a stack of sourdough scallion pancakes in a metal fluted serving dish

sourdough discard scallion pancakes

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There are a lot of ways to use your discarded sourdough starter, but these scallion pancakes are so easy to make that you might find yourself feeding your starter more often just so you have a reason to eat them.

Traditional scallion pancakes have more in common with your average cinnamon roll than they do a pancake. First, you have to make the dough. Then it needs to rise. Next, it gets rolled out into a big rectangle. Then you layer on the scallions and roll it up into a log, only, instead of slicing it into rounds like you would to make cinnamon rolls (see, I told you they were similar!) you spiral that log into a flat coil, roll it flat again, and then pan fry it. And that’s just for one pancake! I’m exhausted just writing about it.

These sourdough discard scallion pancakes, on the other hand, are more like their flapjack cousins. Even better, they’re so super easy to make — if you have a sourdough starter.

Note: While these sourdough discard scallion pancakes are delicious, I cannot, in good conscious recommend getting a sourdough starter just so you can make them. That is way too much work.

scallion pancakes are the most time-efficient use of your discard sourdough starter

As those of you dutifully maintaining your sourdough starters know, often when you feed them, you end up discarding a portion. And that kind of sucks!

I hate wasting food, so for the longest time I just never fed my starter unless I was going to use it — it would go a month or two between feedings. And yes, there’s a whole world of sourdough discard recipes out there, but… they can still be a lot of work.

a sourdough scallion pancake with the edges just starting to brown and bubble sits in the center of a dark black non-stick skillet. it is topped with thinly sliced scallions and black and white sesame seeds. the skillet is small, just barely bigger than the pancake.

Sometimes I feed my starter while I’m making dinner, or in the morning before work, and I don’t really want to get out a whole bunch of dishes or mess around with the mixer to make waffles or popovers or whatever.

Not only are these sourdough scallion pancakes a great way to put that discard starter to use, they’re also a great way to use up a remaining nib of fresh ginger that you bought for one specific recipe or use the last few scallions that are starting to wilt.

A close up of a sourdough scallion pancake in a dish, cut into quarters.

They’re so easy to make that I’m actually more likely feed my starter now because I want to make scallion pancakes than I am because I want to make sourdough bread. (For more on how I maintain my starter, click here.)

how to make sourdough scallion pancakes

Sourdough starter is a leavening agent made from a fermented mixture of flour, water, and natural yeast and bacteria from the air. You can literally pour your starter right onto a hot skillet, sprinkle some sliced scallions and sesame seeds (for crunch!) on it, and it will become a pancake.

But… while you can certainly stop there if you want, I like to take an extra 60 seconds to dress my scallion pancakes up just a bit more.

I use sesame oil, water, and a splash of soy sauce to transform the thick starter into a pancake batter-like consistency, and add some additional flavors — ginger, sesame oil, a pinch of salt and pepper — to offset the concentrated sourness of it all.

A sourdough starter crock with a spatula sits on a wooden counter. in small bowls in front of it are soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.

Based on the flavor of your starter, you may want to adjust the recipe. I feed my starter with 50% AP flour and 50% whole wheat flour, so the sour flavor is moderately strong. If you have a 100% whole wheat or rye starter, yours will be even more sour, and if you use 100% AP flour, the sour flavor will be much less pronounced.

So think of the recipe below as guidelines, and definitely feel free to mess around with other toppings. One time I added some shredded leftover carnitas from taco night to my pancakes. Another time I added crumbled pieces of bacon. Sometimes I use fresh grated ginger instead of the powdered stuff if I have a piece leftover from another recipe that I don’t want to waste.

And, fwiw, I eyeball pretty much everything while I’m making these. The whole point is to not make more dishes — don’t bust out the measuring spoons unless you have to.

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a stack of sourdough scallion pancakes in a metal fluted serving dish

sourdough discard scallion pancakes

The Practical Kitchen
recipe updated 7/17/20: The measurements below are a guideline at best. I've given approximate amounts assuming you have 1 cup of discard sourdough starter. If you have more or less starter, adjust the measurements accordingly or to taste. Get creative!
4.5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 3 pancakes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sourdough starter discard
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil (some for the pancake, some for the skillet)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or ½ tsp fresh ginger)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • splash of water
  • 3 TBSP sesame seeds
  • ½ cup scallions (thinly sliced)
  • soy sauce (for dipping)

Instructions

  • Mix discard starter, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and ginger (basically everything except water) together in whatever bowl or container your discard starter is in.
  • Add water a little splash at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined in between additions. Stop when the mixture is the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
    Note: This will work even if you don't add any water — but if you add too much water your pancakes will be pretty flat, so go slowly and err on the side of less water if you're not sure.
  • Heat sesame oil a skillet just over medium heat.
  • Pour 1/4 of starter mixture into skillet. Top with thinly sliced scallions and sesame seeds. When the edges are dark and bubbles have formed around the edges and surface of the pancake (about 2-3 minutes) flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  • Transfer finished pancakes to a plate, cut them into wedges, and serve with a small bowl of soy sauce for dipping.

Video

Notes

  • For a little extra oompf in your pancakes add 1/8 tsp baking soda and 1/8 tsp baking powder and let the batter sit 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Sesame oil has a low smoke point, so keep an eye on your burner as you heat it up. Every stove is a bit different, you may need to lower your temp if it starts to smoke.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Robert

Great recipe. However the ingredients list both 1 tsp of salt _AND_ 1/4 tsp salt.

Dorothy Touponce

This recipe is outstanding! Thank you so much.

coco

absolutely delicious, thank you so much!

Maria

super delicious!! we only had a little bit of sesame oil so i only used it in the batter and we didn’t have sesame seeds either but these still turned out great! i sprinkled with a little bit of salt when i added the scallions as well. thanks for the recipe!

trackback

[…] I have found that you can use it in many different recipes. Here is a recipe for scallion pancakes https://thepracticalkitchen.com/sourdough-discard-scallion-pancakes/ and they are amazing! My kids thought so too. We served ours with a bowl of home made ramen.YUMMY! […]

Chris

A cup is 8 oz, and a cup of starter weighs significantly more than 3–4 oz. Could you clarify? Do you use a cup (volume) or 4 oz of weight?

Chris

Thank you! After I asked I figured that the weight/volume difference might be based on whether the starter was fresh or spent—and I agree that a cup of fresh starter has so much carbon dioxide in it that it is much lighter than the old starter sitting in the back of the fridge!

Point very well taken that the amounts are approximate, so I’ll experiment. Excited to give this a try, and I can totally see myself making new starter just to have more of these pancakes. Now to see whether the local grocery store has sesame seeds… 🙂

Kristin McPherson

So how old is this started. Did you just feed it or has it expanded to double after 6 hours type thing? I did this with 1 day old starter and it was AWEFUL!

Jade

This looks delicious! Do I need to use a somewhat active starter or a dormant discard from fridge is okay?

Julie

Can you use cold started from the refrigerator or does it have to be recently fed and room temperature?

[…] 6. Sourdough Scallion Pancakes […]

Rob

Hi, I’ve tried a few versions of this and mine are always raw in the middle? Any suggestions on why this is?

Donny

Doesn’t sesame oil have a low smoke point? This filled my kitchen with smoke and my pancakes were raw in the middle.

Jade

Awesome! Do you think it will work taste wise with a rye and pineapple juice start?

Livvy

These were delicious! I fry them in a regular neutral flavored oil (light olive oil is what I had) because I’ve never had success frying with sesame oil – it can get bitter as well as the low smoke point. Other than that I love the improv nature of this recipe – I’ve made them 3 times since I discovered this recipe a week ago – each time it came out a little different but always yummy.

Vivian Wong

5 stars
Hello, I would like to know if we can freeze these scallion pancakes? If possible, I suppose that we should cook them through first on the pan (but not too much) before cooling them and then we bag them into a freezer bag?