Ready to take your sourdough bread to the next level with new sourdough inclusion ideas?

From classics like jalapeño cheddar to unique combinations like blueberry lemon zest, this is your ultimate list of fun sourdough inclusion ideas.

sourdough loaves with inclusions in bannetons
A fun lineup of sourdough inclusions – from bottom to top, we have chocolate chips; lemon poppyseed; sundried tomato and feta; and pickled jalapeño, sriracha gouda cheese, and jalapeño everything bagel seasoning.

I have a bit of advice and how-to here at the beginning, but if you prefer to jump straight to the inclusion ideas, you can jump ahead.

Related: The Best Foolproof White Sourdough Bread Recipe

When to Add Inclusions to Sourdough

There are different schools of thought about when to add inclusions to sourdough. Some people prefer to add them during stretch and folds, and others prefer the laminating stage.

I’ve found that the best timing depends on the type of inclusions you’re adding.

When to Add Savory Inclusions

Savory inclusions timing: for inclusions that aren’t adding extra sugar, I’ve found it’s best to add them during the second set of stretch and folds. It doesn’t mess with the texture or bulk fermentation process, and the flavors really sink into your bread.

When to Add Sweet Inclusions

Sweet inclusions timing: for inclusions that introduce added sugar – particularly honey or sugar – it’s best to wait until the bulk fermentation is finished. I add these inclusions during the lamination process, or when you stretch your dough ball out into a rectangle before shaping it into a boule or batard.

How to Add Inclusions to Sourdough

Once again, savory inclusions are so easy to work with.

How to Add Savory Inclusions

To add them to your dough, simply dump it into your bowl of dough during the second set of stretch and folds.

Stretch and fold your dough to start distributing those inclusions. You’ll do two more sets and stretch and folds and then wait until your bulk fermentation is finished to shape. Proceed like normal!


There are different schools of thought about when to add inclusions to sourdough. Some people prefer to add them during stretch and folds, and others prefer the laminating stage. I’ve found that the best timing depends on the type of inclusions you’re adding. Savory inclusions timing: for inclusions that aren’t adding extra sugar, I’ve found it’s best to add them during the second set of stretch and folds. It doesn’t mess with the texture or bulk fermentation process, and the flavors really sink into your bread. Sweet inclusions timing: for inclusions that introduce added sugar – particularly honey or sugar – it’s best to wait until the bulk fermentation is finished. I add these inclusions during the lamination process, or when you stretch your dough ball out into a rectangle before shaping it into a boule or batard. #sourdoughtok #sourdoughinclusions

♬ original sound – thatsourdoughgal

How to Add Sweet Inclusions

Sweet inclusions are a lot harder to master.

Anyone who’s done a classic cinnamon swirl loaf knows that the liquified sugar is bound to leak out, causing a mess in your banneton and potential burning on the bottom of your loaf.

Shaping a dough ball that’s leaking sugar everywhere is also quite maddening!

cinnamon swirl pre baked
One of the better loaves I did that included brown sugar – you can see the leaking but at least it wasn’t everywhere. It’s definitely a learning curve!

I personally haven’t truly mastered a leak-proof sweet loaf, but I’ve seen a lot of hacks online that I’ll share here for you to try.

1. Unique Laminating Technique

This unique laminating technique shows the baker adding honey, cheese, and jalapeños to the dough (definitely one of those sourdough inclusion ideas I want to try next!).

folding inclusions during shaping to the center-min

She then folds up the dough to the center instead of the classic roll-up method. This helps keep the contents from spilling out.

2. Cover Dough In More Dough

I cannot find the video for the life of me, but to prevent leaking, add your inclusions like normal and roll up your loaf into a boule or batard.

Then, take more laminated dough, sans inclusions, and place your dough ball in the middle of it. Wrap the laminated dough around your sugar-filled dough ball, and you shouldn’t have any seepage.

3. Leave Borders and Tuck In When Rolling Up

Last but not least, this TikTok video was super helpful to see. Haley is very particular about her cinnamon sugar placement, and she does very careful rolling.

Definitely bookmarking that one for later.

5 Quick Sourdough Inclusions Hacks

Before we get to the inclusion ideas, here are some hacks I’ve learned along the way that may help you achieve better add-in success.

Hack 1: Start with dicing your ingredients smaller until you feel confident with inclusions. Then, you can move your way up to bigger cubes, which are a little harder to work with.

Hack 2: Spray your countertop and hands with water before laminating your dough and adding your inclusions. It stops the sticking. You can see how this is done in this TikTok video.

Hack 3: Try adding a little bread flour to sugar add-ins. It helps the sugar stay in place and may prevent the liquified sugar from seeping out as it absorbs some of the liquid.

Hack 4: For sweet inclusions, the sugar will probably liquify and seep out of your dough. Make sure your banneton is prepared for this so it doesn’t get ruined. Some people swear by silicone bannetons, which can be washed in the dishwasher. At a minimum, I usually put parchment paper beneath the dough.

Hack 5: The general rule of thumb is inclusions should account for about 20% of your dough’s total weight. I never measure this stuff, personally. But if you were baking two loaves of bread, the total dough weight would be something like 1,830 grams. Your inclusions would then ideally be about 366 grams, or 183 grams per loaf.

Savory Sourdough Inclusion Ideas

Ready for some savory sourdough inclusion ideas? We have cheese, peppers, veggies, seeds, and even bacon! Let’s get right into it.

Tip: Visit this Pinterest folder I made with tons of inclusion ideas and recipes for later.

1. Jalepeño Cheddar

jalapeno cheddar
Jalepeño Cheddar

One of the most classic sourdough inclusion combos is jalapeño cheddar. Whether you use fresh jalapeño or pickled is up to you – I’d say opinions are split 50/50. I’m on team pickled as I found it gave a much stronger flavor and spiciness.

You can also riff on this flavor combination by trying different cheeses and textures. I’ve made a jalapeño sriracha gouda loaf before that was divine.

I’ve also seen others do a combination of cubed and shredded cheese for a more even distribution. Experiment and find what you like!

2. Roasted Garlic and Rosemary

Roasted garlic is insane on its own, but add it to a loaf of sourdough and toss in some rosemary and I’m in heaven.

A bread-dipping olive oil bowl is a must for this one.

3. Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta

The sweetness of sun dried tomatoes with the sharpness and saltiness of feta cheese is a flavor combo to die for. I love doing this combination on top of sourdough toast, but adding into the actual bread and baking it off?

It’s literally the best bread I’ve ever made.

sundried tomato and feta

You could also sub in parmesan cheese or goat cheese for an insanely delicious combination.

Related: Sun-dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Sourdough Bread Recipe

4. French Onion (Carmelized Onions, Brie Cheese, Thyme)

Can you imagine having French onion soup with a slice of French onion sourdough bread? I don’t think I need to say any more than that.

5. Seed Mix

Adding seeds to your sourdough is a great way to get extra health benefits, and OMG, these sourdough loaves are gorgeous.

You can experiment with all kinds of different nuts, including walnuts, raw or toasted pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, slivered almonds, shelled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or hemp seeds.

6. Sharp White Cheddar and Dill

I saw a dill pickle sourdough bread recipe on TikTok, and I’ve been thinking about it daily since then. Chop up some sharp white cheddar cheese and toss in some fresh dill for a truly delicious combination.

You can also swap out some of the water for dill pickle juice. I’ve done that before while adding some caraway seeds for an incredibly good rye bread, which is perfect for Reubens.

pickle and caraway seeds
A rye loaf I did with pickle juice and caraway seeds

7. Calabrian Chili and Honey

This combination is super unique but there’s just something about sweet and spicy that has my mouth watering. It’s definitely at the top of my list for inclusions to try next.

8. Fresh Herbs

You can keep your inclusions super simple by adding a combination of fresh herbs. If you have an herb garden, this would be so quick and easy! Some popular ideas include sage, thyme, oregano, and rosemary.

9. Olives and Parmesan

olive parmesan

My mother-in-law is a big fan of olive bread, so this is an add-in I do quite often. Do a mix of green and purple olives, and toss in some shaved parmesan for extra oomph.

The result is a briney, sour, savory bread that’s perfect for dipping in a spiced olive oil.

10. Pizza

Turn a loaf of sourdough into a pizza lookalike! Add in some Italian seasoning – go heavy on the oregano – pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese for a pizza-inspired boule.

You can get creative and throw in some pepperoni or veggies, too.

11. Pesto Mozzarella

Pesto mozzarella is a classic combo I’ve always loved on flatbread, so why not put inside your sourdough bread?

You’ll definitely want to measure this one to ensure there’s not too much moisture from the pesto. This recipe from Acts of Sourdough is a good one.

12. Asiago and Rosemary

Asiago bagels are my favorites, so again – why not do it to your loaf of sourdough? Add some rosemary for a flavor combo that’s off the chain.

Make sure to sprinkle some extra asiago on top of your dough before baking for that crunchy, gorgeous crust.

13. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

A lot of people add basic spices to their sourdough to kick it up a notch, but I counter that with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. If you think it sounds weird, add it to your next loaf. It’s *chef’s kiss.*

I recently did a loaf of jalapeño, sriracha gouda, and jalapeño everything but the bagel seasoning, and OMG it is to die for.

jalapeno gouda

14. White and Black Sesame Seeds

White and black sesame seeds are a beautiful combination. If you want an Insta-worthy pic of your sourdough era, this is definitely an inclusion to try.

Plus, sesame seeds include tons of key nutrients like calcium, potassium, copper, iron, and manganese.

15. Roasted Potato, Rosemary, Garlic, Parmesan

I’ve seen a lot of focaccia with a roasted potato situation on top, but it’s rare to see a loaf of sourdough bread with it. And I say to that: why not?

Try adding roasted potato, rosemary, garlic, and parmesan cheese to your next loaf and let me know how long it lasts in your house…

16. Bacon

Last but not least: bacon! Need I say more?

You can add more complexity to this one by throwing in some diced cheese, bleu cheese, jalapeño, or seasonings. I even saw a combo on Pinterest of bacon, smoked gouda, and hatch green chile.


17. Green Chile and Gruyere

Ohhh my goodness, does this combination sound heavenly. Green chiles are pretty mild in their spiciness, so it won’t knock you over if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.

And gruyere cheese is the perfect addition for a nutty flavor and creamy texture.

Recipe You Might Like: Sourdough Discard Hamburger Slider Buns

18. Spinach and Artichoke

Add canned artichokes, shredded parmesan cheese, and fresh spinach leaves to your sourdough bread, and you have a heavenly spinach artichoke sourdough loaf!

Check out the idea from the Instagram account Acts of Sourdough.

Sweet Sourdough Inclusion Ideas

Ready to hit that sweet spot? Try some sweet sourdough bread recipes. You don’t have to go all out on a chocolate noir sourdough loaf – you can dip your toes in with a classic cinnamon swirl or blueberry lemon zest loaf.

19. Brown Sugar and Cinnamon (Cinnamon Swirl)

The most popular sweet sourdough inclusion is definitely the cinnamon swirl. This is a simple combination of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Here’s a TikTok video I made showing the best part!

I’d also argue it’s the hardest inclusion to add since the brown sugar will start liquefying, leaving you cursing the fact that you ever wanted to start making sourdough in the first place.

Please refer back to my how-tos and tips at the top of this post. It’s not impossible, but it requires a little practice. And even if it doesn’t look perfect when it’s baked off? I promise it’ll still be delicious.

20. Cinnamon Raisin

cinnamon raisin
Cinnamon Raisin

Cinnamon raisin is a slight variation from the cinnamon swirl, and it’s also delicious! Most recipes tell you to rehydrate the raisins in hot water before adding to ensure they don’t soak up too much water from your dough.

21. Blueberry Lemon Zest

blueberry lemon zest
Blueberry Lemon Zest

I’ve made a blueberry lemon zest loaf before and wasn’t a huge fan, but it’s definitely a very popular add-in option. Give a try and let me know how it goes!

22. Chocolate Chips

My kids will eat anything if it has chocolate chips in it, I swear. It’s really that simple – just add some chocolate chips during your second set of stretch and folds, and that’s it!

chocolate chip sourdough

Since there’s no added sugar, like brown sugar or honey, you don’t have to worry about leakage. This is definitely one of the easiest sourdough inclusion ideas on this list!

23. Double Chocolate Strawberry

Chocolate sourdough is something I have yet to try, but my god, the photos are stunning. Chocolate strawberry is a delicious flavor combo, so this is firmly on my to-do list.

24. Maple Pecan Cinnamon

I love a little maple pecan cinnamon moment! The maple syrup may be hard to work with, but again, reference my tips and tricks at the top of the post.

25. Pumpkin Spice and Cranberries

What better sourdough inclusion combo for autumn than pumpkin spice and cranberry? I’m stopping at Starbucks after this bake for a pumpkin spice latte.

26. Poppy Seed and Lemon Zest

lemon poppyseed

Lemon poppy seed muffins are my all-time favorite, so I’m honestly shocked that I never thought to try it with sourdough bread.

I will say this combo wasn’t my favorite, but it adds a little hint of nuttiness and citrus, which is pleasant.

27. Raspberry Cheesecake

The inclusions for a raspberry cheesecake flavor combo are raspberries, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. This recipe from Twelve on Main will walk you through how to do it.

28. Honey and Oats

A very breakfast-y flavor combination is honey and old-fashioned oats. Sprinkling more oats on top before baking also gives you a beautiful loaf, primed for photos!

29. Orange Cranberry

Orange cranberry is another perfect autumn sourdough combo. For this one, you’ll want to use orange zest and dried cranberries that you’ve soaked in hot water before you add it to your dough.

30. Chocolate Cherry

I’m personally not a huge fan of the chocolate cherry combo, but if you are, you can totally make it sourdough!

31. White Chocolate Strawberry

White chocolate strawberry is a gorgeous combination. I’ve even seen some people add basil in there, which is right up my alley!

White chocolate chips and freeze-dried strawberries are your best bet here.

You could also omit the fruit altogether and enjoy some white chocolate sourdough bread.

32. Blueberry Goat Cheese

Blueberry and goat cheese sounds like a heavenly breakfast toast topping, so why wouldn’t it also be amazing baked into the bread? This is so on my list of sourdough inclusion ideas to try.

33. Apple Cinnamon Swirl

Apple cinnamon swirl is a kid-favorite, for sure! This inclusion combination is also often referred to as Apple Pie sourdough, and it’s slightly more involved than just tossing in your inclusions.

You’ll need to actually make the filling (diced granny smith apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and brown sugar) before you can add it to your laminated dough.

34. Chocolate Raspberry

Chocolate raspberry – another fun combination that I dare say is ideal for Valentine’s Day. Just like the chocolate strawberry combo, you’ll want to use freeze-dried raspberries here. This recipe is useful.

35. Chocolate Espresso

I love chocolate cake recipes that include some form of espresso or coffee, so I’m all in on the chocolate espresso sourdough bread concept.

chocolate coffee sourdough bread

This is the recipe I followed, and it turned out amazing! The bread doesn’t turn out too sweet – it’s rich and complex. Yum.

36. Maple Blueberry and Sweet Lemon Zest

Pantry Mama wrote a recipe for maple blueberry and sweet (brown sugar) lemon zest, and I really appreciate her attention to detail.

She has you cook the maple syrup and blueberry together, which I never would have thought to do. She also mixes the brown sugar and lemon zest before adding to the dough, which helps the sugar emulsify. Genius!

37. Blueberry and Cinnamon Sugar

Blueberry and cinnamon sugar is a fun twist on the classic cinnamon raisin. Give it a try and see how you like it!

38. Orange Vanilla

I’m super excited to try the orange-vanilla flavor combo! For this one, you adjust the amount of water you use in your bread dough. As an example, my sourdough recipe calls for:

  • 1000g bread flour
  • 660g water
  • 150g starter
  • 20g salt
orange vanilla sourdough dough
I kept the empty vanilla bean pod on top the dough during the bulk fermentation to further permeate that amazing scent and flavor!

To make it orange vanilla, I did:

  • 1000g bread flour
  • 150g fresh orange juice
  • 510g water
  • 150g starter
  • 20g salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Scrape out the inside of a vanilla bean pod
  • Zest of one orange

Add some orange zest during shaping for tons of extra flavor.

39. Fig and Walnut

Fig and walnut is a fun Christmastime sourdough bread idea. King Arthur has a recipe that’s worth a shot!

40. Cookies and Cream

Crush up some Oreos for a fun cookies and cream sourdough loaf! You can see the final result in this TikTok video from Saratoga Sourdough Sisters.

41. London Fog

London Fog sourdough bread uses Earl Grey tea (the Instagram account that posted this idea recommends Republic of Tea’s Earl Greyer Vanilla. Simply replace the water in your regular sourdough bread recipe with that steeped tea.

Add in some white chocolate chunks to get that touch of sweetness.

sourdough inclusions pinterest


I hope these sourdough inclusion ideas and add-ins inspire you to try something new with your bread.

Flavor combinations like jalapeño cheddar or olives and parmesan will definitely level up your sourdough game! Enjoy!

Read Next: My Favorite Sourdough Recipes Collection

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