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Sourdough Molasses Cookies

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Sourdough molasses cookies are a fun way to use your sourdough discard. Soft and tender cookies filled with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These flavorful cookies are a perfect excuse to make some extra sourdough starter!

sourdough molasses cookies in dish with blue striped cloth

Always looking for a great way to use leftover sourdough starter, I often turn to desserts as a great option! Sourdough dessert recipes have a great depth of flavor and improved texture thanks to the yeast in them. While we still rely on chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder in these quick recipes, the yeast really makes for a soft texture and also gives it a depth of flavor that is fantastic!

Other cookie recipes using sourdough discard:

stack of molasses sourdough discard cookies with bite taken from top cookie

These spiced cookies are a great way to add your sourdough starter to your winter baking! The sourdough discard adds just a subtle hint of sourdough flavor that just deepens the flavor of the cookie and helps to make a soft cookie.

These cookies are so soft! They have a tender crumb that is slightly chewy and lightly cake-like at the same time – AND they stay soft for days after baking, too! If you don’t eat them all, that is.

sourdough molasses cookies stacked on wire cooling rack

How to make these cookies

These cookies are super simple to make. For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  4. One at a time, mix in the eggs.
  5. Mix in the vanilla.
  6. Stir in the molasses and sourdough starter.
  7. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, salt, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.
  8. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture, mixing until it is all just combined.
  9. Roll the dough into 1” balls.
  10. Roll the balls in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 2” apart.
  11. Using a flat bottomed glass, press each cookie to make it a more pancake shape. They don’t spread much when baking, but they do puff up, so you want to give them some shape now.
  12. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until they are mostly set.
  13. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
molasses cookie batter

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers!

What kind of sourdough starter do I need for this recipe?

This recipe uses 100% hydration starter. You can use either fed and active starter, or inactive discard. It does not matter what kind of flour your starter is fed with, either. 

Read “Feeding your sourdough starter” to get information on hydration rates and how to properly feed and maintain your sourdough starter. 

What do these cookies taste like?

For this recipe, how recently your starter has been fed will affect the taste and texture of your cookie:

  • If your starter has been sitting in the fridge for a week and has a lot of hooch (the liquid that the sourdough yeast produces as it consumes) on top, the cookies will be flatter and crisper. 
  • If your starter has been sitting on the counter and was fed yesterday, your cookies will be softer, more cake-like and rise more.

How do you store these sourdough cookies?

These cookies store best in an airtight glass container on the counter for 3-4 days!

These cookies also freeze really well! Once they are totally cooled, place them in a sealed freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. Make sure to label them so you don’t forget what they are!

overhead view of molasses cookies with discard on plates

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below!

graphic for sourdough course - reads "new to sourdough? learn the skills to impress your family and friends with your sourdough baking. Click here".
Yield: 24 cookies

Sourdough Molasses Cookies Recipe

sourdough molasses cookies in dish with blue striped cloth

Sourdough molasses cookies are a fun way to use your sourdough discard. Soft and tender cookies filled with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These flavorful cookies are a perfect excuse to make some extra sourdough starter!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 100% hydration
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  4. Mix in molasses, sourdough starter, egg, and vanilla extract.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, salt, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.
  6. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture, mixing until it is all just combined.
  7. Roll the dough into 1” balls.
  8. Roll the balls in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 2” apart.
  9. Using a flat bottomed glass, press each cookie to make it a more pancake shape. They don’t spread much when baking, but they do puff up, so you want to give them some shape now.
  10. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until they are mostly set.
  11. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes.
  12. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

Notes

Store these in an air tight container on the counter for up to 1 week.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

Looking for a more visual step by step? Check out the how to make sourdough molasses cookies story.

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Maeghan

Thursday 24th of March 2022

I really like this recipe but mine puffed up like little buns and are very cake-y in texture. I used a chia 'egg' and instead of brown sugar I used just 1/2 cup of coconut sugar. I actually used slightly less flour also as 3 cups seemed like a lot but after I wished I'd used the full amount as the batter was a bit sticky. Do you know how I could achieve a more chewy texture? More flour, less baking powder?

Jenni

Monday 11th of April 2022

Hi Maeghan! Sourdough cookies are generally very soft and cake like because of the yeast! It is hard to achieve a truly chewy sourdough cookie. Using discard that is old and hungry (like a week or two old with hooch on it) helps the texture to be more chewy, and using discard that is fresh (has been fed within the last few days) means a more cake like cookie. Changing the egg and sugar also affect this, as is using a different amount of flour. I understand if you need to use alternate ingredients due to health issues, but I cannot guarantee the results will be the same because of chemical reactions that occur during baking.

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