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soft sourdough gingerbread cookies stacked on top of eachother.

Soft Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe gives a tangy sourdough discard twist on classic ginger-molasses cookies. These soft sourdough gingerbread cookies are fluffy, tender, and have that lovely gingerbread bite we all know and love. They really are the ultimate sourdough discard Christmas cookie recipe.

A sourdough gingerbread cookie with a bite taken out of it.

Why I Love This Recipe

These homemade sourdough gingerbread cookies have the perfect texture—thick, chewy, and incredibly soft. I’ve never met a child who was fond of gingerbread, but my kids devour these cookies. The have a deep molasses flavor, with the perfect amount of sweetness, and a slight ginger bite that makes gingerbread so delicious. What I love most about this recipe, besides them being incredibly delicious, is how simple these cookies are to make. There is no need to cream the sugar and butter, no need for any chilling, and it’s a one-bowl recipe. It’s so simple that you can have freshly baked sourdough gingerbread cookies in as little as 30 minutes.

This sourdough discard gingerbread cookie recipe is perfect for Christmas. Pair them with other sourdough discard cookies like sourdough chocolate chip cookiessourdough cut-out sugar cookies, sourdough oatmeal cookies and soft sourdough snickerdoodles to make the perfect holiday cookie lineup.

Ingredients

Making sourdough gingerbread cookies is incredibly simple, and requires only a few simple ingredients. You may have everything you need already on hand! See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients with their amounts.

  • Granulated Sugar – Sugar makes the cookies sweet, but also plays a crucial role in achieving their texture. The presence of sugar contributes to the chewiness of the cookies and helps promote the spreading action as they bake.
  • Butter – You have the flexibility to use either salted or unsalted butter for this recipe. Whichever option you prefer, it’s important to ensure that your butter is at room temperature.
  • Salt – Salt helps to enhance the flavors in the cookies. If you’re using salted butter, you can skip adding additional salt.
  • Egg – Egg act as a binding agent, helping to hold the ingredients together and providing structure to the cookie dough.
  • Sourdough Discard – Sourdough discard is added to this recipe to add a distinct and tangy sourdough taste. This recipe calls for 100% hydration sourdough discard, but will also work with active sourdough starter.
  • Baking Soda – Baking soda in this cookie recipe helps to make the cookies thick, chewy, and tender.
  • All-Purpose Flour –  I highly recommend using unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe. Unbleached flour is a great choice as it retains more natural nutrients and has a slightly higher protein content compared to bleached flour. This can result in better texture and structure for your cookies.
  • Spices and Molasses – Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and molasses work together to give your cookies their distinct gingerbread flavor.

Tips for Making Discard Cookies

  • Use Room Temperature Butter – Using cold butter will yield dense cookies that don’t spread properly, while melted butter will cause your cookies to spread too much, resulting in thin cookies. So, achieving the perfect texture and thickness relies on having your butter at the right temperature. To test if the butter is ready, simply press your finger into it. If it easily goes through without resistance, it’s good to go.
  • Measure the Flour – To avoid hard crumbly cookies, make sure your flour is measured out correctly. To do this, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off, ensuring it doesn’t become packed, or weigh the flour for exact measurements.
  • Don’t Over Mix – Over-mixing cookie dough can lead to excessive gluten development, resulting in dry cakey cookies. It’s important after the sourdough discard and flour have been added to mix the dough until the ingredients are just combined to avoid overworking the gluten.
  • Don’t Over Cook – When you take the cookies out of the oven, they may appear slightly undercooked. Don’t panic! It’s important to resist the temptation to cook them longer. The cookies will continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the oven. Allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes, before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. They will fully set up and achieve their desired texture during this time.
  • Coat the Cookies Generously – Be sure to generously coat the cookie dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Feel free to adjust the amount of cinnamon in the coating according to your personal taste preference.
A stack of sourdough discard cookies.
sourdough discard gingerbread cookies on parchment paper.

Sourdough Gingerbread FAQ

Can I use active sourdough starter?

Feel free to substitute active sourdough starter for sourdough discard in this recipe. Active starter has more aeration so it will measure differently. Weigh your active starter for best results.

What if I don’t have molasses?

Molasses is a key ingredient in this recipe, but if you don’t have any on hand there is a fix. Replace the sugar called for in this recipe with dark brown sugar, since brown sugar is just molasses and sugar combined, and add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup to the batter. The consistency of your cookies will change slightly, but they will still be delicious!

Do I need to chill the cookie dough?

You can bake these cookies immediately after mixing the dough. However, if you prefer, you can chill the dough to make it easier to handle. The decision to chill or not is entirely up to you!

How can I ensure that the cookies turn out soft and chewy, not overly hard or crumbly?

To achieve soft and chewy cookies, avoid overbaking. Remove them from the oven when they appear slightly underdone, as they will continue to set while cooling. Also, don’t overmix the dough; gently combine the ingredients for the best texture.

Can I save the cookie dough and bake it later?

The cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, and baked directly from being chilled. To freeze, wrap the cookie dough tightly and store it in the freezer for up to three months. Then when you’re ready to bake, transfer the wrapped dough to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.

How do I store baked sourdough gingerbread cookies to keep them fresh?

Once the cookies have cooled completely, transfer them to an airtight container. Store the cookies at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

A stack of sourdough discard cookies where the top cookie has a bite taken out of it.

More Sourdough Discard Cookie Recipes

Soft Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by Samantha Citro
Course: Sourdough Discard Recipes, Sourdough Recipes, Sweet RecipesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

20

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Total time

30

minutes

This recipe gives a tangy sourdough discard twist on classic ginger-molasses cookies. These soft sourdough gingerbread cookies are fluffy, tender, and have that lovely gingerbread bite we all know and love. They really are the ultimate sourdough discard Christmas cookie recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (240g)

  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)

  • 1/4 cup molasses (90g)

  • 3/4 tsp salt (5g)

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard (125g)

  • 1 tsp baking soda (6g)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger (6g)

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (3g)

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (1g)

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (1g)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (325g)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for coating

Directions

  • Make the Cookie Dough
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, blend the softened butter, sugar, and molasses until they’re thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the salt, egg, and egg yolk to the bowl, then beat the mixture until it becomes creamy and well combined, which should take about a minute.
  • Gradually incorporate the sourdough starter into the mixture, gently stirring until it’s fully blended.
  • Sift the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and all-purpose flour into the wet mixture. Stir until the ingredients come together to form a tacky dough.
  • Roll the Cookies
  • Scoop and roll the cookie dough into 2-inch balls. For uniform cookies, you can weigh each portion of cookie dough out to 55g. The dough will be quite soft, flouring your hands and working quickly will help to prevent sticking.
  • Generously coat each cookie dough ball by rolling it in granulated sugar, and space them 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the Cookies
  • Bake the cookies in batches on the center rack of your oven for 9-11 minutes. It’s important to note that the cookies may appear underdone when you take them out of the oven. Resist the temptation to cook them longer.
  • Once you remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Allowing them to fully cool will help them set and achieve a perfectly soft and chewy texture.

Notes

  • What is sourdough discard? These cookies are made with sourdough discard. If you’re not sure what sourdough discard is, go take a look my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn how to make your own sourdough starter. Sourdough discard helps to make these cookies oh so chewy, and adds a slight tang that makes them irresistible.
  • How to store sourdough gingerbread cookies: Once the cookies have cooled completely, transfer them to an airtight container. Store the cookies at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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