Sourdough is most often associated with golden-crusted loaves of deliciously tangy bread speckled with bubbly air pockets, but the world of sourdough doesn’t end at sandwiches. From pancakes to muffins to cakes to tortillas, sourdough can be used to create a wide variety of delectable dishes.
We’ve compiled some of the best sourdough recipes (that aren’t bread) that will leave you wondering why you haven’t hopped on the sourdough train sooner. But first—what, exactly, is sourdough, and what makes it so special, anyway?
A Bread as Old as Time
Sourdough is the OG of the bread world, dating all the way back to ancient Egypt. The signature sky-high rise and irresistible tang of sourdough are created by yeast and bacteria that naturally occur in all types of flour.
These microbes are concentrated in a sourdough starter, which is incredibly simple to make and can last for over 100 years. That means the sourdough starter you make today in between watching TikTok videos and eating avocado toast can be used by your great-great-grandkids while they’re doing…whatever weird things humans will start doing in the 2100s.
Adding water to wheat flour causes natural enzymes to break down the flour’s starches into glucose, or sugar. Bacteria found in the flour and even on your cookware and hands not only provide sourdough’s signature tang, but the bacteria and sugar also act as food for the flour’s yeast.
As the yeast microbes feast, they release carbon dioxide, which leavens the bread and gives it its classic, airy rise. All that’s needed to create a beautifully risen loaf of sourdough bread is a sourdough starter, salt, flour, and water. But like we said before, why stop there?
Classic Sourdough Pancakes or Waffles
Say goodbye to boring, droopy pancakes and hello to pillowy soft piles of warm, steamy sourdough pancakes. If there’s a better way to start the day, we haven’t found it yet.
King Arthur Flour offers an easy-to-follow recipe for sourdough pancakes or waffles that are prepped the night before. The sourdough starter yeast offers a gorgeous rise to these breakfast treats, while the bacteria provides just enough tang to delight the taste buds, not overpower them.
Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
Sharpen your sourdough skills in time for Easter with this simple sourdough hot cross buns recipe. A subtle blend of sweet and spicy, hot cross buns are a traditional dessert made with dried fruit and pumpkin or apple pie-like spice blends.
Hot cross buns are typically eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. But let’s be honest, these light, fluffy balls of sweetly spiced deliciousness are good at any time—especially hot and fresh out of the oven.
One Bowl Sourdough Chocolate Cake
This mouthwatering recipe from Heart’s Content Farmhouse had us at “one bowl.” The sourdough starter adds a decadent richness (not a sour flavor) to the chocolate sponge, elevating a so-so chocolate cake into a luscious, gourmet dessert.
Did we mention this recipe only requires a single mixing bowl and a cake pan? No need to drag the stand mixer out of the cupboard, here, folks. Just mix, bake, and dig in.
Sourdough Pizza Crust
Take a break from the same ol’ greasy pizza delivered to your door with a from-scratch pizza made with homemade sourdough crust. Depending on how hungry your sourdough starter is, you can create a low-rise, ultra-tangy crust or a fluffier, doughier one.
A flavorful crust helps highlight bold flavors of unique pizza toppings like goat cheese, buffalo sauce, leafy greens, pesto, and more. Pepperoni who?!
New York Style Sourdough Bagels
2020 was the year of being stuck at home, but travel plans in 2021 are looking just as tentative. Feel like you’re in the Big Apple without leaving your kitchen with these delicious New York-style sourdough bagels topped with a savory blend of poppy seeds, dried onion, and spices.
[New York-style](https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/the-secret-behind-why-new-york-bagels-are-so-good#:~:text=The%20idea%20is%20that%20New,tough%20bagels%20(no%20bue%C3%B1o) involves poaching the dough before baking the bagels. The result is a bagel that’s crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, perfect for pairing with cream cheese, homemade hummus, or apple butter.
Sourdough Blueberry Crumb Cake
This perfect-for-brunch sourdough blueberry crumb cake combines the best of multiple worlds: juicy, fresh blueberries; warm, cozy cinnamon; and a moist richness from the sourdough starter blend into a mouthwatering treat that is begging to be enjoyed with a cup of hot coffee.
This recipe uses salted, lightly browned butter, which adds a savory, caramelized flavor to the sponge. And since the blueberries are kept in the crumble only, you’re bound to get a mesmerizing combo of sweet and savory flavors with each bite.
Widely popular in the United Kingdom, crumpets are tasty, unsweetened griddle cakes. They’re a bit like English muffins with more fluffiness and a soft chew. For Americans, think of a McGriddle bun without the extra syrup.
These super easy sourdough crumpets need only three ingredients and are the perfect breakfast alternative to regular pancakes, muffins, or bagels. Slap on a fried egg, some butter, or vegemite if you want to enjoy your crumpets in true British fashion.
Sourdough Soft Pretzels
Because a trip to the mall or the movie theatre shouldn’t be the only time you enjoy a soft, chewy, perfectly salted soft pretzel. This recipe only requires one hour of prep time and 15 minutes of bake time, with the other 12 hours allotted for the dough to rise.
But after all, good things come to those who wait, and these deliciously fluffy and slightly tangy pretzels are no exception.
Sourdough Starter Churros
We love a good homemade churro. Is there a living, breathing human on this planet who doesn’t love deep-fried dough covered in sugar? At least secretly?! We didn’t think so.
And if you’re looking for a quick way to use up discarded sourdough starter, a piping hot batch of churros takes less than half an hour to make (and approximately 10 seconds to snarf down).
These sugar and cinnamon-covered sourdough churros have the same signature fluffiness and tanginess as sourdough. Note: We’re not responsible for any stomach aches caused by overeager churro consumption.
Caramel Sourdough Pull-Apart Bread
Pull-apart bread, monkey bread, whatever you call this delectable dessert, one thing remains the same: It’s hard to get better than sweet sourdough, cinnamon, and caramel.
This equally delicious and gorgeous pull-apart bread adds a sourdough starter for a sky-high rise and hint of zing that puts this monkey bread ahead of the whole barrel.
The best part? This multi-serving dessert can easily be made completely vegan by substituting the butter and milk with plant-based options.