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Sourdough Discard Scones

Are you looking for the best way to use extra sourdough discard? Tender and fluffy, with a crumbly, golden brown outside and flaky, soft crumb inside, these sourdough discard scones have the perfect texture. These flaky scones are the perfect addition to breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea.  

Sourdough discard scones on a cutting board.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • The texture of a scone is a cross between cookie and cake, and these homemade sourdough scones are the best of both worlds, with sweet, crumbly edges and soft, moist centers.
  • Don’t toss your sourdough discard in the trash. Instead, put it to good use with this delicious scone recipe, or try sourdough banana muffins.
  • The scones are perfect for meal prep for an upcoming event, or you can make them ahead to keep them for yourself. Freeze them baked for a quick grab-and-go breakfast throughout the week, and pop them in the oven to reheat.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • All-Purpose Flour: Use all-purpose flour or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour for a good balance of texture and flavor.
  • Sugar: Include granulated white sugar in the mixture for sweetened scones, or try honey, sweet maple syrup, or cardamom simple syrup for some flavor variation.  
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder combines with the unfed sourdough starter to help the scones rise without using active yeast.
  • Sea Salt: Offset the sweetness of the scones with sea salt.
  • Butter: Who doesn’t love buttery scones? Use COLD or frozen butter to create the dough for this recipe.
  • Mix-Ins: What I love about scones is how versatile they are. I use zested oranges and dried or frozen cranberries, but I am always trying different mix-ins based on what I have available.
  • Sourdough Discard: All you need to make sourdough discard scones is an unfed sourdough discard. Use it as is; there is no need to feed the starter beforehand. My only recommendation is to let it come to room temperature if your discard has been in the refrigerator. The temperature can alter how the scones bake, but not in a good way. You can also use an active starter, but it is not necessary. 
  • Heavy Cream: In addition to the sourdough discard, use a bit of heavy whipping cream to adjust the dough’s consistency so you end up with perfectly tender scones. 
  • Turbinado Sugar: Finish the scones with the right amount of turbinado sugar or sprinkle the scones with coconut or brown sugar instead.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Replace the orange zest and dried cranberries with your favorite add-ins like berries, chocolate chips, lemon zest, coconut flakes, seeds, and nuts. Or you can go the savory route with additions like bacon, herbs, and cheese.
  • Make fall-flavored scones using pumpkin puree instead of cream, and create sourdough discard pumpkin scones. Yum!

How Make Sourdough Discard Scones with Orange and Cranberry

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2: Add flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cold butter to a food processor with the dough blades.

Process 6 times until you have a crumbly mixture with large pieces of butter. Follow that up with 12 quick pulses and transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Dough ingredients in a food processor.

Step 3: Stir in the mix-ins. I use zested orange peel and dried cranberries for this recipe.

Dough ingredient mix ins in a mixing bowl.

Step 4: Combine the sourdough discard and heavy cream in a separate bowl with a dough whisk or fork.

Sourdough discard and heavy cream in a bowl.

Step 5: Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until combined into a shaggy dough.

Sourdough discard and heavy cream added to the flour mixture.

Step 6: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a slightly sticky dough forms.

Step 7: Gently press the dough into an 8-inch circle, about 1 inch thick.

Scone dough formed into a circle.

Step 8: Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into eight wedges and transfer the cut scones to the reserved baking sheet.

Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle the wedges with turbinado sugar.

Scone dough cut into triangles.

Step 7: Bake until tops and edges are lightly golden brown, for about 12 to 15 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven). Remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Scones baking in the oven.

Step 8: Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the orange glaze in a small bowl and drizzle it over the top of the scones once they are completely cool.

Icing spread over the scones.

Tips For Making Sourdough Scones

  • You don’t need to feed it, but bring the sourdough discard to room temperature to help with the fermentation process and give the scones a nice flavor.
  • Use COLD butter and cut into small cubes for a flaky texture.
  • I have never had this issue, but if you notice the scones spreading as they bake, remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a rubber spatula to reshape them. 
  • Increase the cooking time to 15-20 minutes if baking at high elevation.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love delicious sourdough scones, try one of these brunch favorites!  

A sourdough discard scone with orange glaze drizzled over the top.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy the orange cranberry sourdough discard scones with other brunch items like fresh fruit, bacon, or sausage.

Top the warm scones with orange, vanilla, or lemon glaze as I do, depending on the mix-ins you include in the scone batter.

What to Do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store leftover scones in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or store them in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Freeze Before Baking – Flash freeze the dough wedges on a plate or baking sheet for 1 hour. Once somewhat frozen, transfer unbaked scones in a freezer-safe bag or container. Bake the scones from frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time. Or thaw them overnight and bake them as directed.
  • Freeze After Baking – Let the scones cool and freeze them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Sourdough discard scones freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the scones in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat – Warm the scones in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for 10-15 minutes until warm. They won’t be as fresh, but still tasty. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or on a baking sheet in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes. 
  • Repurpose – Use the leftover scones to make bread pudding, or you can break them up and serve them with whipped cream and berries.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is sourdough discard good for?

Keep the sourdough discard in the refrigerator indefinitely as long as there is no visible mold. However, it may develop a grayish liquid on top called “hooch,” which you can pour off before using.

What does sourdough discard do for scones?

Adding sourdough discard to scone recipes imparts a tangy flavor and tender crumb texture while gently lifting the scones and helping them retain moisture during baking.

What is the difference between sourdough starter and discard?

The difference can be confusing if you’re starting with sourdough baking. An active sourdough starter has been fed water and flour and left out to sit until it is bubbly and about doubled in size.

Sourdough discard is the extra sourdough starter that is removed or “discarded” when feeding and maintaining an active sourdough starter – especially since mature sourdough starter needs to be fed fresh flour and water routinely to keep it active.

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Sourdough discard scones on a cutting board.

Sourdough Discard Scones

Tressa Jamil
Tender and fluffy, with a crumbly, golden brown outside and flaky, soft crumb inside, sourdough discard scones are perfect for breakfast or brunch.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Scones
Calories 283 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sourdough starter discard
  • cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • turbinado sugar, for garnish
For the Orange Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
Instructions
 
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cold butter to a food processor with the dough blades. Process 6 times until you have a crumbly mixture with large pieces of butter. Follow that up with 12 quick pulses and transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the mix-ins. I use zested orange peel and dried cranberries for this recipe.
  • Combine the sourdough discard and heavy cream in a separate bowl with a dough whisk or fork. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until combined into a shaggy dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a slightly sticky dough forms.
  • Gently press the dough into an 8-inch circle, about 1 inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into eight wedges and transfer the cut scones to the reserved baking sheet. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle the wedges with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake until tops and edges are lightly golden brown, for about 12 to 15 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven). Remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the orange glaze in a small bowl and drizzle it over the top of the scones once they are completely cool.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • You don’t need to feed it, but bring the sourdough discard to room temperature to help with the fermentation process and give the scones a nice flavor.
  • Use COLD butter and cut into small cubes for a flaky texture.
  • I have never had this issue, but if you notice the scones spreading as they bake, remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a rubber spatula to reshape them. 
  • Increase the cooking time to 15-20 minutes if baking at high elevation.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 283 kcal | Carbohydrates: 45 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fat: 7 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0.3 g | Cholesterol: 30 mg | Sodium: 365 mg | Potassium: 44 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 25 g | Vitamin A: 371 IU | Vitamin C: 2 mg | Calcium: 104 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Sydni

Monday 15th of January 2024

The scones were amazing!!! I tried Trader Joe’s holiday scones that are similar to these and I wanted to make them myself with sourdough discard. This was EVEN better than TJ’s scones! So fluffy and full of flavor! I’ll definitely will be on the look out for more sourdough recipes by Tressa!👀😍

Tressa Jamil

Tuesday 16th of January 2024

Oooo, high praise! I am so happy they worked out for you. Have you tried these https://jamilghar.com/sourdough-banana-muffins/ ? I also have a bagel recipe I have been working on that I hope to post soon.