These flakey, scrumptious sourdough biscuits are one of the easiest recipes you can make with sourdough discard—no food wasted! You’ll actually want more discard on hand, not less, after you taste these. They contain just five ingredients, including an entire cup of discard, which adds a hint of cheesy flavor. I based these on a King Arthur sourdough biscuit recipe.
(Go here for 19 more sourdough discard recipes.)
Out of baking powder?
If you have cream of tartar on hand, combine 2 parts of it with 1 part baking soda and use immediately. For the 2 teaspoons called for in this recipe, you’d combine a scant 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar with a scant ¾ teaspoon baking soda.
Not sure if your cream of tartar is still good? Mix ½ teaspoon in ½ cup of hot water. Stir in a pinch of baking soda. If it fizzes, your cream of tartar is still effective. (Use this same test for baking powder but omit the baking soda.)
Use a stick of butter, dairy or vegan, to make these. I’ve also baked (and eaten) many with coconut oil. It’s a tiny bit harder to work with. After chilling it, let it warm up at room temperature for about 10 minutes so you can more easily cut it into the flour mixture.
Sourdough discard or active starter
The runnier sourdough discard mixes easily into the dough. An active, bubbly starter will work as well and your biscuits may rise a bit more but its elasticity makes it a little trickier to work into the flour-butter mixture.
Whether you bake these with discard or active sourdough, try not to overwork the dough. Overworking leads to tough biscuits. And be sure to stir down the active starter to pop the bubbles before measuring it.
My starter contains half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour but any wheat flour combo will work. If you have questions about the health of your sourdough discard, go here for FAQs.
Tools for tasty sourdough biscuits
Pastry blender versus food processor
To cut in the fat, use a pastry blender or two knives. You can make this sourdough biscuit dough in a food processor but overworking the dough can happen very quickly (as with pastry). Over-processed dough will render tougher, less flakey biscuits.
Biscuit cutter versus a sharp knife
I used to make round sourdough biscuits. I’d cut my circles out of the dough with a biscuit cutter, smush the trimmings together, cut one more biscuit and then smush what was left into one final small biscuit.
But after sewing makeup remover pads for my daughter in a square shape to reduce fabric waste, I thought, why don’t I cut square biscuits instead of round? This way, I also work the dough less.
Cleanly cut sourdough biscuit dough rises more when it bakes. For both sourdough biscuits below, I first formed a rectangle with the dough.
On the left, I trimmed the edges of the dough before cutting it into squares. On the right, I simply cut a rectangle of dough into six squares without first trimming the edges. Those edges didn’t rise as much. Another bonus of trimming the edges—those small crunchy, flakey baked pieces may be the tastiest parts!
The baking surface
Bake on a baking sheet or an easy-to-clean cast iron pan. These biscuits contain enough fat that you don’t need to grease baking sheets.
And now… lots of pictures of sourdough biscuits in the making
Want more sourdough discard recipes? Go here for 19 more.
Easy 5 Ingredient Sourdough Biscuits
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter (dairy or vegan) or coconut oil, cut into ½-inch pieces* (see Note)
- 1 cup cold sourdough discard* (see Note) an active starter also works
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium-size bowl.
- Cut in the butter or coconut oil with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly.* (see Note)
- Stir the sourdough discard into the mixture. With your hand, incorporate any flour remaining in the bowl into the dough but avoid over mixing.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently pat it into a 1-inch thick rectangle approximately 6 inches by 4 inches. Cut off a thin edge of dough around each side of the rectangle with sharp knife or bench scraper. (Cut edges rise more.) Cut the dough into 6 even squares.
- Place the formed biscuits 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. You may want to place the edge pieces, which bake faster, on a separate cookie sheet. Bake the biscuits for 20 to 22 minutes or until the tops have slightly turned golden. The edge pieces will cook faster, in about 15 minutes.
- Serve the biscuits warm. They also freeze well.
- Chilled coconut oil hardens so let it warm up for 10 minutes at room temperature before you work it into the dough. Biscuit dough made with coconut oil will be a bit drier. If the dough does not come together, add a splash of water. You want the dough workable but not wet.
- My starter is 100 percent hydration and contains 50 percent whole wheat flour, 50 percent all-purpose. The type of wheat flour won’t affect the dough but if your starter has less hydration, add a splash of water to the dough if necessary.
- You can make this sourdough biscuit dough in a food processor but overworking the dough can happen very quickly. Over-processed dough will render less flakey biscuits.
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- Taste Canada silver for single-subject cookbooks
- Second-place Gourmand cookbook award in the category of food waste
- Shortlisted for an award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals
Learn more about my book here.