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Light and Fluffy Sourdough Discard Doughnuts Recipe

These sourdough discard doughnuts are the perfect easy way to use up extra sourdough starter. They have a tangy taste with a sweet sugar and cinnamon finish.

The sourdough discard donuts can be made in the oven or the air fryer. They have the perfect light and fluffy texture with mouthwatering flavor profiles. These sourdough discard donuts use up 1/2 cup of sourdough discard and only require a few extra ingredients to make.

My kids absolutely loved these sourdough donuts. Fresh out of the air fryer with melted butter and topped with a cinnamon sugar mixture. So yummy!

Sourdough Discard Donuts
sourdough discard donuts with a cinnamon and sugar coating

What is sourdough discard, and how does it differ from active sourdough starter?

Sourdough discard refers to the portion of sourdough starter that is removed and discarded during the feeding or refreshing process. When maintaining a sourdough starter, it needs regular feedings of flour and water to keep the natural fermentation process going. During these feedings, a portion of the mature starter is removed to make room for the fresh flour and water mixture. This discarded portion is known as sourdough discard.

The key difference between sourdough discard and an active sourdough starter lies in their stage of development and activity. Sourdough discard is essentially a mature but unfed portion of the starter. It may not have the same leavening power or activity as a freshly fed starter, but it still contains the complex flavors developed during fermentation.

Starter, Sourdough Starter Discard

Can I prepare the sourdough discard donuts ahead of time and refrigerate the dough overnight for a next-day bake?

Yes, you can prepare the sourdough discard donuts ahead of time and refrigerate the dough overnight for a next-day bake. This overnight method can enhance the flavor of the donuts while providing convenience in your baking schedule. Here’s a general guideline on how to do it:

  1. Prepare the Dough: Follow your sourdough discard donut recipe up until the point where you have shaped the donuts or cut them into rounds. Instead of letting them rise at room temperature, you’ll be refrigerating the dough.
  2. Cover and Refrigerate: Place the shaped or cut-out donuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator.
  3. Overnight Rest: Allow the donut dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight. This extended cold fermentation period can develop deeper flavors in the dough.
  4. Next-Day Bake: When you’re ready to bake, preheat your air fryer or your oven for baking. Take the donut dough out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 15-30 minutes.
  5. Air Fry or Bake as Usual: Proceed with air frying or baking the donuts as per the recipe instructions. The chilled dough may take a bit longer to rise or puff up, but the extra time enhances the flavor and texture of the final product.

Remember to monitor the donuts closely as they cook to ensure they achieve the desired golden brown color and doneness. This overnight refrigeration method can be a time-saving and flavor-boosting technique for making delicious sourdough discard donuts.

Cut Sourdough Discard Donuts Into Rectangles
sourdough discard dough cut into rectangles.

Additions and topping ideas for the donuts.

Glazes:

  1. Classic Vanilla Glaze: A simple combination of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract creates a sweet and slightly tangy glaze that complements the sourdough notes.
  2. Lemon or Orange Zest Glaze: Add a citrusy kick by incorporating lemon or orange zest into your glaze. The bright, fresh flavors contrast nicely with the richness of the donuts.
  3. Maple Glaze: For a comforting and slightly earthy sweetness, try a glaze made with maple syrup. It adds depth and richness to the donuts.

Toppings:

  1. Cinnamon Sugar: Roll warm donuts in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar for a classic, comforting coating that enhances the sweetness of the sourdough.
  2. Chopped Nuts: Finely chopped nuts, such as pecans or almonds, add crunch and nutty undertones to each bite.
  3. Toasted Coconut Flakes: Toasted coconut not only provides a delightful crunch but also adds a hint of tropical flavor to the donuts.

Fillings:

  1. Fruit Jam or Preserves: Inject a burst of fruity goodness by filling the donuts with your favorite fruit jam or preserves. Raspberry, strawberry, or apricot work well.
  2. Chocolate Ganache: For chocolate lovers, a smooth and glossy chocolate ganache filling or drizzle can elevate the richness of the sourdough donuts.
  3. Cream Cheese Filling: A cream cheese-based filling, perhaps with a touch of vanilla or citrus zest, can offer a creamy and tangy contrast to the donut’s texture.
Sourdough Discard Donuts Rolled In Cinnamon And Sugar Coating
picture of discard donuts

More Delicious Discard Recipes:

Sourdough Discard Donuts
Yield: 16

Sourdough Discard Donuts

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Sourdough discard donuts are an easy and delicious way to use up sourdough discard. This recipe makes delicious light and fluffy donuts with instructions for making them in the oven or air fryer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard (best if room temp and fed within 12 hours of using)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (can substitute for plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for brushing tops of dough with)
  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

Air Fryer Method:

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 350 F
  2. Combine ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough ball forms.
  3. On a clean counter surface, sprinkle generously with flour and pour out dough
  4. Gently knead the dough on the floured counter until a smooth dough ball forms (you may need to add additional flour if your dough is too sticky to work with).
  5. Roll out the dough into an even rectangle and cut into equal mini rectangles (around 16)
  6. Lay parchment paper or a liner down in the basket or your air fryer.
  7. Gently roll the squares into balls (if too sticky, add flour to your hands when rolling)
  8. Place the rolls in the lined air fryer basket.
  9. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter
  10. Air fry for 4 minutes, flip the balls over and air fry an additional 3-4 minutes or until light golden brown.
  11. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl
  12. Remove from air fryer and brush donuts with melted butter
  13. Gently roll around in the cinnamon and sugar mixture
  14. Enjoy right away for best flavor

Oven Method:

  1. Preheat Oven to 375 F
  2. Combine ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough ball forms.
  3. On a clean counter surface, sprinkle generously with flour and pour out dough
  4. Gently knead the dough on the floured counter until a smooth dough ball forms (you may need to add additional flour if your dough is too sticky to work with).
  5. Roll out the dough into an even rectangle and cut into equal mini rectangles (around 16)
  6. Gently roll the squares into balls (if too sticky, add flour to your hands when rolling)
  7. Place the rolls on a lined baking sheet
  8. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter
  9. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven, flipping the donuts around 8 minutes.
  10. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl
  11. Remove from oven and brush donuts with melted butter
  12. Gently roll around in the cinnamon and sugar mixture
  13. Enjoy right away for best flavor

Notes

This is a sticky dough, if you are having trouble working with it you can add flour to your hands and to your rolling pin.

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Sourdough Discard Donuts 1

Brooke

Saturday 15th of June 2024

Quick question...in your notes about making them ahead of time, you say to refrigerate them over night instead of letting them rise on the counter. How long should they rise on the counter if not putting them in the fridge? The recipe doesn't have any mention of letting them rise at room temperature. Thank you in advance!

Diane

Sunday 16th of June 2024

Hi Brooke, Thank you for your question. There is a distinct difference between a room temperature counter rise and a long cold rise in the fridge. For sourdough baking we often recommend the long cold rise since it retards the dough development and allows the dough to develop slowly, which makes for a deeper flavored and better textured baked good. Counter rising at room temperature can be done with sourdough but the faster dough development does not allow the process to give its best. Also counter developing can cause over proofing so be careful the dough only rises about 2 to 4 hours on the counter or until the dough is doubled in size. Hope this helps! Happy baking!

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