Cast-Iron Sourdough Pancakes Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Jean Adamson and Angela Johnson Sherry

Adapted by Tejal Rao

Cast-Iron Sourdough Pancakes Recipe (1)

Total Time
30 minutes, plus overnight fermentation
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This recipe comes from Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn, via Angela Johnson Sherry, who shared her family's recipe with the restaurant almost a decade ago. The restaurant sprinkles a little seasonal fruit at the bottom of the pan, then follows with a lot of airy pancake batter to make thick, crisp, golden brown pancakes that look almost like layers of cake. Use a hot oven and a pre-heated cast-iron pan, either a small one around 4 inches in diameter to make one pancake each, or a large one around 8 inches in diameter to make a couple of giant pancakes you can split at the table. —Tejal Rao

Featured in: The Secret That Brings These Pancakes to Life

Learn: How to Make Pancakes

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Yield:4 servings

  • ½ to 1cup sourdough starter
  • 2cups all-purpose flour
  • 2cups whole milk
  • 3eggs
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 1tablespoon butter, plus more for serving
  • 3 to 4peeled and sliced pears (you could also use sliced apples, peaches or strawberries, or whole blueberries)
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

550 calories; 11 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 99 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 38 grams sugars; 16 grams protein; 965 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cast-Iron Sourdough Pancakes Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Mix sourdough starter with flour and milk, then let it sit out at room temperature, covered with a cloth, overnight and up to 24 hours. Stir well, and transfer a scant cup of this mixture into a plastic container with lid or glass jar to store in the fridge, for another batch of pancakes.

  2. Step


    Whisk the eggs, baking soda, salt and sugar into the rest of the fermented flour and milk. The batter will loosen and take on the thick, airy liquid texture of a milkshake. If the batter seems a little too stiff, add a splash of milk.

  3. Step


    Preheat the oven to 450, with a cast-iron skillet inside the oven. (You can use a 4-inch pan for individual pancakes or an 8-inch pan for a larger pancake, which can be cut to share.) When the pan is hot, remove it, and swirl in 1 tablespoon butter until melted, then add a thin layer of fruit, so that you can still see some parts of the bottom of the pan. If using firm fruits like apples or pears, place the pan on medium heat on the stovetop, and let the fruit sizzle for a minute or two until it has softened on its edges, then add batter. If using softer fruits or berries, add the batter right away. Add enough batter to totally cover the fruit and make a substantial pancake about a half-inch in thickness.

  4. Step


    Return pan to oven for 15 minutes, or until the top of the pancake is evenly browned and the edges are crisp. Flip pancake onto a plate fruit-side up, and serve hot with another knob of butter on top and a generous glug of maple syrup. Repeat with remaining batter.



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Cooking Notes


I already have a sourdough starter that I use regularly, so did not want leftover from this recipe. For this batter I used 1/2 cup of my starter and 1 cup each of flour and milk, other ingredients as written, 10 inch cast iron skillet. Fruit was home preserved pear slices, drained well. Needed an extra 5+ minutes in the oven. Got 2 very tasty 10 inch pancakes, topped with yogurt and a splash of pear syrup. They did not stay puffy, like the photo, but still had a nice texture.


Where is the recipe for the sourdough starter? Did I miss it?


How much of the refreshed starter goes into the pancakes? The recipe says to use .5–1 cup of starter...would be better to be specific or provide quantity in weight.

Redbird, Yardbird

Reading the article accompanying this recipe reminded me that some time back I read about an intriguing project, devoted to preserving and distributing (for free!) a historical sourdough starter. I need to send in my SASE and get me some.


Used 1 cup buckwheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose, sizzled butter, added a sprinkling of sugar, laid the apples and covered with sprinkling of cinnamon and let sizzle over high heat on the stove for a minute before covering with batter and baking. Came out amazing, wish I could upload the pic- it was beautiful to behold. Love the earthy flavor of buckwheat with the yeast batter.

Will test making waffles with remaining batter.


I did not want extra starter (I have plenty!), and I also wanted only one pancake. I used half a cup of starter, half a cup of milk and half a cup of flour. Left it overnight. Quartered the other batter ingredients. I used wild blueberries that I had in my freezer. Followed the directions exactly. Came out great! Good sourdough flavor. Made a big pancake, enough in my opinion for 2!


Maybe it's only me, but I found the instructions a bit unclear. (I understand now that I've made this recipe.) Even if you use an 8-inch pan, this recipe will make more than one pancake. Pay close attention to the instruction about adding only 1/2-inch of batter.


I made two modifications: I decreased the quantity of the flour and milk to eliminate the extra starter, and I substituted buttermilk for the milk. We made three 8-in pancakes (the third was a bit skimpy): one with frozen blueberries (tip: don't pour the batter into the center, or all the berries will be pushed to the edges), one with apple slices (apples increased the moisture and necessitated increasing the cooking time), and one plain. All delicious without being overly sweet. Recommended!


Try using a bit of cardamom in the batter and brown sugar or maple sugar instead of white sugar. I also like the tang of buttermilk instead of regular milk.


waffles with this batter are fabulous.

Lauri M

This turned out very well using my own starter from "Tartine Bread" cookbook. It may be a feature on my B&B's menu. One thing I may try is a little less baking soda. What the recipe called for did a great job neutralizing the acidity of the starter and giving a good rise, but I could taste it more than I wanted to. A lovely recipe, all in all, baked this first time in a large cast iron skillet using apples and blueberries


Did not need to save starter so made this with 1 c flour, 1 c milk, 1/2 c discard starter, then used 2 eggs and 2/3 other ing. Sauted asian pear in butter, added a pinch or more sugar, then batter. Made enough for 8 inch cast iron and similar sized steel saute pan. Both came out yummy, Enough for 4. Also freezes well.


Tried this with strawberries and the consensus was meh. It certainly had a distinct flavor component from the starter. I cooked it a few minutes longer than suggested and wish I would have gone well beyond that. The texture of the middle that they acquaint to custard wasn't all that appealing. It was set but everyone ate the crisp edges and cherry picked the bites with fruit. If you're looking for a sweeter pancake you might want to bump the sugar and butter up a bit.


Non-fat will lead to more carb ingestion. Just the thing to raise trigycerides in your blood. Have eggs and be healthy. Skip the syrup.


In fact, this recipe sounds quite nutritious if you do not overeat (size of portion), do not have bacon on the side and go for a walk once a day. Skim milk and no butter just leave you feeling you did not have a real satisfying meal and you will be likely to have potato chips or cookies (sweetened with stevia) for a snack!

Small, nutritious, active.


After following the recipe exactly, my result was way off. Undercooked after 15 minutes, another 10 minutes baking produced a pancake with the bitter taste of too much baking soda. And how long will the saved cup of batter keep? I presume it should replace the original sourdough starter? More detail needed on that. Also, measurements in weights would be helpful. Most NYT recipes are excellent ,but this one not so. Maybe it could use another recipe test?


Forgot to reserve half of the starter mixture and the result was still great, though it made a very thick 8" pancake that needed more time in the oven. Next time will halve the starter mixture (as others have noted in the comments) and will add some spices and/or try fruits other than pears.


This made two very large pancakes in my 10" skillet. One I made with apples. The other, I made it savory with onions and sausage, and both turned out delicious! I wanted to make them the same day, so I didn't let the sourdough starter ferment overnight, which probably made the pancakes less puffy, but they still turned out so well.


good for something different and to use up starter - not really a dutch baby, not really a pancake.i made with ~225g 100% hydration starter, 120g variety of flours, 360g milk (didnt want to save any of the ferment), and maple syrup instead of sugar.made 2 x 10” cakes.will make again


Perhaps this is my type A sliding in but I would have loved some grams measurements here. I did half cup active discard, 1 cup milk/flour and then 2 eggs, followed all other ingredients. I didn’t want to leave starter for next time hence my picks. It was too eggy for me, not custardy enough. Overall not my preferred style of pancake, but worth a shot. Perhaps I didn’t put enough batter on top? 🤷🏻‍♀️


Does it have to be freshly fed sourdough starter? Would unfed starter from the fridge work?


This tasted HORRIBLY of eggs!! My usual sourdough pancake recipe calls for 2 eggs for 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of buttermilk. I thought 3 eggs for a total one cup of mix was an awful lot, and I should have trusted my instincts. It was more a pear omelet, which is as bad as it sounds. It all went to the dogs (literally).

Jim Bob

Way too much trouble for pancakes...Go to the restaurant.


I’m coming around to make this a second time so it must’ve been great. I used one cup of discard and followed the directions. Best pancake of my life and then had so much better left over. I ran over to a friends house the next morning, and made one for her best pancake of her life. I stored the rest and kept it in my refrigerator and made more pancakes later. I’m coming around to make this a second time so it must’ve been great. I used one cup of discard and followed the directions. Best pancak


I used 1 cup of starter and then followed some other recommendations that suggested butter into the batter. I added about 2 tbsp and the pancake turned out great! Very fluffy and crisp on the edges. Would definitely bake again!


mine turned out quite stodgy - I think I must try again though because the flavor of the sourdough in the pancake is awesome.

Stevie’s Mom

agree with other comments about paying attention to instructions about how much batter to add. I split the batter in half with 8” skillet and it was quite thick and bready. Although very tasty, I wish I’d added less? Also I used sourdough discard vs worrying about refreshing starter and waiting 6-8 hours to mix. My discard was around 3 days old.

Bob C

For a smaller crowd, use 1/3 c flour and milk and 1/4 c starter in smaller pans. This recipe also works well for waffles.


I used the full cup of sourdough starter and kept all ingredients the same except subbed brown for white sugar. Did not reserve any starter. Cooked in combinations of apple slices and/or pear slices, cinnamon and/or cardamom. Made 4 10” pancakes and didn’t take more than 15 minutes each. Delicious!

Oh the NYT and their non-specific recipes...

Ripe or unripe starter? Is everyone just freewheeling this?? Madness!


due to baking soda, either will work

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Cast-Iron Sourdough Pancakes Recipe (2024)
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