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Sourdough Cookies (Easy Recipe with Dairy Free Option)

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These sourdough cookies are naturally fermented so they are easy to make and easy to digest. They're also a great way to use up sourdough discard.

Even the kids will enjoy these cookies. (They don't taste too sour – honest.)  The texture is soft and cake-like, with a delicate crumb.

sourdough cookies on plate

Ideally, the recipe needs to ferment for at least eight hours. This allows the sourdough to work its magic fermenting power on the flour. I usually mix the flour one day and bake the next day. You could mix in the morning and finish later in the day.

Tips on Ingredients

I like granulated cane sugar for baking because it browns more evenly than beet sugar. You can also use brown sugar or maple sugar.

It's fine to use discard starter or active starter, made with wheat flour or rye flour. I normally use whole wheat flour, but all purpose flour is okay.

If you need to go dairy free, use coconut oil or responsibly raised palm shortening.

Flavor Ideas for Your Sourdough Cookies

My guys like sourdough chocolate chip cookies best, but you can also modify the basic recipe to make:

  • oatmeal raisin (add 1/2 cup oatmeal along with the flour)
  • cherry chocolate oatmeal (add 1/4 cup dried cherries, 1/4 cup chocolate chunks, and 1/2 cup oatmeal)
  • cinnamon apple (add 1/4 cup dried apple bits and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • white chocolate almond (add 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract)
  • peanut butter chocolate chip (add 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup chocolate chips)

Use your imagination and try different combinations!

chocolate cherry sourdough cookies with oatmeal

Note – if you plan to mix in moist ingredients like peanut butter, make sure your dough is quite stiff before fermenting. Adding oatmeal helps to keep your sourdough cookies from spreading too flat.

Basic Sourdough Cookies

Start with the basic sourdough cookie recipe, then customize it with family favorite ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 to 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • chocolate chunks, dried fruit, or crispy nuts (optional)

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine sourdough starter and butter.

Add one cup of flour. Mix well. Continue adding flour a little at a time, mixing well after each addition, until you get a very stiff dough.

Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to sour at room temperature for 8 or more hours.

The photos below show the basic dough before and after souring. It puffs up a little but, but doesn't raise like bread.

cookie starter rising
Cookie dough before souring (top), after souring (bottom)

Preheat your oven to 375 °F and get your baking sheet ready. Grease the baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Mix egg, sugar, vanilla, sea salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. (Hold the baking soda for a bit.)

Note – the recipe video shows all the dry ingredients being added at once. This works, but your sourdough cookies are likely to be a bit flatter.

sourdough cookie dough
Oatmeal soured dough, wet mix, dried cherries

Pour the egg mixture over the top of your soured dough. Blend well (I use my hands).

When dough is well mixed, add chocolate, fruit, etc, blend thoroughly. Lastly, sprinkle the baking soda over the top and mix well.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly brown and tops are soft set.

boy removing finished cookies from baking sheet

Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between layers.

Makes around 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size.

Cookies cooling on wire rack
A double batch of oatmeal chocolate cherry cookies

I usually make a double batch to make sure we have enough.

These sourdough cookies are a little crispier when they first come out of the oven. If you must have a crisp cookie, pop them in the dehydrator for a few hours, or warm in the toaster oven for a few minutes.

sourdough chocolate chip cookies

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Sourdough Cookies (Easy Recipe with Dairy Free Option)

These sourdough cookies are naturally fermented so they are easy to make and easy to digest. They’re also a great way to use up sourdough discard.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen 1x
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened or coconut oil
  • 1 to 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • chocolate chunks, dried fruit, or crispy nuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine sourdough starter and butter.
  2. Add one cup of flour. Mix well. Continue adding flour a little at a time, mixing well after each addition, until you get a very stiff dough.
  3. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to sour at room temperature for 8 or more hours.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 °F and get your baking sheet ready. Grease the baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  5. Mix egg, sugar, vanilla, sea salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. (Hold the baking soda for a bit.) 
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the top of your soured dough. Blend well (I use my hands).
  7. When dough is well mixed, add chocolate, fruit, etc, blend thoroughly. Lastly, sprinkle the baking soda over the top and mix well.
  8. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly brown and tops are soft set.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between layers.
  10. Makes around 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size.

Notes

My guys like sourdough chocolate chip cookies best, but you can also modify the basic recipe to make:

  • oatmeal raisin (add 1/2 cup oatmeal along with the flour)
  • cherry chocolate (add 1/4 cup dried cherries and 1/4 cup chocolate chunks)
  • cinnamon apple (add 1/4 cup dried apple bits and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • white chocolate almond (add 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract)
  • peanut butter chocolate chip (add 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup chocolate chips)
  • Use your imagination and try different combinations!

If you plan to mix in moist ingredients like peanut butter, make sure your dough is quite stiff before fermenting.  Adding oatmeal helps to keep your sourdough cookies from spreading too flat.

Keywords: sourdough, cookies

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How to Make a Sourdough Starter and More Sourdough Recipes

Using sourdough is a great way to get more nutrition out of your baked goods. You can learn how to make your own sourdough starter in the Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe post.

Other sourdough recipes on this website include:

This recipe is adapted from the Sourdough A to Z e-book. I can't recommend this book strongly enough.

Easy Sourdough ... from A to Z!

The book also includes how to start your own sourdough starter, dozens of recipes, gluten free sourdough and so much more. Whatever baked good you are looking for, they probably have a sourdough version in this book.

P.S. –  Don't forget to check out Wardee's book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods.

You can also find even more recipes on the Recipes and Kitchen Tips page.

Originally posted in 2012, last updated in 2020.

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28 Comments

  1. Oh I will have to try that! I made a sourdough choclate cake the other day that was fantastic and a couple weeks ago, sourdough donuts! I simply LOVE sourdough 🙂

    1. I took some of these to the local pole workers yesterday, and the ladies were all oohing and aahing. Most of the plate of cookies disappeared before I was done voting. 🙂

  2. I baked some of these last night – the oatmeal version with chocolate chunks, but sans raisins. Initially, I didn’t think I liked them, but later decided I was just too full from supper to enjoy them. Tried one this morning with coffee and it was wonderful!!

    FYI – I made one pan with my small cookie scoop and one with my medium scoop. Smaller is the better idea. The weight of the medium cookies causes them to break and crumble when you try to pick them up.

    1. I usually use an old cookies scooper that belonged to my husband’s grandmother that is around the size of teaspoon. thanks for sharing your experience. I agree – they make great coffee cookies.

  3. These are sooo good!!! I made with oatmeal, raisens and chocolate chipsI’ve been trying to use more gelatin to for the last sheet of them I dumped a bunch in and mixed it up.. They haven’t cooled completely but they seem to taste just as good as the others.
    Also I used fresh ground and sifted einkorn so it took a little extra flour to get a stiff dough.

      1. These are still my favorite cookie recipe! I really need to buy wardies book. How to you adjust the recipe to make these peanut butter or spice cookies? Thanks!

        1. When I asked Wardee’s permission to share the cookie recipe, I promised that I wouldn’t share all her recipe secrets from the book, since she doesn’t have these recipes printed online anywhere. You can experiment and use your imagination, or the e-book includes oatmeal raisin, peanut butter chocolate chip and molasses ginger variations.

  4. I use light spelt and a bit of rye flour in my sourdough starter. I’m new to sourdough baking and thought these cookies looked so good! My dough seemed quite firm when I first mixed it to ferment but after it sat overnight and I added the rest of the ingredients it was really soft….any help would be great! Thanks!

    1. I haven’t baked with spelt yet, so I’m not quite sure how it behaves, but that may be the difference. Spelt and rye are both lower in gluten, which helps hold the cookies together. When I have it ready to ferment, it’s a very stiff dough – about play dough consistency.

  5. These were really delightful. I added some cinnamon to the first recipe and was planning on rolling the dough into balls and coating them with cinnamon sugar. The dough was way too wet for that so I just scooped them into mounds and dusted them with the cinnamon sugar instead.

    I was surprised how tasty these were, and I will definitely be making them again. They were just the right amount of sweet without being overpowering.

  6. I wanted to say the smiley face is sooo cute! So I am looking into sourdough much more because it is actually good for your body and I know a few people who have gluten issues. I have heard many people who are gluten intolerant can actually consume sourdough products with little issue. Do you think they could possibly eat these cookies? I am wanting to bring some of these to church so this one lady who is gluten intolerant can try.

  7. i used the basic recipe – & added 1 cup pureed pumpkin, 1/2 cup of walnuts, 1/4 cup coconut flakes, & 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces(All organic) I just added more flour to get right consistency ( probably about 2 cups total)
    I omitted oil(Butter)
    Turned out delicious

  8. I have been experimenting with Einkorn flour. First time I have made this recipe. Did not come out well. Very flat so I added more flour to the second batch. Not as flat, but Not a great flavor. I think too much salt so will cut way down on this next time

  9. This is a wonderful recipe that I make over and over since I started my journey with sourdough bread making from mid March on… However I made a little adjustment to please my preference regarding texture. I inverted the baking powder and baking soda ratio: instead of 1 tsp baking soda I use a half tsp and 1 tsp baking powder. They come out a bit more dense and sourdough tasting. I also add 1/2 cup organic coconut flakes and the same amount of chopped pecans. Also coconut oil, not butter. I cut a little bit on the sugar and only use 1/2 cup turbinado. Lots of changes I know but the great and genius thing about this recipe is the first fermenting step that sets the base for an incredible cookie that can be transformed into any cookie. I just love it and had to thank you for that!

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