Sourdough Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies [With Brown Butter]


Sourdough pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are the perfect dessert to welcome the fall season. This sourdough cookie recipe is a great way to use up your sourdough discard this time of year. They are fluffy, soft, and rich with delicious fall flavor. I already ate three while I wrote this post! Your friends and family will love these and I am sure this will be one your new favorite pumpkin recipes.

This is an aerial view of sourdough pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Only part of the cookie sheet is visible and there are four full cookies within view on the sheet. On the right, there is a vintage brown book stacked on a vintage green book. In the upper right there is a small jar that contains milk. These items are sitting on a wood table.

Sourdough Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Ingredients

Sourdough Discard

This recipe requires a one third cup of sourdough starter or discard. If you don’t have enough sourdough discard, you can increase the volume by feeding it a few hours before you’re ready to make these cookies. 

 It’s okay to use an active starter for this recipe but you do not need to. An unfed starter or discard creates a slightly tangy and sour flavor in your cookies. You can minimize this taste by pouring off any hooch from your starter before adding the discard to the recipe. 

Brown Butter

These cookies contain brown butter. This special ingredient really amplifies the flavor profile of these pumpkin sourdough cookies. You can use either salted or unsalted butter, but it is generally advised to use unsalted butter in baking so that you can control the amount of salt in your recipes.  


This recipe utilizes both brown sugar and regular white sugar. I like to use organic unrefined sugar but regular refined white sugar works well too. 

Chocolate Chips

Semi-sweet chocolate chips are best for this recipe. They have a bold chocolate flavor that can stand against the pumpkin spice flavor. If you prefer sweeter chocolate chips, you can use milk chocolate chips for this recipe. If you want a more intense chocolate flavor, dark chocolate chips also work well.

Pumpkin Purée

Use pure canned pureed pumpkin or cooked, fresh pumpkin for this recipe. Do not use canned pumpkin pie filling for this recipe. Pumpkin pie filling contains other ingredients like sugar that will mess up the ratio of ingredients for this recipe. 

Dry Ingredients

You’ll need flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice, which you will mix in a separate large bowl. It’s important to mix the dry ingredients before adding them to the wet ingredients to ensure even distribution of the we

No Eggs?

These are naturally eggless cookies but I promise, you won’t even notice. This makes them a great recipe for those with egg allergies. If you really want to add an egg, you can and the results will still be good.

How to Make Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies            

Step 1: Mix the Dry Ingredients

This recipe is a bit more hands because of the brown butter. Combine the dry ingredients first so that you can focus on the butter preparation and the rest of ingredients. 

There is a silver mixing bowl that contains flour and pumpkin spice that has not been mixed in. This is an aerial view and it is sitting on a white background.

Step 2: Make the Browned Butter

To make the browned butter, you want to heat 1 stick of butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat until the butter turns a rich brown color and smells sweet and nutty. This process usually takes 3-5 minutes. 

Once your butter reaches this point, turn off the heat and add the rest of the butter (another 1/2 stick) to stop the browning process. You want to make sure you don’t burn the butter.  

This is an aerial view of a silver saucepan that contains brown butter with a chunk of butter that is not melted in the upper left of the pan. There is also a wooden spoon sitting in the pan.

Step 3: Add the Remaining Ingredients Directly to the Pan 

Add the rest of the ingredients in the following order: 

  1. Whisk in the sugars until combined (they won’t fully dissolve)
  2. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract
  3. Add the sourdough discard
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips
There is a silver sauce pan with a black handle that contains the wet ingredients (pumpkin, brown butter, sugar, sourdough discard, and vanilla) that have all been whisked together. The whisk is in the pan. The pan is sitting on a gas range.

Step 4: Chill the Dough

Because we melt the butter for this recipe, it is important to chill the cookie dough before baking them. I recommend chilling the cookie dough for at least 1 hour, or you can prepare the dough the day before you want to bake them. Just make sure your cover the dough with plastic wrap so it does not dry out. 

The process of chilling the cookie dough hardens the butter and helps the cookies hold their shape better when baking. 

This cookie dough can also be frozen. Simply form the cookie dough into balls and store them in a gallon sized freezer safe bag.

There is a cookie sheet that contains cookie dough balls in a 3x4 formation on a white surface.

Step 5: Preheat the Oven and Bake

When you are ready to bake the cookies, pull the dough out of the refrigerator while the oven is preheating.  Form the dough into 1-1/4″ balls using a regular tablespoon or a cookie scoop. Line up the cookies in a 3×4 formation on a cookie sheet. For easy clean up, you can line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Do not over-bake these cookies. These cookies will be finished in 12-14 minutes for most ovens. They will appear puffy when you first pull them out of the oven but will then flatten out. Cool the cookies on a wire rack at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Substitutions and Variations

There are several delicious variations you can make to these cookies:

  • Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans work best)
  • Add 1/2 cup oats for some extra fiber
  • Use milk chocolate or white chocolate chips
  • Skip the chocolate chips and drizzle a glaze over the cookies. 
  • Use vegan butter (you cannot brown vegan butter, but you can melt it and otherwise prepare these cookies as directed).

How to Store Sourdough Pumpkin Cookies

For best results, store the cookies in an airtight container or plastic gallon ziploc bag. This will keep them soft for several days. You can also freeze the baked cookies for a few months. 

There are three pumpkin sourdough cookies stacked on each other in the corner of a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. In the background, there are two vintage books stacked on each other and a small glass of milk.


What to Do If My Sourdough Pumpkin Cookies Dry Out?

If your pumpkin sourdough cookies get dry, place them in an air-tight container or sealed storage bag with a slice of sandwich bread. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread without getting soggy and your cookies will be soft again within 12 hours. 

What is the Difference Between Sourdough Starter and Discard?

Sourdough discard is nothing more than sourdough starter that is discarded when you feed your sourdough starter. 

When you are first creating a sourdough starter, you have to feed it multiple times per day by adding more flour and water. Often times, you add enough water and flour to double the weight of the starter. If you do not discard some of this starter, you will end up with a huge amount of starter with increasingly large needs for more flour and water.

This is why discard recipes are so popular. They allow sourdough bakers to use up their discard without throwing it in the trash. 

Why Are My Sourdough Cookies Flat?

Flat sourdough cookies are usually the result of failing to chill the dough before baking, or because they do not have enough flour. 

If you did chill the dough and your cookies are still flat, try adding an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the dough. 

If you liked these sourdough discard cookies, check out these other sourdough discard recipes:

Best Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan)

ULTIMATE Sourdough Discard Blondies with Chocolate Chips

This is an aerial view of sourdough pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Only part of the cookie sheet is visible and there are four full cookies within view on the sheet. On the right, there is a vintage brown book stacked on a vintage green book. In the upper right there is a small jar that contains milk. These items are sitting on a wood table.

Sourdough Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Brown Butter)

These pumpkin sourdough cookies are the perfect fall treat to use your sourdough discard. The brown butter complements the pumpkin spice flavor and creates a rich, delicious cookie.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24


  • cups All-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup Unsalted butter, softened 1½ sticks
  • ½ cup Brown sugar
  • ½ cup White sugar
  • cup Pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • cup Sourdough discard, unfed
  • cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  • Melt ½ cup butter (1 stick) in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula.
  • Continue stirring until the butter turns a medium brown color and develops and sweet and slightly nutty aroma (2-4 minutes).
  • Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining ¼ cup of butter until melted.
  • Add the regular sugar and brown sugar and stir until combined. The sugars will not fully dissolve in the butter, but should be well mixed.
  • Wait 5 minutes for the butter and pan cool down before the next step. If you are using a heavy saucepan such as a cast iron, make sure that you allow the pan to cool down completely or transfer the butter and sugar mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and sourdough discard and whisk together until smooth.
  • Slowly stir in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips until just combined.
  • Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.

When Ready To Bake the Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  • Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll the cookies into 1¼" balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet in a 3×4 formation.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes. The cookies will be puffed up in the oven but will flatten out when removed.
  • Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Keyword Chocolate, Cookies, Egg-free, Fall Desserts, Pumpkin, Sourdough, Sourdough Discard
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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