Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I think it was at the beginning of the pandemic a year and a half ago – when people were going crazy putting sourdough discard in everything – that I first heard of adding sourdough discard to cookies. Now I don’t bat an eye at adding sourdough discard into recipes and it has produced some pretty amazing bakes i.e.: sourdough blueberry crumb cake, I’m looking at you! In the beginning, I did have a few misses with an overly-sour flavor that just wasn’t the flavor I wanted. As I’ve baked more and more with sourdough discard, I love creating recipes with the addition of discard. These brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are no exception. The brown butter combined with the sourdough discard (or bubbly starter) adds such a complex and delicious flavor. I wish I was eating one right now! Thin and crispy or thick and chewy, these brown butter sourdough cookies are only about half an hour away from this screen to your stomach.

Brown Butter in Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Browning the butter is one of the key steps to these sourdough cookies. If you’ve never browned butter before, it’s a pretty simple process. Heat butter over medium heat, stirring every couple minutes. It is easiest to use a pan with a white bottom, but you can also use a darker bottom pan. As the butter heats it will start to brown. This can take 5-10 minutes, so it’s important to watch closely. Brown butter can easily turn into burned butter if you don’t watch it and that is no good for cookies! Once you notice little brown bits on the bottom of the pan take it off the heat. It will smell nutty and delicious. Pour the butter with the brown bits into a bowl to cool a bit before using in the cookie dough.

Sourdough Discard in Cookies

In working with sourdough discard recipes, I have found some recipes complement the discard and enhance the flavor. Other recipes don’t necessarily need sourdough discard, but they are a great vehicle for using up sourdough discard so it doesn’t go to waste while still tasting delicious. This is the case with these Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Brown butter cookies don’t necessarily need sourdough discard (plenty of recipes out there don’t call for sourdough discard in their cookies) but these cookies taste amazing with the discard. The brown butter complements the discard and makes for a deliciously complex cookie that you can feel good about. No waste, plus a delicious flavor. The sourdough discard in this recipe is made from starter that is 100% hydration. If you use discard that is fed at a different hydration, you may need to add more or less flour to the cookie dough.

Thin and Crispy or Thick and Chewy Cookies?

There is one simple trick for turning a thick and chewy cookie into a thinner and crispier cookie. Less flour! I prefer my cookies to puff up, be a little bit thick and gooey in the middle with crispy edges. The flour called for in this recipe is the perfect amount for a thick and chewy cookie. If you want to make these thinner and crispier…which is also super delicious, reduce the flour by 1/3 cup. Only add 1 cup of flour instead of the 1 1/3 cups flour and you will get cookies that look like this. Still delicious, just spread a bit thinner with a crispier bite. Either way, these brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are delish.

Convection Bake for Cookies

I have waxed poetic before about using convection bake when baking cookies. I make a lot of cookies (my kids run a little bake shop that sells awesome cookies and yours truly helps them create the recipes, etc…). Convection bake is one of the secrets to a delicious crispy edge with a gooey or chewy middle. If you have convection bake on your oven, use it! If you don’t have convection, you can increase the temperature by 25 degrees (400 degrees Fahrenheit for this recipe) and preheat your oven for 15-20 minutes to get it really hot. 

Chilling the Dough

The brown butter in the dough is warm and melted which means that these cookies will spread even more in the oven if you don’t chill the dough. If I’m in a hurry, which let’s face it, I usually am when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I’ll stick the bowl of dough into the freezer for 15 minutes. It is just long enough for the dough to firm up a bit, which helps solidify the fats. This will help the cookies hold their shape while baking. If you want even better flavor, you can chill the dough for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. This dough also freezes well. Shape the dough into balls and freeze. When you’re ready to bake, pull the dough balls out of the freezer and set them out for 10-15 minutes to thaw a bit, then bake according to the recipe directions. 

Chocolate Chunks, Dark Brown Sugar and Sea Salt

I love using dark chocolate chunks in these cookies. They add a yummy pop of rich chocolate flavor that complements the brown butter. Dark brown sugar is another key ingredient to these cookies. Can you use light brown? Yes, you can. However, the dark brown sugar complements the sourdough and brown butter flavor much better than regular brown sugar. If you can grab some dark brown sugar, do it (though not having any wouldn’t keep me from making these cookies). Adding a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (affiliate link) also takes these cookies to next-level deliciousness! You can also use chocolate chips in these cookies if you don’t have chocolate chunks on hand.

Cookie Scoop

My grandma gifted me this cookie scoop many, many years ago (affiliate link). It has made hundreds and thousands of cookies and held up so well. I use it for scooping mini muffin batter with these banana muffins, scooping meatballs and of course cookies. It is the perfect size and I highly recommend investing in one of these if you are cookie connoisseur. And if you don’t have sourdough discard on hand and want some awesome chocolate chip cookies, check these favorites out here.

If you love using sourdough discard and a deep, complex cookie flavor, these cookies are for you! They are chewy, rich and downright delicious. These cookies are kind of addicting, it was hard to stop at one or two. My kids gobbled them up and didn’t even know they had sourdough discard in them. I hope you love them too!

Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Thick, chewy and deep flavor – these brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth. Add a sprinkle of sea salt for a more complex flavor or a little less flour for a thinner, crispier cookie.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Chill Time 15 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 cookies


  • 113 grams unsalted butter 1/2 cup
  • 185 grams dark brown sugar 3/4 cup
  • 60 grams granulated sugar 1/4 cup
  • 100 grams sourdough discard about 1/2 cup, see recipe notes
  • 1 egg yolk from a large egg
  • 4 grams vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
  • 175 grams all purpose flour about 1 1/3 cups, see recipe notes
  • 3 grams baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
  • 3 grams baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
  • 4 grams salt 1/2 teaspoon
  • 175 grams chocolate chunks or chocolate chips, about 1 cup
  • flaky sea salt if desired


  • Brown Butter: Heat the butter in a pan or pot on the stove over medium heat. Swirl the butter around and stir every few minutes until little brown flecks are on the bottom of the pan and the butter smells nutty and delicious. Be careful not to overheat as it can burn the butter. Pour the brown butter along with all the little brown bits on the bottom of the pan into a medium sized bowl and let sit for 5 minutes or up to a couple hours to cool.
  • Add the dark brown sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl with the brown butter. Use a hand mixer and mix to combine.
  • Mix in the egg yolk, sourdough discard and vanilla extract. Whip together with the mixer until the batter is cohesive and turns light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  • To a small bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and fluff together. Pour the flour mixture into the cookie mixture and mix together until just combined. Add chocolate chunks (or chips) and stir into the dough.
  • Place the whole bowl into the freezer and chill the dough for 10-15 minutes. It is possible to bake these cookies right away, but they will not be quite as puffy and will spread a lot more than the chilled dough. You can also chill the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or freeze the dough in small balls. Let the balls come back to "chilled" temperature before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees convection. Scoop the dough into balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet (my favorite linked here, affiliate link), about 12 cookies per baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt if desired.
  • Bake cookies at 375 degrees convection for 7-8 minutes until cookies are puffed up and the edges are a little crispy. Let the cookies sit for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet to set up before removing. If your oven doesn't have a convection setting, preheat oven for 20 minutes and bake cookies at 400 degrees for 8-9 minutes.
  • Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and enjoy!


Substitutions: This recipe has the best flavor with dark brown sugar. You can substitute for light brown sugar, but the cookies may have a little more sourdough tang.
Sourdough Discard: I feed my starter with equal weights of water and flour for a 100% hydration starter. If your starter is fed differently, you will want to adjust the amount of flour called for in the recipe; adding more flour for a starter that is fed with a higher percentage of water and less flour for a lower hydration starter. The longer your discard sits in the fridge, the more tangy flavor it will have AND the more runny it will be. If your discard is more runny, you may need to add a little extra flour to this cookie dough. I prefer using a younger discard that’s a little thicker and not quite so tangy in this recipe to balance with the other flavors.
UPDATE Flour: This recipe was originally posted using volume measurements. I’ve updated the recipe to use grams. To make the cookie thin and crispy, use 140 grams of flour (about 1 cup). For a thicker cookie, use 1 1/3 cups flour, 175 grams. If your cookie dough feels too wet to scoop, add a little more flour.  
Keyword beginner sourdough, chocolate chip cookie, cookies, homemade cookies, homemade sourdough cookies, sourdough brown butter cookies, sourdough chocolate chip cookies, sourdough cookie recipe, sourdough cookies, sourdough discard, sourdough discard cookies, sourdough discard recipe
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  2. I have a question regarding your site and the overwhelming number of ads that take over. As someone who is about to start their own website, I’m curious if you have any day on the amount of ads and where they’re placed on the page. I will not tolerate it on my own website. They are so bad on yours I can’t even write this review without being able to see it completely. Thanks to the continual ads I won’t be able to spell check my comment either. It is obscured! Please help me to understand why you must cover your entire page with nonsense!??

    1. I do appreciate the feedback. It’s a delicate balance to figure out the amount of ads and user experience. It’s just me working on this website and it’s constantly a work in progress. I recently switched to a new ad provider and they asked me to not change any ads on the site for a few months so they could get a good baseline. I’m hoping to adjust that soon since the baseline has been established. With that said, I do believe in having ads on websites. It’s the way that I can afford to create recipes and devote time to this. I would rather have ad companies pay than have to charge for content. I am committed to making my site better for users (I use it daily for my own recipes). You can always use the “jump to recipe” button to get to the recipe quickly and click the little X to close out of any video pop ups. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Hi Amy,

    Thank you for providing us with free recipes!

    If I mill my own flower and plan to use soft white berries, should I still use the same amount of flower you described in the recipe or does freshly milled flower change the amount of grams?


    1. I’ve found with soft white wheat berries, freshly milled, that I usually have to add a little extra flour. Today I made a recipe that called for 200 grams of flour. I added about 240 grams of freshly milled soft wheat flour to compensate. I haven’t tried that yet with these cookies – but I will soon!

  4. 5 stars
    My family devoured these cookies in one day! Already making another batch but doubling this time! I realized I misread the recipe though, and used salted butter. Should I just lessen the amount of salt I use to make up for this?

    1. Yes. If you use salted butter you can decrease the amount of salt in the recipe. So glad you enjoyed these!