Sourdough Popovers: high, wide, and handsome


Their name is almost onomatopoetic, isn’t it? (Can’t believe I spelled THAT one right on the first try!)

I mean, when you put popovers into the oven, they look like calm, cream-colored lakes, serene as a summer sunrise.

But 15 or 20 minutes later – POP! Up they go, the steam created by the very-liquid batter hitting the just-formed flour/egg crust and carrying the whole shebang up, up, and away.

This recipe accomplishes two goals – and very successfully, too.

One, it’s a great use for that sourdough starter you’d otherwise discard during the feeding process. You know, that 1 cup you need to get rid of by stirring it into a batch of waffles, or a chocolate cake, or giving it to a neighbor, or – heaven forfend – actually discarding it.

I know how much you dislike throwing away perfectly good starter. Thus, this is a great recipe to whip up when you’re feeding your starter for another use, and need to discard some; use 1/2 cup of the discard starter right here.

Second, if you’re looking for a quick and easy hot bread to go with breakfast eggs, lunchtime soup, or [fill in your favorite dinner entrée] – you’ve found it.

Sourdough Popovers – rise and shine!

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

First, measure out 1/2 cup of your sourdough starter.

The nice thing is, it doesn’t need to be fed; it’s being used strictly for flavor in this recipe, not to help the popovers rise, so no need for it to be active.

Whisk the 1/2 cup starter with the following:

1 cup milk (full-fat, reduced-fat, or skim), warmed to lukewarm
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt

Add 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, whisking to combine.

Don’t over-mix; a few small lumps are OK. The batter should be thinner than a pancake batter, about the consistency of heavy cream.

By the way, can you double this recipe to make a dozen popovers?

Sure, go right ahead; simply double all the ingredients.

Oh, and can you make these with whole wheat flour?

Sure. The result will be a very moist and eggy whole wheat muffin, though, not a popover.

Heat a standard muffin pan or standard popover pan in the oven while it’s preheating to 450°F.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven, and spray it thoroughly with non-stick pan spray, or brush it generously with oil or melted butter.

Quickly pour the batter into the cups, filling them almost to the top. If you’re using a muffin tin, fill cups all the way to the top. Space the popovers around the muffin tin so there are empty cups among the full ones; this leaves more room for expansion.

Bake the popovers for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until popovers have fully “popped,” and are golden brown.

Remove the popovers from the oven and serve immediately.

Now THAT is one towering popover!

These popovers aren’t overly sour; but you can definitely taste the tang. They’re very nice served plain, with soup or stew; or buttered, and served with breakfast bacon and eggs.

Can you make these ahead? Sure. They may deflate a bit, but will still taste fine. Warm them in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, to freshen them up.

Can you freeze the batter? Yes. Keep frozen no longer than a month; defrost overnight in the fridge, and warm to room temperature before using.

Can you freeze baked popovers? Mm-hmm. Cool thoroughly, wrap tightly, and freeze no longer than 3 weeks or so. Once thawed, “freshen” in a 350°F oven before serving.

Can I make these without sourdough starter? Sure – our quick and easy Popovers are perfect for any non-sourdough bakers out there.

OK, did I answer all your questions? Hope so! If not, give our baker’s hotline a jingle, 802-649-3717; we can help.

Oh, wait, let me answer one more question I know will bubble up around this recipe:

Can I make these gluten-free? Well, you can make regular (non-sourdough) Gluten-Free Popovers.

And if you’ve created some gluten-free sourdough starter, try substituting 1/2 cup of it for 1/4 cup of the milk and 1/4 cup of the gluten-free flour blend in the recipe cited above. We haven’t tried it, so no guarantees; but it seems as though it should work.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Sourdough Popovers.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. plantdb

    I guess this is a pet peeve of mine but I have two starters,100% and 56%, that I use for different recipes. It would be nice for those of you that supply recipes to give us some idea what consistency of starter to use.

    When any of our recipes suggest to use a sourdough starter, we are referring to our starter formula. It has a relatively high moisture content, very much like a thick pancake batter. If you have anymore concerns about which starter to use, please call our Baker’s Hotline!-Jon 1-802-649-3717

  2. Tonia

    onomatopoetic — Wow! I learned a new word; Thanks PJ!!

    PJ is always teaching us something, whether it be a baking technique or a new vocab word!-Jon


    Do popovers have any similarities to Choux Paste? Could sourdough be used when preparing Choux Paste. I appreciate any help.

    The two are similar, though pate choux is a cooked dough which makes it far more viscous in comparison. I don’t see why you couldn’t add sourdough starter to one, although it may take some tinkering to get exactly right.-Jon

  4. "Mary Cay"

    One of my favorite memories of my boys’ childhood is watching them crouch around the glass door on the oven,watching the popovers rise.It seemed like magic to them.Pretty soon,New Little Grandson will be old enough to watch the popovers rise!

    It is great that you are able to spread such magic from one generation to the next!-Jon

  5. Amy

    could one use buttermilk? would self-rising flour be an option? BTW…..I would love for KAF to publish a sourdough cookbook! Love all your books so much…..they are the best!
    Hi Amy,
    Because you want to keep the acids and leavens in proportions, I wouldn’t go with the buttermilk and self-rising flour. The recipe will work out just beautifully as written. ~ MaryJane

  6. ddancer

    Can we add some hi-maize high fiber flour to increase the fiber content? Since you said whole wheat wouldn’t work.
    I would say you could use 1/4 cup of hi-maize in the recipe, and still get good results. ~ MaryJane

  7. Joan Maslin

    Great idea. Can’t commit the time to making bread yet but might whip these up with discard. I have a cast iron popover that I impulsively bought years ago and only used once!!!!

  8. Gina

    This was SO EASY. It’s perfect for discard and doesn’t have the wait time for rising. It’s like a muffin that tasted like a crepe. Even the hubby loved it and he’s PICKY.

  9. Elaina

    Outstanding popovers! Very easy to make. I like that I can use the extra starter. TY KAF. Wish you could post a few more Sourdough receipes. That would be great.

  10. Deb

    I made this recipe today, using the discard from a fed starter. I used almond milk instead of whole milk and I forgot to preheat the muffin tins. So, I had lovely popovers but they probably would have rose higher if the tins were hot when I filled them.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This recipe works best with all purpose flour and sourdough starter, not the Sourdough Yeast Bread Mix. We hope you use that mix to make 2 loaves of sourdough bread – one to keep and one to give? Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  11. Marni

    In Canada we make Yorkshire Puddings. I had never heard of a Popover before this. These were easier and a great use of my discard starter. Sunday night roast beef dinners may never be the same. Lol. Thanks!

  12. heather

    Lol, great recipe, but I think I overfilled my muffin tin. They popped and popped and popped. But I can’t wait to try them. Maybe my starter was a little more fed than I thought.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re just giggling when we imagine your popout popovers! The tins were most likely overfilled, which would account for the height. A bit less full next time, please! Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  13. Ari

    Do you think this would work with silicon muffin cups? I’ve made this in a mini muffin tin, which tasted lovely but stuck like glue to the pan. Any tips?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ari, I wouldn’t recommend using the silicone muffin cups for this recipe, as I doubt the silicone will generate enough heat to cause the popovers to pop. Try a regular sized muffin tin and be sure to preheat it and then grease it well. Barb@KAF

    2. Kathleen

      I made this recipe with silicon muffin cups before reading the comments 🙂 I preheated the silicon cups in the pan and then made sure they were fully covered in oil before adding the batter. The result did rise and pop, and ended with a popover rise of about 2 1/2 inches above the pan level.

  14. Elgin

    For a more robust flavor, is it ok to use 1 1/2 cup of sourdough started Instead of 1/2 cup sourdough starter and 1 cup of A.P. flour?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      For every one cup of sourdough starter, reduce the flour in the recipe by 1 cup, and reduce the water by 1/2 cup.

  15. Naomi

    I love this recipe and make it every weekend. I do a partial recipe: 1/3 for two popovers. Lately my popovers have not been as lofty as they used to be. Any idea why? They still taste delicious!

    I’m a novice baker by the standards of this community, but would love to learn a bit more.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so pleased you enjoy it, Naomi! If you’re measuring by volume, it can be easy to vary the actual weight of the cup of flour you’re getting from batch to batch, and a slightly drier dough would have a little harder time lofting. Any time you incorporate sourdough starter, the consistency of your starter will impact the batter as well. Any chance your starter might be a little heavier or thicker than it used to be? For the most consistent results, we recommend weighing ingredients whenever possible. If using volume, then we suggest a fluff and sprinkle method for measuring flour that will give you a relatively lighter cup. You can read and see more about this method here: If you give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE, any of our bakers would also be happy to help you troubleshoot further. Mollie@KAF

  16. Ellen Cartsonis

    I just made them for the first time, and we are all raving about them. Mine popped much more quickly, and they were completely baked in about 20 minutes. I used a popover pan, so maybe that’s why?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sounds like your oven may be running hot, Ellen. You might want to test it with an oven thermometer to see if it’s running true to the dial. But overall, it sounds like your popovers turned out great; as long as you check them frequently and take them out when they look done, you’ll have popover success. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  17. Steve

    These were fun to make for the first time this morning! I am new to working with breads and stuff like this so this was a nice and easy start for something with the kids. I made them for breakfast to try them out. Served them with jelly.

    My only question is mine popped up on the outsides but the center of each did not pop at all. Your picture has a nice dome pop. Mine looks like a strange donut. lol Any ideas on why?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Steve, usually a sunken center means the batter was either too thick or the even wasn’t quite hot enough. Next time try bumping up the temperature by 25 degrees and let it preheat for longer. Also, be sure you’re measuring your flour either using a scale or like this to ensure just the right amount is added into the batter. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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