Recipes that use Sourdough Discard

I’ve put together a collection of recipes that use sourdough discard. If you’re a sourdough baker, you know how painful it is to throw away that hard earned yeasty goodness each time you have to feed the starter.

a slice of sourdough marble rye bread on a white plate.

How to Get Started

If you love to bake bread but haven’t delved into the world of sourdough yet, I encourage you to dive-in head first. But, in order to have sourdough “discard” you need to first build a sourdough starter and then begin feeding it.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter yet, jump right in. I’ll teach you how to make a sourdough starter from scratch. You can also read how I feed and maintain my sourdough starter to keep my starters (I have 3!) active.

Why Use Sourdough Discard?

When you add unfed sourdough discard to a recipe, it’s not really there to add extra leavening since it’s not fully active. If the sourdough starter is not a leavener, why is it in there?

The sourdough discard imparts an interesting texture and lovely complex flavor even if it’s not adding a big rise. The discard also improves the keeping quality of baked goods.

Try my Sourdough Discard recipes or create your own. Each cup (about 8 oz) of sourdough discard can replace 4 oz of flour and 4 oz of liquid in almost any recipe.

Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

More than 20 ways to use Sourdough Discard

How to Dry Sourdough Starter
Drying is the best way to preserve your sourdough starter for the long term.
Check out this recipe
dried starter chips spilled from a jar
How to make Sourdough Starter Powder
Introducing a whole new way to store and use sourdough starter or sourdough discard. After you dry your sourdough starter, you can grind it into a powder and add it directly to a recipe for a flavor boost or rehydrate it to use in any sourdough recipe.
Check out this recipe
Sourdough Banana Bread Recipe
Sourdough discard brings out the banana flavor in this bread. Sour cream adds moisture and reinforces the sourdough flavor. The chocolate chunks are a bonus. If you like nuts, a cup of chopped walnuts is a nice addition to this bread.
Check out this recipe
a sliced loaf of sourdough banana bread on a cutting board.
Sourdough Blueberry Muffin Recipe
These Sourdough Blueberry Muffins are made with a whole cup of sourdough discard for an ultra tender crumb. The muffins are full of juicy berries and topped with lemon butter and sugar.
Check out this recipe
Sourdough Shortbread Cookies
Buttery shortbread enhanced with sourdough discard.
Check out this recipe
Chunky Sourdough Granola Recipe
Use your sourdough starter discard to make healthy and delicious chunky granola.
Check out this recipe
a glass bowl with yogurt and sourdough granola.
Sourdough Biscotti Recipe
Crunchy almond biscotti cookies enriched with a cup of sourdough discard. Perfect for dunking into coffee, espresso or dessert wine.
Check out this recipe
a sourdough biscotti on a cup of expresso
Sourdough Pie Crust
A Perfect Pie Crust is a thing of beauty. The addition of a little sourdough discard adds an intriguing depth of flavor to a basic pie dough.
Check out this recipe
a closeup of a pie made with sourdough pie crust
Sourdough Biscuit Recipe
Sourdough biscuits that are both fluffy and flaky. A little discard sourdough starter gives these biscuits a wonderful flavor.
Check out this recipe
a sourdough biscuit on a plate with a pat of butter
Sourdough Whole Wheat Cracker Recipe
Hearty crackers made with sourdough discard and whole grain. These light and crispy crackers are a healthy and tasty snack.
Check out this recipe
a hand holding a sourdough cracker
Sourdough Irish Soda Bread
Sourdough Irish Soda bread is an easy and delicious way to use sourdough discard. Homemade soda bread is so much better than what you’ll find in the grocery store.
Check out this recipe
a slice of irish soda bread with butter and marmalade
Sourdough Crumb Cake
Soft buttermilk cake enhanced with sourdough discard & crowned with brown sugar crumb topping.
Check out this recipe
a slice of sourdough crumb cake on a plate
Sourdough Blondies
Butterscotch blondies get a boost of flavor from sourdough discard. These blondies are both gooey and light at the same time.
Check out this recipe
a plate with three sourdough blondies
Fudgy Sourdough Brownies
The perfect fudgy brownie with a crusty top is made even better with a cup of sourdough discard.
Check out this recipe
a stack of sourdough brownies
Sourdough Scone Recipe
This classic buttermilk scone is given a little flavor boost with sourdough discard.
Check out this recipe
a sourdough scone on a plate
Sourdough Cheese Crackers Recipe
Crispy cheese crackers made with powdered sourdough. These light, cheez-ity crackers are a tasty snack.
Check out this recipe
Sourdough Oatmeal Cookies
Buttery oatmeal cookie dough is enhanced with a cup of sourdough discard. The cookies are topped with a lemony glaze.
Check out this recipe
Sourdough Chocolate Cake
Sourdough Chocolate Cake is moist, super-dark and slightly tangy. Top it with buttercream, whipped cream or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Check out this recipe
Sourdough Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze
Sourdough Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze is a perfect snack cake. The tangy-sweet buttermilk glaze forms an ultra-thin coating over the melt-in-your-mouth cake.
Check out this recipe
a slice of sourdough bundt cake on a plate with a few strawberries
Sourdough Irish Brown Bread Recipe
Sourdough Irish Brown Bread is hearty and savory because it’s made with whole wheat flour and a cup of sourdough discard. It's super easy to make and super tasty.
Check out this recipe
a slice of irish brown bread with butter on a plate
Sourdough Waffle Recipe
Start making Whole Grain Sourdough Waffles the night before and have hot fresh waffles for breakfast.
Check out this recipe
a plate of waffles with syrup
Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Quick Bread
Super moist pumpkin bread has a wonderful background tang from “discard” sourdough starter. Fresh cranberries add another tangy pop to the flavor of the bread.
Check out this recipe
a loaf of sourdough pumpkin bread

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  1. I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE. THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH for all of your knowledge. Can’t wait to try the discard recipes.

  2. You say “[e]ach cup of sourdough discard can replace 4 oz of flour and 4 oz of liquid in almost any recipe.” Since stirred and unstirred discard volumes can vary dramatically, can you say what WEIGHT of discard can replace 4 oz of flour or liquid? Thanks.

  3. I never ever have sour dough to discard. What is left goes into the freezer. From there it needs to be revived after defrosting for 12 hours and it is perfectly fine. Or I add flour until it is a verydry dough. Then i make small rolls about 5 mm thick ore smaller and dry them in a warm space until it is completely dried out. Store it open or in a jar. For resuscitation add water, let it soak overnight and then add flour. Perfect sour dough starter again.

  4. Love many of your sour dough recipes including the discard use in Irish soda bread and biscotti. I would love some discard recipes for rye starter but am not having much luck finding any. Would love if you have any to direct me to or may develop. I use so many of your recipes I cannot list them all. I have made almost all of your ice cream recipes, sour dough bread and rye bread recipes. Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Jenny. Do you have a all-rye starter? I may have to make one to play with it, but I think the discard from the rye starter could work in a lot of my discard recipes. Rye would add a very interesting flavor the to soda bread and even the biscotti.

  5. Ii am enjoying. Treading these comments as these are all questions I have. I have made my starter and my first sourdough bread looked fine but did not have the tangy sourdough taste. Is the starter supposed to smell as my starter doesn’t smell very much. Should I use different flour to feed it to make it more tangy? The starter was started with whole wheat flour but then I have been feeding it with all purpose flour.

    1. Actually, a well-fed starter won’t smell or taste very acidic. A well-fed starter has a sweet, yeasty smell. As the starter ages it becomes more acidic, which also makes it more difficult to use since an acidic starter compromises the gluten in the dough. If you notice, a starter that hasn’t been fed in a while gradually becomes thinner and sharper in taste. I do like to use a very ripe sourdough discard for some of the discard recipes (like brownies & blondies).

  6. Just recently found your page,
    Tried your muffin recipe, but as it was late at night left the dough in a bowl with towel over.
    the next morning it had risen three times, I was worried as I hadn’t rolled the dough, however went ahead gave it a light need then cut the muffin shapes leaving it for a while to hopefully rise again. not having a griddle used a very heavy flat pan cooked them in batches, they are AMAZING, risen beautifully lovely golden colour will definitely be making these again.
    Thank you for you valuable tips.

    1. @Eileen Gray, I was very tired one night as I was making my dough to rise overnight and grabbed my “powdered sugar” sifter shaker by mistake. I could not understand why my dough was getting so sticky, then I found out what I had done. Well, I let it rise over night, the next morning it was so wet, the liquid was pooling up around the dough. I drained off as much liquid as I could, dried the outside with paper towels, formed my loaf, let it rise and baked it. To my surprise it was very good. Will I do it again that way…NO I will not. Sourdough is very forgiving.

  7. I tried your fudgy brownies with leftover starter. They came out an odd texture. Is it correct to use 1 cup of starter and 1 tablespoon of vanilla? The taste was good but they were crumbly.

    1. Yes, that is correct. They are a little lighter than a regular brownie, but I wouldn’t call them crumbly. Was your starter still pretty active? Maybe the brownies got a little too much lift from the starter. I used sourdough discard that hadn’t been fed for about a week.

  8. Thank you so much for all the hints and help plus the recipes. I was using a well known duos sour dough book but no where was there any mention of discarding the excess sourdough.I was starting to have real concern over the amount of flour.Even other publications do not give any help with its use.Reading your sour dough discard has been a tremendous help. Michele from Mirboo North Victoria Australia

  9. I have sourdough starter stored in my refrigerator. For any of your recipes, which all look fabulous, that call for discard, does the discard need to come to room temperature first? Or can I spoon it out of the frig and weigh it and use it?


    1. Generally you can use the cold discard, especially in the pie dough, scones and biscuits. If it needs to be room temp it will specify in the recipe. The only caveat is that if the discard is room temp you might get a little rise from the remaining yeast in the discard. Of course that depends how active it is that that point.

  10. just started making my starter day 2 today.yes yeast is no longer avaliable.. but i only have an air fryer.. i hope i can bake breads make scones in airfryer, Thanks,,,

  11. Can the discard be used prior to the starter becoming fully active (say on day 5 or 6), or only after the initial 7 – 10 day activation? So hard to just throw it away. Gave some 4 day old starter to a friend to continue to feed and activate but tough during social distancing to give away.
    My first time experimenting with sourdough. Excited to try many of your recipes!

    1. Honestly, I’ve been wondering this myself lately. I’ve never had to think about throwing away the discard before the current situation. I wouldn’t use the discard from the first few days of feeding when the smell is unpleasant and cheesy.

  12. What if I don’t have access to “filtered” water? Is tap water okay? Would I use bottled water? I’m in Japan and I don’t see anything labeled filtered water and I don’t read Japanese.

    1. I guess it depends where you live, I’ve tried tapwater and filtered water and filtered water works way better because the chemicals used to treat the water in California. I also started one of my jars with pineapple juice which was unfiltered and organic but that was only the very first day then use filtered water after that I have two amazing starters and I’ve been able to share with many friends and neighbors during these trying times we’re all becoming bakers, thank you so much for your blog and taking the time to make These incredible recipes I have used a lot of them

    2. tap water loses all its chemicals either through boiling or letting sit for a few hours. I always have a bottle ready on the counter for use making sourdough bread. If there isn’t enough I just boil some and top it up. Before you knead it is also advisable to wash hands then rinse with untreated water.

  13. When I feed the starter, can I just split it in half instead of using the discard? Like, create two starts from one and continue feeding / maintaining both of them? I’m sure that sounds like double the work, but I’m fascinated by the whole concept and trying to experiment with it. Your videos and “how-to” guidance are the best!

    1. Yes, you can split the starter into multiple starters. I actually maintain 3 starters. It’s handy when I want to bake multiple things in one day. Make sure to always maintain the 100% balance with equals weights of starter-flour-water.

      1. I just came across your website via Pinterest looking for discard recipes and read that keeping equal ratios of starter/flour/water is important! I haven’t been discarding anything, ended up with 2 active starters and one in the fridge, but have only been feeding equal parts water/flour, no discard,. The 2 starters seem to grow and bubble each time I feed it. And I didn’t wait until fridge starter warmed up and activated before placing back in the fridge. Have I killed anything!! Thank you for your clear directions and advice!

        1. The purpose of discarding some of the starter is so that you don’t end up drowning in sourdough starter. There are different ways of feeding a starter, I use the 100% hydration ratio which means that each time you feed you use equal weights of starter-flour-water. I doubt you’ve killed your starter. As long as it’s getting fed it’s probably alive. Read through my post How to Maintain a Sourdough Starter and How to Keep a Small Sourdough Starter for more information.

          1. How do you maintain 100% hydration when feeding your starter without needing to change the jar each day? I’m keeping mine on the counter.

          2. Do you mean just to keep the container clean? Since I use deli containers I will usually pour off the 4oz of starter into a clean container and add the flour and water to that. If you have one specific container that you like to use you can pour out all the starter, clean the container and then pour the 4 oz back into the container for feeding.

    2. Hi Ashley. I started on the SD journey in February. I’ve baked for years and have written a cookbook too. I didn’t want to throw any starter away either, so the next best thing was to create a new jar. I have three starters going: John Dough, Jane Dough and Play Dough. I alternate who I use and even gave a small jar to my son-in-law to start his own journey. I finally got a hold of some rye flour (impossible to find these days) so I will be using Eileen’s recipe today. Good luck, Lot’s of fun.

  14. In February, my wife and I decided to cut back on our shopping budget AND eat more whole foods.. AS part of this, we decided to start making our own bread. This month, all of the local stores have sold out of yeast as people stockpile supplies for the apocalypse, so in order to keep making bread, we had to get a starter going. This is new for us, and we’re learning a lot. I came looking for ways to use the discard, and found your sourdough English muffin recipe, too. Your instructions are super clear and I appreciate the amount of science and how/why information you provide – the scientist in me thoroughly appreciates it!

    1. I second Sarah’s comment to the letter! Thank you Eileen! Baking bread and growing starter babies is helping so much! Your website is the perfect resource during these anxious times.

      1. That’s so kind of you to say, Elissa. I find baking to be very therapeutic and relaxing. Baking bread is especially rewarding.

  15. Can you help me understand when sourdough becomes a discard? I have had my starter in the fridge and have kept it on the small side, feeding it once every week to two weeks. i believe the discard os what I pull off the original batch, however, I never seemed to have enough. I followed your recipe for feeding a starter and am keeping a double batch on the counter. can I use this in discard recipes even if it is active and bubbling? If not, what would you suggest in this senario? Id like to make something twice a week from my sourdough starter. Thanks for taking the time to put such good information out there!

    1. Hi Michelle, yes the discard is what you pull off the original batch when you feed the starter. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you have a cup of active and bubbling starter and add it to a recipe, that starter will continue to multiply and will be the catalyst for the rise of the baked item. If the stuff you pull off is sluggish (discard), that means there’s not a lot of active and live yeast in it. If you add the sluggish (discard) stuff to a recipe it will add flavor and texture, but not necessarily give significant rise to the baked item.

      If you are baking 2x per week from your starter you don’t really need to have any discard. I find that if I feed my starter, leave it at room temp for a couple of hours to activate, then put it in the refrigerator it will be good to go for a couple of days. Take the starter out a day or two after feeding and it should still be active enough to use once it comes to room temp. Use what you need for the recipe, feed the base, leave at room temp for a few hours and then refrigerate. Just continue doing this 2x per week when you bake.

      If you leave it at room temperature all the time, you will have some discard since it really needs to be fed every day. I know I’m not giving a concrete answer but there are sooooooo many variable when working with sourdough.

      1. Your explanation was really helpful! I was wondering how I can keep it alive if I don’t feed it everyday because of lack of use. Thank you’

        1. You can keep it in the Fridge. As she said above: after you feed it and let it sit for a couple of hours, and then pop it in the fridge. Instructions I have found say leaving it alone for a week or so is fine, It needs air, so air-tight containter is not good. If it makes “hooch” where liquid separates from the solids, some say stir it back in, some say pour it out. The starter definitely needs to be fed if it has done that. I find a week in the fridge then it needs feeding. There are a lot of different opinions, and it can be confusing. I suggest start small (this can use a lot more flour than you realize), maybe make a couple of different batches and experiment with what works with your schedule. Poke around, some of the flour manufacturers have good advice, some bakers. This is a “live” entity and it needs tender love and care. Good luck!

  16. I’m new at using sourdough starter, but loving it very much. I am always looking for recipes to use the discard. Thank you very much for sharing. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’m going to try the cinnamon rolls first.