These Molasses Cookies are carefully designed to be perfectly spiced and so soft and chewy! Their sparkling sugar exteriors and warm, cozy spices make them a perfectly festive and unique winter cookie. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Soft & Chewy Molasses Cookies
Molasses cookies are the softer, chewier cousin of my gingerbread cookies. They’re a great and easy-to-make cookie option for your holiday cookie tray and with their deep sparkly crackles they look beautiful arranged beside sugar cookies and peanut butter blossoms.
With their crackly sugared surfaces, slightly crisped edges, and soft, so soft, chewy interiors, these cookies are the treat to leave out for Santa if you have something particularly pricey on your wishlist this year. They’re brilliantly flavored with real butter (no shortening!), dark brown sugar, rich, sticky molasses, and, it bears repeating, lots of warm and cozy spices.
While you may be eager to pop them in the oven right away, note that this dough does have to chill for at least 3 hours before baking. Not fun, I know, but the chilling is necessary to make the dough manageable (the molasses makes it a bit sticky!). Chilling also allows the flavors to really develop, giving you the best, most deeply flavored molasses cookies, so it’s worth the wait!
What You Need
Let’s chat about a few of the key ingredients that you’ll need:
- Molasses. Use an unsulphered molasses, like Grandma’s brand (pictured above) or Brer Rabbit “Full Flavor”. Avoid blackstrap molasses–it’s too strong for this recipe and will make the cookies bitter.
- Brown sugar. I recommend using dark brown sugar here; it has a more intense flavor and color than light brown sugar (as it’s made with even more of that coveted molasses) . If you don’t have any on hand, you can use light brown sugar or make your own brown sugar.
- Cornstarch. Cornstarch is one of my favorite “secret ingredients” to use in cookies (I first used it in my “worst” chocolate chip cookies). It make the dough more stable and keeps the cookies from spreading too much on the baking sheet. While adding more flour could also help keep the molasses cookies from spreading, it would make the cookies cakier and more dry, while cornstarch keeps them soft, chewy, and tender.
- Spices. Classic, cozy winter flavors including ginger, cinnamon and cloves. These are the same spices used in my gingerbread, minus the nutmeg.
SAM’S TIP: You can either use a plain granulated sugar or a coarser sugar like turbinado for rolling the cookies before they bake. A coarser sugar will be nice and sparkly!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Molasses Cookies
- Cream the butter – Cream together the butter and sugars, then stir in the egg.
- Add the flavorings – Stir in the vanilla and molasses until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients – Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients.
- Let it chill – Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 3 hours before proceeding.
- Scoop, sugar, and bake – Scoop the dough and roll it in sugar before baking at 375 for 10-11 minutes.
- Finish on the baking sheet – Let the cookies cool completely on their baking sheets before enjoying.
SAM’S TIP: Your molasses cookies should look slightly underdone when you pull them out of the oven–this is a good thing! They’ll finish cooking on their baking sheets outside the oven, resulting in a perfectly soft and chewy texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Just cover and let it chill in the fridge overnight or up to 3 days. When you’re ready to bake, simply scoop and roll the cookies like you would if you had chilled for the original 3 hours.
Most of the ingredients are very similar between the two, and as a result, the flavor is too. Texturally, gingerbread cookies are usually a bit thinner and less soft (depending on the recipe).
One of the more obvious differences here is that gingerbread cookies are typically rolled out and cut into shapes and iced while molasses cookies are rolled in sparkling sugar.
Molasses cookies are also pretty similar to gingersnaps, especially my soft and chewy gingersnaps. Gingersnaps typically have a crisp, snappy texture and a spicier, more pronounced ginger flavor, while molasses cookies are soft with a deeper, rich molasses flavor.
Definitely! Just follow the instructions for sugar coated cookies in my post on how to freeze cookie dough.
Use an unsulphured molasses. *Most* of the molasses available in the baking section of the grocery store should be unsulphured, but your label should indicate that this is so. I typically use “Grandma’s” brand molasses or the “full flavor” variety of “Brer Rabbit”. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to avoid blackstrap molasses, which will give your baked good a bitter, unpleasant flavor. Here is a more detailed breakdown on the differences in molasses.
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Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (170g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- ½ cup dark brown sugar packed, can substitute light brown sugar (100g)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup unsulphured molasses it should say unsulphered on the label, I used “Grandma’s” brand) (60ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (280g)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar for rolling
- Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer (or you may use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer) and beat until creamed.
- Add egg, stir until combined.
- Add molasses and vanilla extract, stir well until ingredients are combined.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until completely combined.
- Cover dough with clear wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
- Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375F (190C) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll dough into heaping Tablespoon-sized balls and roll in sugar to coat completely.
- Place at least 2″ apart on prepared cookie sheet and bake on 375F (190C) for 10-11 minutes.
- The cookies should look baked but have slightly under-done centers. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet to finish cooking — this will make them very soft.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I originally shared this Molasses Cookie Recipe 12/01/2017. Post updated (recipe remains the same) Dec 2022.