Cakey Sourdough Cookies

Sometimes you love something so much, you just can’t let it go. This is how I feel about my starter, and each time I refresh it, I just can’t bring myself to throw away the discard.

Last week, when my bf requested a batch of chocolate chip cookies — I took it as the perfect opportunity to use some of my discarded starter.  

Hank the discard jar

The only problem was cookies actually aren’t a great candidate for sourdough because of their low hydration — most recipes don’t require any water at all. The King Arthur Flour blog post on converting recipes to sourdough actually specifically state that you shouldn’t use starter on cookie recipes.

Being with my bf for almost 5 years now, I know for him, there’s only 1 kind of edible cookie, soft and chewy that edges on being cakey. I found using ¼ cup to 2 ¼ cups of flour was the perfect amount to achieve this texture. Thanks to acidity of the starter reacting with the baking powder in this mix, these were incredibly light with a great rise.

I like my cookies packed with filling and I usually enjoy a mixture of dried fruit, chocolate chips and nuts. For this recipe I used cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, and walnuts. But you can add a combination of whatever you’d like.

A few of my favorite combinations:

  • Dark chocolate, cranberries and pistachios
  • White chocolate, coconut and macadamia nuts
  • Milk chocolate, sultanas and hazelnuts
  • White chocolate, lemon zest, walnuts

Makes 24, 2 oz cookies.


2 ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
¾ CupSoftened Unsalted Butter (I used Kerrygold)
½ Cup (packed)Brown Sugar
½ Cup White Sugar
1 Egg
½ CupSourdough Discard
1 tspVanilla
3 Cups Combination of Mix-ins

Mix-ins I used for this batch:

Quantity Ingredient
½ CupSemi-sweet Chocolate Chips
½ Cup White Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Walnuts
1 Cup Cranberries



Preheat oven to 350 F/176 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Dry Ingredients:

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to get rid of any lumps and set aside.

Wet Ingredients:

In a separate bowl, cream softened butter and brown and white sugar until light and fluffy, I use a hand-held mixer.  

Add egg, sourdough starter and vanilla to butter and sugar mixture.


Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients little by little until fully combined, being careful not to over mix or your cookies will be tough and rubbery.

Add in your desired combination of mix-ins using a rubber spatula.


Scoop out 2 oz of dough mixture and roll into balls. Place on prepared cookie sheet and lightly flatten with your thumb.

Bake each tray for 12 minutes, being careful not to over bake and dry out cookies.

Place on wire rack to cool, but don’t wait too long as these cookies taste great warm.


I was honestly so surprised at how well these cookies turned out. They passed the bf test, soft, chewy, slightly cakey with no detectable sour flavor. The cookies maintained their perfect texture for 3 days until they were finally devoured (there are only 2 of us in our house to eat them).

If you enjoyed this recipe, please be sure to follow me on Instagram @MakeItDough for blog updates, and more sourdough baking ideas. If you have questions feel free to DM me and remember to post a photo and tag me when you make these delicious cookies.

More Sourdough Recipes and Guides

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Milton says:

    You mentioned the baking soda reacting with the discard, but, there’s no baking soda in your recipe? Can you clarify? Thanks.

    1. I actually meant baking powder. Thanks for catching that!

    2. Liz says:

      Loved this recipe such a unique yummy taste. For mix ins I added oatmeal, dark chocolate chips and pecans. I may have over worked the dough a bit since they did not expand much. It wasn’t a problem since I flattened the dough rounds before baking. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Alyse says:

    Where and how do you store your sourdough discard? I currently have mine in a sealed container in the fridge, but it is not “active” this way. Is that okay for these recipes? Thanks!

    1. I store mine in the fridge in an airtight container until ready for use. If you’re not using your starter to leaven bread as in this cookie recipe it does not need to be active.

  3. Alyse says:

    Thank you! Sorry, one more question! So what does the sourdough discard do for this recipe? Thank you!

    1. No worries and sorry for the late response! The sourdough discard gives the cookies a slight sour flavor that I personally think is delicious. Other than that it’s sourdough so it makes them healthy-er right? Right? Haha

  4. Olivia says:

    Hello, I made these cookies but they did not expand at all ): any tips?

    1. Oh no! If your cookies did not flatten, try flattening it with your fingers before putting them in the oven. This will help it spread while it bakes

  5. Maureen says:

    Can you freeze this dough and bake later? Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! You make need to add a minute or two with baking!

  6. Zandra Leahy says:

    These are SO good! Light and fluffy.

    1. So glad you loved them!

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