Toasted sourdough bread with a pat of room-temperature butter will send me to heaven in 2 seconds flat. But it’s not like the bread you buy from the store, so learning how to toast sourdough bread will really elevate your experience.

You might find certain toasting methods work better for your particular sourdough loaf than others.

Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about how to toast sourdough bread. We’ll explore everything from using your trusty toaster to handy kitchen gadgets like air fryers. 

how to toast sourdough bread

Related: The Best Foolproof White Sourdough Bread Recipe

Why Sourdough Takes Longer to Toast

Ever popped a slice of sourdough into the toaster and found yourself checking multiple times to see if it’s done? Same.

Toasting sourdough can feel like a bit of a waiting game compared to other breads. 

Sourdough’s unique characteristics directly influence how it toasts. And there are two main factors that affect the toasting results of sourdough.

Sugar Content 

Sourdough bread has a lower sugar content than other traditional breads. The fermentation process consumes sugars, but most sourdough bread has no added sugars.

My personal sourdough recipe is just flour, water, salt, and sourdough starter. There’s no sugar, honey, or other sweetener added. Typical bread from the supermarket often has tons of added sugar, and that sugar is what helps the bread turn golden when toasted.

Less sugar means sourdough won’t brown as quickly under heat as other types of bread, extending your toasting time to reach that perfect golden color.

Fermentation Process 

The fermentation process gives sourdough its distinctive tangy flavor. It also affects its moisture content and texture. 

This means that when you toast a slice of sourdough, you’re not just crisping it up; you’re also driving out more moisture compared to other types of bread.

Best Ways to Toast Sourdough Bread

Here are 5 ways to toast your sourdough bread. 

1. How to Toast Sourdough Bread In the Toaster

Toasting sourdough in a toaster gives you the best toast with minimal effort, though it’s not going to work for boules as the slices are too long.

Just pop your pieces of bread in, and you’ll have your slices ready to be slathered with your favorite spreads and toppings in no time. 

Here’s how to achieve the perfect toast:

  • Medium Heat: Set your toaster to medium. This ensures the sourdough toasts evenly without burning.
  • Type of Toaster: Both a pop-up toaster and a toaster oven work well. Toaster ovens offer better control for larger slices.
sourdough in toaster
You can cut a longer slice of sourdough bread in two and pop each half in the toaster.
  • Timing: Sourdough may need a bit more time to toast than regular bread because of the density. Watch closely to avoid over-toasting!
  • Quick Tip: For a busy morning, the toaster is your best bet. It’s the easiest way to get sourdough toast done with less fuss and in less time.
sourdough toast with berry compote topping

With these tips on toasting sourdough bread in a toaster, you’ll have a delicious base for all your favorite toppings in no time.

2. How to Toast Sourdough Bread On the Stovetop

Perfecting sourdough toast in a pan on the stove does require a bit of finesse, but the results are well worth it. 

This stovetop method provides a fabulous way to achieve a golden crust and a warm interior. It’s my personal favorite way to toast sourdough, but I don’t do it every time since it takes longer than a toaster.

stovetop pan sourdough toast

Here’s a simple guide to help you master the pan-toasting method:

  • Warm Up the Pan: Begin by heating a non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. A moderate temperature is key to toasting your sourdough evenly without burning.
  • Prepare the Bread: If you’re aiming for an extra indulgent slice, lightly brush each side of your sourdough bread with butter or a drizzle of olive oil. This step helps in achieving a beautifully golden and crispy exterior.
buttered sourdough bread before toasting
  • Pan Toasting: Place your sourdough slices in the warmed pan. Let them toast for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, watching them the entire time to prevent burning. This is the best way to ensure each slice develops that perfect crunch on the outside while remaining soft on the inside.
  • Flipping: Carefully flip the bread using a spatula to ensure an even toast on both sides. Adjust the heat if necessary to keep the toast from getting too dark too quickly.

Toasting sourdough in a pan allows for a hands-on approach, giving you full control over the texture and color of your toast as long as you keep a close eye.

It’s a great way to make your mornings extra special, whether you’re whipping up homemade French toast with stale sourdough bread, a few ingredients, and some maple syrup, or simply enjoying a warm, crispy slice of sourdough. 

Plus, the direct heat from the pan ensures a deliciously golden crust that’s hard to get with other methods.

3. How to Toast Sourdough Bread In the Oven

Toasting sourdough bread in the oven is ideal when you want that perfectly crispy toast, especially when working with larger batches. 

If you’re using sourdough as sandwich bread, this is a great way to ensure all your slices are toasted the same and ready to make delicious sandwiches. 

sandwich slices of sourdough bread

Oven toasting not only brings out the bread’s natural flavors but also provides a sturdy base that holds up well for tons of fillings, from classic BLTs to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Here’s a simple guide:

  • Preheat Your Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This temperature is ideal for evenly toasting without burning.
  • Prepare the Bread: Lightly brush each slice of delicious sourdough bread with olive oil. This adds flavor and helps achieve a golden, crispy edge.
  • Baking Sheet: Arrange the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Toast to Perfection: Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through. 
  • Benefits: Oven toasting is great for making multiple slices at once, saving time. It also allows for a more even texture, making each bite of sourdough perfectly crispy.

Whether you’re preparing breakfast for the family or making croutons for a salad, oven-toasting is a great way to get delicious results.

4. How to Toast Sourdough Bread In the Air Fryer

The air fryer is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! It’s also an easy way to toast slices of sourdough bread. 

Using an air fryer is efficient and gives you that crispy texture with much less effort. 

If you’re looking to experiment with your sourdough, this method might become one of your favorite ways to toast it.

Here’s your quick guide to air fryer sourdough toast:

  • Prep Your Bread: For an extra touch of flavor, lightly brush each piece of bread with a little butter or extra virgin olive oil. This step isn’t necessary, but it can add richness to your toast.
  • Air Fryer Settings: Place the slices of bread in the air fryer basket without overlapping. Set the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and toast for 3-4 minutes. The time may need to be adjusted depending on your air fryer model.
  • Flip for Even Toasting: Halfway through, open the air fryer and flip each slice to ensure even toasting on the second side. 

Toasting sourdough in an air fryer is an easy way to get your breakfast or snack ready in no time. It also offers a unique texture that’s hard to achieve with other methods. 

Whether you’re slathering your crispy sourdough with peanut butter or topping it with some fresh fruit, the air fryer makes each piece of bread come out just the way you like it—with minimal effort and maximum deliciousness.

5. How to Toast Sourdough Bread On the Stove (Direct Flame)

Toasting sourdough bread directly on the stove, especially over an open flame, is a great way to add a charred, smoky flavor that you can’t get from other methods. 

This technique is perfect for those who love a bit of crunch and a rustic touch to their toast. 

It’s a quick and direct method, taking only 1-2 minutes, but the most important thing is to keep safety in mind and watch the bread closely to achieve that perfect level of doneness without burning.

Here’s how to master the art of stove-top charring:

  • Choose Your Sourdough Bread: This method works best with thicker slices of sourdough so it can withstand direct heat without falling apart.
  • Safety First: If you’re using a gas stove, turn the burner to a medium flame. If you have an electric stove, you can use a dry skillet over medium heat as an alternative.
  • Toast Directly on the Flame: Place the slice of sourdough directly on the stove grate above the flame. Use tongs to keep your hands safe and to give you better control.
  • Watch and Flip: Toast the bread for about 1-2 minutes on one side, then flip it using the tongs to toast the other side. 
  • Monitor Closely: The most important thing is to keep a close eye on your bread the entire time it’s toasting. Sourdough can go from perfectly charred to burnt very quickly. 

From Bread to Toast: Finding Your Perfect Sourdough Toasting Method

Now you know the ins and outs of toasting sourdough, from your trusty toaster to the innovative air fryer and even directly over the flame. 

The best part? There’s no single way to toast sourdough. Each method brings something special to the table.

Read Next: 32 Favorite Sourdough Toast Toppings Sure to Impress

Whether it’s for a slow weekend breakfast or to go with the next day’s dinner, sourdough serves as a great base for a variety of delicious recipes. The key is to explore different ways to toast the bread, finding your personal favorite.


I hope you try these techniques and discover the joy of creating the best sourdough toast every single time. 

Share your success stories, tips, and favorite toppings in the comments below! 


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