough pancake recipe, toss them in a tablespoon of flour first. This helps prevent them from sticking to the griddle.
- Don’t flip them over too soon.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with sourdough pancakes is flipping them early. Cook on the first side for about 1-2 minutes, until there are bubbles across the top and the edges are dry. Using a pancake turner, turn and cook another side until golden brown.
Want some other ways to use your sourdough starter?
If you’re new to the world of baking with sourdough, or you’re craving a hearty bread side, make our easy recipe for overnight sourdough bread.
For a special occasion or holiday meal, you can’t go wrong with a Prime Rib Roast!
Or, make our most popular beef roast recipe, a delicious Dutch Oven Pot Roast.
Sourdough Pancake Recipe FAQ
When the pan’s temperature is too hot, the outside will finish cooking before the inside is done. Also, be sure that the ingredients are all room temperature. If they’re cold, the middle of the batter will take longer to cook.
For the best results, it’s important to use quality ingredients, especially the buttermilk, eggs, and flour. We recommend King Arthur flour. Using real buttermilk is what creates the tangy flavor in sourdough buttermilk pancakes.
It’s great to add butter to the batter for flavor, but it’s better to use a neutral flavor oil like avocado, canola, or even shortening to cook them in. The reason is, oil has a higher heat point, so it creates nice golden brown edges on the pancakes. Butter tends to burn too quickly.
Yes, as long as you start with a gluten-free sourdough starter, and use almond flour in place of all-purpose flour.
Sourdough Discard Pancakes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs slightly beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk (can substitute milk)
- 1 teaspoon maple extract or vanilla extract
- 1 cup sourdough starter room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute with bread flour, Kamut flour, einkorn flour, or 1/2 whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Lightly grease griddle or skillet with cooking oil. Heat griddle to 350°F, or heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.
- In medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: butter, eggs, milk, maple extract, and sourdough starter until just blended. Stir in the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt. There may be some small lumps. Once the pancake mixture starts to bubble, it's ready to cook. If pancake batter is too thick, add 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk.
- Depending on the size of pancakes you prefer, use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter for each sourdough pancake. Add batter to the hot griddle. Cook about 1-2 minutes, until there are bubbles across the top and until edges are dry. Using a pancake turner, turn and cook another side until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup, or fresh fruit.
This post, first published in July 2021, was last updated with new content in May 2023.