Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. I already have a vegan sourdough chocolate chip cookie recipe and a brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love making. I decided I needed to make regular sourdough brown butter chocolate chip cookies.  I’m sure this will not be the last variation of chocolate chip cookies that I make, but so far, it is one of my favorites! 

Why is this Recipe So Good?

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert that very few people don’t like. The classic cookie can be enjoyed and prepared so many different ways. Some people like thin and crispy cookies, others like chewy cookies, and some even like their cookies to be light and cakey. 

This recipe for brown butter sourdough chocolate chip cookies is set apart by browning the butter. This process deepens the flavor by cooking the milk solids in the butter. The results is a nutty flavor reminiscent of toffee or butterscotch. 

Browning the butter also removes most of the moisture from the butter, resulting in cookies with a soft and chewy center and a crisp exterior. They are rich with dark chocolate and have a unique flavor from the browned butter. I’m confident you’ll be making these sourdough cookies again and again. 

Sourdough brown butter chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with flaky sea salt on a sheet parchment paper.


Flour: Use regular all-purpose flour for these cookies. You can substitute 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour for the regular white flour if you desire but any more might make the cookies dry. If you prefer even chewier cookies, you can also substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour. 

Salt: Iodized or sea salt if fine. 

Baking Soda: I only use baking soda in this recipe. This helps the cookies spread and brown more than baking powder. 

Butter: I use unsalted butter but you can use salted butter if that is all you have. The cookies will taste a bit more salty, but not enough to overpower the cookies.

Sugar: We use mostly dark brown sugar to help promote a chewy texture and moist center. The white sugar helps to create a crisp exterior and also offsets the moisture from the sourdough discard. 

Vanilla: I recommend pure vanilla extract rather than imitation vanilla. The flavor is better in my opinion, but you can use what you have on hand. 

Egg: This recipe uses 1 egg plus one large egg yolk. The added egg yolk helps make the cookies softer and chewier. 

Sourdough Discard: You can use either unfed sourdough starter discard, or active sourdough starter. The sourdough starter does not contribute to the rise in these cookies so it does not matter whether or not you use an active starter. 

Chocolate Chips: I like dark chocolate but you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips. Chocolate chunks also work great in this recipe. 

Finishing Salt: I really think the finishing salt makes a huge difference with these cookies. You can use any flaky sea salt. Just sprinkle a bit over the cookies when they are still slightly warm but not fresh from the oven. This helps it to stick to the cookies and chocolate. 

Sourdough brown butter chocolate chip cookie ingredients in separate cups and bowls.

How to Make Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Make the Brown Butter

Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. I like to use a wooden spoon but you can also use a rubber spatula. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to stir constantly until it develops a nutty aroma. Pay attention to the bottom of the pan. You will notice some golden brown flecks. Once you see these appear, remove the pan from the heat. 

Browned butter in saucepan with wooden spoon stirring.

Finish Making the Dough

Brown butter mixed with sugars in saucepan.

Add the sugars and stir together. This step is different from traditional cookies because we do not cream together the butter and sugars. They just need to be incorporated. 

Add the vanilla, eggs, and sourdough discard and stir until smooth. 

Cookie dough with chocolate chips in saucepan.

Stir in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips. 

​Portion and Bake the Cookies

I’ve found the perfect size for these cookies is with 2 inch diameter dough balls. I like bigger cookies but you can also scoop smaller dough balls if you want to make more cookies. 

Sourdough chocolate chip cookie dough balls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spaced about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375F for 12-14 minutes. 13 minutes was the sweet spot for my oven but every oven is different. You want the cookies to look slightly golden but not completely dried out. They will flatten out once you take them out of the oven. 

Allow them to cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

When they are almost completely cooled, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with flaky finishing salt. If you do this too soon, the hot chocolate chips will dissolve the salt and they won’t look as nice. 

How to Serve

You can serve them:

  • Fresh from the oven (let them cool down at least 5 minutes though!)
  • Cold or at room temperature
  • Reheat in the microwave for 10 seconds
  • Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two cookies for an sandwich
Baked sourdough brown butter chocolate chip cookies on a wire cooling rack. There are also more cookies on a piece of parchment paper which is on a wooden table. There is a small bowl of flaky sea salt next to the cookies.

How to Store

Store these cookies in an airtight container or on a plate wrapped in plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can store them in a gallon plastic bag. I recommend using the cookies within 3-5 days for best results. 

How to Fix Dried Out Cookies

If your cookies start to dry out, you can place them in a gallon zip loc bag and place a slice or two of sandwich bread in the bag. Leave them overnight and the next morning they will be soft again. This is one of my favorite tricks for keeping cookies soft. 

How to Freeze

To freeze these cookies, scoop the dough into individual dough balls and place in an even layer in a gallon sized bag. Freeze until completely frozen, then you can move the bag and let them stack on top of each other. This helps prevent the cookie dough balls from sticking together. Use within 3 months for best results. 

When you are ready to bake the cookies remove them from freezer and let them thaw on the counter while you preheat the oven. You will need to extend the baking time by 3-5 minutes but otherwise, prepare as directed in the recipe. 

Do I Have to Use Brown Butter?

You can skip the brown butter and use equal amounts of regular unsalted butter. Rather than browning the butter, use a stand mixer or hand mixer to cream together the sugars and butter and proceed with the recipe as written. Keep in mind that this is going to change the texture of the cookies. Browning the butter causes the water content that is normally found in butter to evaporate as steam. This means your cookies will have more moisture and will spread out more. 

Can I Make these Vegan?

Vegan butter, unfortunately, does not brown the way regular butter does so this recipe won’t work well if you substitute vegan butter. You can however, use an egg substitute. I have made these with Ener-G Egg Replacer and had great results. 

If you do need a good egg-free and dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, I created a vegan sourdough chocolate chip cookie that is also very delicious.  

Baked sourdough brown butter chocolate chip cookies on a wire cooling rack. There are also more cookies on a piece of parchment paper which is on a wooden table. There is a small bowl of flaky sea salt next to the cookies.

Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

These sourdough chocolate cookies with brown butter have so much more flavor than regular cookies. The brown butter combined with sourdough discard creates a unique flavor profile your friends will love.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies


  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 baking sheet
  • Parchment Paper


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup sourdough discard (100% hydration)
  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 375℉.
  • In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Melt 12 tablespoons (reserving 4 tablespoons) of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to stir until the butter becomes a light golden brown color and develops a nutty aroma.
  • Remove from heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Continue to stir until the remaining butter has melted.
  • Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Stir until well incorporated.
  • Add vanilla, eggs and sourdough discard. Stir until smooth.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until completely combined and starting to pull away from sides of bowl.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Scoop 1½ in sized cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing at least 2½ inches apart. Store the remaining cookie dough in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, to chill in between batches.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies should appear slightly golden and puffy when done.
  • Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Keyword Cookies, Sourdough, Sourdough Discard
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