Light & Airy Sourdough Discard Pancakes

By Amanda Paa – Updated April 12, 2024
5 from 14 votes
These soft and tender sourdough pancakes have beautiful golden edges and are easy to make. They're ready in just 30 minutes, no overnight resting of the batter. Small pockets of air are tucked in each bite from the sourdough discard, giving these pancakes really great texture! Rather than milk, sour cream is used in the batter, making for a lighter, more flavorful pancake.
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sourdough pancakes on a pink plate with fork and a bite out of the stack.

Nothing says the weekend like a stack of pancakes. Sourdough french toast is a close second. Once I solidified this recipe for sourdough discard pancakes, there have been few times that Brian has not requested them on Saturday morning.

They’re light and soft, with golden edges. I especially love the small pockets of air tucked in each bite from the sourdough discard that give these pancakes really great texture. Rather than milk, sour cream is used in the batter, making for a more tender and flavorful pancake while also adding acidity and fat for structure. And a good dose of vanilla gives the pancakes a sweet note, without a lot of sugar.

Best of all they’re easy to make and you’ll be eating warm pancakes within 30 minutes of mixing the batter.

What is sourdough discard?

In order to keep an active sourdough starter for making favorites like Rye Sourdough Bread and Sourdough English Muffins, you have to feed your starter to keep it alive. Before feeding your starter, you remove, a.k.a discard, a portion of it each time to refresh the acidity levels. As a sourdough starter rises and falls it expresses acids and alcohol, that if not used or left in the jar, can negatively affect the balance of your starter.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use the discard. Sourdough discard can be stored in the fridge and is very versatile in baking! It will not make things rise on its own, but it does have great flavor and the acidity can soften the crumb of many baked goods like these pancakes.

Main Ingredients for Fluffy Sourdough Discard Pancakes

  • all-purpose flour
  • butter
  • sour cream
  • vanilla extract
  • sourdough discard
  • eggs
  • cornstarch
  • lemon juice
  • sugar
ingredients for sourdough discard pancakes

How to Make Same-Day Sourdough Discard Pancakes:

  • In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • In another large bowl, add sugar and eggs. Whisk vigorously for 45 seconds, you’ll see some foamy bubbles on the top of mixture. Add lemon juice, vanilla, sour cream, and discard. Whisk until fully combined and cohesive. Whisk in butter.
  • Distribute dry mixture evenly over the top of wet mixture, and gently stir with spatula to combine.
  • Preheat griddle to 350 degrees F. The batter should sit during this time (preheating usually takes 10ish minutes), and this is great for the end result of the pancakes. The rest helps the flour absorb the liquids, and the batter will thicken to create an airy pancake.
  • Generously butter the griddle when it is ready, drop about a generous 1/3 cup batter onto it. Repeat, spacing the rounds at least an inch apart. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes more.

Tips for Flipping Pancakes:

A fish spatula is my absolute best trick for flipping pancakes like a pro. It has a thin, sturdy edge, which makes it great for sliding under delicate pancakes, yet enough heft and surface area to hold them before the flip.

Ensure the pan is preheated as well; this will help it form its structure to avoid the pancakes breaking when trying to flip.

And most importantly, be sure you see bubbles floating to the surface and the edges of the pancakes fully set before trying to flip. If you do this too soon, the pancakes will bend and tear quite easily.

sourdough discard pancakes on white plate

How long does sourdough discard last in the fridge?

You can keep sourdough discard in your refrigerator for up to 10 days. The discard will be more sour the longer it stays in the fridge. So sweet baked goods like these pumpkin scones or sourdough discard banana bread, where I don’t want the sourness to come through, I use discard that is less than 5 days old.

Your discard might accumulate a little liquid on the top while it’s in the fridge, which is called hooch, simply meaning alcohol that is the byproduct of fermentation. Simply pour the liquid off into garbage, scrape the very top off, and use the rest as discard.

Can these pancakes be frozen?

Yes! These sourdough discard pancakes freeze beautifully. Cook all of the pancake batter and let them fully cool on a wire rack. Then pack into a ziploc freezer bag with a square of parchment in between each pancake, which makes it easier when you want to take just one out to reheat. From frozen, heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Test to see if warmed through, and microwave 10-15 more seconds as needed.

sourdough pancake stack on pink plate.

More Sourdough Discard Recipes:

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sourdough discard pancakes with syrup

Quick & Fluffy Sourdough Discard Pancakes

These soft and tender sourdough pancakes have beautiful golden edges and are easy to make. I love the small pockets of air tucked in each bite from the sourdough discard that give these pancakes really great texture! Rather than milk, sour cream is used in the batter, making for a lighter, more flavorful pancake.
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time :15 minutes
Cook Time :15 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 pancakes
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

Dry:

  • 70 grams all-purpose flour
  • 16 grams (2 tablespoons) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Wet:

  • 55 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 115 grams full fat sour cream
  • 115 grams sourdough discard (unfed sourdough starter)
  • 35 grams (3 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled

Equipment

Instructions 

  • In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, add sugar and eggs. Whisk vigorously for 45 seconds, you’ll see some foamy bubbles on the top of mixture. Add lemon juice, vanilla, sour cream, and discard. Whisk until fully combined and cohesive. Whisk in butter.
  • Distribute dry mixture evenly over the top of wet mixture, and gently stir with spatula to combine. Some lumps are good, not to worry. This gives great texture to the finished pancakes.
  • Preheat griddle to 350 degrees F (or preheat non-stick pan over medium heat). The batter should sit during this time (preheating usually takes 10ish minutes), and this is great for the end result of the pancakes. The rest helps the flour absorb the liquids, and the batter will thicken (and that is okay and how it should be) and create an airy pancake. Do not stir after if it sits. It will look puffy and aerated.
  • Generously butter the griddle when it is ready, drop about a generous 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter onto it. Repeat, spacing the rounds at least an inch apart. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Repeat with more butter and the remaining batter. Serve warm, slathered with butter and maple syrup, or other toppings if you’d like.

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March 14, 2023

COMMENT & RATE

I look forward to your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot; thank you for being a part of the Heartbeet Kitchen community.

Amanda

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Recipe Rating




5 from 14 votes (1 rating without comment)

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26 comments

  1. Allie Helgren

    5 stars
    Our family loves these – the cinnamon is a nice subtle addition!

    • Amanda Paa

      so glad to hear that, Allie! thanks for making the recipe.

  2. Stephani

    5 stars
    The flavor is amazing!!! Fabulous recipe!

  3. :D

    Can you sub sour cream for yogurt or cottage cheese?

    • Amanda Paa

      yogurt will work, just make sure it is 2% or full fat!

  4. Lesley

    5 stars
    Delicious! Kid approved as well! Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, glad to hear it!

  5. Emily

    5 stars
    This has become my go-to pancake recipe! It’s wonderful!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, so glad to hear that Emily!

      • Emily

        5 stars
        Me again, it also makes amazing waffles!

        • Amanda Paa

          Oh, this is so good to know! I’m going to try it!

  6. Donna

    5 stars
    This is a keeper of a recipe! Love that I didn’t have to mix the batter in advance like another recipe I’ve used in the past. Wonderful flavor and so light and fluffy! Thanks for another wonderful discard recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, so glad you enjoyed the pancakes and convenience!

  7. Mary

    5 stars
    Wow! Very delicious! Thank you for another fantastic recipe. I can’t wait to make them all

    • Amanda Paa

      Thank you for making them, Mary! Glad they were enjoyed.

  8. Sarah Sperl

    5 stars
    These pancakes are phenomenal, my new favorite pancake recipe! I love how the edges crisp up, and the flavor is perfect!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed them!

  9. Stacey S.

    5 stars
    I made these for Easter dinner! DELISH! Perfect recipe because the ingredients are stocked at home and it does not make a huge amount of batter–just two of us now. Next time I will sprinkle fresh blueberries on the batter while cooking.

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes, it’s just two of us here as well so we get about 2 meals out of these, and if I’m having company, I just double the recipe!

  10. Jeff Winett

    5 stars
    No words about these pancakes? Hah! My “funny” story. My starter has been going strong for 5 years. How many sourdough pancake recipes have I tried? Well, how many stars are in the sky? Until this morning, all have been mediocre at best….thin, gummy, and so un-satisfying. I made your recipe 2 weeks ago and had a fail. While following the recipe to a “T”, my electric griddle evidently runs very hot. On my plate were WAY overdone/burnt pancakes. However, somewhere within my pancake filled plate, there was a bite that was exceptional. I knew I would try them again. This morning I had my way once again with what you’ve shared. OMG, I am in disbelief that a pancake could be so perfect. Fluffy, tall, and with a flavor I’ve never enjoyed so much in a pancake. This morning, for my particular heirloom Farberware griddle, I used 325° and griddled for 2 minutes per side. Amanda, I am completely now in the drivers seat when it comes to crafting these delectable pancakes. My thanks are yours, sincerely.

    • Amanda Paa

      Jeff, I love this story!! Griddles can be so finicky, I’ve had mine get too hot as well. I’m so glad you tried the sourdough pancakes again, and that they were enjoyed!

  11. Linda

    5 stars
    These are REALLY good! I used melted coconut oil instead of melted butter, but that was the only change. They make good waffles too!!

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you liked them, Linda! And thanks for the waffle tip, can’t wait to try that!

  12. Jennifer Pederson

    5 stars
    Delicious 😋

  13. Heather B

    5 stars
    Wow, these were amazing! We made them this morning for a lazy Saturday morning. I substituted greek yogurt for the sour cream and added chocolate chips. My young boys (4 and 7) devoured them and they are picky eaters. We ate them all up and no leftovers. Definitely gonna make this my go-to recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, so glad your family enjoyed them! And great idea with the chocolate chip, yum.