Soft White Rolls with Sourdough Discard

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for another delicious dinner roll recipe. And I am always looking for creative ways to use up my extra sourdough discard (check out a few of my other favorite discard recipes, here, here and here). It’s one of the “hazards” of baking with sourdough I guess…always being on the lookout for somewhere to use that extra! . These soft white rolls with sourdough discard started out as a recipe to reduce waste and now…they are a reason I want to keep my starter fed. Just so I can have discard to make these rolls

Tender Soft Rolls with a Slight Sourdough Tang

Super soft, tender, light and a slight tang for the sourdough discard, these rolls are sure to be a hit in your family as well. My kids were all begging for seconds when I pulled these out of the oven and popped them on our dinner table a few weeks ago. And I couldn’t blame them. I may have sneaked another one as I was putting the leftovers in a ziplock bag and sticking them in the freezer. I love freezing my bread because it keeps it fresh and I don’t have to see it staring me in the face, begging me to just have one more pinch!

Smooth, Light and Slathered with Melted Butter

The dough for these rolls is very smooth and light. It may take a little longer to rise because it is often made with cold sourdough discard directly from the fridge, but don’t let that stop you from trying out this recipe. Once they are baked, these rolls are slathered with melted butter. I like to take my cold stick of butter and gently run it over the top of the hot rolls. This saves me from having to wash my pastry brush and an extra bowl (can you tell I’m all about saving on the dishes around here?!).

However you choose to eat these rolls: with your dinner, for breakfast with some jam and butter spread on top or as a mini turkey sandwich for lunch, you will love them. I hope you give them a try!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover soft white rolls with sourdough discard?

Once the rolls have cooled completely, store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw and warm if desired to serve.

Can I substitute something else for the cornstarch?

Cornstarch make these rolls extra tender and light. You could substitute potato flakes or just leave them out.

Can I use the sourdough discard cold from the fridge?

Yes. Make sure the milk is warmed to counteract the cold and allow a little extra time for the dough to rise. Cold dough takes longer to rise, even with commercial yeast.

Soft White Rolls with Sourdough Discard

Tender, light, fluffy and filled with sourdough discard, these soft white rolls are perfect for dinnertime!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls


  • 2/3 cup milk lightly warmed, 165 grams
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 6 grams
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar 30 grams
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled, 55 grams
  • 2 teaspoons salt 14 grams
  • 1 cup sourdough discard 225 grams
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch 20 grams
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour 350 grams, see recipe note


  • To a stand mixer (or a bowl if you are kneading by hand), mix together the yeast, sugar and warm milk. Let it sit for a minute and use your nose to see if the yeast is working (It will smell very "yeasty" once the sugar and warm milk are mixed in. Technically using instant yeast you can omit this "proofing" step and throw the yeast in the with the flour, but I like to double check that my yeast is working so I do it anyway).
  • Add the room temperature melted butter. Make sure it is not too hot so it doesn’t kill the yeast. 
  • Add the sourdough discard, salt and cornstarch. Begin mixing with your dough hook as you add in the flour a cup at a time. Reserve the half cup of flour to mix in toward the end as you look for readiness of the dough. If the dough is pulling away from the sides, you may not need to add more flour. If the dough is still very sticky, add a little more flour until it is tacky, pulls away from the sides and rolls up into a ball in your fingers (a little stickiness is okay!). This post may help you to check for readiness of dough.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 7-10 minutes by hand. I like to set a timer and let the dough hook or mixer do the work for 5 minutes or so.
  • Add a drop of oil to a bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the bowl. Roll the ball around until it is completely covered in the oil. (The oil keeps the dough moist as it rises and makes it easier to handle once risen). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size. If your sourdough discard is cold, it may take longer for the dough to rise. You may want to turn your oven light on and let the dough rise covered in the oven (just make sure not to turn the actual oven on during this process).
  • Cover the bottom of two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Alternatively, prepare a half sheet pan (affiliate link for my favorite pans) with parchment paper.
  •  After the first rise, turn the dough out onto the counter and punch it down. Using a bench scraper or a knife, separate the dough into 16 equally-sized pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball and place eight dough balls into each pan, for a total of 16 rolls. If you are baking on a half sheet pan, place all the rolls on the same pan. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for about an hour until just about doubled in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 22-25 minutes until lightly browned on top. Cover the tops with melted butter (I take a stick of cold butter and lightly touch it on the tops of all the rolls). Enjoy warm or freeze for later!


Sourdough Discard: Sourdough discard or active starter is used in this recipe. The older the discard, the more sour tang will be prevalent in these rolls. If you don’t want any sour flavor, use a fresher discard.
Flour: Originally this recipe called for all purpose flour. I’ve since switched over to mostly unbleached bread flour and think these rolls benefit from bread flour if you have it. They are more springy, chewy and tender with bread flour, but all purpose works well too.
Keyword artisan sourdough, best homemade bread, crispy sourdough discard crackers, dinner roll, easy homemade bread, homemade rolls, soft rolls, soft sourdough rolls, sourdough discard recipe, sourdough discard rolls, tender rolls

Hi! I’m Amy. Sourdough lover and Kentucky based mama, sharing my best recipes and tips, one bake at a time. So glad you’re here!

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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83 responses to “Soft White Rolls with Sourdough Discard”

  1. Kris Larsen Avatar
    Kris Larsen

    If ever there were a perfect recipe…These are seriously 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻!! 😋

  2. Erin Avatar

    Question: is it always assumed to use a dough hook on the stand mixer unless you stare otherwise?

    1. Amy Avatar

      Typically if you are making a yeast dough, yes. Usually the recipe will say if you should use a paddle attachment or whisk instead. I typically use the paddle attachment for cakes and cookies. The whisk is for whipped cream or frostings and then the dough hook is for almost all my doughs. Sometimes dough recipes will have you use the paddle attachment if the dough is really wet initially and then more to a dough hook.

  3. Rachel Avatar

    If you are using active sourdough can you omit the yeast?

    1. Amy Avatar

      You can, but they will take much longer to proof and then rise again. It really depends on your sourdough starter and how active it is…but typically my sourdough will take 5-7 hours to rise (compared to the 1ish hour with commercial yeast).

  4. Jennie Avatar

    Do you mean instant yeast or dry active yeast? I thought instant yeast wasn’t proofed, but mixed in with the flour instead?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I use SAF instant yeast in all of my baking. You technically don’t have to “proof” it but I like to mix it with my liquids before adding flour to make sure it activates. You could just mix it in the with flour if you want to. If you want to use dry active yeast, proof it in warm water with a little sugar for 5 minutes until it bubbles.

    2. Sue Root Avatar
      Sue Root

      I made the dough in my bread machine and covered wth plastic wrap it’s in my fridge, I can’t make the rolls for 3 days will the dough be alright till then ?

      1. Amy Avatar

        It’s worth a try! The longest I usually leave bread in the fridge is about 24 hours before baking.

  5. diane Avatar

    Why do you add cornstarch?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I think cornstarch helps these rolls with just a little extra softness. I like adding a little cornstarch in cookies too for a really smooth texture.

  6. Michelle Avatar

    How long does it usually take to-double in size for the first rise? An hour? And also the second rise once you shape them into balls? Another hour? Just trying to figure out when I should start making the rolls if I make for breakfast. Would I have to wake up super early or can I preshape the dough into balls then stick in the fridge over night and then bake in the morning?

    1. Amy Avatar

      Usually it takes about an hour for the first rise and an hour for the second (depending on the warmth of your kitchen). A few options to speed up the rise or make ahead:
      1. Stick the dough or rolls in an oven with the light turned on (don’t turn the oven on, just the oven light). This works kind of like a proofing box and will help the dough and rolls to rise faster.
      2. You can stick the mixed dough in the fridge and let the dough rise overnight, then shape into balls in the morning, let them rise (about an hour or so) and bake.
      3. You can pre-shape the rolls, stick in the fridge and then pull them out and bring to room temperature and let bake.

      An overnight proof in the fridge should increase the sourdough flavor of these rolls. I would probably pick the second option of proofing the dough and then shaping into balls in the morning because I’ve had best results with that method, but you should be able to do any of those. Hope that helps!

  7. […] and baking recipes with my sourdough discard. It’s the perfect way to boost the flavor in a roll, biscuit or even pancakes and waffles. These sourdough discard pretzel bites are the best of the […]

    1. Chari Avatar

      Thanks for recipes and clever comments throughout. Think using almond milk would work? Before I try I figured I would ask.

      1. Amy Avatar

        I think almond milk would work just fine. I’ve often substituted almond milk or water in recipes calling for traditional milk with no problem.

  8. Karlie Avatar

    Hello! So one day at work a coworker suggested a soup day for the Next day! So I went home after yoga, made a soup and started to make the rolls! It was about midnight and I fell asleep on the couch. My rolls were on the pan, divided out and had risen but I fell asleep too late to make them… in the morning I put them back into a large dough ball and put it in the fridge. What step should I start with to make them? Should I bring it to room temperature and oil a bowl and let it rise again? Then go forth with the remaining steps? Thank you!!! I’m so excited to finish this recipe!

    1. Amy Avatar

      Typically, if my dough has over-proved (or risen too much), I will re-shape the dough and let it rise again. I have never put the dough back in the fridge after this has happened though, so I’m not sure if it will work. I would not re-oil the bowl (it’s okay if you did). Take the dough from the fridge and re-shape the rolls. Let them come to room temperature and see if they rise. If they rise, I would bake them. If they don’t (after coming to room temp), I would start over.

  9. Denise Avatar

    Hi Amy, I am going to try your recipe and wanted to know if you have ever froze the dough after the first rise then shape into balls and freeze at this stage? Thanks and I can’t wait to make these they look delicious.


    1. Amy Avatar

      I haven’t done that with this recipe but have with others before. You may want to increase the yeast just a bit in the recipe (sometimes yeast will die off a bit in the freezer). Let the rolls come to room temperature and rise before baking. I recommend putting them in your oven with the pilot light on and oven door closed (do not turn on the oven) to let it rise a little quicker. I think it should work. Let me know how you like them!

  10. Kelly Avatar

    Is it possible to use an active starter in this recipe? If so, would it be the same amount?

    1. Amy Avatar

      Yes. You can do that. It would be the same amount.

  11. Linda Avatar

    Delicious recipe! I put the rolls on a large baking pan. They turned out kinda flat but still delicious. Next time I will use 2 cake pans so they will be closer together and rise up. I will keep trying until they look like your rolls. Look forward to making more of your recipes.

    1. Amy Avatar

      So glad you liked them! How long did you let them rise the second time? Sometimes if they rise too long they will flatten a bit.

  12. […] Thanksgiving turkey or sopping up the gravy from your leftovers. Now I just have to decide which roll recipe I’ll be making for Thanksgiving…these are definitely in the running! Masa […]

  13. Trina Hixson Avatar
    Trina Hixson

    I have a question. I would like to get back into baking bread but since the last time I made it, many years ago, I have become lactose intolerant. Can I substitute Almond or Coconut milk in the recipes or should I use a full fat coconut milk?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I have subbed almond milk really well in yeast breads. I think it also depends on the recipe. If you are making an enriched dough (usually has butter, egg, full fat milk), you may try using the coconut milk. But I think almond milk would work. You can also sub water for many recipes (it may not be as “rich” tasting) but should work in a pinch.

  14. kaitlin Avatar

    What method do you do for freezing the rolls after baking/ thawing for serving? I just made this recipe for the first time and it is amazing! I want to make them for thanksgiving, but would like to make them ahead of time and freeze them.

    1. Amy Avatar

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe! If you want to make them ahead of time, I would freeze them in a ziplock and then pull them out a few hours before serving to thaw. You can warm them in a 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes until warm and brush with melted butter again. Alternatively you can make the dough the night before and shape the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Then pull them out of the fridge a few hours before baking to come to room temperature and puff up a bit and then bake. Either should work fine.

  15. Emma Avatar

    Can these be prepared the day before with a final proof in the fridge? Also, thoughts on coconut oil instead of butter or vegan butter?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I think those substitutions would work well. And yes you can make them the night before, proof in the fridge and then pull them out a few hours before baking to come to room temperature, puff up a bit and then bake.

  16. Leah Avatar

    I really liked these, but they didn’t come out super soft like yours look in the picture. They were a bit more airy inside (still good). I followed the recipe exactly and kneaded by hand. Do you have any idea what could make that happen? I’d like to try again. Thanks!

    1. Amy Avatar

      How long did you knead for? I use a stand mixer to knead the dough. This can help the gluten develop and makes a light, soft roll. If you knead by hand you will want to knead for at least 10 minutes to develop all the gluten and get a soft inside. That would be my recommendation without having seen the rolls myself. Hope that helps!

  17. Asey Avatar

    I absolutely LOVE these rolls! They have turned out amazing every time. I just can’t seem to roll out the balls of dough so smoothly to get that perfect round shape like yours. What do you do?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I’m so glad you love them! Here’s a video I posted awhile ago on how I shape my rolls:

      Hope it helps!

  18. Barb Avatar

    There is just my husband and I at home so 16 rolls are a lot to make. Is it possible to cut this recipe in half?

    1. Amy Avatar

      You can half the recipe. These rolls also freeze really well once baked, so you could bake the whole batch and freeze the extras. Just pull out, thaw or even warm for a few minutes in a 350 degree oven (or microwave) to enjoy.

  19. Geri Myers Avatar
    Geri Myers

    Question: I made this recipe as directed and they turned out beautiful… BUT, very little flavor. What could have I done to have more flavor?

    1. Amy Avatar

      Are you looking for more sourdough flavor? To increase the sourdough flavor you can use older discard (maybe week or two old stored in fridge). If you are looking for more flavor in general you can increase the salt by half a teaspoon to a teaspoon in the recipe.

  20. Martha C Avatar
    Martha C

    These were easy and delicious! This is a recipe I will use again and again! Thank you!

    1. Amy Avatar

      Thank you so much for the comment! So glad you loved them 🙂

  21. Heather Avatar

    I had a little trouble. The dough wasn’t very elastic when kneading and were a little dense. Any tips?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I would guess that the dough had a little too much flour. The ratio of flour to water in your sourdough starter can affect the amount of flour that needs to be added to the dough. The way flour is scooped can also affect the amount of flour in the dough. I always start on the lower end of flour-range in a recipe and work my way up when adding flour. If you can pinch off a piece, roll it into a ball in your fingers with just a little bit of sticky residue, that’s right about where you can stop adding flour. You can also try adding a tiny bit of water to the dough if you’ve over-floured it and sometimes that can help bring it back a bit too.

  22. Tiffany P Avatar
    Tiffany P

    Hi Amy, So I did make these and the taste was spot on! They were soft, however quite dense. What do I need to do to make them super fluffy?

    1. Amy Avatar

      What flour did you use? I find bread flour helps give fluffier bread. Also kneading for 8 minutes helps. Make sure that they rise enough too and get almost doubled in size and puffy before baking them. Sometimes with cold discard (from the fridge) the rise takes a little longer. You could also try adding a teaspoon more yeast to the dough. Those would be my main tips.

  23. […] 19. Soft Sourdough Discard Rolls […]

  24. […] food or discard, so I add it to many of my recipes. Some of my favorite discard recipes are these sourdough discard rolls or pretzel bites. This sourdough discard blueberry crumb cake is delicious too. It’s so easy […]

  25. […] Soft White Rolls Sourdough Discard Recipe […]

  26. Suzanne Avatar

    This looks so good! What a simple way to make a dinner side more special!

  27. Vanessa Avatar

    Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I keep them out about 24 hours and then stick them in a ziplock to freeze for a month or two (though they never last that long)

  28. […] it takes a little more time to make the rolls, but it’s all worth it. Follow this recipe when you want to make […]

  29. Stephanie Avatar

    Hi Amy, thanks for such a great recipe! I saw that another commenter asked about using alternative milks so I thought I’d share a variation I’ve been using: In place of milk, I use full-fat oatmilk and I substitute 2.25 oz of the all purpose flour with oat flour. They turn out beautifully every time. I think using a small amount of oat flour in addition to your genius use of cornstarch really contributes to a lovely, soft roll. This is the most-used discard recipe in my kitchen!

    1. Amy Avatar

      Thank you for sharing this variation! Such a helpful comment 🙂 So glad you love this recipe too.

  30. Lauren Avatar

    I’m curious, would this be ok to turn into a loaf (instead of rolls)? I was thinking of using loaf pans to
    Make Sandwich bread.

    1. Amy Avatar

      I haven’t done that but I bet you could. I would put about 750-850 grams of dough in a loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

  31. Marjorie Avatar

    I love this recipe and have made it several times now. Today I made 8 buns out of the dough instead of the 16 rolls. I can’t wait to see how they turn out. Last time I made these I needed two buns so I did 12 rolls and the two buns. They baked up beautiful and I baked them the same amount of time.

    1. Amy Avatar

      So glad you love this recipe and thank you for sharing your tips!

  32. Kim K. Avatar

    Any recommendations for doing this with a wheat-free starter? My daughter has a wheat allergy so I do have a starter for her (and discard from it), but it tends to be thicker and more difficult to use than my normal one. I’ve tried using a little extra and/or warmer water but that doesn’t seem to do much. Maybe adding extra xantham gum? Thanks!

    1. Amy Avatar

      I have not made these with gluten-free flour. My experience with gluten free flours is more with biscuits and not yeast rolls. Yeast rolls are more difficult to make gluten-free due to the texture. I’m sorry I’m not more help!

  33. […] for more Sourdough Discard Recipes? Click for: Sourdough Discard White Rolls, Pretzel Bites with Sourdough Discard, Sourdough Discard Zucchini Bread, Crispy Sourdough Waffles […]

  34. Kim K. Avatar

    Not sure what I did wrong, but neither the regular rolls nor the wheat-free ones really rose on the second proofing. The wheat-free seemed like it would be the better end result but they were still harder than the other ones. Guess I need to keep experimenting on that! They also taste kind of salty, maybe because they didn’t rise properly?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I’m sorry they didn’t work out. Did you use instant yeast? It’s hard to tell without a visual. Maybe check to see that your yeast activates (did it smell yeasty and froth up?). Did they over-prove? As far as the salt, did you use unsalted butter? If you use salted butter you’ll want to cut back on the salt called for in the recipe.

      1. Kim K. Avatar

        It was dry active yeast that I used, with water instead of milk (I saw that suggested in another comment above). The yeast smelled right and was frothy, especially for the wheat-free one. Maybe they did over-proof on the first round? The second proof I checked the wheat-free ones several times before putting them in the oven but didn’t feel like they had grown at all. The regular ones I had to put in the fridge over night and then let sit out on the counter for a while to warm up again in the morning, but they didn’t seem to grow at all either. I’m pretty sure the butter was unsalted, that’s what I normally buy, but the wrapper has gone in the trash so I can’t double check to be sure.

      2. Amy Avatar

        It’s hard to tell without being there what went wrong. The main times that my bread comes out tough or hard is usually either 1. adding too much flour OR 2. not letting my dough rise for long enough. The dough should feel tacky to the touch after it is mixed. You can pinch off a piece of it, roll it up in your fingers and it should form a ball with just a little residue on them. The wheat free ones, I’m not so sure. My experience with gluten-free is that you don’t knead the dough and it is much more sticky (different flours often require more or less water than wheat flour).

        As far as proofing the dough, it can take a long time for your dough to come to room temperature and then rise…at least a couple of hours if not more depending on the temperature of your kitchen. I like to use my oven as a “proofing box” when I want to speed up the rise or am pulling dough out of the refrigerator. Shape the dough, cover with a dishtowel and stick in the oven with the light turned on (don’t actually turn the oven on). This creates your own little “proofing box” that can help give a warm/controlled environment for your dough to rise.

        I hope a few of these ideas are helpful. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  35. Grace Avatar

    I just wanted to say that I made your recipe with gluten-free flour & a gluten-free starter. They turned out great! Obviously they didn’t rise like they would typically if they were made with normal flour & they might be more sticky or gummy than the original. However, they are still so yummy & they freeze really well. I also made them dairy-free with almond milk.

    1. Amy Avatar

      Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time and hope it helps others who are looking to use a gluten-free starter. So glad they turned out well for you!

    2. Kim K. Avatar

      Do you have any sites you follow specifically for gluten-free sourdough? My starter is usually really thick and pasty, I keep hoping to find someone who knows what I’m doing wrong with it, but everyone only knows regular flour. I keep trying new things and experimenting anyway.

  36. […] to go to waste, so I find muffins, waffles, crackers, pretzels and rolls to put it into. The sourdough discard enhances the flavor and creates less kitchen waste. […]

  37. […] and the perfect complement to dinner when you don’t have time to make these fan favorite sourdough discard dinner rolls. We dunk these biscuits in soup or serve them with a nice salad or weeknight dinner. Sometimes you […]

  38. Heather N Cooper Avatar
    Heather N Cooper

    Mine came out like biscuits…where did I go wrong? They are delicious, but not soft and shiny like yours. Help. LOL!

    1. Amy Avatar

      I’m sorry! I haven’t had that happen to me. My first thought would be too much flour. Was the dough tacky? How long did you knead it for?

  39. […] more favorite roll recipes check out: Sourdough Discard Soft White Rolls, Easy White Dinner Rolls, Parmesan Herb Rolls, One-Hour Yeast Rolls, or these Cloverleaf Dinner […]

  40. Cindi Avatar

    These are by far the best dinner rolls EVER! Recipe was quick and easy. I was trying to find a way to use up my starter and this is just perfect. Love. Them.

    1. Amy Avatar

      So glad you love them!

  41. Nikki Avatar

    Somehow mine came out like biscuits 🤷🏼‍♀️ I was depressed.

    1. Amy Avatar

      I’m sorry these didn’t work for you. If I had to guess, it sounds like maybe the dough had a little too much flour.

  42. […] it in some of my favorite sourdough discard recipes. My super popular–for good reason–sourdough discard soft white rolls, muffins, and brown butter sourdough cookies. The possibilities are […]

  43. Toni Avatar

    Do you ever use an egg wash before baking?

    1. Amy Avatar

      I do with some recipes. This one I usually just top with melted butter but if I was making them into burger buns I would use an egg wash. Just personal preference.

  44. […] will happen and the yeast is what causes the dough to rise. I have a favorite roll recipe here. This recipe for sourdough discard rolls would work beautifully with this method or even these Masa Butterhorn […]

  45. Autumn Avatar

    Can I freeze before baking

    1. Amy Avatar

      You can. I would freeze them right after shaping and then pull them out to thaw and rise for their final proof before baking.

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