Molasses Cookies

December 5, 2020

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Molasses Cookies that are incredibly soft and chewy, brimming with rich, deep molasses flavor and boasting of warm spices to perfectly highlight them. They’re deliciously sweet and buttery and oh so addictive!

Molasses cookies layered on a blue plate.

Classic Ginger Molasses Cookies

So what’s the difference between molasses cookies and gingersnaps? While both have similar flavors molasses cookies are soft, moist and chewy while gingersnaps are crisp, snappier and drier. Personally I prefer the first because of those tempting textural attributes.

These are a popular Christmas cookie that has stood the test of time and for good reason. They are a great tradition with their festive spiced flavors, a pretty sparkly finish, plus they are fun and easy to make.

These old fashioned treats have a very robust, inviting flavor that you’ll crave time and time again! Truly a holiday staple.

Tall stack of molasses cookies with the top cookie broken in half to show soft moist texture of interior.

Molasses Cookies Recipe Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: I recommend using unbleached if possible, if bleached is all you have that will work in a pinch too.
  • Baking soda: No substitutes here. This helps the cookies rise.
  • Salt: Just use fine table salt or sea salt.
  • Dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg: I like these to be fairly well spiced but you can adjust the amounts based on how you prefer them. Some may prefer to up the cloves to 1/2 tsp for bolder flavor or cut ginger in half for milder flavor.
  • Unsalted butter: If you only have salted butter on hand that will work too. If doing so only add 1/8 tsp salt to the flour mixture.
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar: Granulated sugar is used for rolling for a nice sparkly finish and ever so light crunch (on the exterior) then the brown sugar is used in the molasses cookie dough.
  • Molasses: I like to use Brer Rabbit full flavor (it has a good consistency too), but a milder option will work great as well.
  • Vanilla extract: We double up to 2 tsp here for extra flavor.
  • Egg yolk: I’ve found when making these that all you really need is the egg yolk (reserve the white for another use). This way you can include a few extra tablespoons of molasses in the dough for more flavor.

Image of ingredients used to make molasses cookies. Includes flour, sugar, molasses, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, egg yolk, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

Collage of six images showing first six steps of making molasses cookies. Shows whisking dry ingredients in a bowl. Separately in a stand mixer creaming butter and brown sugar, the mixing in molasses and egg yolk. And last shows mixing in flour.

How to Make Molasses Cookies

  1. Preheat oven, prepare baking sheets: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 18 by 13-inch baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside.
  3. Cream butter and brown sugar in mixer: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and brown sugar until well combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  4. Mix in wet ingredients: Mix in molasses, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. Blend in flour mixture: Add flour mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Shape dough into balls: Pour granulated sugar into a small bowl. Scoop dough out and shape into balls nearly the size of a golf ball (30g each).
  7. Roll balls in sugar: Roll each dough ball through granulated sugar then transfer to baking sheets spacing 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake: Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven 9 – 11 minutes until cookies are puffed and appear just lightly under-baked in the center.
  9. Cool: Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Collage of four images showing steps to shaping molasses cookies and rolling in sugar. Then shows molasses cookies on a baking sheet before and after baking.

How to Store and Shelf Life

  • Molasses cookies should be stored in an airtight container.
  • Store at room temperature up to 4 days.
  • Freeze up to 3 months.

Can I use blackstrap molasses?

Yes if you like the strong and slightly bitter flavor you can use that it here if preferred. Just reduce salt to 1/4 tsp.

Can dough be made with a hand mixer?

Yes. The cookie dough can be made with a hand mixer. When batter starts to get heavy as you add the flour just switch to mixing in any remainder by hand with a wooden spoon so you don’t burn up the mixers motor.

Overhead close up image of molasses cookies on parchment paper.

Helpful Tips

  • The consistency of each brand of molasses can vary. Therefor if dough is too soft you can refrigerate for 30 minutes before shaping if needed, if dough seems a little stiff you can flatten dough balls slightly before baking so they spread more.
  • Work to keep cookie dough balls the same size so they finish baking at the same time. I like to use a medium cookie scoop or quickly drop and weigh out 30 grams each.
  • I like these cookies best the second day. They become even softer and the flavors all just seem to meld so harmoniously together after a bit of resting.
  • For even more softness you can add a slice of bread to the storage container with the cookies.

Molasses Cookies Recipe Variations

  • Add a little orange zest right to the cookies or add some to the granulated sugar to roll cookie dough.
  • Try them with 1 cup white chocolate chips mixed into the dough, or dip in melted white chocolate after baking and cooling.
  • Experiment with other spices adding those such as cardamom, allspice, or even anise or black pepper.
  • Use coarse sugar instead of fine sugar for rolling if you want a crunchier exterior.
  • Make cookies smaller (and bake for less time) if you’d like to get more out of the recipe.
  • If you want to make them vegan you could try using vegan butter, then replace egg yolk with an additional 1 Tbsp molasses.

More Classic Cookies to Try

 

Molasses cookies layered on a blue plate.
5 from 15 votes

Molasses Cookies

An incredibly soft and chewy cookie, brimming with rich, deep molasses flavor and boasting of warm spices to perfectly highlight them. They're deliciously sweet and buttery and oh so addictive! A holiday staple!
Servings: 24
Prep20 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (283g) unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp molasses*
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 18 by 13-inch baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and brown sugar until well combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  • Mix in molasses, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  • Add flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Pour granulated sugar into a small bowl. Scoop dough out and shape into balls nearly the size of a golf ball (30g each).
  • Roll each dough ball through granulated sugar then transfer to baking sheets spacing 2-inches apart.
  • Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven 9 - 11 minutes until cookies are puffed and appear just lightly under-baked in the center.
  • Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.

Notes

  • *To measure I spray a liquid measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray then pour in enough until it reaches right in between the 1/4 cup and the 1/2 cup mark.
Nutrition Facts
Molasses Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 144 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 106mg5%
Potassium 98mg3%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 187IU4%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.