Simple Sourdough English Muffins Recipe

by Heather

These sourdough English muffins come out light, fluffy and delicious every time. The kids love them almost as much as I do!

This sourdough English muffin recipe is my new favorite discard recipe, and it’s easy to see why! I swear I will be making these as often as I make sourdough because they’re that good.

They are very easy to cook, and just require some simple planning to make the pre-mix the night before.



Don’t get discouraged if you’re missing some kitchen tools. There are lots of kitchen hacks to make this sourdough English muffins recipe possible!

  • If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can use a drinking glass.
  • If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can use a regular frying pan, or an electric griddle.
  • If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a wine bottle or push the dough down with your hands.

I personally prefer to mix my sourdough English muffins using my stand mixer and dough hook. It’s easier, less messy, takes less time, and I think it does a better job. But some people prefer hand mixing and kneading, and that’s great too! Both techniques work equally well, it’s just a matter of preference.


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When I make my muffins, I don’t put them on the pan and walk away. I babysit them to make sure they’re perfect! I lift and check the muffins every minute. Obsessive? Maybe, but it takes mere seconds to go from perfectly cooked to burned. Trust me, I know from experience!

It’s important to keep an eye on the heat. Some stoves will be medium, some will be low. I set mine to low heat and let my cast iron heat for 7-8 minutes; otherwise, my muffins will burn. Better to start too low than to start too high!

After I lift and check, I rotate them slightly. I have an electric range (someday I’ll have a gas range again!) so the center of my pan is always warmer than the edges. By rotating them as they cook, it ensures they cook evenly and they’re browned all the way around.

I also switch the center sourdough English muffin with one from the edge about two or three minutes in. After I flip them, I do the same thing. Again, this ensures the center muffin isn’t way overcooked.

For more consistent results, try baking your English muffins on an electric griddle. You can control the temperature more closely, and make a lot more at once! This is my new favorite go-to method.

Recipe Hack

To avoid your English muffins from doming upwards, place a cookie sheet on top of your muffins after the first few minutes of cooking. This keeps the tops flat and still allows for some final rise, ensuring a perfect muffin at the end!


By the way, make sure you’re slicing your English muffins the right way: with a fork! Simply stab the fork tines in toward the center of the muffin and go all the way around. The muffin pulls apart and it makes a crumbly surface that toasts like a dream. Give it a try!

If you don’t already have a starter, get started making one using this guide and recipe: How to Make Sourdough Starter in Six Easy Steps.

And check out this exhaustive list of the Internet’s Best Sourdough Discard Recipes if you need more inspiration for other discard recipes to try!

Be sure to send me an email or leave me a comment if you try this recipe for sourdough English muffins! Would love to hear about your results.

Happy baking – and eating!


Click to watch the video recipe!

Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking for some more help understanding hydration, click here to check out The Beginner’s Guide to Sourdough Hydration.

And don’t forget I have a whole page of resources available to help you in your sourdough journey – click here to find it!


Simple Sourdough English Muffins

If you love English muffins as much as I do, you'll love this discard recipe! It's remarkably easy, delicious, and kids love them.
4.75 from 28 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine English

Ingredients
  

The Night Before

  • 1/2 cup starter discard
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or more as needed
  • 1 cup milk

The Next Day

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or more as needed
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • cornmeal for dusting

Instructions
 

The Night Before

  • To make your overnight sponge: combine discard with flour and milk. Stir well to combine, and cover loosely with plastic. Rest on countertop overnight, or for up to 18 hours.

The Next Day

  • Dust baking sheet with cornmeal; set aside.
  • Add flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda to overnight sponge, and stir well to combine. The consistency should be like bread dough, and highly depends on the hydration of your starter discard. If needed, add more flour or more milk a little bit at a time to achieve this consistency.
  • Mix in stand mixer with dough hook on low for 2-3 minutes, or by hand on a floured surface for 4-5 minutes. The dough should be the consistency of a soft bread dough, very slightly sticky. Add more flour or milk to achieve this consistency.
  • Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and roll out dough to 1/2" to 3/4" thickness. Cut muffins using a biscuit cutter or cup rim, dusted with flour. Push straight down; do not twist!
    Combine remaining dough into a ball and let rest 10 minutes. Then roll out and cut as above, getting as many muffins from the dough as possible.
  • Transfer cut muffins to cornmeal-dusted baking sheet and let rest for 45-60 minutes.
  • Preheat a cast iron skillet over low or medium-low heat for several minutes (better to start your heat on the low side than on the high side!). Place muffins in skillet, six at a time, and cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Check undersides every minute. Dust tops lightly with cornmeal and flip, cooking 5-7 minutes more.
  • Serve warm, or toast before serving if cooled.
Keyword Discard, english muffins, Sourdough, Starter

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87 comments

Tanya Zlobinsky March 27, 2020 - 11:56 pm

5 stars
This recipe is absolutely amazing! It’s super easy, super forgiving( I was pretty busy the day I’ve made them and didn’t follow timeline, still resulted in great tasting muffins!). And it’s so, so much more testier then store bought – tender, fluffy, with just a slight sourness. I will be making them again and again! Thank you!

Reply
leavenly March 28, 2020 - 12:37 pm

Wonderful, Tanya! So glad you enjoyed them! ?

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Joe Hepp October 27, 2020 - 1:13 pm

Can you provide the ingredients in weight? I like to weigh my ingredients my scale?

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leavenly October 27, 2020 - 1:57 pm

This is on my radar, Joe! Keep checking back 🙂

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Heather April 14, 2020 - 10:06 pm

Delicious! No more store brand for us!

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leavenly April 15, 2020 - 1:26 pm

Same here! Thanks Heather!

Reply
Margaret November 15, 2020 - 5:52 pm

5 stars
I love this recipe, too! I know it’s on your radar to add the weight of the items, but I’m specifically wondering about the weight of your starter in grams? I know based on hydration they’re all different, so I’m curious if the next time you make the muffins if you could just let me know how many grams are in your half cup of starter. Thanks!

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leavenly November 15, 2020 - 7:37 pm

I will update the recipe as soon as I weigh my volumetric measurements! 🙂

Ingrid July 12, 2020 - 11:26 pm

5 stars
As I stated on your you tube page, these muffins came out perfect! The only thing I did different was instead of rolling and cutting the dough, I divided the dough into 100g pieces, formed them into balls and flattened them to the thickness I wanted. From there I cooked as directed. They were light fluffy and delicious. Thank you!

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leavenly July 14, 2020 - 12:26 pm

Love this technique! Thanks for the feedback, Ingrid!

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Agata April 9, 2020 - 2:01 pm

5 stars
simply delicious! never going back to store-bought muffins again! thank you for sharing

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leavenly April 14, 2020 - 3:31 pm

Thanks, Agata! I’ll never go back to store-bought, either! 🙂

Reply
Sara April 10, 2020 - 9:29 pm

5 stars
Loved this recipe! Super easy to follow and the dough is easy to work with too. I used an electric griddle and had success with that too. Definitely will be adding this our repertoire! Thanks!

Reply
leavenly April 14, 2020 - 3:31 pm

Wonderful, Sara! I appreciate the feedback on the griddle!

Reply
Maria Sezai April 11, 2020 - 1:39 am

5 stars
Fantastic recipe. Made exactly as required and the muffins were so fluffy and so easy to prepare. Winner brekkie. Thanks for the recipe ??❤

Reply
leavenly April 14, 2020 - 3:30 pm

You’re so welcome, Maria! It’s one of my favorites and I’m glad you loved it, too!

Reply
Rick April 14, 2020 - 4:27 pm

5 stars
Incredibly simple, never thought I could make this myself! Thank you for sharing.

Reply
leavenly April 14, 2020 - 5:00 pm

Thanks for proving that everyone can! ?

Reply
The Internet's Largest List of Sourdough Discard Recipes — Leavenly April 20, 2020 - 4:49 pm

[…] Breaking Bread #3: Jim from Challenger Breadware Six Easy Ways to Bake Sourdough for Busy… Simple Sourdough English Muffins The Internet’s Largest List of Sourdough Discard Recipes How to Make Sourdough Starter in […]

Reply
Kim Clark April 30, 2020 - 5:09 pm

Making them now. Can they be frozen? How long will they last fresh /frozen?

Reply
leavenly April 30, 2020 - 6:09 pm

Hi Kim! I’ve found that mine keep well in a plastic bag for about five days. You can absolutely freeze them! Try freezing in a single layer first, like on a sheet pan, and then put them in a freezer bag when they’re frozen. Or separate them with parchment paper and freeze in a freezer bag. I haven’t done it, but I’d say they’ll last six months or more when frozen. Thanks for the question!

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Kim Clark May 1, 2020 - 9:32 am

Made them this morning, they are the best! Thank you for the recipe!

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leavenly May 1, 2020 - 4:16 pm

Fantastic! Thanks for the feedback, Kim!

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Rikke May 18, 2020 - 5:23 am

5 stars
Great recipe – very little work and great results. The only thing I would highlight is to be mindful of the heat. I had to use low heat (not medium) as the cast iron was too hot and my first batch almost burned before the muffins were baked through.

leavenly May 18, 2020 - 8:14 am

Great suggestion, Rikke. I actually thought I had mentioned this, because it’s a problem I ran into myself, but I omitted it! I’ve updated the recipe – nice catch 🙂

How to Make Sourdough Bread: Ultimate Beginner's Guide (2020) May 5, 2020 - 8:44 pm

[…] Interview #3: Jim Challenger from Challenger… Six Easy Ways to Bake Sourdough for Busy… Simple Sourdough English Muffins Recipe How to Make Sourdough Starter in Six Easy… Top 5 Kid-Friendly Baking Ideas During COVID-19 […]

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Renee May 17, 2020 - 8:31 am

5 stars
Outstanding!
I made a bagel with the very last piece!
These English muffins are my favourite recipe so far for anything with my sourdough discard! Thank you.

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leavenly May 18, 2020 - 8:22 am

That’s a fantastic idea! I’ll try making a bagel from the last piece too, I hate wasting any dough. I’m so glad you love the recipe. It’s my favorite discard recipe too! Thanks for the comment!

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Deborah Messmer May 21, 2020 - 2:34 pm

4 stars
My muffins tasted good. But they did not cook all of the way through. The centers were very doughy. I had my stove on low and it took about 10 min to brown the tops and the bottoms. Do you have any idea what happened?

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leavenly May 21, 2020 - 8:06 pm

Hi Deborah! It’s possible your muffins were too thick – you can go as thin as 1/2″ as they will rise as they’re cooking. Another possibility is that your heat was a little too low – they should be browned up in about 5-7 minutes per side. I hope this helps, keep me posted!

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Deborah Messmer May 30, 2020 - 1:23 am

Thank you. I found I had to let the muffins rise on the baking sheet a little longer to get them to not be as dense and cook all the way.

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leavenly May 31, 2020 - 2:30 pm

Thanks for that helpful information!

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Lesley Randles May 24, 2020 - 3:40 am

5 stars
Thank you for this recipe. I’m a “lockdown” sourdough newbie and I’m enjoying experimenting with the discard recipes. These were so easy to make and I’m thrilled with the results! So is my husband?. I’ll definitely be making more.

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leavenly May 24, 2020 - 4:18 pm

So happy to hear that, Lesley! Thanks for the comment!

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wyatt and gibbs May 25, 2020 - 5:50 pm

Hi i’m a total sd newb. tryig to get Belltore, my levain, to show some zeal. but working with discard recipes in the meantime. about how many muffins does this recipe yield?

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leavenly May 26, 2020 - 4:23 pm

I tend to get about 13, but the last time I made them I got 14! It depends how thinly you roll the dough, and how big your cutter is 🙂

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Rick May 26, 2020 - 9:43 am

5 stars
wow, this came out better than I have imagined. Thank you for the receipe

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leavenly May 26, 2020 - 4:22 pm

Thanks Rick!

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Anita May 26, 2020 - 10:23 am

5 stars
These muffins are the best thing that I have made with my sourdough starter. I have made them from a King Arthur mix before, but had to use rings while on the griddle. This is much less fuss and yields a superior muffin. Thank you so much for making this recipe available.

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leavenly May 26, 2020 - 4:22 pm

Thanks for the comment, Anita! I appreciate it! 🙂

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helen May 29, 2020 - 8:00 am

Can I use almond milk instead of cow milk? Thanks

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leavenly May 29, 2020 - 1:04 pm

Yes! Always 🙂

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Slcpunk May 29, 2020 - 8:29 am

Mine puffed up a bit too much when cooking. The tops got rounded. Any thoughts?

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leavenly May 29, 2020 - 1:04 pm

Interesting – maybe try making them thinner next time?

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Debby May 30, 2020 - 5:52 pm

I can’t wait to make these tomorrow. I’m wondering if you have tried making with any combination of whole wheat flours?

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leavenly May 31, 2020 - 2:28 pm

I haven’t! I’m my own worst enemy – once I find something I love, I stick to it! I need to be more adventurous 😉 Please let me know if you try it with whole wheat flours!

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Penny Borden May 31, 2020 - 12:29 pm

5 stars
These are hands down THE BEST English muffin I’ve ever eaten. My neighbors agreed 🙂 Light, pillowy, and soft with just a tiny bit of chew. I used a ring from a wide mouth Mason jar as my cutter and got 11 nice sized muffins from this recipe.

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leavenly May 31, 2020 - 2:24 pm

Clever idea for the biscuit cutter, Penny! I love that. So happy you love the recipe, thanks for the comment!

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Marilyn June 1, 2020 - 2:04 pm

I just made these and they were delicious. Warm with butter yum. I found the dough very sticky but added flour when mixing and it was fine. I’ll get cornmeal for next time. Always need recipes for using discard. Thanks for posting

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Marilyn June 1, 2020 - 2:05 pm

5 stars
5 stars all the way

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leavenly June 3, 2020 - 2:26 pm

Ha! Thanks Marilyn!

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leavenly June 3, 2020 - 2:27 pm

You’re so welcome, glad you enjoyed them! The dough can be sticky but you did the right thing by adding a little flour.

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Gina June 4, 2020 - 11:42 am

5 stars
I really enjoyed making this recipe & will definitely make it again. Can they be baked rather than cooked in the cast iron? Just curious.

Reply
leavenly June 9, 2020 - 8:29 pm

I’ve never done it, but I’m not sure if it would work out. Cooking them on both sides makes them toasty and golden brown on each side, I would be afraid that baking them would eliminate that characteristic – but I could be wrong! If you give it a shot, I’d love to know how they turn out!

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Anita H. June 14, 2020 - 10:00 am

5 stars
This recipe makes very good English muffins. I like the texture and the flavor, and you don’t have to mess around with filling hot metal rings on the griddle. The muffins don’t have all the books and crannies that you might expect in an English muffin, but the flavor more than makes up for that.

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Jillian June 27, 2020 - 8:07 pm

Do you have the ingredients in metric?

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Judy July 2, 2020 - 12:35 am

Does your discard need to be very active for this to work? I am on my 19th feed of my starter and she isn’t very bubbly.

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leavenly July 6, 2020 - 11:30 am

Judy, as long as you’re getting a rise and fall when you feed your starter, your discard will work perfectly. The most important indicator of an active starter is the rise and fall: it should double at some point and then fall again. Bubbles, smell, total height gained during the rise, etc are all secondary. Hope this helps!

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Lynn July 4, 2020 - 9:12 am

4 stars
This is a nice, easy recipe… I think it calls for twice as much baking soda as needed and the taste of that comes through. However, I also probably could have added more flour. I had a dough texture, but I tend to work with soft, higher hydration dough. Mine was soft and took effort to cut and transfer cleanly, but worked well (cooked a bit longer), and other than the baking soda taste, they were great! I’m going to try again with less soda. Thank you!!

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leavenly July 6, 2020 - 11:26 am

Thanks for the input, Lynn! I’m curious to know how they rise when cooking with half as much baking soda – please keep us posted!

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Lynn July 7, 2020 - 10:51 am

5 stars
Ok… I made this again with a generous 1/2 tsp baking soda and used a bit more flour this time. These came out even better!! I got a nice height out of them. Someone mentioned not having “nooks and crannies,” but I had plenty both times. (I have a lively starter.)
I’ve always liked English muffins toasted and buttered and toasted again. Just did that and eating while I continue to try to type. Have to eat now. Thank you so much for your recipes and site!!

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leavenly July 7, 2020 - 2:22 pm

Thanks for the review, Lynn! Go enjoy your English muffins! 🙂

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Lynn July 11, 2020 - 12:26 pm

5 stars
I made this again with a generous 1/2 tsp baking soda and used a bit more added flour. These came out even better!! I got a nice height out of them. Someone mentioned not having “nooks and crannies,” but I had plenty. (I have a lively starter.)
Thank you!

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Janet Hamblin July 6, 2020 - 8:05 pm

5 stars
First batch today – thought I had them at 1/2 inch but apparently not as only got 6!!!! And of course they didnt cook all the way through. Amazingly easy though and so flavoursome. Will definitely be making them again AND rolling them thinner lol

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leavenly July 7, 2020 - 7:51 am

Thanks for the review, Janet! I hope your next batch come out a little thinner 🙂

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Margie July 19, 2020 - 7:26 am

5 stars
Easy and absolutely delicious! I suggest rolling out on the thinner side to get more of the English muffin type crust. Means you need to make the dough texture like a more firm bread dough to make them easy to handle. Sprinkle your corn meal generously on your baking sheet. Fabulous toasted with butter and jam or for sandwiches!!

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leavenly July 20, 2020 - 12:53 pm

Love this feedback! Thanks Margie!

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Pat L July 26, 2020 - 10:35 am

4 stars
Just made these. Dough was way more wet than described, I needed to add almost double the flour the next working than the recipe said in order to be able to knead the dough. I’m familiar with wet dough as I make no knead breads, but this was extreme. Maybe because I used no fat milk? Anyway, otherwise they’re very good.

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leavenly July 27, 2020 - 1:03 pm

Hi Pat, thanks for the feedback! Sorry your dough was so wet, it’s tricky to make discard recipes because our discards are all soo different. I’m glad they turned out in the end! 🙂

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Emily Reyer July 27, 2020 - 5:59 am

5 stars
These turned out amazing! They were light and pillowy inside and crispy on the outside and absolutely delicious. I doubled the recipe because I had so much discard I wanted to use and I am so happy I did! We will definitely keep making these on a regular basis – this is a reason to make sourdough starter 🙂 We used a little semolina flour along with the cornmeal when cooking them in the iron skillet…tasted so authentic and better than the store for sure! As an aside, I had followed another recipe for sourdough English muffins that took hours to ferment, proof, rest, cut, cook….and they turned out like hockey pucks. I am a sourdough beginner so I believe I needed to proof them longer and was looking forward to trying again. However, now that I found this recipe – this is the only one I plan to use!

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leavenly July 27, 2020 - 1:04 pm

Love this story, Emily! Thanks for sharing your experience and I’m glad the recipe found its way to you!

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Kat July 27, 2020 - 3:26 pm

5 stars
I made these how the recipe suggested and they turned out great! Just wondering if I could proof them after forming the balls again to amp up the sour flavor.

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leavenly July 28, 2020 - 12:44 pm

Hi Kat, thanks for the review! If you want a more sour flavour, I would try leaving your 1/2 cup of sourdough discard in the fridge for an additional 3-4 days. This will allow fermentation to continue and then you’ll have a very deep sour flavor! Play around with that and let me know what you find works best!

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Sarah S August 17, 2020 - 8:27 pm

5 stars
This was my first English muffin attempt ever, and it was so great!!! The video is also extra helpful. Although, my stove top is gas and it heated the cast iron too hot So some god burnt. But the insides look great. I’ll definitely be making these again and refining the technique.

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leavenly August 20, 2020 - 1:44 pm

Thanks for the review, Sarah! I did the same thing my first few times with the heat, so it’s important to start low and increase slowly! So glad you loved them 🙂

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Jamie August 28, 2020 - 9:51 am

Hi Leavenly…
may i know what’s the protein content of your APF? the reason I’m asking is because our APF’s protein is at 8-9%, should i use high protein flour (about 11-12%) instead?

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leavenly August 28, 2020 - 12:37 pm

Hi Jamie! My AP flour has a protein content of 9-13%. For this recipe I use Ardent Mills, which I find at Costco. You may want to find an AP flour with a higher protein content, or simply try a bread flour to experiment a little!

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Angela August 31, 2020 - 8:19 pm

Can you use rye or whole wheat or spelt flour with this recipe?

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leavenly September 2, 2020 - 2:48 pm

Sure! I would replace the white flour in the second half of the recipe so as not to mess with the overnight fermentation, but if you’re up for experimenting, I say go for it! Let me know how they turn out!

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Sheila Kavanaugh September 3, 2020 - 5:32 pm

5 stars
My family and I love these English Muffins! I now make at least one batch a week. Like some, my dough was very wet. I ended up using 2 cups of flour for the sponge and adding almost an extra half cup of flour the next morning. I experimented with different sized biscuit cutters and have settled on a 3.5-inch cutter. The muffins are just the perfect size for egg sandwiches. Thanks again!

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leavenly September 3, 2020 - 8:17 pm

Thank you for these suggestions, Sheila! I’m so glad you love them.

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Lisa D. September 13, 2020 - 2:22 pm

Do you leave them uncovered while resting?

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leavenly September 15, 2020 - 9:22 am

I do, yes! If you’re more comfortable with them covered, feel free to use plastic or a kitchen towel.

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barbie parker September 23, 2020 - 11:15 am

Hello I am new at sourdough bread making. I have made a couple of loaves and I have made some cheese crackers with my discard that I was very happy with. And thank you for that recipe as I got it off your site as well. I have my muffins made and they are sitting on the baking sheet for the last 60 minutes and I was wanting to know if I need to put anything in the skillet before cooking them? Oil? Cornmeal? Thank you Barbie

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leavenly October 24, 2020 - 9:02 pm

If you’ve dusted the English muffins with cornmeal already, they shouldn’t stick to your pan! No oil or extra cornmeal necessary 🙂

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Claudia November 3, 2020 - 7:45 pm

1 star
Literally the worst. These are nasty and super doughy in the centre. As recipe calls for sourdough discard and omits the use of commercial yeast, there is no leavening agent to give it a fluffy center. Absolute waste of ingredients don’t try this recipe

Reply
leavenly November 5, 2020 - 2:41 pm

Hi Claudia, Sorry you had trouble with the English muffins! The leavening agent is the wild yeast found in the sourdough starter discard, and therefore doesn’t require commercial yeast. I’m happy to troubleshoot with you if you’d like to give it another try! Just email me at heather@leavenly.com 🙂

Reply

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