Sourdough Fermented Gingerbread Cookies

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Sourdough fermented gingerbread cookies are a delicious and unique twist on the classic Christmas cookie. These soft, melt-in-your-mouth sourdough gingerbread cookies are spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the perfect flavor. Leave them plain, or decorate them with icing and powdered sugar.

Fermented Gingerbread

It is so easy to make fermented sourdough gingerbread cookies. The key to making a great sourdough cookie is weighing the ingredients with a kitchen scale, and making sure you mix the ingredients in the right order.

The order you mix the ingredients is what determines the texture of the cookie. Simply follow the directions in the recipe card to incorporate sourdough starter into these cookies while maintaining a quality cookie texture.

Also, fermenting cookie dough should always be kept in the fridge, never at room temperature.

Soft Fermented Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies are so soft and delicate; they really do melt in your mouth. The texture reminds me of those big sugar cookies with the excessive icing and sprinkles on top. These are obviously much healthier, though.

For this recipe you will ferment the cookie dough in the fridge overnight for 12 hours, developing the flavors in the gingerbread and making the cookies easier to digest.

Once you get the cookie dough all mixed, simply cover the cookie dough and stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before you scoop it into balls and bake (or freeze).

Other Ingredients You Need to Make Sourdough Gingerbread

Here are all the ingredients you need to make fermented gingerbread:

  • all purpose flour
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon 
  • ground ginger
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cane sugar
  • molasses
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • sourdough starter (active, hydrated)
A golden brown sourdough cookie with an icing drizzle on top.

Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies

I’m sure some people will be curious if you can use discard in these gingerbread cookies. Yes, you can.

You can use discard straight from the fridge, or you can use an active bubbly starter in this recipe. Some cookies are considered “sourdough discard” cookies because you use sourdough starter in the recipe, but we don’t use it for rising, and it is not necessary for the baking process. So the starter is considered “discarded” into the recipe.

In this recipe we are using the starter to ferment the ingredients in the dough. Therefore, I use a stirred-down active, bubbly sourdough starter in all of my sourdough cookie recipes.

You can use flat sourdough discard from the fridge if you prefer, but the cookie dough might not ferment as well.

Mixed decorated sourdough gingerbread cookies on a white counter. Some are sprinkled with powdered sugar, some drizzled with icing, some plain.

More Sourdough Cookie Recipes


Sourdough Fermented Gingerbread Cookies

Sourdough fermented gingerbread cookies are a delicious and unique twist on the classic Christmas cookie. These soft, melt-in-your-mouth sourdough gingerbread cookies are spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the perfect flavor. Leave them plain or decorate them with icing and powdered sugar.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Fermentation Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 cookies 1x
  • Category: Sourdough
  • Method: Baking


  • 340 g all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 150 g cane sugar
  • 120 g molasses
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 14 g vanilla extract
  • 100 g sourdough starter (active, hydrated)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the softened butter, cane sugar, and molasses together until combined.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and sourdough starter.
  4. Mix well until light and fluffy.
  5. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together with a spatula until combined.
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or reusable beeswax wrap and refrigerate the dough for 12 hours overnight.*
  8. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough out into about 1-inch balls, then drop them 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. (For big cookies you can roll the dough into 50 gram balls)
  9. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are set on the edges
  10. Allow to cool completely on the pan.
  11. Decorate the cookies with icing or powdered sugar or leave them plain.*


*You can refrigerate the dough for just 1 hour and bake sooner, but then the cookies won’t be as fermented.

*To make icing, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 to 2 tsp milk. You only need to add enough milk for your desired icing consistency. Add a tiny bit of milk to the sugar at a time to see how thick it is before adding more milk.

Keywords: sourdough, cookies, gingerbread

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Recipe rating


Valerie December 17, 2022 - 7:45 pm

We made these and they are THE BEST. My husband and I aren’t even huge gingerbread cookie fans and now we are all hooked. The cookies are soft, chewy and end with a slight crunch. These will forever be part of our Christmas baking tradition! Thanks for such a perfect recipe!!

Erica Gassmann December 19, 2022 - 1:01 pm

Could these be rolled and cut out with cookie cutters? Thanks!

Kaitlynn Fenley December 20, 2022 - 8:02 am

I’m not sure, I haven’t tried it.

Diann January 5, 2023 - 4:24 pm

I ferment Yogurt and am ready to try new recipes Once you bake the Gingerbread, are you killing your good bacteria?

Kaitlynn Fenley January 5, 2023 - 4:39 pm

yep, same with any sourdough. It does not contain live microbes. The benefits come from the fermentation process before baking.

Lisa Damron March 16, 2023 - 10:45 pm

Reading that you’re a microbiologist, I’m thinking you have the answer to my question—how can we safely ferment these with eggs in them for 12 hours at room temp? Excited to hear your answer as I’ve been doing sourdough bread for health purposes for about a year and have played with some other things but have steered cleared of anything with raw eggs unless they are added after the ferment—but that is so limiting.

Kaitlynn Fenley March 17, 2023 - 9:13 am

Hi there! You cannot ferment cookie dough at room temperature. In this recipe, you’re instructed to ferment the dough overnight in the refrigerator. You can leave it in the fridge for a couple of days for a *cold* long ferment.