Sourdough Buttermilk Pancakes

If you have a sourdough starter and are wondering what to do with your discard, Sourdough Buttermilk Banana Pancakes are the answer! These are the big puffy pancakes with great sourdough flavor that you've been waiting for.

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Sourdough Buttermilk pancakes on a blue plate with glasses of orange juice and place settings on a table.

Why Make Sourdough Pancakes?

Well, once you taste these sourdough buttermilk pancakes with all their delicious tang and light fluffy texture you won’t ask that question. Until then, I’ll tell you why you should make these. First of all, if you do look after a sourdough starter, you know that you need to find useful ways to use up the sourdough discard (the amount of starter that you need to throw away each time you feed your starter). This is a perfect use for that discard. If you’re like me, and tend to keep your starter in the fridge all week and feed it on the weekends, making these sourdough buttermilk pancakes will happen at just the right time – kicking off the weekend the right way. Finally, the flavor in these pancakes is so delicious (boosted by the buttermilk and the sourdough) and the texture is so fluffy that you’ll want to keep a sourdough starter for this recipe alone!

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Sourdough starter, an egg and some buttermilk on a wooden table.

How to use Sourdough Starter in Pancakes

Whenever you use sourdough starter in baking recipes, you are basically replacing some of the flour and water from the recipe, giving it a lift from the wild yeast you’re adding and boosting the flavor with the tang of sourdough. Unlike making sourdough bread, using sourdough starter in this recipe doesn’t replace all the leavening ingredients – you will still be adding baking powder and baking soda. To incorporate that starter into the batter, turn it into the wet ingredients by mixing it with the buttermilk, egg and melted butter. Then combine the dry and wet ingredients and your batter is ready to go!

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Three bowls on a table - a small bowl of chopped banana, a larger bowl with dry ingredients, a smaller bowl with wet ingredients - and a towel and blue spatula.

Combining Dry and Wet Ingredients

There’s no special trick to combining the wet and dry ingredients. Just remember not to over mix the batter. When you see no more streaks of white flour in the bowl, stop mixing immediately. Over-mixing will develop more gluten in the pancakes than you want, making them tough. So, stir just enough and that’s all.

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Hands stirring a batter together with a small bowl of chopped banana near by.

Add Bananas!

Or blueberries… or strawberries… or chocolate chips. Add whatever you like to these pancakes and call them your own. Once the batter is together, fold in your favorite ingredient (or whatever you have in your fridge) and go for it!

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Pancakes cooking on a red griddle with a small red pot and a green bowl in the background.

How to Make Pancakes

I love pancakes with a lacy pattern on top. They remind me of the pancakes my mother used to make and they produce a tiny little crispy ring around the perimeter of the pancake. To get that lacy look, start with butter on your griddle. It’s the butter beading that makes the pattern. Cook over medium heat until you start to see bubbles rising on the uncooked surface. Then, flip the pancakes over and finish the other side. Incidentally, the other side of the pancakes won’t have that lacy pattern unless you add more butter to the griddle. I don’t mind having the lacy pattern only on the top, so I just flip and finish. Of course, being the good Canadian that I am, I have a good pour of maple syrup on the pancakes, but you could opt to serve these with any topping that you like. 

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Looking straight down at a stack of sourdough buttermilk pancakes

 

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
How to Make a Sourdough Starter

Making your own sourdough starter is a little like magic. You need very little - just a few tools, some...View Technique

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Sourdough Buttermilk Banana Pancakes

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 11 m
  • Total Time: 21 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 145g
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sourdough starter or discard 200g
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 banana diced

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, whisking to break up any lumps.
  2. Combine the sourdough starter with the buttermilk, egg and melted butter in a second larger bowl and stir well to break up the starter and combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until no more streaks of white can be seen.
  4. Fold in the diced banana.
  5. Pre-heat a non-stick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add a little butter and lightly coat the surface of the pan. When the butter no longer sizzles, it is time to add the pancake batter.
  6. Drop roughly ¼ cup of batter on the pan, shaping it into a circle. Do not disturb the pancakes until you see bubbles on the uncooked surface of the batter – about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancake over and cook the other side until equally browned. Remove and repeat with the next batch, holding the cooked pancakes in a warm (170ºF) oven.
  7. Serve warm with maple syrup or sugar and lemon juice.
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