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.

Sourdough Discard Donuts Recipe (7)

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 best flour for donuts? ›

Use real cake flour – not DIY cake flour!

DIY substitutions don't really cut it, and AP flour will not create doughnuts with that same soft texture. Also, bleached cake flour will work best. Unbleached (like King Arthur Baking) won't absorb as much moisture, and you may end up with doughnuts that crumble while frying.

Why are my donuts not fluffy? ›

To make light and fluffy donuts, make sure that your dough is properly risen by allowing it to rest in a warm place until it doubles in size. Also, avoid overmixing the dough as it can lead to a denser texture. Handling the dough gently and not overworking it will help maintain the desired fluffiness.

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

Sourdough donuts taste extra tangy thanks to a sourdough starter, a leavener that requires a bit of extra care but rewards you with a soft and airy dough. Balance the starter's flavorful boost with a thin veil of buttery vanilla glaze.

What is the benefit of baking with sourdough discard? ›

Benefits of using sourdough discard

Flavor: Sourdough adds a delicious, nuanced flavor to desserts and savory baked goods. It adds a slight sour flavor without making them taste too off putting or acidic.

What flour does Dunkin donuts use? ›

Donut: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Palm Oil, Sugar, Cake Donut Mix [Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Yolk, Leavening (Sodium ...

Which is better for donuts bread flour or all-purpose flour? ›

Yeast or raised doughnuts benefit from higher-protein bread flour, which gives the dough a bit more elasticity, so it can trap more air pockets and create the lightest of pastries.

How does Krispy Kreme make their donuts so fluffy? ›

A batch of original glazed starts with Krispy Kreme doughnut mix, water and yeast, the same single-cell fungi used to make bread rise. The yeast is what makes the original glazed so light -- it puffs the dough up with air, so it's not dense like a cake doughnut (more on this later).

Why are my homemade donuts so dense? ›

Yeast. Yeast is a tiny yet magical organism that helps doughs of all kinds rise. Without yeast, your doughnuts might resemble dense disks rather than fluffy rings. There are a variety of types of yeasts available for purchase, and some bakers even capture native yeasts to create their own unique doughnut dough.

What makes donuts so airy? ›

The idea here is that the flour can absorb a hot liquid like water much more readily than if it were cold. This creates a dough-like blob that once incorporated into a dough will create lots of steam as the doughnuts are fried. The steam not only leavens the dough, but forms a light and fluffy texture.

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? ›

They are light and airy, not overly sweet and you can decorate them any way you would like - so go nuts! Plus, these are easier to make than you may think, as with most things sourdough there is a lot of waiting, but the results are most definitely worth it.

What are sourdough donuts made of? ›

These donuts are made with a traditional egg, milk, butter and flour mixture. The only difference is that they are leavened using a sourdough starter rather than commercial yeast. Sourdough donuts are not cakey like other baked donuts because they still have yeast - it's just a naturally occurring yeast.

When should you throw out a sourdough discard? ›

I recommend keeping sourdough discard for about one week, but I do know others who keep it for much longer. After one week, there is a higher risk of mold or bad bacteria growing on the discard.

What can I do with all the sourdough discard? ›

Sourdough discard works well in many baked goods that don't require lively yeast—flat foods like crackers, tortillas and pancakes. Or you can use it to flavor recipes that rely on leavening from other sources, such as active dry yeast, baking soda and baking powder.

What can I do with day 3 sourdough discard? ›

What to do with sourdough discard? Don't throw it away! Instead, use it to make delicious and nutritious treats like pancakes, waffles, muffins, and bread. Sourdough discard is a great source of natural yeast and flavor, and can add a unique tangy taste to your baked goods.

Which flour is most crispy? ›

Rice flour and cornstarch work particularly well because they fry up crispier than wheat flour. They also absorb less moisture and fat during the frying process, making the products less greasy. This is why rice flour is often used when making tempura because it produces a very thin and crispy, dry crust.

Which flour is more crispy? ›

Use Cornstarch or Rice Flour

Michael says that cornstarch or rice flour in combo with flour will give you the crunchiest batter. Even cake four will cook up crunchier than all-purpose flour because it doesn't have a high gluten level.

Does Krispy Kreme use wheat flour? ›

Wheat flour is used in the base of our classic doughnut recipe. Therefore, all our doughnuts aren't suitable for those requiring a gluten-free diet. All eggs used here at Krispy Kreme are 100% free-range.

What is the best substitute for OO flour? ›

Finely milled, light rye flour is surprisingly one of the best substitutes for 00 flour and my personal favorite. It has much less gluten than wheat, meaning you will likely not be able to make a thin, crispy crust.

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