Are you wondering what to do with leftover sourdough starter? These Sourdough Discard Cookies are the best way to use it up! This recipe makes a small batch of soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies in less than 30 minutes.
I have made a lot, and I mean a LOT, of chocolate chip cookies in my life and this is by far of the best ones I’ve ever made...★★★★★
I received my sourdough starter as a gift in 2021 but have only made one loaf of actual sourdough bread. I've tried a few sourdough discard recipes but haven't found any I loved, so I created my own in this sourdough chocolate chip cookies recipe!
All of my friends love these and one even said they're the best cookies he's ever had! Although, my s'mores cookies are giving these a run for their money!
Why We Love This Recipe
- It's a great way to use up sourdough discard instead of letting it go to waste!
- No special ingredients, like bread flour, are necessary! This recipe uses pantry staples in addition to unfed sourdough starter.
- The sourdough cookies have a perfect soft and chewy texture, like my malted chocolate chip cookies!
- The sourdough discard helps balance out the sweetness and enhance the savoriness.
- It makes about 9 regular cookies so it's nice to share amongst a few people.
- They're a fun variation of classic chocolate chip cookies with a tasty tang from the discard! For another delicious variety of CCCs, try my Salted Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies.
- I like using dark brown sugar for extra flavor and chewiness, but light brown sugar will work as well.
- Sourdough discard is what's left after feeding your sourdough starter. Every sourdough starter is different, but these cookies work well with most! My starter is a 1:1:1 ratio of sourdough starter, all-purpose flour, and water.
- Vanilla extract gives these chewy chocolate chip cookies their classic flavor.
- Semi sweet chocolate chips help balance out the sweetness, but feel free to use dark, milk, or whatever chocolate you like instead.
- You don't need a whole egg for this cookie recipe - just the yolk!
- Make sure the unsalted butter has come to room temperature before baking. It should still be slightly firm even at its softened state. If it's overly warm/soft, the cookies may spread more.
See recipe card below for quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
Mix-ins: Feel free to add ¼ cup of your favorite mix-ins like nuts or toffee. You can also replace the chocolate chips with something else if you'd like. For super melty chocolate puddles, use dark chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips!
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
How to Make Sourdough Discard Cookies
Quick Recipe Video
Step by Step Instructions
Before you get started, let your refrigerated ingredients reach room temperature and preheat oven to 350°F/177°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Step 1: In a medium/large bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until they're combined well and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
Step 2: Mix in the sourdough discard, followed by the egg yolk and vanilla extract. I like using my cordless hand mixer to stir the ingredients together!
Step 3: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir them into the wet ingredients just until the flour streaks disappear.
Step 4: Gently mix the chocolate chips into the cookie dough. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Bake the cookies on the middle oven rack at 350°F/177°C until their edges are slightly tan (8-11 minutes). Sprinkle on some flaky salt and let them cool for a bit on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
- Use unfed sourdough starter. This is the leftovers that don't get fed any flour or water and is usually discarded. When I tested these with fed sourdough starter, the cookies were okay but you could taste the extra flour.
- Weigh your dry ingredients. Over-measuring flour is a common issue that makes cookies dry and puffy. This is easily prevented by using a food scale to weigh the flour in grams (see metric tab in recipe card below). If using measuring cups, spoon the flour into the cups and level it off with a straightedge.
- Don't over-mix the dough. Doing so can lead to tough cookies instead of nice soft and chewy ones! An electric hand mixer is great since it's a small batch recipe, but you can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Add a bit more flour if your sourdough discard has a higher water content or is more liquidy than normal.
- Don't over-bake the cookies! Take them out when the edges are light tan. They'll continue to bake on the hot sheet after you remove them from the oven. If you leave them in the oven for too long, the cookies might turn out dry, hard and crunchy.
Sourdough discard (also known as unfed sourdough starter) is the sourdough leftover after measuring out the sourdough that gets fed. This is generally thrown away, which is why I've created this cookie recipe so that it doesn't have to go to waste!
You can, but it isn't recommended. Using fed sourdough starter can give the cookies more of a floury flavor.
When they're hot out of the oven, place a larger round object around them and scoot the edges back in. This is called cookie scooting!
This is likely from over-measuring the flour or over-baking the cookies. For the best results, use a food scale to weigh the flour in grams (see "metric" tab in the recipe card below).
I was gifted my sourdough starter, so I don't have experience making one from scratch. The one I was gifted follows King Arthur Baking's sourdough recipe. If you don't want to start yours from scratch, stop by a local bakery and see if they have any to spare!
Room Temperature: Store in an airtight container with a slice of bread for up to 1 week. The bread will absorb the moisture, keeping the cookies soft for days!
Refrigerator: Storing the baked in the refrigerator can dry them out, so this is not recommended. While the dough is best baked right away, it can be covered and refrigerated overnight and then baked the next day.
Freezing Instructions: Wrap the completely cooled cookies in plastic wrap and/or a freezer-safe bag labeled with "Sourdough Discard Chocolate Chip Cookies" and the date for up to 1 month. The dough balls can also be frozen for 1 month and baked within that timeframe.
Sourdough Discard Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Baking sheet
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment optional
- Cookie scoop
- Wire rack
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ scant teaspoon salt (scant = a little less)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
- ¼ cup sourdough starter discard unfed
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
- In a medium/large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until very well combined (2-3 minutes). Mix in the sourdough discard followed by the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until the flour streaks are gone. Mix in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop cookie dough balls (about 2 tablespoons each) onto a baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Top with extra chocolate chips (optional).
- Bake on the middle rack until the cookie edges are lightly golden (8-11 minutes).
- Recommended: scoot your cookies! Right out of the oven, place a slightly larger round object (biscuit cutter, large cup, etc.) over the cookie and scoot it around to bring the edges in, making the cookie perfectly round.Also feel free to sprinkle the cookies with flaky salt!
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until they're firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack (5-10 minutes).
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.