Sourdough White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

One of my most favorite cookies of all time is white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. My sourdough white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are adapted from my chewy sourdough chocolate chip cookies and the results did not disappoint. This classic cookie is filled with delicious chunks of gooey white chocolate that complement the slightly sweet flavor of the macadamia nuts. They have beautiful golden crisp edges with chewy centers, creating delicious cookies that are also a great way to use leftover sourdough starter. 

4 sourdough white chocolate macadamia nut cookies stacked on top of each on a plate.

One of my favorite things about this sourdough white chocolate chip cookie recipe is that it is mixed up directly in the pan you brown the butter in. This means less dishes and no stand mixer is required. 

How to Use Sourdough Starter in Cookies

You have to be careful when using sourdough starter in cookies to avoid them turning out cakey. Sourdough starter is typically 50% water, which adds moisture to your cookies. Moisture in cookies often results in fluffier cookies with a more cakey texture rather than chewy cookies. 

Most cookie recipes are chewy and that is the texture many people expect. To achieve this chewy texture in sourdough discard cookies, it is important to reduce some of the moisture in other ways. This can be done by only using egg yolks or by browning the butter. Both methods are used in this recipe. 

Butter is not strictly fat, and actually contains water and milk solids. Browning the butter helps to evaporate off the water content and results in a slightly nutty flavor from browning the milk solids. It is a subtle flavor but adds a delicious depth of flavor to cookies. 

Ingredients and Substitutions

sourdough white chocolate macadamia nut cookie ingredients in individual measuring cups and bowls.
  • Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter. Substitutions like vegan butter and coconut oil do not work well in this recipe as you cannot brown them like you can with regular butter. You can, however, substitute salted butter if that is all you have. You may want to reduce the salt in the recipe a little but if you do use salted butter. 
  • Brown sugar: You can use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will result in chewier cookies but either works great. 
  • White sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs: You will use one whole egg and one egg yolk in this recipe. 
  • Sourdough starter: You can use either active sourdough starter or sourdough discard that has been in the fridge. I recommend weighing active sourdough starter as the fermentation results in bubbles that lowers the density of the starter. 
  • All purpose flour: You can substitute bread flour in this recipe. If you want to use whole wheat flour, I recommend no more than 25% of the total flour amount or the cookies may come out dry. 
  • Salt: You can use kosher salt or sea salt in this recipe. 
  • Baking soda
  • White chocolate chips: You can use any type of chocolate chip, including dark chocolate or milk chocolate. 
  • Macadamia nuts: You can substitute these for another type of nut if desired. I love pecans in cookies but pistachios also pair wonderfully with white chocolate. 

How to Make Sourdough Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients.

sourdough discard white chocolate macadamia nut cookie dry ingredients being whisked in a small bowl with a fork.

Step 2: Brown the butter. Melt 12 tablespoons in a saucepan over medium heat. Once fully melted, increase the temperature and stir constantly until it develops a nutty aroma and the milk solids start to turn golden brown. It’s important to remove the butter from the heat at this point to prevent it from burning. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter immediately and stir. This method helps to cool down the brown butter quickly while maintaining the nutty flavor. 

browned butter in saucepan.

Step 3: Add the remaining wet ingredients. 

white chocolate macadamia cookie wet ingredients in saucepan.

Step 4: Add the dry ingredients. 

Step 5: Stir in the chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. 

finished white chocolate sourdough cookie dough in saucepan.

Step 6: Chill the dough.

Step 7: Roll the dough into dough balls and bake.

sourdough white chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough balls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

How to Freeze and Make Ahead

To make ahead, make the cookie dough, then roll the cookies into dough balls. Place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze completely (about 4 hours). Transfer to a gallon size freezer bag and place in freezer. When ready to bake, follow instructions as written, increasing the baking time by a few minutes. 

sourdough white chocolate macadamia cookies stacked on top of one another in a small baking sheet.

How to Store 

For best results, store these cookies in an airtight container or plastic storage bag for up to 1 week. Beyond this, the cookies may become stale. If you have leftover cookies, feel free to store them in a gallon freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.  

I hope you enjoyed these sourdough discard white chocolate macadamia cookies. If you love sourdough discard recipes, check out these other popular sourdough cookies:

Sourdough Goldfish Crackers

Sourdough Discard Molasses Cookies

Sourdough Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Maple Pecan Sourdough Shortbread Cookie Recipe

4 sourdough white chocolate macadamia nut cookies stacked on top of each on a plate.

Sourdough White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

These sourdough discard white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are a delicious variation of the classic cookie. They are soft and chewy in the middle with crisp golden edges.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 24 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 265 kcal


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup sourdough starter active starter or discard
  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts roughly chopped


  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 12 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, reserving 4 tablespoons, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Once the butter is fully melted, increase the heat to medium-high. Stir constantly until the butter develops a nutty aroma and you see golden brown brown milk solids appear on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir until completely melted. See Note.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla, then stir in the eggs and sourdough starter.
  • Add the flour mixture to saucepan and stir until mostly combined.
  • Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips until completely mixed in.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours for long fermentation.

When Ready to Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  • Use a spoon or cookie scoop to make 1½ inch sized cookie dough balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving 2½ inches between each cookie.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies should appear soft and puffy in the center with golden edges when done. Do not over-bake.
  • Cool in cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


If you accidentally melt and brown all the butter, that is okay. Just make sure you allow it to cool down before adding the eggs so it does not cook them. 


Calories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 136mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 255IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cookies, Sourdough, Sourdough Discard
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