Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (2024)

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Make the softest glazed doughnuts and use your sourdough discard with this delicious sourdough discard donuts recipe! Make the same day, or rest the donuts overnight to prepare in the morning. Either way, you’ll love the results!

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (1)

“These are the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted!” At least three of these messages, from three different people, lit up my phone after I delivered bags of donut deliciousness to some neighbors. And darlings, they aren’t exaggerating. I’ve made some really good doughnuts, but usually left the classic glazed doughnut to the pros. Armed with my sourdough starter, I can confidently say… not anymore!

I don’t know what it is about fresh doughnuts, but they’re really something magical. This recipe was just me playing around using my sourdough discard. We didn’t have any pecans on hand for sticky buns, and I’d come across a recipe for making glazed doughnuts I wanted to try. I posted on my personal social media and got several requests for the recipe! So here it is! Thank you for the wonderful excuse to make more donuts. 😉

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (2)

Did you know that you can basically use your sourdough discard in any recipe that calls for flour and liquid (including a CHOCOLATE version of these donuts!)? The substitution is made by weight! A cup of flour weighs 4.5 ounces, and a cup of water or milk is 8 ounces. So if your starter is equal parts water and flour, 6 ounces of starter will replace 2/3 cup of flour and a little over 1/3 cup of liquid. Easy!

Some of you who aren’t mathematically inclined just got that glazed look. Stay with me! We have donuts to make! That’s the only kind of glaze we want! Also, I did the math for you. You can just follow the recipe. Love you!

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (3)

This recipe makes about 16 standard donuts and 18 doughnut holes. Why the difference? Well, you get one donut hole per donut, and then I cut extra holes once I no longer have enough dough to make big doughnuts. You’ll want those extra doughnut holes, I promise. They’re so good! Fluffy and perfectly poppable!

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (4)

A few sourdough discard donuts FAQs…

The first thing you may be wondering is, “why use sourdough discard?” Most of us with sourdough starters really hate to waste perfectly good ingredients every time we feed our starter. So we get creative and use it in recipes like this one. If you have a nice tangy sourdough, the starter also adds the tiniest hint of flavor. It’s delicious in savory recipes, but fabulous in sweet recipes! In this sourdough donut recipe, I think the tang of the starter cuts the sweetness slightly. And the fact that these donuts are sweet but not too sweet, even with the glaze, is what makes them taste straight from a shop!

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (5)

Second, you might be curious about baking these doughnuts. Don’t do it. This recipe isn’t for baked donuts and you won’t end up with the best results. To get the light and airy texture, you need the quick hit of heat that oil provides. In this case, even the air fryer couldn’t come close. Donuts in the air fryer came out pretty dense by comparison. Doughnuts are a treat, so it’s okay to fry. As someone who really hates the smell of frying oil, you know the results are worth it if I’m telling you to deep fry. Promise.

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (6)

Third, and probably one of my favorite things about this recipe, you CAN prep the dough and let it rest overnight! Random side story… last year I hosted a “donut day” at my house. I like to have neighbors over for coffee and treats, sometimes with themes. I was up SO early that morning to get everything ready between frying and rising time. NOT required with this recipe! I can’t even tell you how nice it was to prep the dough the night before, leave it in the fridge to rise, then cut and fry the doughnuts the next day while making coffee. Less than an hour to fresh glazed doughnuts in the morning was amazing! Like, I could even possibly make these donuts for a holiday breakfast or weekend brunch kind amazing.

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So bookmark this recipe, gather your extra sourdough starter, and get ready to make some of the best glazed donuts you’ve ever tried! Happy baking, darlings!

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (8)
Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (9)

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe

Yield: about 16 doughnuts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Make the softest glazed donuts and use your sourdough discard with this delicious sourdough discard donuts recipe! Make the same day, or rest the donuts overnight to prepare in the morning. Either way, you'll love the results!


  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard (6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting (15 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Glaze Recipe:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt


  1. Place the milk in a microwave-safe measuring glass and warm for 20 seconds so that it's fairly warm but not very hot. You don't want to burn the yeast!
  2. Pour the milk into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over top. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes until it looks a little foamy. While this is happening, melt your butter and set it aside to cool a little.
  3. Stir in the sourdough discard, eggs, butter (which shouldn't be hot by now), and salt.
  4. Add the flour in 3 batches and stir until combined. If you are using the stand mixer, knead on low speed for 4-5 minutes until smooth. Otherwise, knead as best you can by hand. Try not to add too much flour. The dough is on the soft and slightly wet side, but shouldn't be sticky.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Refrigerate for an hour or two, until cold, or overnight (about 8-10ish hours).
  6. Once the dough is cold, remove from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the doughnuts out with a 3-inch doughnut cutter (see notes).
  7. Set the cut donuts on lightly floured parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Give them enough room to expand. Spray with a little nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise 45-60 minutes at room temperature until they look puffy.
  8. Toward the end of the rising time, heat your oil to 350 F over medium heat. A thermometer is really helpful here to monitor temperature.
  9. Line 2 baking sheets. One will have parchment paper and the other should have a double layer of paper towels for draining the fried donuts.
  10. Prepare the glaze by sifting the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. It should be a smooth glaze that's neither too thin or too thick. You can make it thicker by adding more sugar, and thinner by adding more cream.
  11. Add doughnuts in batches to the hot oil and cook for about one minute per side until the doughnuts are a golden brown. Donut holes will take a little less time.
  12. Remove the cooked donuts from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towels briefly to drain. Add a new batch of donuts to the oil.
  13. While those donuts are cooking, dip the still-warm donuts on the paper towels into the glaze, turning once to fully coat. Remove and place on the parchment paper-lined sheet to set.
  14. Repeat this process until all the donuts and doughnut holes have been cooked and glazed. Enjoy immediately!
  15. If you happen to have extra doughnuts, you can store them at room temperature in a box, or lightly covered. They tend to sweat in airtight containers. As with all donuts, these are their very best the day they are made. Enjoy!


  • I don't own a donut cutter. I have a set of circle cookie cutters. I use a 3-inch circle cutter for the outer circle and one of the smaller cutters for the donut "hole". A wide-mouth jar or glass can also work just as well.
  • If you'd like to make filled doughnuts, don't cut out the center hole. The cook time will be slightly longer.
  • The glaze may look a little thick when you mix it, but since you are dipping a hot donut in there, you need this to be on the slightly thicker side so enough sticks. The donuts in the photos were only dipped once. Feel free to adjust glaze consistency to fit your preference.

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Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between sourdough donuts and regular donuts? ›

What is the difference between sourdough donuts and regular donuts? Sourdough donuts are made with wild yeast, a sourdough starter, instead of commercial yeast or baking powder. They have a stronger flavour and a little more texture than regular donuts.

What do sourdough donuts taste like? ›

Luckily, these donuts are a long fermented and use less sugar than most! With the addition of honey and sugar, these donuts do not have a sharp sour flavor from the sourdough starter. They are sweet and oh so delicious! I chose to make this recipe a baked version.

Are sourdough donuts sour? ›

Sourdough donuts are best enjoyed fresh and warm. The sour flavor may increase over time, but they will last for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How do you store sourdough donuts? ›

How do you store sourdough donuts? If somehow you have a few leftover, you can store them in an airtight container (or bag), or wrap them in a napkin and place in a paper bag – fold over the top. I like to add a napkin to help absorb any extra oil and keep them fresh longer.

Is Dunkin donuts sourdough real sourdough? ›

What makes Dunkin's Sourdough bread so special? Dunkin's Sourdough Bread is one of the only mass-produced sourdoughs that uses a “true” sourdough starter. Many other companies that make sourdough bread on a large-scale use either a powdered substance as a base or use sourdough flavoring to flavor their bread.

Are sourdough donuts better for you? ›

You should make these baked sourdough donuts because they are super simple! They use your sourdough starter to leaven them - not yeast or baking powder! What is this? Baking them is an easier (and healthier) way to cook them than deep frying in fat or oil.

Is it better to bake or fry donuts? ›

Baked doughnuts are smaller, baking powder driven and more compact. A typical fried glazed donut will be around 269 calories, while a baked donut will have much fewer. The difference is the fact that you won't be dealing with any extra fat from the oil from frying when you bake.

Is Dunkin donuts sourdough bread real? ›

As Josh Gomes (who created Dunkin's starter) explained to Bake Magazine, "Dunkin's Sourdough Bread is one of the only mass-produced sourdoughs that uses a 'true' sourdough starter.

Why is sourdough such a big deal? ›

Sourdough uses very few ingredients. In fact, a basic sourdough bread contains just flour, water and salt. If you're not in the 33% of the nation that's considered making sourdough in the last year, you may be wondering where the yeast is… This is one of the reasons sourdough is so great.

Why is store bought sourdough so sour? ›

The addition of lactic acid or acetic acid can give bread that sour taste without the bother of feeding and maintaining a proper culture, or taking the time for the longer fermentations good sourdough needs to develop flavor.

Why is it called sourdough if it's not sour? ›

I think the American word sourdough may be derived from the German "Sauerteig", which literally means "sour dough". In German "sauer" can be sour, or can can just mean acidic. Most acids are sour to the taste in sufficient quantity.

What is sourdough bomboloni? ›

Naturally leavened bomboloni are essentially sourdough doughnuts (with no sourness). They're also known as berliner, krapfen, ballen, pączki, donut, and many more names all over the world.

Why should you not refrigerate sourdough bread? ›

The most important thing to know is that you should never store sourdough in your fridge. The inside of a fridge is a very harsh environment that's much too cold and dry to store bread in. Your sourdough will get hard and stale much faster in the fridge than if you leave it out.

Can you refrigerate sourdough discard to use later? ›

Store it for future baking: You can store sourdough discard in an airtight container in the refrigerator for future baking with sourdough discard recipes. When you're ready to use it, let the discard come to room temperature before using it to bake. I will keep sourdough discard in the fridge for about one week.

Can you store sourdough in a Mason jar? ›

Any non-reactive container can hold sourdough starter. We have heard of bakers keeping sourdough in ziplock bags and plastic to-go containers. Mason jars and old sauerkraut jars are popular favorites. Crocks are very traditional.

What's the difference between sourdough and normal? ›

Sourdough relies on a mix of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, rather than baker's yeast, to leaven the dough. It's richer in nutrients, less likely to spike your blood sugar, contains lower amounts of gluten, and is generally easier to digest than bread made with baker's yeast.

What is the difference between the two types of doughnuts? ›

The Obvious Difference

Yeast doughnuts, as the name clearly spells out, are made from dough leavened with yeast (think brioche), whereas cake doughnuts are traditionally made from a kind of cake batter that uses a chemical leavener (i.e. baking powder or baking soda).

Is sourdough better than regular dough? ›

Sourdough is a healthier alternative to regular white or whole wheat bread. Although it has comparable nutrients, the lower phytate levels mean it is more digestible and nutritious. The prebiotics also help to keep your gut bacteria happy, and it may be less likely to spike blood sugar levels.

What are the two main types of doughnuts? ›

While cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts are both delicious, they are made with different ingredients and unique methods. It's helpful to understand how to make doughnuts to know just what makes them different.

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