These sourdough chocolate chip cookies make excellent use of that sourdough discard you always feel guilty throwing out. The inclusion of brown butter and a sprinkle of sea salt makes them all the more irresistible. Idyllic plain or sandwiched with ice cream.

These cookies are a great way to use up sourdough discard. Every time I have a little discard, I add it to a container that I store in the fridge. I keep adding to it until I’ve accumulated enough to make these cookies. These have crisp edges and a soft center. One person told me these were the best cookies she’s “ever had because they have all the elements of a familiar chocolate chip cookie, but with a little extra something that makes them taste different and special.” The sourdough adds a mysterious tang and chew that goes really well with the chocolate and sea salt.

These cookies do require some planning ahead—sadly, they are not instant gratification cookies! They are a multi-step process, but well worth it. The dough needs to be aged in the fridge for a few days, then frozen before baking. The good news is that once you do the work and have the dough in the freezer, freshly baked cookies are only 16 mins away!–Daniela Trapani

A sourdough chocolate chip cookie.
A cookie ice cream sandwich made with sourdough chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream.

Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 / 3 votes
These sourdough chocolate chip cookies make excellent use of that sourdough discard you always feel guilty throwing out. The inclusion of brown butter and a sprinkle of sea salt makes them all the more irresistible. Idyllic plain or sandwiched with ice cream.
Servings12 servings
Calories570 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time2 days 3 hours


  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 1/2 ounces sourdough discard from a sourdough starter (you can store in the fridge until you have enough)
  • 13 1/2 ounces whole grain flour finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Flaky sea salt such as Maldon


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to foam and the milk solids start to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Once brown, carefully pour the hot butter into a heat-safe bowl to cool. The butter can go from browned to burned very quickly, so don’t dawdle as you take it off the heat.
  • Let the butter cool to room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, you can pop it in the fridge to speed the cooling along.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, combine the sugars, browned butter, egg yolks, vanilla, and sourdough discard. Mix just until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: To get more chocolate in every bite, pulse your chocolate chips in a food processor for 5 to 10 seconds so you end up with different sizes of chocolate shards.

  • Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix just until almost no flour is visible. Stir in the chocolate.
  • Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 24 hours, but preferably 48 hours.
  • Remove dough from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to scoop it.
  • Using an ice cream scoop (or a strong cookie scoop), scoop out 4 ounce (113 g) balls of dough, place in a freezer-safe container and gently press down so that your ball of dough has a slightly flattened bottom (this will help prevent your balls of dough from rolling around on your baking sheet later). Repeat with remaining dough. You should end up with 12 to 13 balls of dough.
  • Freeze dough for at least 1 hour, or until ready to bake.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place frozen balls of dough 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) apart on the baking sheet. Don’t overcrowd them as they will spread.
  • Sprinkle each dough ball with flaky sea salt and place on the center rack in the oven.
  • Bake for 13 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake just until the center looks barely raw, 3 to 5 minutes more.
  • Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy them warm, at room temperature, or as part of an ice cream cookie sandwich. Store in an airtight container.


Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches Variation

It’s not rocket science. Though it is worthy of the two minutes it will take you to scoop a little ice cream—whether vanilla or whatever flavor you fancy—onto the flat bottom of a cookie and sandwich it with another flat bottom. That’s it. Took you longer to read that than it will to do it.


Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 570 kcalCarbohydrates: 74 gProtein: 7 gFat: 28 gSaturated Fat: 16 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 88 mgSodium: 303 mgPotassium: 314 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 45 gVitamin A: 543 IUCalcium: 71 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Daniela Trapani. Photo © 2020 Daniela Trapani. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I was excited to try this sourdough cookie recipe, and the results were tasty enough to disappear faster than any other cookie I baked (for a party)…Honestly, the brown butter is where it’s at—it’s the life-changing aspect of this recipe that has forever transformed how I will bake cookies going forward.

I compared three different chocolate chip cookie recipes, and these won the flavor competition by miles. The browned butter introduces a vanilla-toffee note to the dough, and the sea salt perfectly highlights that seductive caramel quality. Fair warning: one is not enough with these cookies.

These cookies are great! Lots of depth to the flavor with the browned butter and the sourdough discard. I tasted throughout the process and the dough was very interesting. When baked, the tang mellows out a bit, but these are still not your average chocolate chip cookie. I would recommend these to anyone who loves chocolate chip cookies and wants to use up their sourdough discard instead of throwing it away.

My teenagers and husband also approved! I would probably make these again if/when I have the time because I always have sourdough discard!

There are dozens of plan-ahead, heavy-lifting cookie recipes out there. But these are quite good and just different enough to make them stand out from the others. Everyone is looking for new and better ways to use up that starter we’ve been diligently keeping alive. And my favorite part of this recipe is that you don’t need to bake them all at once—so I’ve been indulging in fresh cookies for the last week.

I was a little disappointed that the flavor of the brown butter didn’t really come through; this could have been that my sourdough starter is VERY healthy and might have just overpowered it. This also means that my cookies are tangier than I expected but that’s not a bad thing, especially in combination with the semi-sweet chocolate.

All in all, these were good cookies. I especially liked the texture, which was crispy and chewy with a soft center. And I love having a bag of frozen cookie dough balls, ready for my sweet tooth at a moment’s notice.

Originally published February 11, 2021

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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