Tall muffin tops with a plush interior and an intense banana flavor, you’ll love these Sourdough Banana Muffins. Don’t toss your sourdough discard, use it to make these delicious muffins, in addition to imparting a delicious tangy flavor, it adds extra moisture that makes these muffins taste fresh for much longer.
Growing to love bananas
I’ve had a very complicated relationship with bananas for my entire life. I refused to eat them when I was younger and even made up an allergy so people would stop trying to offer them to me. While I still can’t eat a banana by itself, it has become one of my absolute favorite ingredients (growth, am I right?). So these Sourdough Discard Banana Muffins must be good for a banana hater like me to love them.
Don't toss those brown bananas!
I love the taste and texture of baked goods made with bananas, especially the browned overripe ones! It always feels good to create something delicious out of food that would get thrown away otherwise. Overripe bananas are softer so they are easier to mash up and blend into batters. More importantly, the ripening process converts the fruit's starches into sugars, giving them a more caramelized and intense banana flavor.
Why I love this recipe:
- The batter is all mixed by hand, no special equipment required.
- It contains the perfect mix of spices that complement and won’t overpower the flavor of bananas.
- It has the most tender, light, and plush crumb.
- Sourdough adds a tangy flavor and moisture that keeps the muffins tasting fresh for up to a week.
- Uses simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry!
Baking with sourdough discard
Sourdough discard adds a great tangy flavor to these muffins. Since you’re not using it as a leavener, you can use your discard straight from the refrigerator. There’s no need to feed it or activate it before mixing it into your batter.
Older discard will have a tangier, bolder flavor than a freshly-fed sourdough starter. Both will work for this recipe, you’ll just get a slightly different flavor but your bake will still be delicious!
What you need
Bananas - Overripe bananas are the key to delicious banana muffins, you’ll need 3 overripe bananas for your batter and one perfectly ripe (not browned) banana for the optional topping.
Sourdough discard - You can use your discard straight from the refrigerator for this recipe. Add 28 grams flour and 28 grams water to your batter if you don't have your own sourdough starter.
All-purpose flour - All-purpose flour has the perfect protein level to make tender, soft muffins with tall muffin tops, don’t try to substitute whole wheat flour for this recipe or your muffins will be dense and gummy.
Salt - I developed this recipe using Morton’s Kosher Salt, use twice the amount in volume if you’re using Diamond Crystal Salt (gram measures should be the same)
See the recipe card for full ingredient amounts.
STEP 1: Make the batter
STEP 2: Slice ½ of a banana into medallions and dust with sugar
STEP 3: Fill the muffin tin with batter and add a slice of banana on top
STEP 4: Bake at 375 F for 20 to 25 minutes
How to get tall bakery-style muffin tops
Make sure your chemical leaveners are fresh - Most bakers don’t know that chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder have a shelf life and do eventually lose their leavening powers. If yours are no longer fresh, they won’t be able to help your muffins rise.
Start hot and turn down the temperature of your oven - Preheat your oven to 450 F and then turn down the temperature to 375 F when you put your muffins in the oven. The initial high heat will encourage your muffins to rise high, while baking at a lower temperature will gently bake your batter without burning the muffins.
No peeking! - Do not under any circumstances open the oven door. Heat escapes every time you open the oven door, if your muffins are not completely baked in the middle, this will cause your muffins to sink and become dense and gummy.
You haven’t lived until you’ve toasted a muffin in a pan with a little bit of butter! I find that this is the best way to reheat and refresh any type of muffin.
Simply melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, slice a muffin in half and fry it cut-side down for 3 to 5 minutes or until the muffin is warm and toasted. Enjoy with a dollop of crème fraîche if you’re feeling extra decadent.
If you don’t have overripe bananas, bake unpeeled bananas in an oven preheated to 400 F for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are completely browned. This caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the flavor of the bananas, similar to overripe bananas.
There are a few reasons your muffins could have turned out flat:
- Your baking soda and baking powder may be past their prime and not able to leaven your muffins
- You may have opened the oven door before the center of your muffins are fully baked, unfortunately, this would cause them to sink and the center to be dense and gummy
- You may have mismeasured your ingredients, weigh your ingredients to make sure your proportions are correct
- Your oven temperature may have been too low, high temperatures encourage the muffins to rise
You may have developed too much gluten in your batter. It helps to fold your flour into the batter a third at a time to ensure it is incorporated without overmixing. Opening the oven door before your muffins are fully baked could also cause them to be too gummy. In this case, your muffins will sink and the interior will be gummy.
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Sourdough Banana Muffin Recipe
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- ½ banana yellow but not overripe
- 14 grams granulated sugar
- 210 grams all-purpose flour
- 4 grams baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 7 grams Kosher salt Morton's kosher salt
- 113 grams unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 200 grams brown sugar
- 1 egg large
- 28 grams vegetable oil or any neutral-flavored oil
- 28 grams whole milk
- 8 grams vanilla extract
- 300 grams bananas 3 overripe bananas, mashed
- 56 grams sourdough discard
Click US Customary to view volume measurements
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack in the middle. Line the muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- Make the topping: Thinly slice ½ of a banana into 12 portions. Place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and sprinkle sugar on the bananas. Set aside.½ banana, 14 grams granulated sugar
- Mix dry ingredients: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.210 grams all-purpose flour, 4 grams baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 7 grams Kosher salt
- Melt butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Transfer the melted butter to a large mixing bowl, and add spices this will allow the aromas and flavors to bloom. Let the butter cool to room temperature (about 75 F) before continuing.113 grams unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- Mix the wet ingredients: Whisk the brown sugar into the butter until fully dissolved. Stir the egg and vegetable oil into the mixture. Add in the milk, vanilla, mashed bananas and sourdough discard until fully incorporated and no traces of discard remain.200 grams brown sugar, 1 egg, 28 grams vegetable oil, 28 grams whole milk, 8 grams vanilla extract, 300 grams bananas, 56 grams sourdough discard
- Make the batter: Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a third at a time. Gently stir to prevent your batter from forming too much gluten, or your muffins may become dense and rubbery.
- Portion out batter: Divide the batter evenly among the crevices of your prepared muffin tins (about 80 to 90 grams or 6 tablespoons of batter in each). Place one slice of banana on each muffin, if using.
- Bake: Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the oven, close the door and immediately turn down the temperature to 375 F. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not open the door too soon or your muffins will sink! Let the muffins cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning them out on a wire rack.
- Enjoy and store: Serve the muffins fresh from the oven and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
These recipes were developed and tested using grams for precise measurements. To increase your chances of success, I recommend investing in a kitchen scale. I've included rough volume estimates (in tablespoons and cups), but they might not be totally accurate.
Remember all ovens are unique, these recipes were tested in my oven which runs cooler than others. You might need to lower the temperature if your bake appears to be browning too quickly. Monitor your bake closely and make adjustments if needed.