Skip to Content

How to Dry Sourdough Starter

I’m going to show you how to dry sourdough starter. Why? Because drying is the best way to preserve your sourdough starter for the long term.

an image of a jar full of dried sourdough starter chips

So you’ve jumped on the sourdough bandwagon, YAY! It’s so much fun, isn’t it?

But, there are times when real life interferes and you may not be able to bake for quite a while. Or maybe you want to share your starter with a friend who lives far away. Or maybe you just really hate to discard that discard.

The solution is this incredibly easy-to-do process for drying your starter. Once the starter is completely dried, your hard-won wild yeast goes dormant. The dried starter chips can then be stored indefinitely.

You can also pack some chips into a small envelope and mail them to a friend. I mailed some to my daughter who lives 3000 miles away. It’s a nice way to share from afar.

two photos showing fed and unfed sourdough starter ready for drying on a sheet pan.
I dried both a sourdough discard (left) and recently fed starter (right). Both dried well and were easy to revive. The discard did need an extra feeding before it was active enough to bake with.

FAQs about drying sourdough starter and preserving sourdough starter:

Can I dry sourdough discard or does the starter need to be fed?

I dried both a recently fed starter and sourdough discard which hadn’t been fed in over a week. I was able to revive both, but the dried sourdough discard did need an extra feeding before it was ready to use.

Can I use the oven to dehydrate sourdough starter?

Yes, but don’t turn on the heat. Use the convection fan without heat or just leave the tray in the cool oven with the oven light on.

Can I use a food dehydrator to preserve sourdough starter?

Yes. I used my dehydrator on the lowest temperature setting (90°F). It took about 8 hours for two trays of starter to dry.

Can I just leave the starter out in the kitchen to dry it?

Yes, it may take a bit longer but just leave it out at room temperature until it is completely dry and brittle. The time will vary based on the ambient humidity in your kitchen.

How long does dried starter keep?


How do I use dehydrated starter?

Add water and flour and wait for it to come back to life. Follow the instructions listed below. Also, you can grind the sourdough starter into a power which can be stored to rehydrate later or can be used directly in certain recipes.

a jar of dried sourdough starter chips behind a container of revived starter

If you find this information helpful, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review!

dried starter chips spilled from a jar

How to Dry Sourdough Starter

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Drying Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 10 minutes
Difficulty: easy

Drying is the best way to preserve your sourdough starter for the long term.


  • Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment paper
  • Half sheet pan
  • Small spatula


To dry the starter:

  1. Line the sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. The silicone mat works best so use it if you have one.
  2. Pour the starter onto the sheet pan and spread it out to a thin, even layer.
  3. Place the pan in a cool, dry place, uncovered. I put mine into the oven with the convection fan on and no heat. Alternately, if you have a food dehydrator you can use that on the lowest a food dehydrator with a tray of sourdough starter inside
  4. After 18-24 hours check the starter. It should peel off the mat. If underneath the starter is still moist you can peel it off, flip over the pieces and leave them to continue drying. If using a food dehydrator check after 6-8 hours.
  5. The starter is ready when it is completely dry and crisp. The texture should be like a potato chip which snaps when broken into pieces. You should have half the weight that you started with. If you started with 12 oz of starter you will get 6 oz of dried starter. broken chips of dried sourdough starter on a silicone lined baking sheet
  6. Break the starter into chips and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  7. The dried starter will keep indefinitely. The dried starter chips can be ground into a powder.

To revive the dried starter: (yield 9 oz of starter)

  1. Place 1/2 oz (14g) of starter chips or powder in a plastic or glass container. Pour 1 oz (28g) of warm water over the chips and stir to cover the chips with water. a plastic container with dried sourdough starter chips covered with water
  2. Cover the container and set it aside until all the chips have melted into the water. This usually takes about 3-4 hours. The starter will not look active at this point.
  3. Add another 1/2 oz (14g) of warm water and 1 oz (28g) of unbleached flour to the starter. Stir to combine. Cover and set aside for 4-6 hours. Now you should begin to see activity in the starter. a plastic container with rehydrated sourdough starter and flour being mixed in
  4. Add 3 oz (84g) of warm water and 3 oz (84g) of unbleached flour to the starter. Stir to combine. Cover and set aside for 3-4 hours or until the starter has doubled in size and looks quite active. sourdough starter in a plastic container with mark showing how much it has risen
  5. If after 4-6 hours the starter still seems sluggish, discard all but 3 oz of the starter and do one more feeding.
  6. Use in your recipe as needed.
  7. The amounts listed can be multiplied out to yield more starter.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


Saturday 3rd of June 2023

This idea is fabulous -- never knew you could do something like this. No wonder our pioneer forefathers were able to travel so easily w/the starter. I'll bet some cowboy cook used this idea, too! If no convection oven or dehydrator how do you produce heat for drying?


Friday 10th of March 2023

This is so helpful, thank you

Eileen Gray

Friday 10th of March 2023

You're welcome! Check out how to make sourdough powder. I've created some recipes that use the powder for a flavor boost.


Friday 20th of January 2023

Eileen, After two days, my discard is like rubber, rather than dry. Can I freeze this and still use it? I’m going away for three weeks and looking for a way to preserve my starter. Thanks, Bob


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

@Eileen Gray, Yes, it’s summer here and pretty humid. I tried flipping it over and it didn’t dry any further. It’s like a duplicate of my silicone mat. Can I still use it? Or should I chuck it and start again? Thanks.

Eileen Gray

Saturday 21st of January 2023

Hmmm, where do you have the starter? Is it in a very humid environment. When drying starter I will sometimes peel the partially dried starter off the sheet and flip it over to let the other side dry out.


Thursday 12th of January 2023

Not the dry starter I was looking for.


Saturday 21st of January 2023

@Kathleen, So tell us what you are looking for. A commercial product, another way to dry it. portions? Inquiring minds want to know - esp if you have another, better method.

Eileen Gray

Thursday 12th of January 2023



Saturday 30th of July 2022

Hi Eileen, We recently moved from IL to AL & traveled with the dried starter that I dried using your post. I had fretted how I was going to keep my starter going until I came across you blog. My first attempt to rehydrate was not successful & I had to throw it out. I was so sad that I couldn’t get it to work at first. I’ve had this starter since covid started so over 2 . I tried it again since I had plenty of dried starter but I also started a new starter at the same time just in case my original starter didn’t work again. I found that my house was too cool for the starter so I put both new & old starter in my oven (oven light was not on). Both new & old starters are active now but found that I still wasn’t achieving 100% hydration even though I was using the same amount of grams water & flour. I think the high humidity here is causing the starter to not be 100% hydration as it was in IL when I used the same amount of grams of flour & warm water. I have had to reduce the water to about 75% of the flour. Perhaps that will change as the season changes. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I plan to try some of the powdered starter recipes you have given using my leftover dried starter. Thank you so much for post.


Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

@Deb, Hi Eileen, I just tried to send a reply & it just didn’t send. Both starters are really loose. I did use some rye flour in the new starter based on your suggestion. We are originally from AL but moved to IL as a very young couple for our jobs. I’ve always baked & cooked but didn’t start baking breads using sourdough until covid. I’m sure I’ll have issues with other things like macarons due to humidity. Thanks for your advice. Sorry for the delay but we are still unloading boxes.


Sunday 31st of July 2022

@Eileen Gray, Good morning Eileen, thank you for your quick response. I use King Arthur flour and I weigh both flour & water by grams. When I feed my starter equal grams of flour & water the texture is not the same. It’s very loose unlike my starter when I was in IL. I made blueberry muffins this morning with my new starter & did have to bake them for a shorter period of time. When I bake I use electric oven & I use an oven thermometer so I do know my new oven was 350. I attribute the less cooking time to less water in my starter. It was humid in IL but in AL its much higher like 90+% humidity. Is that the reason for the texture to be so loose?

Eileen Gray

Sunday 31st of July 2022

Hi Deb. I can tell you it get pretty humid here in PA so I do work in humid conditions (although in an air conditioned house). What do you mean you have trouble achieving 100% hydration? If you feed with equal weights flour and water it should be at 100%. Do you mean the texture is different? Being in a new state the water could be different and even the flour is you don't buy a national brand.

Skip to Instructions