Use your sourdough discard to make these easy 1-ingredient sourdough pancakes. All you need is some saved sourdough discard from an active sourdough starter. Opt for savory, sweet or plain versions depending on your preference. Recipe for all 3 below but the options are endless!
Did you get into the sourdough bread baking craze these last few months like the rest of the world?
Admittedly, I did.
It was April and still horribly cold, miserable weather here in NY so I bit the bullet and jumped on the sourdough bandwagon while I was stuck inside.
I won’t bore you with the whole story but, I attempted creating my own sourdough starter.
I ended up with a much better starter from the daughter of my parents’ neighbor (random, I know) and I’ve been happily baking sourdough things since May.
It’s been fun, satisfying, super rewarding and delicious.
That said, the one thing about the whole process that drives me nuts from time to time (even with keeping a very small amount of starter day to day) is the sourdough discard waste.
I use good flour. I buy organic, locally milled stuff and it literally pains me to discard any of it, even if it’s just 10g each feeding.
So, this go-to sourdough pancake recipe was born.
It’s nothing ground breaking.
I have A LOT of pancake recipes on this site. They’re one of my favorite foods. But, nothing compares to the ease of this one.
I mean seriously, there’s literally one ingredient to these sourdough pancakes.
But, and this is a big BUT…I feel like SO many people have no idea you can do this with your sourdough discard.
You can make pancakes straight from your discard – no other ingredients needed!
Yes, you read that right. No other ingredients required.
There are countless recipes out there for ways to use leftover sourdough starter (like these sourdough discard banana muffins that I love!) but all of them require additional ingredients and most usually, additional flour.
That’s not what I’m looking for when I want to use up my sourdough discard. I don’t want to have to get out half my pantry and make something complex.
I just want a simple, no fuss idea in order not to waste the stuff and these pancakes made directly from the sourdough starter are precisely that.
HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH PANCAKES
For this easy sourdough pancake recipe all you need is an active sourdough starter.
All that means is one that you are feeding regularly.
Instead of throwing away the amount you would normally discard, you’ll save it in a container and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to make these discard pancakes.
To make this pancake recipe, you’ll need:
- leftover sourdough starter (discard)
- a skillet
- oil of your choice (olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, etc.)
- any optional add-ins you like
Like any pancake recipe, heat the skillet over a medium-low to medium heat. Add the oil to the pan to lightly grease and pour your batter into the pan.
Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on top (they’ll likely be a bit more bubbly than normal pancakes from the active yeast in the sourdough) and the edges are cooked.
Flip and cook an additional minute or so on the other side.
Often, I just enjoy these quick and easy sourdough pancakes plain with a smear of nut butter and Manuka honey and sometimes, a sprinkling of hemp hearts on top.
But if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll throw some add-ins in the mix.
Some favorites are:
- banana slices + cinnamon (shown)
- minced chives (shown)
- chopped scallions
- fresh berries
As stated in the video above, I like to change the oil I’m using in the skillet based on what kind of sourdough pancake I’m making.
I typically use coconut oil for plain and sweeter versions, sesame oil for scallions or, olive oil for any other herbs.
WHAT DO SOURDOUGH PANCAKES TASTE LIKE?
The pancakes are thick, which I love. The active yeast in the sourdough starter helps puff them up really well.
Don’t dismiss your discard as being old or inactive. It’s just sort of “stunted” from living in the fridge but when it hits the hot pan, it sort of comes back to life and the yeast activates to help fluff up the pancakes.
The pancakes taste, well….a bit sour!
Honestly, they have the same underlying sourness of sourdough bread. That’s the point, right?
Texture wise, they’re a little bit gummy in texture but not in a bad way (like some gluten-free baked goods can be) at all. It’s actually a fun texture I really enjoy.
If you add things to the pancakes, they’ll obviously taste like the add-ins but as a plain pancake, it’s a very neutral, slightly sour taste.
If you’re making sourdough bread, you obviously enjoy that flavor profile so I think you’ll enjoy these sourdough pancakes just the same.
HOW MUCH SOURDOUGH STARTER DO I NEED?
This recipe makes 6 good sized pancakes, about 2 servings.
For that, I use about 1 1/2 cups of sourdough discard, 1/4 cup for each pancake.
Accumulating that much discard will depend on how much starter you keep. If you keep a large starter, you’ll likely have enough in just a couple of days.
I keep a very small starter (30g total) to avoid excessive waste so it took me about 1 week to accumulate this much discard to make the sourdough pancakes.
These sourdough muffins are another great way to use up about 1 cup of starter for a delicious breakfast.
Or for a smaller amount, try this sourdough coffee cake. It utilizes just 1/2 cup of discard.
You can choose to make the sourdough pancakes in two ways:
- make just 1 or 2 small pancakes each day with the sourdough discard from that day – this works especially well if you feed your starter in the morning and want a morning pancake!
- save/accumulate your discard over a period of time and keep it in the fridge – use it for a bigger batch of pancakes when the mood strikes.
By no means am I an expert at sourdough baking.
Anything I know has been painstakingly learned through lots of trial and error from Laura and her helpful sourdough bread baking tutorial, Maurizio’s amazing website, Baker Bettie’s great sourdough resources and Amanda’s bread recipe (she also has a sourdough cinnamon roll recipe I’m dying to try).
You’ll likely never see an actual sourdough bread recipe on here because that’s something that will likely stay in the “fun/hobby” category of kitchen experiments for me.
But, simple sourdough pancakes…those I can do.
And, I will continue to do because it just doesn’t get better than one-ingredient recipes that taste amazing and tackle food waste!
MORE WAYS TO USE SOURDOUGH DISCARD:
And if you have leftovers, check out our guide on the best ways to reheat pancakes.
- 1 1/2 cups sourdough discard
- 1 teaspoon oil for greasing the pan, *see note
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add oil of choice once hot and swirl around to coat the pan.
- Place about 1/4 cup of the sourdough discard in the pan and gently spread into a circle.
- If making sweet or savory pancakes, add toppings now. (**see note)
- Once bubbles form and edges of the pancakes are cooked, about 2 minutes, flip and cook on the other side for an additional minute. Repeat with remaining batter/discard.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.