Waffles are basically pancakes, all grown up and living in their first apartment (a waffle iron). Kefir replaces the traditional buttermilk, the acidic makeup of which activates the baking soda. Generic instant yeast is replaced with sourdough starter, which brings its own wild population of lactic acid bacteria and yeast to the party. In addition to being a resourceful way to reduce food waste, these waffles are extremely easy to make since they start the night before and require very little effort to finish off in the morning.–Joseph Shuldiner

*What is Kefir?

In the simplest terms, kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt or buttermilk. Kefir grains are added to milk and within 24 hours (depending on the temperature in your kitchen), you’ll have a fermented and cultured probiotic liquid that can be used in many of the ways you’d use buttermilk or yogurt.

Two white plates with overnight sourdough waffles, blueberries, butter, and syrup on them.

Overnight Sourdough Waffles

5 from 1 vote
These overnight sourdough waffles are as easy as tossing together a batter using sourdough starter in the evening, letting the magic happen overnight, and sitting down to a spectacular breakfast in the morning.
David Leite
Servings8 to 12 servings
Calories256 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time12 hours


  • Waffle iron


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups homemade milk kefir* or store-bought kefir
  • 1 cup active sourdough starter
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, plus more for serving
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • Pure maple syrup, berries, whipped cream, Greek yogurt or homemade jam, for serving


  • The night before you plan to make waffles, in a large bowl, gently combine the flours, sugar, kefir, and sourdough starter. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.
  • In the morning, the batter should be visibly bubbly.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and then let cool until nearly room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, baking soda, and cooled melted butter. Stir this into the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  • Coat the waffle iron with nonstick spray or melted butter and heat until very hot. Following your machine’s instructions, pour the batter into the waffle iron, spreading it to cover the surface and being careful not to overfill. Cook the waffles until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with additional butter and your favorite toppings.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: Ample batter? You can simply refrigerate any unused batter. It will continue to ferment but at a much slower pace and will be good for up to 5 more days with a more pronounced sour taste. Or you can make all the batter into waffles right away, let them cool, and then wrap them individually in a couple layers of plastic wrap and freeze them. Reheat in a toaster or oven for about 5 minutes. 

Adapted From

The New Homemade Kitchen

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 256 kcalCarbohydrates: 35 gProtein: 8 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 5 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 70 mgSodium: 479 mgPotassium: 106 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 6 gVitamin A: 376 IUCalcium: 92 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Joseph Shuldiner. Photo © 2020 Ren Fuller. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We are recently into making milk kefir at home and I have been baking sourdough and maintained starters for years. And we love making sourdough waffles. So, the title of this recipe was a no-brainer to test out and it delivered wonderfully.

The tartness is more pronounced than when I usually make my regular recipe with buttermilk and I loved the addition of buckwheat flour to the batter. It stands up great to the assertive flavors of sourdough starter and kefir.

I made half a recipe a couple days later as well (I had a good bit of my starter left anyways) and used teff flour instead of buckwheat this time. Also awesome and mildly sweeter than the earthy buckwheat. Both are delicious and this simple recipe is an enthusiastic TC for me.

These waffles are nice. They are not at all laborious even though the overnight ferment means planning ahead. They have a pleasantly light texture, a mild tang from the sourdough starter and kefir, and they aren’t at all sweet which appeals to me because it allows them to go in either a savory or sweet direction. These are a good vehicle for whatever you want to serve with them.

In the morning, the batter had almost doubled and was beautifully jiggly and bubbly. We served them with macerated strawberries, blackberries and peaches, along with blackberry bourbon maple syrup, and freshly whipped cream mixed with sour cream, brown sugar and vanilla. I mean what could possibly be bad about that?!

All that being said, buckwheat flour is something that I almost never have on-hand, and I don’t think I’d seek it out just for this recipe. There are plenty of great waffle recipes that use up starter, but that don’t require a rarely used ingredient like buckwheat. But hey, if you’ve got a bag of buckwheat flour to burn through this is certainly a nice recipe to make use of it.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. I was lucky enough to take a number of classes with Joseph Shuldiner. He was a very delightful and engaging teacher, who is sadly gone too soon. The New Homemade Kitchen is a very a great book as well as being sly and humorous.

  2. Any morning that starts with waffles is a good day!

    I’ve recently discovered that when I have leftover waffle batter (there are just 2 of us here) I can cook them up, cool them off, put them in the convection oven at the lowest possible temperature to dry them out then cut them into small bits for my dog. She loves them, I save on dog treats and I know she’s eating a quality treat without preservatives and junk I wouldn’t want to eat.

    Once upon a time I used to mostly cook them then freeze them to rewarm in the toaster but they were never as good as fresh ones and, when you can do the prep the night before, there’s no real reason not to have fresh ones. Plus, finishing them for my dog seems like a win-win.

    1. Definitely a win for both you and your pup, Rainey! Love that suggestion. I think my dog will be wanting to come to your house.