Sourdough Pancakes

My Best Sourdough Pancakes

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There’s no way around it: These are hands down my best sourdough pancakes (in fact, a version of these is also in my cookbook). This recipe has been here on The Perfect Loaf for years with little to no modifications. In my eyes, it’s a classic. I’ve made these pancakes countless times, and aside from bread, this is probably the recipe I’ve used the most since I started baking sourdough bread over a decade ago.

These pancakes rely on sourdough starter discard to bring extra tenderness and flavor. Adding a sour component to pancake batter—in this case, our ripe sourdough starter—brings a touch of tanginess and helps highlight and amplify the flavors of all the other ingredients (this is why buttermilk is so good in pancakes too).

My Best Sourdough Pancakes

My sourdough pancakes can be made quickly and easily on a whim; you need very little pre-planning to whip them up (isn’t that exactly what you need on lazy weekend mornings?). I’ve riffed on this core recipe a dozen different ways, adding extra ingredients based on what’s in season: pumpkin in the Fall for pumpkin pancakes, fresh blueberries in the summer, and ricotta, well, any time of the year. If you’ve made pancakes before, you know just how versatile they can be.

You can use cold sourdough starter discard from the refrigerator in these pancakes, too. If you keep a sourdough starter, discard the cache in the refrigerator like I do, ripe (and flavorful!) starter is ready at a moment’s notice.

Before we jump into the recipe, let’s look at a few tools to help you make perfect pancakes.

Tools for the Best Sourdough Pancakes

Griddles and Pans For Cooking Pancakes

I’m lucky that my stove has a built-in steel griddle in the center. But before I had this stove, I made terrific pancakes in my Lodge Carbon Steel pan (see my Instagram Reel above), which is incredibly affordable and durable. In fact, to this day, I’ll sometimes use this pan alongside the griddle to make extra pancakes if the griddle is full.

Speaking of griddles, this Nordic Ware Stovetop Backsplash Griddle would be my next choice. It has a raised backsplash, just like my stove, that makes flipping pancakes easier and cleaner, and because it’s made from cast aluminum, it has excellent heat transfer.

The Best Flour For Sourdough Pancakes

Over the years, I’ve used all manner of grain and flour in these sourdough pancakes. From wheat to spelt to einkorn to blue corn flour—just about anything in your kitchen will work wonderfully in this recipe. 

A few of my favorite grains for these pancakes are:

  • Whole wheat flour (or a delicious type-85 flour) and blue corn flour (a 90/10 mix)
  • Spelt flour and all-purpose flour (a 50/50 mix)
  • Whole wheat flour (100% whole wheat)
  • All-purpose flour and buckwheat flour (a 95/5 mix)

See the variations at the bottom of this sourdough pancakes recipe for measurements.

A stack of sourdough starter discard pancakes with cornmeal.
Corn flour brings added color and flavor to these sourdough starter discard pancakes.

Tips For Making Great Sourdough Pancakes

For Lighter Pancakes, Let the Batter Rest

When making same-day pancakes, after mixing all the ingredients, let the pancake batter rest for at least 15 minutes, and preferably up to 30 minutes. Letting the batter sit helps the flour thoroughly hydrate, which results in pancakes that have a fluffier texture. If you’re making the overnight pancakes, this rest will happen already!

Do Not Overmix the Pancake Batter

When adding the flour and the other dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, don’t over-mix them. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there are no dry streaks. In the presence of water, mixing develops the flour’s gluten, resulting in overly tough pancakes.

Flip the Pancakes at the Right Time, and Only Once 

When cooking, let the pancakes cook on the first side until bubbles form on top that keep their shape and don’t close. You’ll also know the pancakes are ready to flip when the edges turn slightly darker than the rest of the batter. Quickly and decisively, flip the pancakes and let them finish cooking on the other side—no more flipping!

Sourdough pancake texture and color.
Use butter on your hot pan or griddle for the best sourdough pancake color and texture.

For the Best Color, Use Butter

Like with sourdough pie crust, butter is the key. If I put a small pat of butter on the griddle (or pan) just before dropping the pancake batter for cooking, the pancake will get the best color and texture on top. The butter sizzles and releases its water content as the pancake batter is cooking, which helps create that speckled, uneven coloring on the surface (see above).

Can You Freeze Sourdough Pancakes?

Yes, these pancakes freeze exceptionally well. After cooking them and allowing them to fully cool, stack them in a plastic freezer bag and freeze them. If frozen when they’re thoroughly cooled, they won’t stick together. To eat, take one or two out, microwave them for 10 to 20 seconds, then heat them briefly in a toaster (this keeps them from getting soggy).

I usually double this recipe and make two batches of sourdough pancakes on the weekend. Then, I freeze half after they’re cool, and we can enjoy fresh pancakes at a moment’s notice throughout the week.

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Sourdough Pancakes

My Best Sourdough Pancakes

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  • Author: Maurizio Leo
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pancakes
  • Category: Breakfast, Brunch
  • Cuisine: American
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These are the fluffiest and most flavorful pancakes, thanks to the addition of ripe sourdough starter discard. I’ve provided two cooking options below. The first is for same-day pancakes requiring little planning. The second option is for overnight, long-fermented pancakes that require a little planning the night before but result in even more flavor and tenderness.


  • 2 medium eggs
  • 250g (1 1/2 cups, stirred down) ripe sourdough starter
  • 245g (1 cup) whole milk
  • 60g (1/4 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt, Greek or regular (optional)
  • 4g (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract (optional)
  • 180g all-purpose, einkorn, whole wheat flour, or a mix (see notes above or in Variations below)
  • 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 6g (1 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 4g (1 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 56g (1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter, plus more for cooking and serving
  • Chopped fresh fruit, for serving (optional)
  • Maple syrup, for serving


Same-Day Method

  1. Separate the eggs into two medium bowls, one with the yolks and one with the whites. Lightly beat the egg yolks and add the sourdough starter, milk, yogurt (if using), and vanilla (if using). Stir well.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the sourdough starter mixture and stir until no dry streaks remain. Stir in the melted butter until just combined. Let the batter rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. For the lightest pancakes, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Alternatively, if you don’t feel like whisking (I get it), skip it. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined (be careful not to over-mix).
  4. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add a small pat of butter and let it melt. For each pancake, drop about ¼ cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until bubbles start to form and remain open and the edges of the pancakes start to darken, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until well-colored on the bottoms, 4 more minutes.
  5. Serve the pancakes warm and top with chopped fresh fruit (optional), a thin pat of butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Overnight Method

  1. The night before, in a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter, milk, yogurt (if using), flour, and sugar and stir well. Leave out on the counter to ferment overnight.
  2. In the morning, add the vanilla (if using), baking soda, baking powder, salt, and melted butter.
  3. Separate the eggs into two medium bowls, one with the yolks and one with the whites. Lightly beat the yolks. Whisk the whites to stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg yolks and beaten egg whites into the batter until just combined (be careful not to over-mix). Cook and serve the pancakes as directed above.

Sourdough Starter Pancake Variations

  • Wheat and blue corn pancakes: Substitute 20 grams of the flour for blue or yellow corn flour.
  • Spelt and all-purpose flour pancakes: Use 90 grams whole grain spelt flour and 90 grams all-purpose flour.
  • Whole wheat pancakes: Substitute all of the flour for 100% whole grain wheat flour.
  • All-purpose and buckwheat pancakes: Substitute 10 grams of the flour for buckwheat flour.


Save sourdough starter discard for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, then use it straight from the fridge to mix this sourdough pancake batter.

Adjust the amount of milk depending on the stiffness of your sourdough starter and your preferred batter consistency. The above ingredients work well for my 100% hydration starter; if you’re using a stiff starter, you might want to add around 1/2 cup more milk.

In my cookbook, I don’t talk about letting the pancake batter rest before making pancakes. I find that extra 30-minute rest for the Same-Day Method helps you get fluffier pancakes if you have the time.

To make these sourdough pancakes vega, swap out the butter for Earth Balance vegan butter, the eggs for “flax eggs”, and the dairy yogurt for coconut or nut-based yogurt (or instead of yogurt, simply use a full-fat nut milk).

My Best Sourdough Pancakes FAQs

Can I use sourdough starter straight from the fridge for pancakes?

Yes. You can use sourdough starter discard that’s been saved in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Why are my sourdough pancakes gummy?

Gummy sourdough pancakes are usually due to cooking issues. Be sure to fully cook the pancakes all the way through.

Will sourdough pancake batter keep in the fridge?

I prefer using pancake batter within an hour of mixing in the baking powder and baking soda to ensure they are at full strength for the lightest and fluffiest pancakes.

What’s Next?

I consider these sourdough starter pancakes one of my top 3 sourdough discard recipes. They’re incredibly easy, use a large portion of sourdough starter discard, are fluffy, tender, and delicious.

Not in the mood for light and fluffy pancakes this morning? Try my sourdough starter discard waffles for the crispier side of breakfast.

Or, see my collection of other sourdough starter discard recipes for cakes and more!

Picture of Maurizio Leo
Maurizio Leo
Maurizio Leo is a home baker, James Beard Award winning and New York Times Bestselling author, and the creator of the award-winning sourdough website, The Perfect Loaf. He has spent the past decade baking sourdough bread in Albuquerque, New Mexico.