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Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins are a delicious use for sourdough starter discard removed when feeding and easy enough for novice bread makers. You can even turn the dough into an incredibly tasty breakfast bread instead of individual muffins!

Note: This recipe received a major update in 2020 with lots of new tips and tricks, a variation for a bread loaf, and more.

There are few things I enjoy more than some toasted sourdough with butter. The sourdough english muffins give me an excuse to enjoy that all year round!

Sourdough English Muffins in a white napkin in a green bowl on a wooden cutting board.

With no need to heat up the oven these have become a weekly staple in our home. It is an easy recipe to use sourdough discard!

You can also use sourdough discard in Sourdough Pancakes, Sourdough Naan, or even Sourdough Banana Bread!

Ingredients you need:

  • Unfed sourdough starter
  • Milk
  • All purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Cornmeal

You can make your own sourdough starter, get starter from a friend, or you can buy dehydrated starter.

collage of pictures showing steps to make the dough

How to make sourdough English muffins

  1. Combine starter, 2 cups flour and milk in a large bowl. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and leave out for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. After the overnight rest, add the remaining flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and mix well.
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead 4-5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Roll out dough to 1/2″ and cut into rounds using a 3″ cookie or biscuit cutter. You can re-roll the scraps but you need to let the dough rest at least 10 minutes before cutting more muffins from them.  (see tips from the readers below for ways to reduce re-rolls)
  5. Place muffins on a piece of parchment or cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Let rest for at least 45 minutes (for more nooks and crannies see tips below).
  6. Spray griddle or skillet lightly with oil. Heat to medium and cook muffins for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until browned on top and bottom and cooked through (internal temperature should be 195°F).
collage of pictures showing steps to cutting and cooking the muffins

Tips for cooking the English muffins:

  • I find they cook up best on a cast iron skillet versus a traditional skillet.
  • English muffins should not be thicker than 1/2″ or they will be too thick and won’t cook.
  • If the heat is too high, the outside will cook before the center is cooked. If you find the center is still doughy, lower the heat.
  • If the center is still slightly underdone you can always stick them in the oven at 350°F for about 5-10 minutes until they are done.
  • Use a digital kitchen thermometer to make sure the muffins have cooked through. They should be between 195° and 200°F
a loaf of english muffin bread in front of a turquoise plate

Can you use the dough to make this as a loaf?

I have gotten a lot of love on my Sourdough English muffin recipe about how wonderful they are but I’ve also gotten a lot of complaints about how long it takes to cut them out and leave them to rest, etc.

Well, I now can tell you that you can make excellent bread with the same dough and that it is far less effort to make! The sliced bread would also work for our favorite lunchtime staple- Simple Sourdough Pizzas.

How to make this as a bread loaf:

*Follow the first two steps of the recipe to make the overnight sponge and then the dough.*

  1. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead 4-5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a log shape about 9″ long.
  2. Grease a loaf tin with cooking spray and lightly dust with cornmeal. Place your bread loaf into the pan. Sprinkle a little more cornmeal over the top of the loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place until the loaf has risen to the top of the pan, about 2-3 hours.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30-35 minutes or until bread is a light golden brown on the outside and reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees F.
  4. Carefully remove bread from the loaf tin and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

Tips for making this as a bread instead of muffins

The amount of time it will take for the bread to rise will depend a lot on the warmth of where it is rising. A long slow rise will give you a better sourdough flavor so don’t necessarily be in a hurry to speed along the proving process.

I did store my bread pan covered in the fridge overnight before cooking so if you want an even stronger sourdough flavor you can do that.

The bread does not have lots of nooks and crannies and a big part of that is having to slice the bread. But the bread tastes fantastic so I haven’t minded the lack of little pockets for the butter to pool.

a cut sourdough english muffins with nooks and crannies

How can I get more nooks and crannies?

The number one question I get is on how to get more nooks and crannies. I have my suspicions that commercial English muffins have yeast added to give them more rise and therefore more nooks and crannies.

But don’t fear! There are ways to help encourage more little cavities to pool with butter.

For more nooks and crannies, the best way is to allow the English muffins to rest for longer after cutting them out. I’ve let them rest for over an hour and a half which gave me the results in the picture above.

Also, always make sure you use a fork to stab all the way around the muffins to separate the halves instead of using a knife.

Tips from YOU!

  • One reader subbed sour cream for 3/4 of the milk which she said resulted in a wonderfully soft muffins which stayed that way for days. A great tip if you find you are running low on milk.
  • Multiple readers offered tips for making these in the oven. Use a baking steel or baking stone in the oven at 275 degrees F baking for 7-8 minutes per side.
  • Some suggestions for reducing the number of times needed to roll out the muffins were to cut square muffins or to roll the dough in a log and cut out slices.

Other easy bread recipes to try:

A pile of Sourdough English Muffins lightly dusted with corn meal in a white napkin.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you leave the dough out overnight on its initial rest even with the milk in it? 
    • YES! It’s totally fine.
  • Do I have to feed my sourdough starter before I use it? 
    • NO, you do not need to feed the starter before making the english muffins. This is a great use for the starter you remove when feeding.
  • Can you freeze the cooked english muffins?
    • YES! I always make a double (or triple) batch and freeze them in a ziploc bag. They will keep for about 3 months in the freezer.
      • To reheat, microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute. Split and toast as usual.

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Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins are a delicious use for sourdough starter removed when feeding!

Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins are a delicious use for sourdough starter removed when feeding and easy enough for novice bread makers. 
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 130kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine starter, 2 cups flour and milk in a large bowl.  Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and leave out for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  • After the overnight rest, add the remaining flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and mix well.  
  • Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead 4-5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Roll out to 1/2" and cut into rounds using a 3" cookie or biscuit cutter. You can re-roll the scraps but you need to let the dough rest at least 10 minutes before cutting more muffins from them. 
  • Place muffins on a piece of parchment or cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Let rest for at least 60 minutes (longer is better).
  • Spray griddle or skillet lightly with oil.  Heat to medium-low and cook muffins for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until browned on top and bottom and cooked through.

Notes

They will keep for about 3 months in the freezer. To reheat, microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute. Split and toast as usual.
Always make sure you use a fork to stab all the way around the muffins to separate the halves instead of using a knife. 
Also, the longer you can allow the cut muffins to rest, the larger the nooks and crannies will be.
If the center is still slightly underdone you can always stick them in the oven at 350°F for about 5-10 minutes until they are done.
Use a digital kitchen thermometer to make sure the muffins have cooked through. They should be between 195° and 200°F

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 57mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1.3mg
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138 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Jade, I love this recipe. I wish it had more nooks and crannies, however. Have you tried any changes to see if they can be increased? Here are the things I’m trying: scalding the milk to encourage better gluten structure. Breaking down the whey enzymes that are not broken through pasteurization seems to be a thing, but I’m trying my first batch right now.

    I tried just doing ‘drop’ muffins, not rolling out and cutting, but simply taking the risen dough and creating muffins by dropping them a scoop at a time on a baking sheet which worked OK, but they did not keep and the insignificant addition of nooks and crannies made this more ugly than I thought it would.

    I’ve also stopped doing cut outs. I find rolling into a log and cutting a dozen muffins 1, adds no extra flour and 2, leaves no excess to re-roll and cut again. It’s a technique I learned from ATK.

    All in all, your recipe is the best by far for flavor. All of my pandemic co-horts agree when I drop them off for them to try! It’s just a personal thing to have big nooks for my peanut butter! LOL!

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I agree that homemade English muffins seem to lack the crazy nook and crannies of store bought ones but I suspect they might have additional yeast added. I’ve tried letting the dough sit longer once they’ve been cut and I’ve been able to get a few deeper nooks and crannies that way. Please let me know how the scalded milk works as many readers have the lack of nooks and crannies as their biggest complaint.

      1. Thanks for the response, Jade, I tried two different batches, one with a regular resting period and one with a 3 day refrigerated rest. Both batches had scalded milk. The difference in nooks and crannies was negligible. The flavor was the only change between the doughs. The one in the fridge for 3 days were noticeably more sour. Otherwise, the texture was quite similar.

        You are likely correct on the added yeast creating more nooks and crannies. Something to try next time. Scalding milk prior seems like an unnecessary step. Keep on developing these recipes! They’re great!

        1. Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your experiments. It’s a bummer that none of them worked. Maybe I will try adding a touch of yeast and see how that goes. Thanks!

    1. I’ve never tried making bread loaves with it but I have a batch going right now that I will try it out. I’ll update if it is successful.

  2. I am still learning with sourdough. I wanted to tell everyone not to be scared with this recipe. I made everything just the way your instructions said. My dough was very very sticky while kneading it so I did have to add some more flour. I have read that this happens if your starter is more watery than others. So, I mixed em up, cut them out and waited 45 mins. They didnt rise very much and then I started to panic because I hate wasting ingredients. I cooked them anyway. Well, to my as they were cooking they rose to the most beautiful English muffin I ever made!! They taste soooo good. I won’t be making my normal recipe ever again. This is my new normal. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I wish I could share the pictures for people who may have gotten scary results.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Donna! When I first started with sourdough these were the first thing I made. I agree it can be scary but I’m so glad you are sticking with it! If you want you can send me pictures and I will share them on my Instagram so others can see how awesome you are.

  3. 5 stars
    Nice fun easy recipe! I live in high altitude so my first batch wasn’t as holly or airy as I’d like, however they still tasted wonderful and made for great breakfast sandwiches. I added a little more yeast and I will try again today. I was thinking about using bread flour instead to save a trip to the store. is that a bad idea?

  4. Wow! I’m no baker. I love baking and cooking but am not great at it. However, these turned out AMAZING! I love them! I’ve had to freeze them so I don’t eat them all in one go 😀
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    This was my first sourdough bake and they were really good! I loved how easy your recipe was to make even on a work(from home) day.

    Would water work in place of milk? or a half milk/half water mix?
    Trying to limit trips to the store and we’ll run out of milk quickly with this recipe!

    1. Hi Andi! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. I’ve never tried making them with water but in theory I don’t see why you cannot. The flavor might be a little different but they should still work.

    2. I made this recipe with almond milk and it seems to have works Just fine! I’m guessing water would work too since almond milk is so watery…

      1. I’m glad you had success with the almond milk. I agree that water, almond milk, or coconut milk will work. The flavors will slightly vary and you might have to play around a little bit with the amount of flour needed.

  6. I recently acquired a SD starter from a friend. This was the first recipe I tried, not quite sure I’m ready to tackle bread yet. They were super easy, and a big hit with my kids. They like them with plenty of butter and honey. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad that they were a hit with the whole family Monica. I agree that butter and honey are so yummy with sourdough english muffins.

  7. Would you consider putting weights instead of cups, etc. for the ingredients? I haven’t baked mine yet (they are proofing now) and was reading through the comments. Weights might solve some (admittedly not all given differ environments) of the issues people are facing with varying degrees of dryness. Just a thought 😉
    Thanks for the recipe!!

      1. Following up to let you know these turned out great!!! Was my first recipe aside from a simple sourdough loaf. Thank you for making me look like a star baker!

    1. You can go ahead and try. I’ve never made it that way before. Perhaps using a sugar substitute would be better because otherwise the sourdough tang might be too much.

  8. 4 stars
    I tried your recipe last night and finished it this morning. They aren’t bad but doesn’t have the the nooks and crannies in it like the store bought ones.
    Do you think I over kneaded them? And I can never taste the sourdough flavor. I’ve made several other recipes and just haven’t found what I’m looking for I guess. Overall it’s a great tasting muffin and I didn’t have any trouble with your recipe.

    1. Hi Irene, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. My homemade english muffins never do have as many nooks and crannies as the store bought ones but they do still have nooks and crannies. If the dough was too dry from having too much flour added that would make the dough stiffer and make it harder for the dough to rise which then inhibits the nooks and crannies. Over kneading will also produce a tighter crumb structure and the same result.

      The sourdough flavor comes from long and slow proves and the age of your sourdough starter. If you would like a stronger sourdough flavor I would put the sourdough sponge in the fridge for about 24 hours instead of on the counter overnight. Best of luck and let me know if you need anymore help!

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a lot. Love it. But everytime after they cool they get a greyish discolouration. Do you know why? They still taste fine just look weird

    Thanks!

  10. I made these last night using almond milk as a substitute for the milk as I am vegan. They are rising right now and will let you know how they turn out! So excited, thanks for the recipe to use all my discard (which is a lot)

    1. I’m excited to hear how they turn out Leslie! For sourdough lovers, how to use the discard is the hardest part. I’m glad you’ve found a recipe you are excited about.

  11. OMG! These are so delicious. I made the starter last week and then used it for these and it worked perfectly. The instructions on this recipe are true to their word; I followed the recipe to the T and had no problem. Result was a delicious muffin with a wonderful sourdough scent and taste! My family LOVED these and we ate them up and I am now making a second batch with my most excellent starter. This is the first time I have ever had luck with a starter so am very excited to use it for bread and other goodies. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    I tried these last weekend and they turned out beautifully! Rose well, great flavor, and made me 2 weeks of breakfast sandwiches for my busy weekdays. Thank you!

  13. 5 stars
    I made these last night, and yum!

    The only modification I did was using a baking steel in the oven as suggested in the comments. For reference, I did 10 minutes first side, flipped, and 5 more minutes at 275 degrees. They were very puffy at the flip, but deflated when cooling.

    Thanks for this recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    I discovered this recipe about two months ago, and since then, I’ve made them almost weekly. I avoid processed food and had been missing English muffins. These are delicious and so easy. My co-workers were very impressed (though I make most things from scratch, these were the weirdest thing, I guess?), especially after I said I didn’t find them any more difficult to make than pancakes. They are great with a bit of cream cheese.

    1. Alyssa, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and let me know how much you love the Sourdough English Muffins recipe. It’s still one of our all time favorite recipes and I’m glad it’s become one of your favorites.

  15. These are great! Very light texture. I baked mine on a baking stone in the oven and it worked beautifully. Great recipe!

    1. That’s brilliant to use a baking stone! I’ll have to try that the next time I make them. Thanks for taking the time to comment Melanie!

  16. Im trying these now and they are looking awesome so far.
    I did have the same issue as someone earlier, that when i woke up this morning to add flour, the dough was already dry enough, and when i added the extra flour it really dried it up and made it fall apart, so i added milk. I may have made it too moist which leads to my next issue-
    I put them on the griddle medium heat 7 minutes both side and they were still extremely doughy. So I turned up the heat a tiny bit and keep flipping them. I’d say they’ve been on the griddle 25 minutes and are still very doughy inside!!!!
    Maybe I should have not added as much milk? or made them thinner because they are seeming to rise a bit on the griddle.

    1. Shoot! I’m so sorry that it didn’t work out! I think the case with all bread is that you have to figure out what it is supposed to look like and feel like and adapt for your environment and variables within the ingredients themselves which is where I have always gone wrong. It could be that your sourdough starter is thicker than mine. I keep mine pretty thin but I know others whose are extremely thick. If your dough seems to dry next time I would add milk or water a tablespoon or two at a time until it gets to the point where it’s doughy but not dry. The muffins do rise quite a bit on the griddle so starting thinner next time also should help. And maybe the next time I make them I should document my process so everyone can see the different consistencies. Let me know if you are still running into issues on this!

      1. This happened to me too, the mix being very dry. At first. I was very tempted to add some milk but once I started kneading it the dough came together really well and ended up a bit sticky if anything. I was tempted to do a bench rise but cut them out and left them 45 mins and they cooked up beautifully. I will make again.❤

  17. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this recipe!!! We love our sourdough around here and your recipe for these muffins is fast becoming a staple in my kitchen. I had to make a substitution the other day because I had them going before I realized I was almost out of milk. I subbed in sour cream for 3/4 of the milk and it made these even better! They were softer than a regular english muffin and stayed that way for days!

  18. 5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to give English muffins a try.

    Now that I have, I hope later on my children and my children’s children want to make them as well. These don’t even compare to store bought because these are made with skill, effort, and attention to timing.

    Thank you.

    I will be making this for the rest of my life.

  19. I tried your muffins today (they are in their final rise right now and i cant wait to eat them) and my only question is that when i tried to add the rest of the flour and other ingredients this morning, my dough was really dry and didnt fold any in. should i have added more milk last night? i couldn’t tell from this post how wet the dough needed to be. I think they will turn out fine, they are rising after all!

    1. Hi Davita, the dough shouldn’t be overly dry where it doesn’t fold in but it’s also not a wet dough either. It has a very similar consistency to bread dough and is very elastic which is why it needs that 10 minutes rest before re-rolling the scraps. Let me know how they turned out!

      1. They turned out great! we devoured them in two days. everyone wanted some! I am making them for Fathers Day this weekend too.

  20. That’s really cool that you an make these in a skillet. I have never made english muffins but always wanted to. I bet they taste so much better than store bought. Cool recipe!

  21. Jade, sounds like you and your husband like sourdough as much as my husband and I do! I make sourdough bread every week because he eats it at least once a day every day. Your muffins are a different method than mine, but they look scrumptious!

    1. These muffins seems delicious and I really want to try the recipe. I don’t have a sourdough starter though. Do you have a recommendation how could I do that?

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