Learn how to make the very best sourdough english muffins using active sourdough starter. They have a lofty rise, with puffy golden brown tops! And their interiors are fluffy, with lots of nooks and crannies. 100% naturally leavened.
If you’re new to sourdough, and are looking for a sourdough starter to begin, I ship my 13+ year old starter to anyone in the U.S! You can order it here.
I’m very hesitant to use the word life-changing when it comes to food. But I swear to you, when you eat one of these sourdough english muffins, a store-bought english muffin will never suffice again. Like, ever.
Their pillowy, interior softness cannot be matched. Their epic puff! Their pillowy bite. So perfect as a vehicle for an indulgent amount of butter to melt into all the spongy nooks and crannies.
And their golden brown, cornmeal dusted, griddled tops are exactly the definition of lovely textural contrast.
This homemade sourdough english muffin recipe is very forgiving (as is sourdough focaccia bread), and you’ll need only a few ingredients. You don’t even need an english muffin ring to cut them out. I actually use a small flower vase to cut the circles out.
How to Make Sourdough English Muffins:
Activate starter. You’ll need 75 grams of mature sourdough starter at its peak (I keep my starter at 100% hydration). For an easy baking schedule, I feed my sourdough starter at about 4pm so that it peaks around 8 or 9pm so I can mix up my dough and let rise overnight.
Mix dough. There are just 6 additional ingredients you’ll need for this english muffin recipe: all purpose flour, milk, butter, water, salt, sugar.
This sourdough english muffin recipe is mixed using a stand mixer, as the dough is enriched and quite stiff. While recipe testing, I much preferred the stand mixer results and ease, over hand mixing/kneading.
Let bulk ferment. Because this dough is very stiff, it takes a long time to rise, which makes it perfect for an overnight rise! I find that at about 65 degrees, which my house is in the evening, equates to about 8 hours of bulk ferment, until the dough has about doubled and is smooth on top and puffed. It will look MUCH different than the end of bulk ferment when you are making sourdough bread, where the dough will look glossy, have bubbles, and is jiggly. It will not do that here.
Bench rest. In the morning, dust a surface with flour, and scoop from underneath the dough, with the bowl tipped, to get the dough onto the surface. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Cut out english muffin circles. Pat the dough out into a circle or rectangle shape, aiming for the dough to be about 1 inch tall. Use something that is glass and about 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter – I use a flower vase – flour the bottom edges, and press down through the dough until you hit the surface. Gently twist the vase while pushing down to cut through the dough. Then gently remove the cut out muffin and transfer to cornmeal dusted parchment on a baking sheet.
Let rise. The final rise will take about 1-2 hours, at 70 degrees. The muffins will not per-say rise a lot, it will just get puffy and light.
Cook on griddle or cast iron skillet at 350 degrees F, about 6-7 minutes per side, until internal temperature reaches about 200 degrees F.
Crusty, scraggy, chewy gems. Breakfast bliss.
Filled with air pockets galore, I swear they rival the Thomas’ English Muffins you and I grew up eating.
Do not sleep on the salted butter and honey topping. Or peanut butter and honey. Or anything your heart desires.
Can I freeze sourdough english muffins?
Yes, these freeze extremely well! I recommend slicing them first, wrap in foil, then a freezer safe bag.
Can sourdough english muffins be made vegan?
I haven’t tested this, but my instinct is that using vegan butter and unsweetened soy milk would work well.
What can I use to cut out english muffins? Do I a need english muffin ring?
No english muffin ring needed! I use a flower vase, as I mentioned, or I’ve used a wide mouth glass jar. But if you don’t have either of those, you can also find english muffin rings here, and get many years of use out of them!
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add starter and sugar.
Add milk, water, and butter to a bowl. Microwave 40ish seconds, until butter is just melted. Let cool for 5 minutes, you don’t want it to be too hot.
Add liquid mixture to bowl, and whisk with a fork to combine and disperse the starter.
Add flour and salt. Put dough hook on mixer, and start on low, speed 2 on kitchenaid mixer to incorporate flour, about one minute. Then turn to medium, speed 4 on a Kitchenaid, for 8 minutes. When finished, the dough will very wet. This is normal. Take a spatula and scrape the edges of the dough up onto itself, to round it out.
Let dough bulk ferment. This will take about 8-10 hours if your house is at 70 degrees. (So you could do this overnight while you sleep). Bulk ferment is complete when the dough has at least doubled, and is puffy and domed on the top. It should look pillowy and domed.
Dust your work surface with flour, and grab underneath the dough to take it out of the bowl and onto the surface. Let rest for 15 minutes. Pat into a 3/4 inch inch high circle or rectangle. Dust the top of muffins with flour, and a vase or glass mouth that is about 4 inches wide. Cut out circles, and move them onto a parchment lined baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. They will stick if you do not do this.
Cover pan with a very light towel, and let rise again for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until your english muffins are puffy. They will not rise a ton. It’s the puffiness you’re going for.
Heat griddle or cast iron skillet to about 350 degrees F. Add a knob of butter, and place the english muffins on the surface, with room between each other to allow for their growth. They'll now puff when they cook! Leave undisturbed, cooking english muffins for about 7 minutes on each side, until internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.
Have you ever done a slow ferment of these in the fridge if you’re unable to bake within 8-10 hours?
Hi Max! Yes, I have done the bulk fermentation and then cut out the english muffins. Place on large baking sheet dusted with cornmeal, cover, and let sit on counter for 30 minutes. They can then go in refrigerator, just make sure they are covered appropriately so they do not dry out. Greased plastic wrap can work. Then in the morning take them out and let come to room temp, until they are puffy and have increased in size. Griddle per instructions.
So freaking good!! Can’t wait to make them again! I’m a novice with the sourdough and it wasn’t hard.
So glad you enjoyed them! And the picture you shared with me on Instagram of your bake; perfection.
I’ve made a few English Muffin recipes. This one yielded the best results. Every time I make one of Heartbeat Kitchens recipes, I’m very satisfied.
I’m so glad you were happy with these, Renee!
I’m attempting to make these for the first time. Rather than use a biscuit cutter or round, I’m making mine square. I didn’t want to have unused dough, so keeping them square made sense to me. Hahahaha! We’ll see how they turn out.
What do you do with your unused dough? Do you compost it or lump them together for one muffin?
squares are fun too! with any extra dough i push it together and meld into a shape and consider my ugly but delicious duckling. 😂
These are so good! I was very nervous about trying to make them, I don’t know why because they turned out beautifully! I didn’t have a 4″ circle so I ended up using a bowl that appears to be a bit too big so I ended up with only 6. I think it’s worth it to me to buy a ring to make these again!
Does this need to be covered during the bulk ferment?
Yes, with a damp cloth.
I just finished making these this morning and they are wonderful! This is my first time making sourdough English muffins so when I compare it to making regular English muffins I have two things to note. 1) Mine took overnight to complete the first rise but this is most likely due to the fact that my starter had only been fed this first time before using it for this recipe after being dormant in the refrigerator for a month so it is likely that it was still waking up and this is why it took so much longer. The second rise was much faster and in the time frame that the recipe instructions indicated. And 2) this dough was pretty sticky so after trying to cut one as instructed and having the dough stick to the cutter (and yes, I did flour everything well), I opted to use my regular method of making English muffins and portion the dough into balls and let rise until puffy and then give them a few good “slaps” with my spatula while they were cooking on the griddle and this yielded the traditional shape and wonderful texture of delicious English muffins. Overall, a great recipe with a wonderful sourdough flavor that I will definitely be keeping and making again. Thank you!
So glad you liked the sourdough english muffins! Yes, the rise time is always a suggestion rather than a rule, as there are many different factors that can affect the dough such as temperature of the ingredients and your home, your starter strength, etc. Thank you for your notes!
I was using a different recipe but I like this one better and so does my family. These are light and pillowy.
so glad you like this recipe!
Recipe was simple to follow and not at all complicated, like other sourdough recipes can be. Muffins were delicious!!
Love to hear it, Lora! And that breakfast sandwich you made with the muffins, that you shared on Instagram looked SO good.
I made this for Easter breakfast and my family loved these. You are right there is no comparison of these lovely fluffy and light English Muffins.
Thank you for so many delicious receipts.
That’s so great, Rachel! What a fun Easter breakfast.
This is a fun bake and a keeper. I omitted the sugar and the English muffins came out fine. WRT nutrition info, I had 15 muffins so app I’m using says 120 calories each. 62% carbs 13% protein and 25% fat. Hope that helps those that were wondering :-)
This recipe was SO easy and absolutely incredible. I never knew english muffins could taste so good!
Just made these for breakfast and they turned out so well! I cut them out and stuck them in the fridge the night before and then let them come up to room temp before sticking on the griddle. Great recipe!
Yay! I’ve recently tried this method too, refrigerating the cut out english muffins and letting them come to room temp in morning and it’s such a great option!
I love this recipe! Everyday I make a breakfast sandwich for my husband using one of these sourdough english muffins. It’s so much cheaper to make your own, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re delicious and simple to make. Thanks, Amanda!
So glad to hear that, Larissa! And yes, they are so economical and tastier than storebought!
Very good. We liked them.
I have made these SEVERAL times and I love them. I always cut them into squares to keep from having waste! Also, I make them vegan!
oh, fun idea to cut them in squares!
Please let me know if you used a milk substitute (which one?) or water to create the muffins. Very interested!
I believe I used soy milk instead.
First attempt was a success!
Yay, glad to hear that!
Love this recipe! My first time making English muffins and def won’t be the last. I did a sear on each side and finished baking these in the oven for 13 mins at 350 (like Amanda’s suggestion in the comments) and they turned out so good!
Fabulous! These sourdough english muffins are such a favorite at our house, I’m glad you liked them too!
They turned out very well. I didn’t see anywhere where the recipe specified the number of muffins. At 3 in, my recipe made a dozen. Additionally, I had my heat down quite low on my gas range. I found they would brown too quickly on higher heat using butter. Overall, excellent recipe!
Oh I’m looking forward to trying these! Can it be done using Bob’s gluten free flour? I’m mostly a low carb girl but I would sacrifice LC to have one that is GF. Any advice would be appreciated!
Hi Ellen! Gluten free flour won’t work for this recipe. You’d want to look for gluten free sourdough recipes.
Been a fan of English muffins for a long time but have been too timid to try making them; these turned out fabulous! I subbed in coconut milk for whole milk & had no issues. Overcooked my 1st batch bc I was unsure where 350 degrees was on an electric stovetop; found that 3/10 was about right in my cast iron!
good to know that coconut milk works!
These are great! Do you have the nutritional info on them?
Hi Carrie! I don’t calculate nutritional data.
I have made these several time’s my husband takes one to work every day… He loves them thanks
so glad they’re a hit in your house, Peggy! xo
I make these every week with my twenty plus year sour Dough starter using my discard. It’s amazing! This recipe is my go to now. I double batch it each time. The grandkids eat every crumb. I substituted milk with my home made yogurt and water combined on the scale to equal the milk volume amount. Turns out beautifully! What an awesome sour flavor! These simply melt in your mouth
So glad you like them! I just made some this morning and am reminded how delicious they are every time!
These came out great! Thanks Amanda. You mentioned that they can be frozen. Do you think it’s better to freeze them individually in tinfoil then freezer bag or a whole bunch together ?
Hi Ania! I usually slice them, slide a piece of parchment in between, then put in one layer in a freezer bag so that they’re laying flat. If you want to put another layer on top, then you’d just put a piece of parchment on top of the first layer of muffins.
I’ve never made homemade English muffins before, and I’m o sensed with sourdough. Thanks for the inspiration!
they’re so much better than store bought!
How much salt do you add? And what type do you recommend?
Hi Laura! You’ll see the salt in the recipe as 9 grams fine sea salt.
Do you think I can use non-dairy milk?
Just saw the note about making them vegan, missed it on my first read! Giving these a try tomorrow morning.
I just made these using Oatly brand oat milk and Melt Organic butter sticks (vegan). The dough was a bit wetter than the original recipe, so I used extra flour when shaping and cutting. Other than that, they turned out almost exactly like the main recipe!
Yay! So awesome that you were able to adapt and understand the dough as you went, with the vegan changes! Thank you for leaving this note and baking with me!
Good morning and hello from across the river in Woodbury! Do I need to make any adjustments if I only have non organic unbleached AP flour?
Any chance I could add a little KAF white whole wheat without trouble? Or would I need to adjust other ingredients….and that’s a whole other recipe? … or I did score a small Einkorn bag of flour recently. Just trying to add a little healthy to the end result. Thoughts? I’m a newbie, not very good at improv at this point. So I could use your input. I understand if adding different flours would not be recommended. Just thought I’d ask! Thank you!
Hello! Non-organic all purpose flour will work great, no adjustments needed. You could add about 30 grams of whole wheat without affecting the recipe. But to be honest,
the way it’s written is just so yummy, that I would lean on the health benefits that you’re getting from the fermentation and probiotics generated from that.
Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it! You have a good point!
Can these be oven baked rather than griddled please.
Hi Barbara! If you try oven baking (I have not tested this), I’d suggest searing them on both sides of a cast iron pan for 2 minutes each side, then finishing in the oven for about 13 minutes. If you try this, let me know – as I have not tested this method, but it’s what my gut tells me would work okay.
Hi Barbara and Amanda,
I’ve made this recipe twice now and can happily confirm that this guidance works really well. My small cast iron pan can only fit two muffins at a time and I didn’t have the patience for that so followed the suggested searing/baking advice which worked a treat! Thank you!
yay, glad that method has worked for you!
What temp oven did you use?
I use a 350 degree F oven to finish the english muffins, when I use that method!
Can I u5regular granulated sugar?
Yes, you can! Will turn out the same.
Can’t wait to make these tonight!
Oh, now that’s what I’m talking about! These look delicious. So if I do the bulk fermentation overnight, would it be okay to go a little longer than 8 hours? Just trying to figure out the best timing on these.
You could do 8-10 hours, if your home is about 65-68 degrees F.