60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (2024)

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Save this post for over 60 sourdough starter discard recipes to use up all your leftover sourdough baking ‘waste’! Never throw out your precious sourdough discard again!

Searching for new sourdough starter discard recipes to use up leftover starter? You’ve made it to the right page!

We have a complete list of everything from savory (pretzels and pizza crust) to sweet (cinnamon rolls and crumb cake), and everything in between.

Did you know leftover sourdough starter discard can also be used as thickening agents for sauces and soups? You can find more similar creative tips later in the post.

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Six reasons you should never throw away sourdough starter discard!

60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (1)

Sourdough baking can unfortunately create a lot of waste. Feeding sourdough starter requires discarding most of the starter and then ‘re-feeding’ it with more flour and water. Re-feeding encourages more yeast and healthy bacteria growth, so that the starter expands in preparation for baking.

It’s especially wasteful when you’re building sourdough starter from scratch, which could mean weeks of feeding and discarding.

The only problem: heaps of leftover sourdough discard! And if you bake often, that’s a lot of waste! It may seem inconvenient or too time consuming to save the discard, but it’s worth it.

Here are six reasons you should NEVER throw away sourdough starter discard:

  1. Save more food waste from the landfill by reusing your sourdough discard. Nearly 40% of the nation’s food supply already goes to landfills. More food in landfills = more harmful greenhouse gases emitted.
  2. It saves money! Flour is a hot commodity these days! Sourdough discard helps extend your flour supply. Use less flour and oil when using discard in recipes.
  3. Sourdough discard contains vitamins, nutrients and probiotics that are beneficial for gut health and digestion.
  4. Use leftover sourdough starter discard in one of these 100+ recipes! It’s the ultimate food waste hack!
  5. You don’t have to use it immediately. Discard can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.
  6. As a last resort, compost it! The extra bacteria can help speed up the decomposition process in compost bins.

How to properly store sourdough starter discard for later use (in recipes)

60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (2)

Luckily, discard doesn’t need to be used right away. Plus, it can take several rounds of feeding and discarding to get enough to use in other recipes. Most recipes use approximately one cup at at time.

Save unfed sourdough starter discard for later with one of these methods:


Sourdough starter can last a surprisingly long time stored in the fridge. We’ve don’t bake terribly often, and have left our starter in the fridge for up to a month before starting the refeeding process. However, leftover and refrigerated unfed sourdough starter discard should be used up within about one week.

Tips for Leftover Sourdough Discard Fridge Storage

  • Store up to 2 weeks in airtight container.
  • Don’t use if moldy or a pink/orange discoloration of hooch appears (this means bad bacteria has taken over).
  • No need to refeed before using in other recipes.

If hooch (the liquid that collects on the starter’s surface after several days or weeks of no refeeding) develops on the surface of the discard, you know your discard is aging.

It may still be okay to use, but the flavor can become altered. Recipes made with older discard will have a noticeably tangy or sour taste.

How to Know When Refrigerated Sourdough Discard is Past Its Prime

Sourdough starter or hooch that develops fuzzy mold or pinkish/orange colored liquid or streaks should be thrown out. According to the King Arthur baking website, this is a sure sign that bad bacteria has overtaken the healthy bacteria, making it unsafe to consume.


Sourdough discard that you don’t intend to use within a week should be stored in the freezer. Frozen discard can last in the freezer for one year.

Tips for Storing Leftover Sourdough Discard in the Freezer

  • Portion out discard into one cup servings and store in a freezer safe container OR freeze an entire batch in an air-tight container.
  • Store frozen leftover discard up to a year.
  • When ready to use, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for a few days in the fridge.
  • No need to refeed! Just add it as directed to one of these 100+ recipes!

There’s some debate on whether freezing kills off all the beneficial bacteria that yeast feeds on, or if it just allows them to hibernate. Either way, if you’re just using leftover discard in one of these recipes, freezing it is perfectly fine.

If you attempt to revive the discard for sourdough bread baking, you may run into some issues.


Lastly, discard may be dehydrated for long term pantry storage. Dried sourdough starter discard can be revived for bread baking or recipe use later. Additionally, it can be ground up and used as batter or bread crumb coating for certain recipes.

Tips for Dehydrating Sourdough Discard for Pantry Storage

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread recently discarded sourdough starter thinly onto parchment.
  • Allow the starter to dry out completely until brittle. This may take 24-72 hours depending on location.
  • Break dried discard into pieces and store in an air-tight container in the pantry for extended storage.
  • Process into a crumb mixture for use as a breading or crunchy topping, or revive it for bread baking.

Unconventional Ways to Use Sourdough Starter Discard (no recipe needed)

There are tons of recipes for leftover sourdough starter discard. As an alternative, here a few creative ways to use up all that discard (no recipe needed).

  • batter for frying veggies or fish (onion rings, anyone?)
  • sauce thickener (works with cheese, gravy, or plain white/Bechemel sauces)
  • soup thickener (instead of flour or cornstarch)
  • crunchy topping for salads, stir fry, or desserts (dehydrated sourdough starter)

60+ Zero Waste Recipes for Sourdough Starter Discard

The options are endless when it comes to cooking and baking with sourdough starter discard. Reference this of extensive list of over 60 recipes to reduce your sourdough baking waste!

Are you gluten sensitive? Check out this section of gluten free sourdough starter discard recipes.

Sweet Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes

  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (3)
  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (4)
  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (5)

There’s no shortage of sweet breakfast and dessert recipes using sourdough starter discard.



Savory Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes

  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (6)
  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (7)
  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (8)

Bread Variations


Gluten Free Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes

Finally, one of my all time personal favorites from the No Waste Nutrition recipe archives! Spicy sourdough discard cheese crackers! See the full recipe below.


Seriously Addicting Spicy Sourdough Discard Cheese Crackers

60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (9)

Print Recipe

Easy to throw together, but so hard to resist! These spicy, cheesy sourdough starter discard crackers are perfect for a snacking, dipping, or on a charcuterie board!

  • Author: Erin Hendrickson, RDN
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 150 1″x1″ crackers 1x
  • Category: Sourdough Discard Recipes



1 cup all purpose or bread flour

1 cup unfed sourdough starter discard

1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce (optional)


1. Mix flour, sourdough starter, cheese, melted butter, and hot sauce together.

2. Form into a smooth, cohesive ball of dough.

3. Split dough in half and shape into two rectangular pieces. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow dough to harden.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Roll out each section of dough on a floured surface or parchment paper to about 1/16″ inches thick.

6. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cut sourdough crackers into equal portions using a pizza cutter.

7. Prick each square with a fork.

8. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Turn baking dish halfway to ensure all sides bake evenly.

9. Let cool before munching or transferring to an airtight container.


  • Two baking sheets are recommended to bake both sections of dough at once.
  • Crackers may be baked directly on baking sheet, on parchment paper, or silicone baking mat.
  • Store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a week or 3 months in the freezer.


  • Serving Size: about 10 crackers
  • Calories: 200
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 220 mg
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 22 grams

Keywords: Sourdough Discard Cheese Crackers

  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (10)
  • 60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (11)
60+ Zero Waste Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes (2024)


What can I do with a discarded sourdough starter? ›

Discarding helps keep the acidity low in your sourdough culture, which keeps it strong and healthy. If you didn't discard, you'd also eventually have an unwieldily sum. You can always use this discard by directly mixing it into a dough for baking.

How do you use old sourdough discard? ›

The discard is not active enough to make sourdough bread rise but it does have many other uses and baking powder can be added if required. Savoury options include English breakfast muffins, pretzels, caramelised onion biscuits, and sourdough pizza dough.

When can you use sourdough discard for recipes? ›

Culinary-wise, sourdough discard can be used in various recipes such as pancakes, waffles, muffins, sourdough pasta and quick breads like sourdough banana bread to impart a tangy flavor, reduce food waste, and add complexity of flavor to your baked goods.

How long is sourdough discard usable? ›

You can store mature sourdough discard in the refrigerator indefinitely. As long as there is no mold, it is good to use. It may develop a grayish liquid on top called “hooch” which can be poured off before use or stirred in. If you stir it in, the flavor will become more sour.

Can I use sourdough discard straight from fridge? ›

If you're an experienced baker and are familiar with working with a cold sourdough starter that has been kept in the refrigerator for a long time and you've had success, then it's totally OK to use your starter straight from the refrigerator. You can utilize a cold starter in any sourdough discard recipe.

Does sourdough discard go bad? ›

You can use old sourdough discard if it's been stored in the fridge, however, you really want to use it up within a week - 2 weeks max. It's better to use "fresh" discard in a sweet sourdough discard recipe. Use older discards in more savory recipes.

Can I leave sourdough discard out overnight? ›

I left my sourdough discard out at room temperature for a few days. Is it okay? As long as your kitchen isn't too warm (I'd say 78°F or higher) your starter/discard will be fine stored at room temperature for at least a few days without feeding. The flavor will get more acidic the longer it sits.

Do you have to discard sourdough starter every time you feed it? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow. Eventually, you need to discard the used “food” (flour and water) that's been used to sustain your starter during the last fermentation period.

Do I need to feed my sourdough discard before baking? ›

Absolutely! A jar of sourdough discard serves as an insurance policy against starter death. If you have some discard on hand, remove a spoonful of it and feed it fresh flour and water in a clean jar. You should have a bubbly starter ready to bake with after a couple of feedings, depending on the discard's condition.

Can you use 2 week old sourdough discard? ›

How long can sourdough discard be stored? Best practice is to use the discard within 3-4 weeks, but if left longer it is okay. It just becomes more broken down and sour over time.

Are sourdough discard recipes healthy? ›

Yes, there are actually several health benefits to using sourdough discard in your cooking and baking. Sourdough discard is rich in probiotics, which can help promote a healthy gut microbiome and improve digestion.

Can you stir sourdough starter with a metal spoon? ›

Things that WON'T kill your sourdough starter

METAL: Stirring your starter with a metal spoon or placing it in a metal bowl won't kill your starter. While we don't recommend making or keeping your starter in contact with reactive metals like copper or aluminum, stainless steel is harmless.

Why discard half of sourdough starter? ›

Discarding half is wayyyy LESS wasteful than keeping it around or “sharing” the other half with a friend because… The sourdough starter is not a viable starter until 3 to 5 days old and sometimes longer. It takes that long for the organism balance to get established.

What is the best flour for sourdough starter? ›

Whole wheat flour is an excellent choice for creating a sourdough starter due to its nutrient-rich composition and potential for fostering a robust microbial community.

Can you save discarded sourdough starter? ›

If you need your starter to take a nap or be babysat, just stick it in the fridge! I have kept my inactive starter or “discard” in the fridge for six months and brought her back to life in three feedings. Make sure you store it in a locking lid jar, that is essential!

Can I use discarded sourdough starter to make more starter? ›

Can I use sourdough discard to make a new sourdough starter? Absolutely! You can take a portion of sourdough discard and add a few grams of flour and a few grams of water to create a healthy active sourdough starter. You may need to feed your revived starter a few more times before its ready to make bread.

Can you bake sourdough starter discard? ›

Instead of throwing away (or composting) your excess sourdough starter during the feeding process, bake with it! Unlock the power of sourdough discard to both enhance your bakes with a subtle tang and make the most of those leftovers.

What happens if I forgot to discard starter before feeding? ›

If you didn't discard a portion of your starter each time you feed it, two things would happen: Your starter would grow to an enormous, unmanageable size. Your starter would likely become more and more inhospitable to the bacteria and yeast we want as the mixture would become ever more acidic.


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