Sourdough Pancake or Waffle Batter Recipe (2024)

By Sam Sifton

Sourdough Pancake or Waffle Batter Recipe (1)

Total Time
15 minutes, plus overnight rest
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If you have a sourdough starter, you will need to feed it to keep it alive. Many recipes call for doing so after discarding a cup or so of the starter you have, so as to maintain its equilibrium and prevent it from growing too large. This recipe takes advantage of that excess starter, using it as the base of a pancake or waffle batter that ferments overnight and yields a remarkably flavorful breakfast the next day, with minimal effort.

Featured in: Sourdough Starter, America’s Rising Pet

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Yield:4 servings

    For the Overnight Sponge, or Base

    • 1cup/240 grams sourdough starter “unfed”
    • 1cup/224 grams buttermilk
    • 1cup/120 grams all-purpose flour
    • 1tablespoon/about 13 grams light brown sugar

    For the Batter

    • 1large egg
    • ¼cup melted unsalted butter or neutral oil
    • ½teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
    • 1teaspoon/6 grams baking soda

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

447 calories; 17 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 60 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 9 grams sugars; 13 grams protein; 897 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Sourdough Pancake or Waffle Batter Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Put the sourdough starter in a large bowl and add the buttermilk, flour and sugar, then stir to combine. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest overnight at room temperature.

  2. When you are ready to cook, whisk the egg, melted butter or oil and the vanilla extract together in a small bowl, then add the rested sponge. Add the salt and the baking soda to the batter and mix to combine.

  3. Step


    Pour some of the batter onto a preheated greased waffle iron and cook until the waffle is brown and crisp, then repeat. Or use a small ladle to create pancakes on a preheated oiled pan or griddle, flipping them when they are well browned on the bottom. Serve immediately.



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Cooking Notes


An equal volume (1 cup) of a liquid and a solid will have different masses. 1 cup of water = 8 oz or ~ 230 grams. Flour is less dense that water. It weighs less. Throw out the measuring cups, buy a scale.


Quit already with the mass-over-volume kool-aid. I do know what I'm doing. There is just as much variability in consumer instrumentation for weighing ingredients as there is for measuring volume and it is simply not superior for most single meal preparations. Ambient temperature, elevation, humidity and freshness of the same ingredients over time and brand cast wide differences in the their mass . Care, attention and technique in all measurement is more important. Lose the white horse.


I just want to say thank you to Mr. Sifton and the Times for including gram measurements.

I'm on a crusade for this. When I see cups and teaspoons, my assumption is that this a recipe is by and for people who have no idea what they're doing.

laura aromas

Used plain yogurt when I didn't have buttermilk. Worked perfectly to make delicious waffles


Sourdough starter does make heavenly waffles and here's some ways to make them healthier: Replace all or part of the all-purpose flour with a combination of wholewheat, oat or other whole grains. Use olive oil instead of butter. Also, if you don't have buttermilk in stock, non-fat milk, soy milk etc. work fine. If you omit the sugar, less chance the batter will stick to the waffle iron. And, for supremely light and crispy waffles, separate the egg and fold in the whites beaten stiff.


Made these as waffles this morning. They came out light, crisp, and waffle-licious. Will definitely make these again another weekend.

Given the variability of starter moisture content, I just added a little extra milk to reach the batter viscosity I liked. In my experience, waffle batter is very forgiving. Don't split hairs over the recipe! In the end you'll still have yummy waffles or pancakes.

Connie M

These are hands down the best pancakes ever. My son-in-law who says he hates pancakes, loves these. My 98 year old friend says they are fabulous. The list goes on. I make double batches, put them in food saver bags and freeze them. I reheat on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 10 minutes and they’re good as new!


Unfed starter is removed from your container of starter before additional flour and water have been added. Fed starter is starter has been recently "fed" with additional flour and water. Unless you bake weekly you will want to remove a portion of starter before adding additional flour and water to keep the starter going - feeding the starter. The removed portion would be unfed since it had been sitting for at least a day or two with no additions of flour and water.


Sourdough newbie, here. I prepared exactly as instructed with the starter I've been nursing from King Arthur, topped with Irish butter and good maple syrup. If food were eligible for sainthood, I would say prayers to these pancakes. So, so good. God bless us, every one.


Yes you need the soda to counteract the acidity of the sourdough so the waffles will brown properly. Browning occurs better in an alkaline environment.


Not to say that Jack is wrong about browning, but my understanding of organic chemistry and the Maillard reaction (the reaction the is involved in browning and creating all of those lovely coffee and chocolate notes) is that it is catalyzed in both acidic and basic environments, so you should be able to get good browning if either acidic or alkali. The baking soda is more for more loft and decreasing acidity, not to enhance browning. To get a lofty pancake separate your egg and whip the white.


Baking is chemistry in the kitchen which requires somewhat precise measurement and environmental control to achieve consistency, repeatable results and less disappointment. Buy a scale with gram measurement capabilities. You’ll be happier. To all the people who boo hoo about weighing things out properly when baking, please stop trying to fit the art of baking into the same tool box as the art of cooking. They are different. They require different approaches.


I've tweaked this recipe continually until I was happy. Here's my version for puffed, fluffy and not excessively sour pancakes: Make the sponge as directed but with regular milk. The next day, add two eggs rather than one (with the egg white beaten) plus 2/3 extra cup of flour (my starter is very runny; this gives the final better the consistency I want and makes it less sour). (I also add cinnamon and extra sugar because I eat waffles and pancakes with jam rather than pools of syrup.)


Want extra sour? Let ferment for two days. Substituted 1\2 regular whole wheat & 1/2 white whole wheat == very substantial yet still crispy. Double batch made 7 in my 1950's round waffle iron.


Great recipe - I use it all the time for pancakes, switching up the flour often. I've used WW and rye, buckwheat & WW, WW, spelt & ground flax. This morning was the first time I used it for waffles & it was great. I see no need to separate the egg & whip the white - that just adds extra PITA steps toward what should be a very simple workflow. I used a blend of 2 parts WW to 1 part rye for the flour component & homemade yogurt for the buttermilk; used neutral oil. Yum.


My husband said these were the best waffles he’s ever eaten - and I agree! These waffles and a side of bacon are our new Saturday morning tradition. Delicious!


Great recipe! Makes fluffy, light waffles. I used whole wheat flour.

Vanessa C

I have made these waffles many times and they are delicious; crispy, chewy, airy and moist. My starter is a combo of bread flour, rye flour and whole wheat flour, which adds extra chewiness and depth of flavor. So good. Freezes well too.


I used 1/4 cup starter discard and kept all other ingredients at the same measurement, and the pancakes came out perfectly.


Half Whole wheat flour works well!


So delicious, light and fluffy! I let my sourdough sponge rest for most of a 24 hour period. When I went to mix the batter with the final ingredients I added 3 TBSP of flour at the last minute because it was pretty liquid. It might have been even lighter without that but the waffles seemed amazing and this way there was a little more to go around.

Kara Louise

I would recommend making the sponge in the evening before bed so you can have waffles in the morning. If you make the sponge too early, the starter peaks and then becomes hungry again - and falls.


If anyone is worried about leave a mixture with buttermilk to sit out overnight...don't worry. It all worked out. Didn't start making this until around 11:30 the next day for brunch. It was bubbly and beautiful. The best waffle we've ever had.


Made these this morning. I have a couple of sourdough waffle recipes but these were the best. I get the 5 star rating. Easy, tasted delish! Didn't fiddle with any subs, just follow the recipe.


I like savory waffles, so I left out the sugar and vanilla, sauteed some finely chopped onion and kale in the oil and mixed it in. My starter is whole wheat. Used yogurt thinned with a little milk in place of buttermilk. Delicious!


Perfect waffles! I followed the recipe except used gluten-free starter.

Ed in

One I tasted sourdough waffles, I never made any other kind, and I keep a sourdough starter just for this purpose. I always use white whole wheat flour to add to the starter and they always turn out light, tangy, and deliciously crispy. If I don't have buttermilk I just add lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit and curdle, and it turns out great. I have often been told: "these are the best waffles I've ever had". I agree!


I never have more than 50g of starter in the fridge so I will have to feed it to get to 240g. Curious what the downside would be using fed starter.


This is the first time I have ever left a review. This recipe is INCREDIBLE. Thank and merci NYT.

Mel B.

This is my go-to recipe for pancakes and waffles. It's just the best. This morning, I browned the butter before adding it into the batter and it was phenomenal. Reminder for next time: pass the baking soda through a sieve.

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Sourdough Pancake or Waffle Batter Recipe (2024)
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