How to make light and airy Sourdough Buns with your sourdough starter (or discard) in 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time! Watch the video. 

How to make Sourdough Buns with leftover over sourdough starter that are light and airy (like a brioche bun)  in about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time. 

Grilling season has officially begun and many of you have been asking for a good Burger Bun recipe. Here is one we’ve been using with our sourdough discard. This brioche-style Sourdough Bun is soft, light and airy and turns out delicious every time!

We add a little bit of yeast to hasten the rising time, but you could absolutely leave this out.

Ingredients in Sourdough Buns

  • sourdough starter or discard (unfed)
  • milk- plant-based milk, regular milk or half & half
  • egg
  •  olive oil
  •  instant yeast (or rapid yeast -use fast-acting yeast works best here)
  •  all-purpose flour 
  •  salt and sugar
  • Optional Eggwash: 1 egg whisked with water
  • Optional seeds: sesame seeds, “everything spice”, etc…

How to make Sourdough Buns

Step One: It starts with 1/2 cup of your unfed sourdough starter or discard. (120 grams)

Step Two: Mix the milk, unfed sourdough starter, oil and egg in a large bowl ( or stand mixer). Mix bread flour,  salt, sugar and instant yeast(or rapid yeast)  in a small bowl.  Add dry mixture to wet,  to form a ball and kneed for 5-6 minutes with a wet hand.

TIP: YES, the dough will be sticky – resist the temptation to add more flour or you will end up with heavy dense buns. Alternatively, use a stand mixer and dough hook. (Or  you could do “stretch and folds” like from the first set of folds in the sourdough bread recipe- 2 sets 15 minutes apart )

Step Three: Oil the dough in the bowl, cover, place in a warm spot ( 70-80 F) and let it double,  about 1 hour.

Step Four: On a floured surface, divide into 6 balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Let rise again, 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F

How to make Sourdough Buns with leftover over sourdough starter that are light and airy (like a brioche bun)  in about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time. 

Step Five: Brush with an egg wash, sprinkle with salt and seeds and bake 20-22  minutes, on the middle rack until perfectly golden!

They will come out perfectly puffed, golden, light and airy!

How to make Sourdough Buns with leftover over sourdough starter that are light and airy (like a brioche bun)  in about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time. 

Store cooled buns in a sealed zip lock bag, or freeze.

New to sourdough starter/discard?

Sourdough Starter is often referred to as “wild yeast”, made from flour and water and the wild yeast in the air around us,and it is typically used as the “yeast” when baking Sourdough Bread. The sourdough “discard” – the part of the starter that often goes to waste- can be used to make flavorful biscuits, waffles and pancakes.

More sourdough starter/discard recipes!

  1. Make Sourdough Waffles!
  2. Make Sourdough Pancakes!
  3. Make Sourdough Scones!
  4. Make Sourdough Biscuits
  5. Make Sourdough Tortillas!
  6. Make Sourdough Crackers!
  7. Make Sourdough English Muffins!

Need some Burger Inspiration? Here are my favorites:

  1. Smoky Chipotle Black bean Burgers 
  2. Miso Portobello Burgers!
  3. Grilled Lamb Burgers with Harissa Mayo!
  4. Thai Turkey Burgers 
  5. Falafel Burgers with Tzatziki 
  6. Sprouted Lentil Burgers! 
  7. Chickpea Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Give the Sourdough Buns a try this weekend and let me know what you think!


Sourdough Buns Video

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How to make Sourdough Buns with leftover over sourdough starter that are light and airy (like a brioche bun)  in about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time. 

Sourdough Buns

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 120
  • Cook Time: 22
  • Total Time: 2 hours 22 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: bread, baking
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: american


How to make Sourdough Buns with sourdough starter  (or sourdough discard) that are light and airy (like a brioche bun)  in about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, with only 20 minutes of hands-on time. Watch the video!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter or discard (unfed) ( 120 grams)
  • 1/2 cup milk (slightly warm 100F)- plant-based milk, regular milk or half & half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (rapid yeast -use fast-acting yeast here, or see notes!)
  • 2 cups flour (240 grams) All-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • —–
  • Eggwash: 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
  • optional seeds: sesame seeds, “everything spice”, etc…


  1. Mix warm milk, unfed sourdough starter, oil, and egg in a large bowl (or stand mixer).
  2. Mix in salt, sugar,  instant yeast and flour.
  3. Combine with fork to form a ball and kneed for 5-6 minutes with a wet hand, (or dough hook). YES, the dough will be quite sticky – resist the temptation to add more flour (which will result in a heavy bun).  (Alternatively, if mixing by hand, you could do the “stretch and fold ” technique (see 1st video) from the sourdough bread recipe. Do 2-3 sets, 15 minutes apart )
  4. Oil the dough in the bowl, cover, place in a warm spot (70-80 F) and let double, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  5. On a floured surface, gently divide into 6 pieces, form into balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  6. Let rise again, 30-45 minutes, while you preheat oven to 375F
  7. Brush with an Egg Wash, sprinkle with salt and seeds, and bake 20-22  minutes, on the middle rack until perfectly puffed and golden!


If using regular active dry yeast, mix the yeast with warmed nut milk first until dissolved, let stand 10 minutes before adding starter, oil and egg.  NOTE: Rise time will double.

If you rather not use yeast, leave it out, and let the dough rise until it almost doubles. Rising time will vary depending on kitchen temp, but I’d plan on roughly 6 hours.

If making ahead store in a zip lock bag, for freeze for later.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 212
  • Sugar: 0.5 g
  • Sodium: 222.4 mg
  • Fat: 4.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.6 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

Keywords: sourdough buns, sourdough brioche buns, sourdough discard recipes

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    1. Truthfully, Don I dont know. I have never used a bread machine, so not sure what they do? Has anyone else used one in this recipe?

      1. I am mixing and kneading it my Zojirushi right now! I will let you know. It looks a little sticky (as the recipe said it would), but I am not adding flour.

    2. Made them in my Zoji today! Turned out great. Mixed and kneaded and did first rise in machine, then baked.

  1. Works perfect, I sometimes fudge on time or measurements a bit and I still get great results. I never considered a wet hand technique with sticky dough until now! Thanks!

      1. These were delicious but pretty dense more like a dinner roll or biscuit. Not pillowy like a bun you’d get from the store. Is that normal or did I do something wrong?

        1. Hey Taylor! Do you use more flour than is called for? Or change anything else? Mine are usually pretty light.

  2. My burger, burger BUNS are a-baking.
    The warm yeasty fragrance is awaking.
    The sourdough smell? Well, it’s breathtaking.

    Suddenly …
    My kitchen’s the Copacabana,
    And I am Gloria Estefana,
    Dancing before a white grand piana,

    Singing …
    “Come on, shake your body baby, do the Conga
    I know you can’t control yourself any longa …
    The yeasty burger BUN smell is getting stronga.
    Don’t fight it. Let them bake while you do the Conga,”

    I egg-washed and sprinkled on the sesame …
    Baked 6 burger BUNS quite successfully.
    It’s a Sylvia-prize-winning recipe!

    Sylvia gives the kitchen novice bravado.
    She makes it so easy for me to follow.
    Now, I’m Superbaker, wearing my cape-o.
    BUNches of thanks to Sylvia Fountaine-o …

  3. Hey, the best buns ever …. Finally!!!
    It worked exactly as the recipe said. Mille mercis ! It makes think of my mom & and the 18 loaves a week she would make for us 7 kids….

  4. This recipe guided me in making my very first buns with my own sourdough starter and they turned out perfect in every way. I cannot be happier 😀 Thank you very much!

  5. I made these buns tonight to go with beef stew. They turned out amazing and I will be making them repeatedly in the future! Thanks for an awesome and easy recipe.

  6. I NEVER have good results from bread baking. I finished my 3rd attempt at making the sourdough starter myself. I read, finally, that it has to be under 80 is the house – AZ made it tooooo warm inside all summer. So, started last weekend, and it all worked AS STATED! Today, used the starter to make my 1st loaf (presently heating oven to 500 degrees) and used the “discard” for making a hamburger buns……. OH MY GOODNESS: best results EVER! So good! So easy! I am getting excited to see if my loaf turns out as well! THANK YOU for the explicit instructions and videos!

  7. What a great little recipe! I’m wondering if I can freeze the dough after shaping into individual buns to be baked at a later date?

    1. Hi Megan- I have only frozen these after baking so not quite sure here about freezing the dough. It seems like it should be ok?

  8. So good!! Especially with the everything seasoning on top. Had this with your pumpkin soup and garam masala recipe. Would definitely make these again!

  9. Excellent recipe for sourdough buns. Not only were they very tasty and easy to make, but they held up perfectly to the stuffed burgers we made! No more store bought burger buns for us…Thanks for a keeper!!

      1. I couldn’t find instant yeast at the store and was balking at shipping costs to get it from King Arthur (they have red star brand, which is really the best, but I’ve found sourdough baking and rarely use yeast anymore), but years ago when I got into bread baking, I was using a book by Peter Reinhart and he had a conversion table and I believe it was 1.25 times the amount of instant yeast if you were going to use regular yeast. Apparently instant yeast has more alive bits it in than active yeast. Anyway, that’s what I’m going to try today as I can’t wait to try these. I’ve been making a very similar recipe, but eager to use up my sourdough starter in something other than pancakes or scones!

    1. Hi Kristine- great question and honestly I’m not sure- haven’t tried. If you do try it will you let us know how it goes?

    2. I haven’t made these yet but I have successfully made the stuffed leek bread with flax instead of egg and it worked very well. Hope that is helpful!

  10. Delicious and beautiful rolls. They were slightly dry/crumbly. I was careful not to use any extra flour, but my sourdough discard was pretty thick. Any suggestions on how to keep them moist?

    1. I bake a lot, and either your flour needed more liquid (every brand is different, and seasonality affects the flour – for example, flour that was put into the freezer will need more liquid because the freezer dries it out a bit). You want the dough to be pretty sticky, to where you need wet hands to work it for best results. If you had a sticky dough, it’s possible you over baked them, which would also make them dry. She cooked hers to 200, so if you have an instant read thermometer (therma pen is an awesome one if you don’t), then use it to check the bread temp several minutes before. It does leave a small hole, but if you insert into the side where you are going to slice anyway, then no one will notice.

  11. These turned out really well. I doubled the recipe and found the dough wasn’t wet enough so I added 1/4 cup warm water and that was perfect. I also skipped the egg wash at the end and brushed them with melted butter instead before topping them with Everything But The Bagel seasoning. Will definitely make these again.

  12. Amazing! I used my stand mixer which made it super simple, quick, and easy. I didn’t really shape nor put flour on the parchment paper and they still turned out looking like perfect hamburger buns lol Thanks for another great recipe, Sylvia!

  13. The dough seemed to rise perfectly however, I’m not sure if I was supposed to roll the balls/shape before placing them onto the sheet to rise – can you please clarify for me?

    1. There are two rises here. First rise in a bowl. Then divide, shape, place on the sheet pan, and rise again. 😉

      1. I followed those steps however they ended up a bit flat. Wondering if me 18% instead of half and half could have weighed them down? They were very hard to form into balls

          1. Yes — I had a really hard time shaping them and as I’m new to bread I didn’t know exactly how to shape them. Do you have a video or post on this? My starter was made the week prior following your recipe & it floated though! I followed your stretch & fold technique for 2 rounds and then the dough rose in a bowl for 1 hour. When I tried to shape balls & place on parchment however, they didn’t rise that much. I think maybe b/c I didn’t shape properly but they were also VERY sticky. The yeast I used was also new and fresh. I’m going to try these again next week and maybe try to use milk instead of 18% cream, and try to shape better

  14. I’ve been attempting to make sourdough hamburger buns for over a year. Finally I was successful using this recipe. They turned out just like the picture.
    Thank you.

  15. I absolutely love these buns! I made some yesterday to have with homemade burgers, and they held together well and taste delicious. I’m going to make more today they were such a hit!


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