These Sourdough Oatmeal Cookies are a quick, easy, and delicious way to use up your excess sourdough discard. Made with hearty rolled oats and melty chocolate chips, they have a soft, chewy texture and just the right amount of sweetness.
As someone passionate about reducing food waste, I've always been bothered by the idea of discarding extra sourdough starter.
Not only is it a waste of perfectly good food, but sourdough discard is also extremely versatile.
I like to keep a separate jar of sourdough discard in my refrigerator. Then, I use it to make a variety of delicious recipes, including pizza dough, pasta, muffins, and now, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Today, I’m walking you through how to make the best sourdough oatmeal cookies, including which ingredients to use, tips for success, and some creative ways you can customize this recipe to make it your own.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Soft & Hearty Texture- Like classic oatmeal cookies, these sourdough oat cookies have a soft, chewy, and hearty texture.
- Not Too Sweet- This recipe uses only ½ cup of sugar, creating cookies with the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Uses Sourdough Discard- Adding a little sourdough discard to oatmeal cookies is a quick and easy way to use it and prevent food waste.
- Beginner-Friendly- This easy sourdough discard recipe doesn't need the starter for rising, making it a great confidence builder for beginner sourdough bakers.
- Customizable- Customize this recipe for any occasion by swapping the chocolate chips for other mix-in options.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Oats- Using old-fashioned rolled oats is best for this recipe. They give the cookies a hearty, chewy texture.
- All-Purpose Flour- Flour helps the cookies hold together and gives them a softer texture.
- Sourdough Discard- Sourdough discard is added to these oatmeal cookies primarily to reduce food waste. It contributes a small amount of moisture but isn't essential for leavening or flavor.
- Butter- Soften the butter to room temperature so it creams together more easily with the sugar.
- Sugar- A combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar gives these oatmeal sourdough cookies a warm, lightly sweetened flavor.
- Egg- Adds moisture to the cookies and helps them bind together.
- Cinnamon- Just a small amount of cinnamon adds warmth and depth of flavor.
- Vanilla Extract- Adds a subtle vanilla flavor that pairs well with the chocolate chips and cinnamon.
- Baking Soda- Helps the cookies rise in the oven.
- Kosher Salt- Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor of the cookies.
- Chocolate Chips- Semi-sweet chocolate chips add a little extra sweetness without being too sweet.
🌱 Sustainability Tip: Buying ingredients in bulk can minimize packaging waste. Bring reusable containers to stores that offer bulk bins for items like oats, flour, and chocolate chips.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing these sourdough chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Oats- Substitute rolled oats for quick oats or instant oats. This will give the cookies a softer, less hearty texture.
- All-Purpose Flour- Swap up to ¼ cup of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour a nuttier flavor and heartier texture.
- Sourdough Discard- Active sourdough starter can also be used in this recipe. If you're all out of starter, you can simply leave it out.
- Butter- Replace butter with plant-based stick butter or stick margarine if preferred.
- Sugar- Substitute sugar for raw cane sugar, demerara sugar, or coconut sugar. I have not tested this recipe using liquid sweeteners as they would likely alter the texture.
- Egg- Use a flaxseed or chia seed "egg" for an egg-free alternative.
- Cinnamon- Swap cinnamon for your favorite warm spice or a blend of spices. Try pumpkin pie spice or chai spice for a unique twist.
- Vanilla Extract- Substitute vanilla extract for almond extract, maple extract, or another extract flavor.
- Kosher Salt- Sea salt or table salt can be used in place of kosher salt if preferred.
- Chocolate Chips- Try using chopped walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, raisins, dark chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips.
Variations and Mix-Ins
- Gluten-Free- Try swapping the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour. Additionally, ensure the oats you use are certified gluten-free and that your sourdough starter is made with gluten-free flour.
- Oatmeal Raisin- Swap the chocolate chips for raisins to make sourdough oatmeal raisin cookies.
- Trail Mix- Add a mix of chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to the dough for a trail mix-inspired treat.
- M&M- Replace chocolate chips with colorful M&M candies.
- Cranberry Orange- Fold in dried cranberries and orange zest for a seasonal holiday twist.
- White Chocolate Macadamia- Swap out the semi-sweet chocolate chips for white chocolate chips and add macadamia nuts.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Hand Mixer- A hand mixer is the perfect tool for making homemade cookies. It's lightweight and makes creaming the butter and sugar together quick and easy. You can also use a stand mixer.
- Kitchen Scale- Use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients for the best, most accurate results.
- Parchment Paper- Baking cookies on parchment paper prevents sticking, promotes even baking, and simplifies cleanup.
Here is how to make sourdough discard oatmeal cookies.
Step 1: Mix dry ingredients. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together rolled oats, flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt. Set aside.
Step 2: Whisk together wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Mix in sourdough discard and vanilla extract until combined (it's normal for the mixture to look somewhat curdled at this point).
Step 3: Combine wet and dry ingredients. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three portions until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.
Step 4: Chill dough. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 2 days.
Step 5: Form cookie dough balls. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. While the oven is preheating, scoop approximately 2 tablespoons of cookie dough and drop each portion onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space on all sides.
🍪 Optional: For a polished finish, press a few additional chocolate chips on top of each dough ball just before baking. This will make the baked cookies more visually appealing.
Step 6: Bake cookies. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown.
Step 7: Cool and enjoy. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, store and enjoy!
Tips for Success
Make this sourdough oatmeal cookie recipe successfully the first time using these helpful kitchen tips.
- Plan ahead. Give the butter enough time to soften to room temperature before mixing the cookie dough.
- Measure using a food scale. Flour is particularly easy to over-measure when using a measuring cup. For best results, measure the flour by weight using a scale. Or scoop the flour into a measuring cup using a spoon and level it off.
- Don't skip chilling the dough. Chilling the dough allows the butter to firm up so the cookies don't spread too much in the oven. It also gives the oats and flour more time to absorb the moisture in the dough, resulting in a better-textured cookie.
- Use a cookie scoop. Use a large cookie scoop or measuring spoon for consistent portions. This ensures that all of the cookies will be ready at the same time.
- Top with more chocolate chips. Gently pressing a few additional chocolate chips on top of each cookie before baking makes the cookies more visually appealing.
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store homemade sourdough oatmeal cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer- Homemade cookie dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Room Temperature- Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
- Freezer- For longer storage, freeze cookies on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Store in the freezer for 8-12 months. Thaw at room temperature or reheat in the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
While rolled oats are preferred for this recipe, instant oats can be used. Instant oats have a finer texture, which may affect the final texture of the cookies.
Warm cookie dough or cookie dough with too much butter will spread a lot in the oven. Try chilling the cookie dough longer next time and ensure you're accurately measuring the flour.
Excess flour results in dry, crumbly cookies. For best results, weigh the flour or use a spoon to scoop and level in the measuring cup.
Avoid over-baking the cookies to prevent them from becoming hard. Remove them when lightly golden and still slightly soft in the middle. They'll firm up as they cool for a chewier texture.
Sourdough fermentation is when the yeast and bacteria in the starter break down sugars and starches in the dough. To long-ferment these sourdough oatmeal cookies, cover and refrigerate the dough for up to 4 days before baking.
- 1 ½ cups (120 grams) rolled oats
- ¾ cups (90 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup (55 grams) brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (65 grams) sourdough starter discard
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus more for pressing on top
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together rolled oats, flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt. Set aside.1 ½ cups (120 grams) rolled oats, ¾ cups (90 grams) all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Mix in sourdough discard and vanilla extract until combined (it's normal for the mixture to look somewhat curdled at this point).½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, ¼ cup (55 grams) brown sugar, ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, 1 large egg, ¼ cup (65 grams) sourdough starter discard, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three portions until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. While the oven is preheating, scoop approximately 2 tablespoons of cookie dough and drop each portion onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space on all sides.
- Optional: For a polished finish, press a few additional chocolate chips on top of each dough ball just before baking. This will make the baked cookies more visually appealing.
- Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, store and enjoy!
- Quick Tip: Flour is particularly easy to over-measure when using a measuring cup. For best results, measure the flour by weight using a scale. Or scoop the flour into a measuring cup using a spoon and level it off.
- Storage: Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or freeze for up to 12 months. Cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.