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Sourdough Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls (Discard Recipe)

Are you just getting into the sourdough trend? You are going to love making these Sourdough Dinner Rolls recipe with the discard from your starter.

Simple, delicious, and just like the rolls I remember from my Grandmother’s holiday table but easy enough to make all year long.

Top down view of three clover leaf dinner rolls brushed with butter and sprinkled with salt - Hostess At Heart

We walk you through the process of making these from-scratch dinner rolls with seven simple ingredients including your sourdough discard. What a great way to put it to use!

What is Sourdough?

Sourdough bread begins with the formation of a dough starter also known as wild yeast that is fed and fermented over the course of several days until it contains plenty of active yeast. The fermentation process creates a natural leavening for the bread and gives it that familiar flavor.

What is Sourdough Discard?

As the dough ferments, it is fed with new flour to keep it alive and bubbly. When more flour and water are added, some of the old starter is removed to make room for the new food and to avoid having too much active sourdough starter on hand. This is called the sourdough starter discard. Bake sourdough discard rolls with that waste instead of throwing it away!

What is a Cloverleaf Roll?

The dough is separated into three small parts and put into a single muffin tin to rise and bake. The resulting roll is shaped like a cloverleaf with three leaves.

Sourdough Dinner Rolls Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

Ingredients for Sourdough Dinner Rolls Recipe including sourdough discard, flour, water, sugar, salt, egg, and butter. Hostess At Heart
  • Sourdough Discard. This is the part of your starter that you remove before feeding each day. Learn how to make your own sourdough bread starter here.
  • All-Purpose Flour. You can also use bread flour.
  • Hot Water. No more than 110ºF.
  • Sugar. To feed the yeast and cause the bread to rise.
  • Salt. I like fine sea salt
  • Butter. Room temperature butter. Do not use low-fat butter.
  • Egg. One large egg is sufficient.

How To Make Sourdough Dinner Rolls

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Step One. Mix the liquid ingredients.

Mix the hot water, sugar, butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let it cool to lukewarm. You want it no more than 110ºF when you add the starter. The hot water will soften the butter creating soft sourdough dinner rolls.

Step Two. Add the sourdough starter.

Add the starter and 1 cup of flour. Mix on low speed until smooth.

Step Three. Add the egg.

Slightly beat the egg and add it to the starter. Mix until combined.

Step Four. Add enough flour to make a soft dough.

Change to the dough hook attachment and gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough.

Soft ball of dough in an oiled glass bowl - Hostess At Heart

Step Five. Let your Sourdough Dinner Rolls Recipe rise.

For the first rise, move the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place free of drafts until doubled, approximately 90 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and then divide each piece of dough into 3 dough balls placing them into a muffin pan cavity prepared with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the clover rolls for one hour for the second rise.

Step Six. Bake your sourdough rolls.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake the bread rolls in a preheated oven set to 350°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. For ultimate buttery rolls, brush melted butter over the top of the rolls and a sprinkle of coarse salt such as sea salt. It will keep the crust soft and give your delicious rolls a beautiful shine.

Butter being brushed on the top of a fresh hot sourdough dinner roll. Hostess At

Hostess Tips and Tricks

This dough does not need to be kneaded.

Use a clear bowl so that you can see quickly how much the dough has risen.

For perfectly sized rolls, use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough as you divide it.

If your dough is sticky, you can lightly dust your working surface with flour when shaping the rolls. Don’t add too much flour or your little balls of dough won’t adhere together as they bake.

If you have difficulty getting your rolls to brown, you can brush the top of the dough with an egg wash before baking. I use an egg wash when I want to top our rolls with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

Instead of throwing out your sourdough discard, simply move it to its own container in the fridge where it will keep for a couple of weeks or until you can bake these beautiful sourdough discard cloverleaf rolls or maybe one of these sourdough discard recipes.

Sea salt being sprinkled over the top of a baked cloverleaf roll after it's brushed with salt. Hostess At Heart

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use sourdough discard in recipes?

Breads made with sourdough discard are more easily digested than regular yeast breads. In addition, the resulting breads are softer and you get a milder form of that distinctive sourdough flavor!

Why are some sourdough breads more sour than others?

The age of the starter changes the intensity and complexity of the sourdough bread. In addition, a long rise time increases that distinctive sourness. Since the rise time for these rolls isn’t very long these rolls aren’t very sour. If you’re looking for more recipes with a distinct sour flavor, you may enjoy a fresh loaf of sourdough bread.

Can sourdough dinner rolls be made ahead of time?

Yes. You can make the sourdough rolls up to 24 hours before your meal, and warm them in the oven if you wish to serve them warm.

You can also mix up the bread dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator and follow the remaining instructions.

Close-up of opened cloverleaf sourdough roll with one part torn off. Hostess At Heart

How To Reheat & Store Sourdough Dinner Rolls

What is the best way to store Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls?

Keep your leftover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days until they become stale.

Can I freeze Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls?

Yes. Freeze the baked rolls in an airtight container and thaw them for ten to thirty seconds in the microwave.

You can also freeze the dough before allowing it to rise. Just wrap it in plastic wrap and place in an airtight freezer-safe container. When you remove the dough from the freezer allow it to thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter to rise and shape.

How do you reheat Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls?

Ten to fifteen seconds in a microwave should be sufficient to warm up a roll and melt butter.

There’s nothing like homemade bread. If you enjoy making dinner rolls how about trying my Irish Waterford Blaa rolls, my daughter’s favorite, or these One-Hour Dinner rolls, my son’s favorite? Me? I love them all, especially a soft Cinnamon roll fresh from the oven.

Sourdough clover leaf Dinner Rolls on a tray. Top down view of rolls. - Hostess At Heart

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

Sourdough clover leaf Dinner Rolls on a tray. Top down view of rolls. - Hostess At Heart

Cloverleaf Sourdough Dinner Rolls with Discard

Author: Julie Menghini
You are going to love this easy buttery soft and tender Old-Fashioned Sourdough Dinner Rolls Recipe with the discard from your starter.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword: Dinner rolls, Sourdough
Servings: 12


  • 1 cup sourdough discard (unfed starter)
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt – I like fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp butter – melted
  • 1 egg


  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add the hot water, sugar, butter, and salt. Mix to combine and let cool to luke warm.
  • Add the starter and 1 cup of flour. Mix until smooth.
  • Add the egg and mix until combined.
  • Change to the paddle attachment and gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough.
  • Move the dough to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm area free of drafts and let rise until doubled, approximately 90 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 12 pieces and then divide each piece into 3. Roll into balls and place 3 balls into the cavity of a muffin tin, seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 350 °F for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter and coarse salt if desired.


Once you’re ready to divide the dough, don’t incorporate flour into the pieces or the dough balls won’t stick together while baking.


Calories: 190kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 5gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 216mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 78IUCalcium: 9mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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Top down view of a baked cloverleaf dinner roll brushed with butter and sprinkled with sea salt - Hostess At Heart
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 26th of March 2024

Always looking for more ways to use my discard and these were delish! Thanks for the recipe!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 26th of March 2024

I was really pleased with this recipe too. Thank you!

Laura Johnson

Monday 25th of March 2024

These were so beautiful and delicious! We had them for dinner and then ate them with leftover ham the next day...they were so so good!

Julie Menghini

Monday 25th of March 2024

Thank you, Laura! They'd be great with a slice of ham too.


Thursday 21st of March 2024

Easy, tender, and amazing flavor!!!

Michaela Kenkel

Wednesday 20th of March 2024

These sourdough dinner rolls are just stunning! I have asked my daughter to use her sourdough and make them for Easter!

Laura Ashley Johnson

Tuesday 12th of March 2024

These rolls were amazing! Definitely entering my holiday meal routine!

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