Sourdough Waffles with whole grain

Once you make these Sourdough Waffles with whole grain, you’ll never go back to baking powder waffles again. Looking for a weekend breakfast or brunch recipe? Not anymore.

whole grain sourdough waffles

Nothing is better for breakfast than hot and fresh waffles dripping with real maple syrup and maybe a pat of melting butter.

But waffles must be eaten the minute they come off the waffle iron for maximum crunch. So I almost never order them out because they almost always disappoint.

But why would you want to go out for breakfast when you can make these lovelies in the comfort of your own kitchen? They’re crisp and light yet substantial.

Even though I’m a baker by profession, I’m definitely not a morning person. If you’re like me and prefer the least amount of work first thing in the morning, you’ll love this recipe.

Make the sponge the night before, then it takes about a minute to finish mixing the batter in the morning.

sourdough waffle batter
The sponge will become active and rise overnight.
whole grain sourdough waffles
The sourdough starter makes waffles with an open crumb and great chewy texture.

If you don’t have one, check out my post to learn How to Make a Sourdough Starter. Then check out my system to Feed and Maintain Sourdough Starter.

Why Sourdough Waffles are better than regular waffles:

  • Make your sponge the night before with the unfed starter and the sponge will be active and ready to mix by the time you wake up hungry for breakfast.
  • The sourdough starter and whole grains give the waffles a great bread-like chew.
  • A little baking soda is added to react with the buttermilk in the batter.
  • The baking soda gives the waffles a last minute lift for lightness. 
  • For maximum lift use the batter as soon as the baking soda is mixed in because the reaction happens upon mixing, not in the heat of the waffle iron.
  • Serve them hot off the iron or hold them in a 200°F oven if you prefer to serve them all at once. 
  • The waffles freeze beautifully so extras can be placed in a freezer bag for another day. Just pop them in the toaster whenever the mood strikes.
whole grain sourdough waffles
whole grain sourdough waffles

Serve these Whole Grain Sourdough Waffles with real maple syrup. I’m a fan of Grade B Maple Syrup‘s strong flavor (it’s sometimes called Grade A extra dark).

For another sourdough breakfast treat, try these Sourdough Pancakes.

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe, I’d appreciate a 5-star review!

a plate of waffles with syrup
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4.69 from 38 reviews

Sourdough Waffle Recipe

Start making Whole Grain Sourdough Waffles the night before and have hot fresh waffles for breakfast.
Prep Time12 hours
Bake Time20 minutes
Total Time12 hours 20 minutes
12 waffles
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Overnight Sponge

  • 8 oz unfed sourdough starter (1 cup, 100% hydration)
  • 5 oz unbleached All-Purpose Flour (1 cup, see note)
  • 2 ½ oz whole wheat flour (½ cup)
  • 2 ½ oz rye flour (½ cup)
  • 2 oz granulated sugar (¼ cup)
  • 16 oz buttermilk (2 cups)


  • Sponge
  • 3 oz unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 8 oz unfed sourdough starter, 5 oz unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 2 ½ oz whole wheat flour, 2 ½ oz rye flour, 2 oz granulated sugar and 16 oz buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight.

In the morning:

  • Preheat the waffle iron. Preheat the oven if you want to hold the waffles before serving.
  • Melt 3 oz unsalted butter in a small microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Whisk 2 large eggs into the slightly warm butter. Add the butter mixture to the sponge. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon table salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda over the batter.
  • Mix until the baking soda and salt are completely dispersed in the batter. Once the baking soda is added you should use the batter immediately.
  • Make the waffles according to the waffle iron manufacturer's instructions. Serve waffles immediately or hold in a 200 °F warm oven till ready to serve.

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The starter should be “un-fed” when you mix the sponge. If you keep your starter in the refrigerator just take it out and mix the sponge. If you keep it out at all times, use the starter before the normal feeding.
If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
For a white waffle batter you can use 2 cups of all purpose flour in place of the 3 mixed flours. Or you can use 1 cup of the white and a cup of either the rye or whole wheat flour.


Serving: 1waffle | Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!


  1. I put my first batch of waffle mixture in iron. It is extremely thick. Is this how it should be? It is a bit hard spreading them out on iron.

    1. It is not a super-runny batter, but shouldn’t be as thick as a dough. Is your starter 100% hydration? If your starter is thicker you might need to add a little extra buttermilk to thin it out.

  2. I love the flavor of this recipe! For some reason my waffles always flattens. I follow almost exactly..I add vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of sugar before I cook them. Any suggestions?

    1. I would say to cook them a little longer so they’re nice and crisp on the outside. With a crisp crust they’ll be less likely to deflate. Also, eat them right off the waffle maker.

  3. Eileen, Because your Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread recipe was so successful(I have made it nearly a dozen times this past year)I was intrigued about the sourdough waffle recipe. I had just received a shipment of rye flour and so had no excuses! Last evening I made the sponge and because it seemed such a sturdy mixture, I had my doubts as to whether or not it would turn out. This morning I soldiered on and to my surprise produced the very best waffles I have ever made. The color is light mahogany, the texture is crispy and chewy and the flavor perfect. And we have 7 “squares” in the freezer for another day. Thank you!

  4. What is the minimum amount of time this waffles need to sit for? I often don’t think of making waffles ahead of time so it becomes an issue.

    1. Hi Irene, the reason you let the sponge sit overnight is because you are using unfed sourdough starter (or discard). The sponge needs time to feed the yeast in the starter. You could mix the dough in the morning using active starter that has been fed the night before. But that also requires planning ahead. If you keep your starter fed at all times then you’d be ready to go in the morning.

  5. I thoroughly love these waffles! I’ve made them with the different grains. As well as with just all purpose flour. Tonight I’m making them with just a mix of AP flour & whole wheat flour. Anyway, I got to wondering if I could replace the rye flour with cornmeal or semolina?

  6. Hello Eileen, Do you think I could substitute kefir for the buttermilk? I make my own kefir so it would save me going out to purchase buttermilk. Look forward to making these..

    1. Is kefir the thickness of buttermilk? I’m sure any soured dairy would work. You may just have to adjust for the difference in the liquid if it’s thicker, like yogurt.

      1. Ok, the kefir is about the same thickness as buttermilk, I’ll think it will work, I will let you know! Thank you your reply.

  7. If I don’t have (or don’t like) whole wheat or rye flour, can I just use 280g of all-purpose?

  8. I make in in the morning, so how many hours do you think I should leave it out the sponge on a room temperature.? Thank you

    1. Since the recipe starts with unfed starter you’ll need about 4-5 hours (the exact time is dependent on the activity of your starter) to finish mixing the batter.

      1. Oops. I think I let is sits way longer than that. But thank you. I’ll starts mixing now. So exciting. 🙂

  9. Thank you for saving me and my family from drowning in sourdough starter!! Honestly, I hate throwing away the “discard” and was starting to run out of space in the fridge, as well as to get on everyone’s nerves with my obsession to save every little scrap of this magic substance… 😀
    These waffles tasted great and were a huge success! I will definitely be trying out some of your other discard recipes! Thank you again!

    1. That’s great, Sara. The best part is that they freeze really well. Pop them in the toaster and you have waffles in no time. If you’re a chocoholic I highly recommend the Sourdough Brownies!

  10. I have a sourdough rye starter that needs feeding and thought I might try it in your waffle recipe. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    1. There is rye flour in the recipe. Depending how much rye flavor you want you could either go ahead with the recipe using your starter for a heartier waffle, or you can use all purpose in place of the rye flour in the recipe.

  11. I just made these waffles and Wow are they yummy! I tried the first one and couldn’t believe how light and crispy they are. I just broke into pieces and lightly dipped into maple syrup. OMG so good… Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  12. I’m so new to this but I’m wondering how it’s ok to leave the buttermilk/starter recipe out at room temperature overnight? it doesn’t need to be refrigerated? Thank you!

    1. Hi Melissa, I am quite comfortable leaving the sponge overnight. The buttermilk is already a “soured” product and the batter will be cooked before consuming. That being said, if you’re not comfortable with it I would suggest that you feed the starter with 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour the night before so that it’s active by the morning. Then you can continue to mix the remaining flour with the buttermilk and set it aside for an hour or so to proof. Finish mixing the batter and cook as directed.

      1. Thank you! I use a DIY buttermilk (2% milk and vinegar) so I also wondered if that would make any difference lol.

  13. Tried this recipe for the the first time this morning and was delightfully impressed. Excellent flavor and the perfect crispiness. My daughter was skeptical of “sourdough” waffles. No longer the case. But now she must get some starter from me for her use. My starter is 100 years old and will be kept alive for many many more years. It is great in brownies as well. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Steve

    1. We had these waffles last weekend. I love the depth of flavor from the whole grains. Wow, 100 year old starter! How did you get it?

  14. Yes, Ive made them in round, like for Belgium waffles waffle maker and as I told, I had 7 of them. Now they are our family favorite recipe. Definitely saved as favorite recipe. Now exploring your other recipes. Thank you a lot!

  15. Hello! Thank you! thank you! very much for this awesome waffle recipe! Ive had a leftover mix of wheat and rye starters in my refrigerator. I had them after I’ve fed both of starters. Now I know where to use those accumulated starters in my fridge. I just subs butter for canola oil( I was just lazy to melt the butter). And I use honey instead of sugar. I end up having seven gorgeous and delicious waffles.
    Thank you sooo much!

  16. I’ve made these waffles hundreds of times now, my family loves them. They freeze well but are fantastic right out of the waffle iron. Thanks for such a great recipe!

    1. Unfed sourdough starter is simply a live (but inactive) starter that hasn’t been “fed” with flour and water. If you bake every day your starter is always fed and ready to go. I don’t bake every day so I keep my starter in the refrigerator between baking sessions. Each time I bake (or after a few weeks of not baking) I take the starter out of the refrigerator to feed it so the yeast doesn’t die off. I remove 8 oz of starter (this is also known as sourdough discard) and replace that with 4 oz of water and 4 oz of flour. That “discard” is also unfed starter and can be used in recipes like these waffles. For this recipe, the unfed starter is “fed” and then becomes the “sponge” overnight.

  17. 5 stars
    I think these might be the perfect waffles! I usually make the “waffles of insane greatness” that are cornstarch based, but these have all the texture and much more flavor. Thanks!

  18. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried sourdough waffles! What an amazing idea! I think I have to use my homemade sourdough starter to make them on the weekend.

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