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Perfect Sourdough Sugar Cookies

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Sourdough sugar cookies is a great way to use your sourdough starter! These sugar cookies are simple to make, perfect for cut outs and decorating, and don’t need to be chilled before baking. A fantastic recipe to use your sourdough starter discard!

close up overhead view of white plate with christmas sourdough sugar cookies on top

Cut out sugar cookies are a great holiday tradition, no matter what holiday it is! There is something special about rolling out the dough, pulling out all our favorite cookie cutters and decorating the cookies together as a family. 

Other cookie recipes using sourdough discard:

christmas decorated sugar cookies lined up on marble with child's hand taking one

Sourdough Sugar Cookies 

These sugar cookies are a great way to add your sourdough starter to your holiday baking traditions! The sourdough discard adds just a hint of sourdough flavor that just deepens the flavor of the cookie.

These cookies are soft (but not as soft as a lofthouse style cookie), with a nice bite to them. They almost remind me of a shortbread type cookie. They hold up well to intricate designs, they puff ever so slightly in the oven (because it is a yeasted dough), they are perfect for decorating, and they keep their texture for days.

small plate filled with sugar cookies decorated for valentines day

How to make sugar cookies with sourdough starter

This sugar is an easy cookie to make! For the full recipe, scroll down to the full recipe card below.

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter together until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in the eggs and mix until just combined.
  3. Mix in the sourdough starter and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Add in half of the flour (2 ¼ cups worth), the salt and hte baking soda. Mix to combine.
  5. Add in the rest of the flour and mix to combine.
  6. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  7. Working with ⅓ of the dough at a time on a floured counter, roll the dough out to a ¼” thickness. This dough is soft, so lightly sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking.
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. 
  9. Transfer the cut outs to a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Because this dough is soft, I recommend using a silicone coated spatula to transfer the unbaked cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Optional: Chill the cut out cookies in the fridge before baking. 
  11. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 F oven for 8-12 minutes. Thinner cookies take less time, and thicker cookies bake for closer to 12 minutes. Bake until the cookies are set and feel firm, and are just starting to turn golden brown on the edges. Do not over bake or your cookies will be crispy.
  12.  Allow to cool on the pan for a minute before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.
  13. When cool, decorate as desired.

I suggest decorating these either with an easy sugar cookie icing, or a buttercream frosting for sugar cookies.

collage showing steps to make sourdough sugar cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

Do I have to chill the dough?

No, you do not have to chill the dough. Chilling does help the dough roll out better, since the dough is so soft. If you don’t chill the dough you will need to use a little extra flour when rolling. That’s ok, but don’t add a ton of extra flour because that will change the texture of your cookie and make them tougher. 

You also don’t have to chill the dough before baking. I recommend chilling the cut out shapes before baking when using intricate designs. Because this dough is yeasted with the starter, it does tend to puff up during baking. Chilling the cut out shapes for at least 15 minutes before baking helps the dough not puff up quite so much during baking, and this helps designs with more intricate details.

sourdough cut out cookies decorated for Christmas on a white plate beside red white striped towel

Kids in the kitchen: How your kids can help you bake

These cookies are a great recipe to bake with your kids! They are simple to make and hold up well to little helpers. Here is how your little ones can help you bake them:

  • Kids aged 1-3 can help you measure the ingredients and add the ingredients to the mixer. This age can also help you use the cookie cutters and decorate the cookies, with supervision.
  • Kids aged 4-6 can do everything above plus use the mixer and roll out the dough. 
  • Kids aged 7-10+ can help you do everything above.

*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise! Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.

cooking tray filled with christmas decorated cut out cookies

Other dessert recipes using sourdough starter:

Other cookie recipes:

valentines day cut out cookies on wooden board

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cut out cookies made with sourdough starter decorated for St Patricks Day
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Sourdough Sugar Cut Out Cookies Recipe

close up overhead view of white plate with christmas sourdough sugar cookies on top

Sourdough sugar cookies is a great way to use your sourdough starter! These sugar cookies are simple to make, perfect for cut outs and decorating, and don’t need to be chilled before baking. A fantastic recipe to use your sourdough starter discard!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard, 100% hydration 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter together until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in the eggs and mix until just combined.
  3. Mix in the sourdough starter and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Add in half of the flour (2 ¼ cups worth), the salt and the baking soda. Mix to combine.
  5. Add in the rest of the flour and mix to combine.
  6. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  7. Working with ⅓ of the dough at a time on a floured counter, roll the dough out to a ¼” thickness. This dough is soft, so lightly sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking.
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes.
  9. Transfer the cut outs to a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Because this dough is soft, I recommend using a silicone coated spatula to transfer the unbaked cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Optional: Chill the cut out cookies in the fridge before baking.
  11. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 F oven for 8-12 minutes. Thinner cookies take less time, and thicker cookies bake for closer to 12 minutes. Bake until the cookies are set and feel firm, and are just starting to turn golden brown on the edges. Do not over bake or your cookies will be crispy.
  12. Allow to cool on the pan for a minute before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.
  13. When cool, decorate as desired.

Notes

You do not have to chill the dough before baking, but it does help the dough to hold its intricate designs better. This is a yeasted dough, so it will puff up a little during baking!

The thicker tou roll the dough, the more it will puff during bakign and the longer it will take to bake.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

56

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

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.

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