These fluffy, soft overnight sourdough pancakes are the perfect way to use your sourdough starter discard in a simple batter that makes a quick, satisfying breakfast or brunch.
I dearly love my sourdough starter. I mean, it’s basically the world’s quietest pet, and it makes bread for you. What’s not to love?
But there’s one thing about it that does bother me, and that’s the discard. You know when you feed it and you have to throw away some of the old, spent starter to make room for it to grow again after the new feeding? That bit always makes me cringe a little, because it always feels so wasteful and extravagant. Like, I fed it only throw it away the next day. How ridiculous!
Because of that, I’m always looking for ways to use up that bit of spare starter and make it useful. These pancakes are one answer to that dilemma, and a delicious one at that. You’ll end up with incredibly light, fluffy pancakes, because not only are you using a rising agent (baking soda), the sourdough starter activated by the overnight rest in the fridge. That also gives your pancakes more lift and a lighter texture, along with the classic sourdough tang that is just so good with the sweetness of fruit or syrup.
This recipe also makes for a quick breakfast that’s on the table in a few minutes because I can mix up most of the batter the day before I make the pancakes. And that’s always a win, especially when there’s a hangry toddler in the picture like there almost always is at my house. And if the toddler isn’t hangry, well, I probably am. Thank goodness for pancakes.
How to Make Sourdough Pancakes
The ingredients for these pancakes are simple, and you probably have them all in your pantry right now. You’ll need:
- A healthy sourdough starter (it doesn’t have to be active to use it for this recipe
- Buttermilk (see notes on how to make your own buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand)
- All-purpose flour
- Baking Soda
The first four ingredients are the overnight portion of the batter–simply whisk them together, cover the bowl, and pop it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I like to use this batter bowl with a lid–not only does it make measuring ingredients easier, having a lid means you don’t have to use plastic wrap to cover the batter.
When you’re ready to make your pancakes, take the batter out of the fridge and whisk in the melted butter, eggs, salt, and baking soda. And your batter is ready!
To cook the pancakes, preheat a griddle over medium heat. I like to use cast iron, since it holds and distributes heat very evenly, and I absolutely love my Le Creuset Skillets for pancakes. Grease the hot skillet lightly with a bit of butter, and spoon 3-4 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, or until the edges are starting to look a bit drier and the top batter has bubbles in it, then use a metal or plastic spatula to flip the pancakes.
If you want to add blueberries or chocolate chips to your pancakes, do it just after you’ve put the batter into the pan. This allows the add in to sink into the batter as it cooks.
Notes on Making Overnight Sourdough Pancakes:
- You can start your batter whenever you feed your starter, as long as it’s 24 hours or less before you plan to make your pancakes.
- It doesn’t matter if the starter is active (bubbling and growing)–in fact, this is the perfect recipe to use a dormant starter discard.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, don’t worry! I rarely keep buttermilk in my fridge and usually “make” my own with whole milk and something acidic– usually lemon juice or white vinegar. Simply place 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice or vinegar in the bottom of your measuring cup, then pour in whole milk up to the 1 1/2 cup mark. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and looks a bit curdled, then continue with the rest of the overnight starter.
Can I freeze Sourdough Pancakes? How long will they keep in the refrigerator?
You can absolutely freeze your sourdough pancakes! I recommend freezing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then popping them into an airtight container or freezer bag once they’re frozen. The pancakes will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat
Do I have to let the batter sit overnight?
Technically you could mix the batter the morning you want to make the pancakes. However, they won’t be as fluffy or flavorful since the overnight rest activates the yeast in the starter and contributes to both the rise and flavor.
Are Sourdough Pancakes Healthier?
Yes! A short explanation is that sourdough foods are fermented they make for finished foods that are easier for your body to digest with more of the good bacteria that your starter feeds. These overnight sourdough pancakes are no exception, and you could make them even healthier (though less fluffy) by substituting in some white whole wheat flour.
However, pancakes aren’t a low calorie food, and I am in no way a nutritionist. So if you’re looking for dietary advice, be sure to ask a professional if sourdough products are a good fit for your health and lifestyle goals.
If you don’t have a Sourdough Starter…
…now is the perfect time to start one! All you need is flour, water, a jar, and a baking scale. If you have a friend with a starter, I recommend just asking them for their discard and simply start feeding it. I used this tutorial from King Arthur Flour to start mine, but if you prefer a more visual style, here’s a great series on YouTube from Baker Bettie.
Toppings for Pancakes
A classic pat of melting butter and real maple syrup are always perfect, of course. But if you want to take your pancakes topping game to the next level, here are a few ideas…
- Pile on the berries and whipped cream
- Add a smear of nutella then pile on the sliced strawberries.
- Start with some peanut or almond butter. Slice some bananas and toss on some chocolate chips.
- Feeling extra indulgent? Make s’mores pancakes by sprinkling a pancake with a few marshmallows and popping them under the broiler for a few minutes to get them nice and melted and toasty. Finish it off by stacking with a few more pancakes, a sprinkle of crushed graham crackers, and a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.
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These fluffy, soft sourdough pancakes are the perfect way to use your sourdough starter discard in a simple overnight batter.
- 4 oz. sourdough starter (can be your discard for the day)
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. honey
For Finishing the Batter:
- 2 large eggs
- 4 Tbsp. melted & cooled butter
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sponge. Cover and set it in your fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours.
To finish the pancake batter, add the eggs, melted butter, baking soda, and salt to the sponge and mix thoroughly. To cook the pancakes, heat a pan or griddle over medium heat until it’s hot but not scorching. Grease it (I like to add a bit of butter to the pan), then spoon 1/4-1/3 cup of the batter onto the pan, leaving enough space between the pancakes to prevent them from running together.
Cook the pancake for a minute or two, or until bubbles are forming on the top and the edges are beginning to look cooked, then flip it with a spatula. Cook the other side for a couple of minutes, or until golden brown, then remove it to a plate. Repeat the cooking/flipping process until you’ve used all of the batter.
- This recipe is a great way to use your discard for the day when you’re feeding your starter.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Griddle
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: sourdough, pancakes, sourdough discard, breakfast, brunch