Sourdough Sugar Cookies

This sourdough sugar cookie recipe has been a long time coming. Of all the cookies that I make (and I make a lot – we have a home bakery cookie business), this sugar cookie recipe is my very favorite. And now, I have a sourdough version, and it’s incredible! The sourdough discard in these cookies adds moisture, and if you use it early in its fermentation cycle, there will be no sour flavor – or if you enjoy the sour flavor, use older discard. These sourdough sugar cookies are soft, tender and absolutely delicious – slathered with buttercream frosting or eaten plain. Make them for a holiday or just when you have a hankering for a sugar cookie – these no-chill sourdough sugar cookies are going to be one of your new favorite recipes!

Important Ingredients in Sourdough Sugar Cookies

  • Sourdough Discard: You can use fresh, bubbly sourdough starter or sourdough discard in this recipe. I prefer a mild to non-existent sour flavor in these sourdough sugar cookies and am mainly using the discard for the moisture and to avoid waste. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, use refrigerated discard up to a week or two old. The more runny your discard, the more flour you’ll need to add to the recipe. I use 100% hydration sourdough discard.
  • Unsalted Butter: I always use unsalted butter so I can control the flavor of my baked goods – salted butter varies in salt content by brand. If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in this recipe.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar as the main sweetness in these cookies.
  • Egg: This recipe only calls for 1 egg, it gives the cookies a richer flavor and texture.
  • Vanilla and Almond Extract: I love this combination of vanilla and almond extract. These extracts are what flavor the dough and give them the quintessential sugar cookie flavor. If you don’t love almond flavoring, you can leave it out, but it is one of my favorite parts of these sugar cookies.
  • All-Purpose Flour and Cornstarch: I love the combination of all-purpose flour and a little cornstarch to give a tender crumb to this sourdough sugar cookie recipe. If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you can leave it out and use an all-purpose flour with an 11.5% protein content.
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder gives these cookies their rise in the oven.
  • Cream of Tartar: One of the key ingredients to these cookies, the cream of tartar gives a distinctive flavor and texture to the cookies. You can leave it out, but it’s better with it in!
  • Buttercream Frosting: I love a good American buttercream. The most important tip is to just keep whipping the buttercream until it’s light and airy.

Mixing Together Sourdough Sugar Cookie Dough

Wet Ingredients: Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer with a large bowl and whip together softened unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and cream together. Add the sourdough discard, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until fluffy, light in color and smooth.

Dry Ingredients: To a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Fluff together with a fork.

Add the dry ingredients into the the wet ingredients and mix until combined. If the dough feels overly sticky, add a little more flour. The amount of liquid in sourdough discard can vary, so you may need to add a little more flour. The dough should roll up into a ball with just barely any residue sticking to your fingers.

No-Chill Sourdough Sugar Cookies

A lot of sugar cookie recipes require you to chill the dough. That is not the case with this sourdough sugar cookie recipe. If you want to chill the dough for planning purposes or to long-ferment the dough, you can, but there is no need. Just mix up the dough and have beautiful cookies cooling in less than half an hour. No chilling. No waiting. Just super-easy and delicious sugar cookies.

Cut Out Sourdough Sugar Cookies

Right after mixing the dough, dump it out on a lightly floured countertop or a pastry mat. Set the ball of dough on top of the lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough or on the rolling pin and gently roll the dough until it is your desired thickness. I use about 1/4 inch for thicker cookies and 1/8 inch for thinner. This recipe makes about 3 dozen 3 inch cookies, so I recommend using a 3-4 inch cookie cutter. Cut out your cookie shapes, keeping them as close together as possible to use up as much dough as you can in your first rolling. If the dough has stuck to the bottom of the counter, use a metal spatula to lift the cookie dough onto a baking sheet. If your dough is sticking a lot, add a little bit more flour when rolling out the cookies. Place cut-out sourdough sugar cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a little space in between each cookie.

Baking Sourdough Sugar Cookies

You have a couple options when it comes to baking these cookies: regular bake or convection bake. Usually, I am a big believer in baking cookies using the convection setting on your oven if possible (read more about that in this cookie recipe here). However, I tend to prefer regular bake for these cookies because I don’t like the edges quite as crispy on my sugar cookies. But you decide what you like best:

Regular Bake 350º F, 10-12 minutes: If you are baking thicker sugar cookies or want a more evenly baked sugar cookie without the more crispy edges, use regular bake. I usually use regular bake for these sugar cookies because in this case I prefer a thicker sugar cookie that is not so crispy.

Convection Bake 325ºF, 8-10 minutes: For a crispier cookie – crispy edges and a soft middle, use convection bake. Thinner cookies also crisp up better with convection bake if that’s the style of cookie you are going for.

Pre-heat the oven, then slide the cookies into the oven and bake at your desired temperature and time. Check on the cookies. They will be puffed up a little and baked through. I am not a fan of over-baked cookies, so I pull them out on the earlier side, then let them sit on the pan for about 5-10 minutes before removing and placing the next cut-outs on the pan. Once you’ve baked all the cookies, let them cool completely before frosting or icing.

Buttercream Frosting

Sugar cookies taste delicious with any type of icing – but I’m a buttercream gal through and through. This buttercream is easy, whippy and pairs so well with these sugar cookies.

A few things to note: Use softened butter and whip the butter for a few minutes before adding in the powdered sugar. This helps to lighten the color of the buttercream and gives a light and fluffy consistency. I like adding heavy cream to the frosting for an extra creamy flavor. You can substitute milk in a pinch if you don’t have heavy cream. If you are planning to color the buttercream with food coloring, it is best to use a gel color so the buttercream doesn’t change consistency, though drop colors work too. Just remember, the key to good American buttercream: whip it, whip it, whip it!

For a make-ahead option, make these sugar cookies ahead of time. Let them cool completely, then freeze them. When you’re ready to use them, pull them out of the freezer and decorate!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover sourdough sugar cookies?

I’m always a fan of freezing baked goods. Make the cookies and freeze them. Then decorate when you want. Or, make the cookies, decorate them and then freeze any extras. When you want a cookie, pull it out of the freezer an hour or two before eating. Let it defrost and enjoy!

What do I do with extra cookie dough scraps? Can I re-roll them?

As long as you’re careful with not adding too much extra flour to the cookie dough, the scraps re-roll nicely. Just bunch together the dough into a new ball and roll it out again. You shouldn’t need to add as much flour as the first time rolling. If you notice your dough sticking a lot, add a little bit more flour. The scraps of the dough can be re-rolled a few times to use up as much dough as possible.

What did you dunk your cookies in? Sprinkles? Sanding sugar?

I use sanding sugar or sugar crystals to dunk my sugar cookies in after they are frosted. It gives a little bit of extra texture and makes them look pretty!

Can I make these sugar cookies without the sourdough discard?

Yes. These cookies are based on this non-sourdough recipe.

Have you used royal icing on these sugar cookies?

Yes. These cookies hold up well with royal icing or buttercream. I am a fan of buttercream and don’t have a favorite royal icing recipe. If you are looking for a more stabilized buttercream that has good piping/hardening consistency, you can substitute Crisco (vegetable shortening) for half of the butter in the recipe.

Sourdough Sugar Cookies

Amy
Light, tender and incredibly delicious, these no-chill sourdough sugar cookies melt in your mouth. Pair them with buttercream for a sweet and delicious treat. You will love them!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 36 3 inch cookies

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Sourdough Sugar Cookies

  • 226 grams unsalted butter softened, 1 cup butter
  • 310 grams granulated sugar about 1 1/3 cups
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration, see recipe notes
  • 4 grams vanilla extract
  • 4 grams almond extract optional, but highly recommended
  • 400 grams all-purpose flour about 3 2/3 cups
  • 50 grams cornstarch about 1/3 cup
  • 9 grams baking powder about 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 5 grams cream of tartar about 1 teaspoon
  • 5 grams salt about 3/4 teaspoon

Buttercream Frosting

  • 226 grams unsalted butter 1 cup butter
  • 375 grams powdered sugar about 3 cups
  • 4 grams vanilla extract about 1 teaspoon
  • 4 grams almond extract about 1 teaspoon
  • 3 grams salt about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 50 grams heavy cream about 3-4 Tablespoons, see recipe notes

Instructions
 

Sourdough Sugar Cookies

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and cream together. Add the sourdough discard, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until fluffy, light in color and smooth.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Fluff together with a fork.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined and you have one cohesive chunk of dough that sticks together. If you pick up a piece of dough, it should roll into a ball in your fingers with little to no residue left behind. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour. At this point the dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stuck in the refrigerator to long-ferment if desired.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F regular bake or 325°F convection. Prepare one or two baking sheets with parchment paper (my favorite cookie sheet here, affiliate link)
  • Lightly flour a countertop or pastry mat. Add a little flour to the top of the dough or flour a rolling pin. Turn the dough out onto the counter and roll the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick, flouring a little as needed, though be careful to not over-flour the dough. If you want a crispier cookie, roll the dough a little thinner to 1/8 of an inch.
  • Using a cookie cutter (affiliate link), cut shapes out of the dough. Try to place your shapes as close together as possible to use up as much dough without needing to re-roll. Place cut cookie dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet with a little space in between each cookie.
  • Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes (or 325°F convection for 8-9 minutes). For a crispier cookie, bake an extra minute or two. Let cookies cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool. Continue this process, re-rolling scraps together once or twice until all your cookie dough is used up. Let cookies cool completely before frosting or freezing.

Buttercream Frosting

  • Add the unsalted butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer and whip the butter until light in color. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt and most of the heavy cream.
  • Whip together until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Add in the rest of the heavy cream as needed until you get the consistency you like. Continue whipping the buttercream together until it is light and fluffy. The key to a good buttercream is in the mixing. Mix for 5-7 minutes until silky smooth.
  • Pipe buttercream on cooled cookies. This recipe yields enough to frost these cookies. If you like a lot of frosting, you may want to make 1.5 or two times the buttercream recipe.

Notes

Sourdough Discard: You can use fresh, bubbly sourdough starter or sourdough discard in this recipe. Depending on where in the fermentation cycle your discard is, it may be more or less runny. You may need to add a little extra flour to these cookies if your discard has more liquid. I also prefer a mild to non-existent sour flavor in these sourdough sugar cookies and am mainly using the discard for the moisture and to avoid waste. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, use refrigerated discard up to a week or two old. I use 100% hydration sourdough discard.
Long-Fermented Sugar Cookie Option: If you want more of the health benefits of sourdough that come from the fermentation process, you can long-ferment these sugar cookies in the refrigerator overnight or up to a couple of days. Roll them out and proceed with baking the cookies.
Buttercream: I like to substitute 5 grams of almond extract in place of 5 grams of vanilla extract for an almond/vanilla flavored icing. If you don’t have heavy cream, you can use milk instead. Milk is not as thick as cream, so use about 20 grams and add a little more at a time as needed.
Freezing Cookies: These cookies freeze beautifully, frosted or unfrosted. Stack cooled unfrosted cookies. Place cookies in an airtight container and freeze. Pull out when ready to frost, and frost from frozen. You can also freeze frosted cookies. Frost cookies, then freeze on a baking sheet until frozen all the way. To thaw frosted cookies, pull out of the freezer and let thaw to room temperature. Enjoy!
You can find all of my favorite baking items that I use to make these cookies linked on my Amazon Storefront.
Keyword discard sugar cookies, homemade sourdough sugar cookies, homemade sugar cookies, sourdough discard sugar cookie recipe, sourdough sugar cookie recipe, sourdough sugar cookies, valentine sourdough sugar cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. I wait all year for these! Now I can make them whenever my HEART desires! Thanks for sharing…these are absolutely delicious!! ❤️😋❤️

  2. 5 stars
    Had to try this with our cookie cutters. Worked very well with detailed cutters. The taste and texture were very pleasant. I’m enjoying this sourdough journey 🙂