Sourdough Buns {With Discard}

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Use up discard from sourdough starter in these homemade sourdough buns. Learn the secrets to a golden brown crust and soft interior.

A few years ago I shared a recipe for homemade hamburger buns with whole wheat flour. Since that time, I’ve been asked for a sourdough burger buns recipe. One that uses some of the sourdough discard that you may have sitting in your fridge.

I spent some time this month tweaking our hamburger bun recipe to make these delicious Sourdough Buns. They are perfect for burgers, deli sandwiches or can even be used as dinner rolls.

sourdough buns on a baking sheet

About this Sourdough Buns Recipe:

  • Flavor: The homemade buns have a slightly tangy flavor that is consistent amount sourdough recipes. Because you’re using sourdough discard and this is a quick rise recipe, it won’t be a strong flavor.
  • Texture: The sourdough buns are soft, but sturdy. Using bread flour gives them extra sturdiness. If you want them lighter, use all-purpose flour.
  • Method: I use my bread machine on the dough setting to make the bread dough. You can knead by hand or use the stand mixer to mix the dough as well.

What is sourdough discard?

Sourdough discard is the portion of sourdough starter that is removed and set aside when you feed or refresh your sourdough starter. As the starter ferments and consumes the sugars in the flour, it produces carbon dioxide gas and alcohol, causing the mixture to rise and become bubbly.

To maintain a healthy, active starter, it’s essential to feed it regularly by adding fresh flour and water. When you feed it, remove a part of the existing starter before adding new flour and water. This removed portion is “sourdough discard”.

It may seem wasteful to remove and discard some of your starter, but doing so prevents the mixture from becoming too large and unmanageable. And you can use sourdough discard to make delicious recipes (even chocolate cake) that still have that sourdough tang.

You can read our complete sourdough guide. Don’t have sourdough discard? Simply make our traditional hamburger buns.

3 Ways to Mix Bread Dough

Mixing bread dough is a crucial step in bread-making, as it helps combine the ingredients and develop the gluten network needed for well-structured buns. There are three common methods for mixing bread dough: by hand, using a stand mixer, or using a bread machine on the dough setting.

  • By hand: Mixing dough by hand is the most traditional method and allows you to develop a feel for the dough’s texture as it comes together. Start in a large mixing bowl, then turn it out onto a floured work surface to knead. If you choose this method, don’t be tempted to add too much flour while kneading. The dough should remain tacky to the touch.
  • With a stand mixer. A stand mixer, equipped with a dough hook attachment, is a popular choice for mixing bread dough, as it requires less manual effort and can be more consistent. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed so everything gets mixed properly.
  • Bread machine on dough setting. By far the easiest method (which means it is my favorite 😉 ) is using the bread machine’s dough setting. Add the ingredients to the machine’s bread pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer, typically starting with the wet ingredients followed by the dry ingredients and topped with yeast. The press the “dough” button.
bread dough in a bread machine pan

Egg Wash for Sourdough Buns

Wondering how to get those beautiful golden brown tops on buns and rolls? It’s called egg wash: 1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water. Then you brush the tops of the rolls before you bake them.

Want a different look to the top of the buns? Read our guide to bread washes and find a look you like.

Dinner Rolls

This recipe makes great dinner rolls. Rather than rolling 8 pieces of dough, roll about 9-10. You can bake them in a baking dish close together so they are touching, or on a baking sheet so each roll is separate.

a pile of sesame seed sourdough buns

Sandwich Buns

If you’re looking for a sandwich bun, this is the recipe for you. It’s perfect for as a large sourdough hamburger buns, but also for a deli sandwich that is piled high with turkey, cheese and veggies. You can even make slider buns by rolling smaller dough balls. This recipe takes any sandwich to the next level.

a turkey and cheese sandwich on a sesame seed bun

Storage Instructions

Store the buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the baked buns. Wrap in plastic wrap, then

overhead view of sourdough sandwich buns
overhead view of sourdough sandwich buns

Sourdough Buns {With Discard}

4.75 from 16 votes
Use up discard from sourdough starter in these homemade sourdough buns. Learn the secrets to a golden brown crust and soft interior.
Servings 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 32 minutes

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  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour divided, 455 grams
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt 9 grams
  • 3/4 cup warm water 6 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons honey 60 grams
  • ½ cup sourdough discard 150 grams, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 45 grams
  • 1 large egg room temperature

For the topping:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


  • To make this bread in the bread machine, add the ingredients to the loaf pan in the order the manufacturer suggests. Then set with to the dough setting. When it is done, skip to the step when you divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • For the stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together 3 cups flour, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, microwave the water and honey together until warm. The temperature should be around 120-125º F degrees.
  • Add the water-honey mixture now to the flour mixture and mix.
  • Add the sourdough discard, oil and whisked egg. Then mix.
  • Start adding the remaining flour little by little, a couple tablespoons at a time. Stop adding the flour, when the dough just starts coming together from the sides. You may or may not need all the flour. Do not add more flour than required. The dough will be little sticky and shaggy. That is okay.
  • Knead on medium-low speed for around 10 minutes using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can knead by hand.
  • The dough will be smooth and little sticky but after you have kneaded it well, it will spring back back if you poke it.
  • Transfer this dough to a oiled bowl, cover with a light kitchen towel and keep at a warm place for 1-2 hours or until double in size. If it’s really cold when you are making these buns, preheat oven to 200º F degrees and then switch if off. Place the dough inside the oven (with the oven being off) and let it rise there.
  • After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch it down to release the air.
  • Divide it into 8 equal portions. You can use a kitchen scale to make sure all dough balls are equal. Roll each dough portion into a ball and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, around 3 inches apart.
  • Cover with a light kitchen towel and let them rise for an hour or till almost doubled in size. Meanwhile preheat oven to 400º F degrees.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and tablespoon water for the topping. Once the dough balls have risen, brush each with egg wash mixture, then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  • Bake at 400º F degrees for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan once after 5 minutes. The tops of the buns will appear golden brown when done.
  • Remove from oven, brush them immediately with melted butter. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.


The calories shown are based on the recipe making 8 buns, with 1 serving being 1 bun. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 458mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Calories 322
Keyword bun recipes, sourdough discard, sourdough recipes

Sourdough Discard Recipes

These discard recipes use other leavening agents (baking powder, baking soda or yeast) to get a rise in the baked good. See some of our favorite recipes using sourdough discard here:

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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3 months ago

5 stars
These buns turned out so perfectly! I left some without sesame seeds and others with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. Just a note: the rest time only says 1 hour on the recipe card, but it actually ends up being two 1-2 hour rests.

3 months ago

5 stars
Thanks for a great recipe – my family loves these. I tend to replace the water with milk for a slightly richer dough. I’ve done melted butter for the oil for the same reason, too. We shape into anything from slider size rolls to hamburger buns and even a bratwurst bun.

5 months ago

The index card says 1h 32m and instructions are 2-3hr 32m. Could you clarify?

8 months ago

Can these (and your other discard recipes) be done with active gluten-free starter and gf 1:1 flour(s)?
Any special changes needed? Thanks!!