Sourdough Pancakes

Today is Pancake Day, so this might be a good time to post my favorite sourdough pancakes, the only pancakes I ever make any more. My photo does not do them justice; anyone who can enlighten me about how to get pancakes and syrup to sit still for the camera, please speak up.

Also, anyone who can offer a plausible explanation for why every pancake recipe under the sun makes exactly 14 pancakes will win a prominent place on my list of culinary geniuses.

For the lightest pancakes, fresh mature starter is the best, but I have used refrigerated, several-days-old starter for up to 50% of the total. Pure Vermont maple syrup makes everything good.

Sourdough Pancakes
(Adapted from Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton.)

Yield: 14 pancakes


  • 511 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
  • 2 T. maple syrup or maple sugar
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder

Very Complex Method:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Cook on a hot buttered griddle, about 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Flip when bubbles appear.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Karin says

    Hm, I’ve never tried adding maple syrup to the mix! Thanks for the tip; and here’s another variation in return. If you feel that way inclined, you can make a light, not-quite-fluffy sourdough pancake.

    Separate the eggs, and use the yolks in your mixture. Whip the whites to soft peaks, and fold them into the pancake batter.

    This doesn’t affect the taste of the pancake, just the texture. Sometimes a sourdough pancake can be quite heavy, which I don’t like (though some do!).

  2. says

    You know, I was thinking about making some sourdough (living in San Francisco, I feel like I have no excuse not to), but after seeing your post, I want these pancakes instead! I think you’re too modest about those photos: I’d be happy to sit down to a plate of those pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. YUM!

  3. says

    ohhh.. yummmmm…. I love pancakes.

    I have a theory on the picture thing because I too have struggled with photographing pancakes–you have to create an impossibly high stack of the whole batch (which means you have to let them sit in a warming oven) and then let the butter and syrup and ooze down the sides. Since anyone planing to actually eat their pancakes would never do this, pancake photos usually are not as nice.

  4. Bruce says

    Nice touch! I have been making a similar recipe using sugar for the maple syrup for 9 years virtually every weekend (my kids are sick of them!). My usual variation is to add a couple of tablespoons of Uncle Bob’s 7 Grain Cereal and blueberries. Of course a good maple syrup is required! It took me more than 7 years to branch out to sourdough breads and only in the last few months to find your great website!

  5. Claire says

    Hi susan

    I’ve made these pancakes this morning. I had never tasted pancakes that good. These are amazing…

    I realised at the last minute I didn’t have baking powder. I stuck to the 1/2 t baking soda, and they turned out great!
    I also used about 80% of whole wheat flour in my starter which gave them a nice nutty flavour.

    Tonight, I think I’ll feed my starter with a blend of 6 cereals and 4 grains to try them tomorrow morning. And, if I’m not too lazy, maybe I’ll add a cup of diced caramelized pears in the batter. I can’t wait…

    It’s my first comment here. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of weeks now. It’s thanks to you that I don’t buy bread anymore. Your norwich sourdough is so easy to make it’s ridiculous
    I’m french and I live in France but I can tell you I have never eaten bread so good. And it’s not just me. All my family and friends say so.
    But I have to say that I’m a bit angry at you for not posting the recipe for these pancakes sooner. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing.

    Well thanks again for all these brilliant recipes. You’re an inspiration.


  6. says

    Pancake Day? Jeez. I miss out on everything. And come to think of it, our resident pancake maker hasn’t made any in a while. Sourdough is my favorite type of bread, but I haven’t had sourdough pancakes. Loving the maple syrup IN them. Yummy!

  7. says

    Looks good! I’ve always been partial to Maine Maple, Grade A Dark Amber. As for your pictures, try setting your camera to “macro” and taking a low and close shot. Food always looks tastier when you can see the texture (and pancakes/waffles always look better when you can see the butter melting!)

  8. James says

    I can’t wait to try the pancakes this weekend. I’ve been thinking about them everyday since I got this earlier this week. Yummmmmmmm

  9. says

    Just an idea..stack the pancakes on top of each other, drizzle the syrup only on top and shoot a few as it dribbles down. (Solid butter on top may look good but I’ve never had melting butter photograph well.)

    I am So dying to make these.

  10. says


    I made them this morning, wonderful recipe!!!!!
    I did as Karin suggested, and put the yolks with the rest of ingredients and whipped the whites apart, then mixed everything.
    They were so good and so easy to prepare, thanks!!!!!

  11. says

    Just baked your sourdough pancakes and they were perfect. Easy to make, good taste and they stayed airy even without whipping the egg whites.
    This was a nice way to use my starter for something else than bread

  12. AZBreadman says

    Part of my life’s mission has been to find the perfect pancake. My long time favorites have been at Dupar’s in Los Angeles and the Fortyniners at The Original Pancake House in Scottsdale. I substituted two T of melted butter for the vegetable oil in your recipe. The result was great!
    Thanks Susan.

  13. James says

    I love this recipe and it makes great use of starter that is left over from bread baking. Today for brunch I made them with some whole wheat flour added to my starter and then cut up bananas and mixed into the batter.

    The toppings served with the pancakes were a mixture of butter, honey and real maple syrup that is served warm and also a reduction of strawberries, brown sugar and tequila that is also served warm.

    Everyone loved them. Yummmmm

  14. says

    This is a brilliant recipe – I’ve never tried making American style pancakes before. Here in Britain the French style crepe is more common on Shrove Tuesday but these were so light and delicious. Thanks Susan!

  15. says

    Hi Susan – I wanted to introduce myself… I’m the other half of Humble Bread. Henry’s talked so much about you so I wanted to finally meet you as well :)

    I have to tell you – today I finally made sourdough pancakes using this recipe and they were AWESOME! I’ve never been a pancake maker – meaning, my pancakes have never been so light and fluffy. This morning, on the other hand, was the 1st time EVER that i LOVED the pancakes I’ve made. Maybe knowing they were made from our own levain added that little special something my pancakes always lacked ;)

    We are baking in our wook oven today and I used the sourdough feeding waste for the batter. It was much nicer using this bi-product then throwing all that loveliness away. Thanks for the recipe… Nat :)

  16. says

    Ohhh, … these are magnificent! I let my “waste” sourdough build over two days to get enough sourdough for this – and must admit that this is much better than adding sourdough at the last minute, as I’ve done in the past. I love the wonderful, glutinous texture of this mix – a fantastic recipe.

    Thanks much, Susan.

  17. BBQN says

    Can you give me a little assistance on the amount of sourdough starter to use. 511 grams is a weight measure that I estimate to be about 20-some ounces. But I’m not sure if that would translate into about 2 1/4 cups when I dip it out of my starter. Any helpful advice? I’m anxious to try this! Thanks!

  18. Rachelle says

    I made these for a post-halloween brunch today and haven’t been able to think of anything else all day. They were incredibly light and airy, and the billions of bubbles sucked up every last drop of maple syrup (pure quebec here). I want to eat these everyday times 3!

  19. Kelly says

    This has been my go to pancake recipe ever since I found it. Even replacing my old simple scratch recipe that was the household favorite. When I found out my daughter is sensitive to eggs I tried a bunch of different egg free recipes and even tried replacing the eggs with flaxseed meal. They just didn’t really go over. So I thought I’d try this recipe without the egg… Still perfection! The most light, fluffy, melt in your mouth pancakes and my daughter requests them almost daily. Of course they don’t spread as much so I have to cook them a little slower to get them done perfectly, but no other recipe has come through like this one. With or without eggs. THANK YOU!

  20. Genise says

    These pancakes were awesome. I went on a sourdough cooking spree (first day cooking with it, used 871g of sourdough today, I gave it a workout). I cooked them, they were awesome. I think I’ll try them again when my last feeding of my starter has rye in it. I’m really beginning to favor rye in my starter at all times. Oh and I am using your starter recipe, thank you again.

  21. Jade says

    Try ice cream on your sourdough pancakes! Traditional syrups and such are great, but go for the unconventional…kids and adults love it.

  22. Jade says

    For what it’s worth, on, you can manipulate and calculate amounts translating from American measurements to metric and vice versa.
    So, 500 g = 1-1/2 cups

  23. Rich says

    Re: Phood Photos…everything has to be COLD. Sorry, but all the food you see in still photos and most of what you see on TV are stone cold. Maybe room temp but probably refridgerated. The “steam” is fake. That’s why the syrup runs thick and slow.

  24. Sam says

    Since my partner is gluten intolerant and I was making these just for me, I halved this recipe and used it to make waffles this morning. Found it from a link in a thread yesterday on Fresh Loaf. I added cinnamon (.5 t), cardamom (.25t), and vanilla (1t) for some extra flavor.

    My partner didn’t suffer though as she had chocolate muffins made with a mixture of 5 GF flours, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and raisins, plus similar spicing that I made late last night for her breakfast. :<)


  25. says

    I let my batter to stand overnight to let the starter to work with added flour. Nest day add the eggs and sugar, no baking powder or soda, I want to keep it sourdough only, it is healthier and easier to digest (baking soda is not healthy to eat, that’s why I started to eat sourdough only). A whipped egg white makes it more fluffy so I add it to pancakes, waffles or cakes I make with sourdough. Try it yoruself.

  26. says

    I havent had a good starter yet? I heard about one where you use milk for the starter and no yeast. And never use a plastic bowl or anything metal? But is there a starter that you dont have to buy?


  27. Mike says

    @Kelly, my daughter is also sensitive to eggs (actually it’s an anaphylactic allergy), I always make these pancakes with “egg replacer” which I buy at the grocery store. The egg replacer says to use it with water (1 T egg replacer + 1/4 cup water = 1 egg), so that thins out the pancakes and they cook pretty normally. The egg replacer works great in muffins too, and in some kinds of cake. (Ingredients: Corn starch, potato starch, soy flour, baking powder, guar gum)
    A box is around $4 here … might seem a bit expensive but it’s way cheaper than the 50 or so eggs it replaces!!

  28. Mike says

    Forgot to mention, I’m amazed at how well these pancakes keep … I just ate one that had been in the fridge for 8 days and it tasted delicious. Just a tiny bit dried out but barely noticeable.
    Of course, you have to reheat it on a pan, using the microwave ruins the flavour.
    (Note: as per above, I don’t use eggs, so that may affect the keeping quality??)

  29. John says

    My family likes waffles – is there a way to convert this recipe to waffles instead? Do you just use the same ingredients?

  30. says

    John, sorry, I know pretty much nothing about how to make waffles, but if I were going to try I’d probably start by seeing how this batter behaves in a waffle iron.

  31. Dwight says


    Do you know why virtually all all sourdough pancake recipes seem to also use chemical leaveners?

    Do you think it could be that even a properly ripe starter, given all the time necessary, still may not produce the ideal, light and fluffy pancakes?

  32. says

    These pancakes are fantastic! Thank you so much. I also made waffles from the same batter (although I added a tiny bit of skim milk to make them a little easier to pour into the waffle iron) and they were delicious as well. Thanks!

  33. Kee says


    I just made a sourdough base, and I am looking forward to trying out your recipe soon! I am struggling to figure out the conversion of 511g sourdough base to how many cups. I know the base is more dense than water, but I do not know if this difference is significant enough to alter the recipe? Any idea how many cups 511g of your base would be? Thanks!

  34. mariam says

    I always make this with unfed sourdough straight from the fridge, and they turn out wonderfully time. I can never use another recipe. Thinking about adding some leftover cooked quinoa to this..

  35. EL says

    You can make crepes by leaving out the baking soda, baking powder and maple syrup and adding more water. . .

    But then we used to make sourdough pancakes without the baking soda or baking powder. . .

  36. audreyatic says

    Dear All,

    this pancakes are wonderful! I made 1/2 dose from 250 g starter. (1 tbsp starter is around 20 g). Never throw out remained starter! This kind of pancakes take only about 10 minutes! And the taste!!!:-)

    Susan, I am so greatful to you for this post! Thank you very much!:-)

  37. Michelle says

    These pancakes are delicious. I added blueberries and used agave syrup instead of maple syrup. I made a half batch and that worked beautifully. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  38. Alena says

    Hello, I liked a lot your text for the recipy it made me laugh. They’re the best pancakes ever! Even on day 2 reheated. Just going to add more food to my starter for another batch…
    Love from Geneva Switzerland


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