Potato Sourdough Starter

Potato Sourdough Starter Recipe

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Ferment: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 6 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
158 Calories
0g Fat
35g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 158
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1203mg 52%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 375mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Potato sourdough starter produces a milder sourdough bread than the stronger rye or wheat starters. This starter is also inexpensive to make, using only three medium potatoes. The bread flour can be replaced with all-purpose, wheat, or rye flour, making it a flexible recipe that can be pulled together easily.

What’s best about this ​potato sourdough starter is that you restart it every two weeks, preventing the yeast from becoming too sour; you can also restart the starter from scratch or by using a cup of the original starter.

When making sourdough bread, remember that 1 cup of potato sourdough starter can be used in place of 1 package of active dry yeast.

"I’m always looking for ways to use my leftover potato scraps, and this recipe is perfect for that. If you're using an immersion blender, skip the step of draining the potatoes and just blend the potatoes in the pot with the cooking water. I used the starter to make sourdough focaccia and cinnamon rolls." —Renae Wilson

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 medium potatoes

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or one 0.25-ounce packet)

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 cup bread flour

  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Potato Sourdough Starter ingredients

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  2. Peel and cube the potatoes.

    peeled and cubed potatoes in a bowl

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. In a large pot, boil the potatoes in 4 cups of water until soft, about 30 minutes.

    potatoes boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. Set a colander over a large bowl and drain the potatoes. You’ll use both the potato water and the potatoes in the starter, so be sure to reserve the potato water.

    boiled potatoes in a colander

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash using a potato masher or immersion blender.

    mashed potatoes in a pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. Add the mashed potatoes to the potato water. Stir and set aside to cool until lukewarm.

    potatoes and potato water mixed together in a white bowl

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  7. Stir in the yeast and warm water. Then mix in the bread flour, sugar, and salt.

    potatoes with yeast and warm water

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  8. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature.

    towel covering the potato yeast mixture

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  9. Pour the starter into a large jar or 2 smaller jars, cover, and store in the refrigerator. It is now ready to use in your favorite sourdough bread recipe. Enjoy.

    Potato Sourdough Starter in a jar

    The Spruce / Loren Runion


  • You can use the potato sourdough starter in recipes calling for sourdough starter; just replace the wheat-based starter with an equivalent amount of the potato starter. For recipes calling for active dry yeast, use 1 cup of the potato starter in place of 1 (1/4 ounce) package of yeast. Try making sourdough pizza crust, bread rolls, or a loaf of bread.
  • Use the starter in sourdough recipes within two weeks. At the end of two weeks, make a new starter from scratch, or follow the starter directions, replacing the dry yeast with 1 cup of leftover starter.
  • You can also store in large plastic containers in the refrigerator.
  • If the liquid separates from the starter as it sits, just give it a stir to bring the mixture back together before using.
  • This recipe makes about 6 cups of starter. If you need less, feel free to cut the recipe in half.

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