Crisp Molasses Cookies

Crisp molasses cookies boast wonderfully crunchy edges and tons of spice flavor. Made with extra molasses, these crispy cookies actually snap in half when you break them!

crisp molasses cookies on a red serving tray

Molasses cookies are the best variety. I grew up on several things: fish sticks, five alive (does anyone else remember this?), cool ranch doritos, and my mom’s gingersnap cookies. While my tastebuds have certainly changed, my immense love for gingersnappy/molasses cookies remains untouched. Same with fish sticks, five alive, and cool ranch doritos. Much love.

overhead image of crisp molasses cookies on a cooling rack

Molasses Cookie Comparison

Molasses cookies were an enormous part of my childhood. My mom and I baked her soft gingersnaps together nearly each December– I even published her recipe in Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook. Over the years, I’ve shared many molasses cookie recipes on my website and in my cookbooks. Most stem from the same-ish recipe, so let’s review each:

What Makes These Crisp Molasses Cookies Different?

It seems like we’ve done it all in the molasses cookie world. But my my my, we are so very mistaken. We’ve never ventured over to the other side. You know, the crunchy side. The under appreciated, mega traditional crisp molasses cookies. They snap when you break them in half, a drastic change from “slow bend” oatmeal scotchies.

But they’re not only snappy in texture. They’ve got some SUPER snappy flavor too! Deeply spiced, a big ol’ nod to my spiced gingerbread loaf. We’re talking lots of ground cloves and cinnamon, with a dose of ginger and lots of dark molasses. These cookies are exactly what I associate with Christmas and a tall glass of cold milk.

molasses cookie dough in a bowl with a cookie scoop and a cookie dough ball in a bowl of sugar for coating

The Science Behind the Crispy Texture

What makes these molasses cookies crispy molasses cookies?

  • Granulated Sugar: In today’s recipe, we use all granulated sugar in our cookie dough. Granulated sugar helps encourage spread and also creates a crispier cookie. Think about it: there’s no moisture in granulated sugar. Meaning there’s not much softness, no tenderness, etc. Unlike brown sugar, which creates a soft-baked texture.
  • Molasses: Adding a liquid (in this case, molasses) to the cookie dough weighs it down. This means that the cookies have that beautiful molasses flavor and come out a little thinner. Thinner cookies tend to be more crispy.
  • Sugar for Rolling: Try rolling the cookie dough balls in a coarse sugar. I use half Sugar in the Raw and half regular granulated sugar for rolling. I like the larger granules with the more fine granules. The combination makes pretty cookies AND adds extra crunch.
  • Bake Time: A few extra minutes in the oven produces a crispier edge.

cookie dough balls rolled into coarse sugar and placed on a baking sheet

How to Make Crisp Molasses Cookies

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Chill cookie dough. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Roll cookie dough into balls. Use about 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie.
  6. Generously roll each cookie dough ball in granulated sugar. For sparkle, of course!
  7. Bake.

These cookies are fun to watch baking and cooling. They puff up in the oven, gently crack at the top, then slightly fall leaving valleys of crinkles. So much character in each cookie. 🙂

stack of crisp molasses cookies

Crisp molasses cookies are a wonderful make-ahead option for all your holiday baking. Why? The cookies get even crispier by the next day!

More Christmas Cookie Recipes

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crisp molasses cookies on a red serving tray

Crisp Molasses Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: about 30 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Crisp molasses cookies have perfect crispy edges and are packed with spice flavor!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) unsulphured or dark molasses*
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • for rolling: 2/3 cup granulated or coarse sugar*

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat the two together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat on high until completely combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator (and up to 2-3 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  5. Roll balls of dough (about 1 scant Tablespoon of dough per cookie) into the granulated/coarse sugar. Place each ball 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes or until cracked on the top.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls (not rolled in sugar) freeze well for up to 3 months. Roll frozen dough balls in the sugar and bake for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, KitchenAid Glass Bowl, Flex Edge Beater, Silpat Baking Mat, Baking Sheet, and Organic Molasses
  3. Molasses: A couple brands I favor– Grandma’s Robust Molasses, Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses, or Wholesome!’s Organic Molasses (this stuff is potent and delicious! It’s what I used in these pictured cookies.)
  4. Sugar: I used 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of a coarse sugar, like Sugar in the Raw, for rolling. I liked the larger granules on these cookies! You can roll in ALL granulated sugar or ALL coarse sugar. Whichever you’d like.

Keywords: crisp molasses cookies, molasses cookies

25 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! I love your entire blog and it is my go-to for anything I’m going to bake. I, too, usually prefer soft and chewy cookies and was wondering if I might be able to make a slightly softer version of these by using a 1/2 c. dark brown and sugar 1/2 c. white sugar? would it make a difference?

    1. Hi Lauren! I simply suggest using my SOFT molasses cookie recipe. You can leave out the white chips 🙂

  2. My husband grew up eating storebought gingersnaps. I made these last night and he said they’re way better than any he’s ever had! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Hi Sally, these cookies were delicious and so easy to make. They came out crispy and sparkley and were so much better than the store bought ones we grew up on. Everything is so much better homemade! Thanks for another great cookie recipe! Enjoy the holidays!

  4. I think I loved the recipe the moment I saw them posted here)). I tried them in two versions – covered with sugar and not covered. Both turned out delicious. My kids loved them too. I think they ate 5-6 at once.

  5. Just made these in mini form as dippers for a sweet whipped pumpkin dip. They turned out AMAZING! I had intended to freeze them for Thanksgiving but they may not last long enough for me to do that! As always Sally, I can depend on you for a winning recipe. You’re my go-to source and they are always SO FABULOUS. Thanks for all your hard work.

  6. Recommendations for using this recipe for gingerbread men? Will they spread too much?

    1. Hi Jane! This cookie dough isn’t ideal for rolling out/cutting into shapes. Instead, I suggest this gingerbread men recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/12/01/my-favorite-gingerbread-men-recipe/

  7. These are delicious!!! Mine did not crack on top at all (I baked for 15 minutes), but they looked perfect. Great cookie!

  8. Hi Sally,

    I LOVE these cookies. My Nana used to make molasses cookies when I was little and we have never been able to find her recipe. This one tastes the closest to it of all the recipes I’ve tried.

    This might be a silly question, but can I double the recipe? Or do I need to make 2 separate batches?

    1. Hi Elisa! I’m so happy that you enjoy these crisp molasses cookies and they live up to your memories! Doubling the recipe is fine, but I strongly recommend making separate batches for the best results. 🙂

  9. My husband called from the grocery store and asked me to look up a recipe for molasses cookies (I had NEVER made molasses cookies, but I know he likes them store-bought). I asked him if he wanted soft or crispy and he said crispy. So I happened upon this recipe. Oh My WORD! He loved them! Actually, we have friends staying with us right now, and I think there will be an arm-wrestling match over the last cookie :-). It’s a good thing they are EASY to make because I’ll be making another batch soon!

  10. I’ve made these cookies many times and they are amazing. However we’re expecting guests who are allergic to gluten. Can I use gluten free flour here ? I’m curious about soft chocolate chip cookies too. I often prepare them. Thanks.

    1. I made a double batch, and made these with half King Arthur Measure for Measure flour and half home-milled GF steel cut oats (I’m trying to use up a backlog of oats) and they turned out GREAT!
      I also did not split my batch in two separate 1 recipes amounts as Sally recommends elsewhere in the Q&A, but instead made the whole thing all together. I did find I needed to freeze the dough between rolling balls rather than just putting it in the fridge

  11. Howard Wikoff says:

    Arizona Guy,
    Sally thanks so much for this treat. I have made numerous molasses cookies and have been disappointed numerous times, but not this time. These are the best “Crisp Molasses Cookies” ever. Your recipe is a keeper. Thanks again.

  12. Hi Sally! My cookies didn’t really crack like yours and are thinner. They still taste great but just wondering what I did wrong? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lindsey, If they are thin from spreading too much I recommend checking out this blog post on preventing cookies from spreading for lots of troubleshooting tips! I hope this helps!

  13. I made these yesterday, and while they tasted delicious–they were quite soft. More chewy than anything else–only the edges were a little crispy. Any idea as to why? I 1.5x the recipe but only had one egg in the fridge, so I added 2 tablespoons of milk to make up for the other half an egg I didn’t have…could that be the problem? 🙁

    1. Hi Erin, I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor. It could be the missing egg or you might simply need to leave them in the over for another minute.

  14. Traci Harbison says:

    Very good cookie with just the right amount of spice for me. The dough is very soft and I stopped trying to use the scoop for these and went old school with a spoon and moist hands; much easier with such a sticky dough. They spread so no more than six cookies to a baking sheet.

  15. Linda O’Shaughnessy says:

    Oh goodness, these are just AWESOME. I just made a batch and they are definitely a keeper. Thanks Sally!

  16. I made these tonight. I added 1/4 t black pepper and the flavor was spot on. All said, the edges were crisp but the center was chewy even after a 15 minute bake.

  17. Made these today – they are seriously the yum-nummiest thing I’ve eaten this year they melt in your mouth. My first attempt failed, but I tried again, this time using 25 g less sugar and 25 g more flour and they turned out perfect. Thanks

  18. Flavor was spot on, but my cookies really only got crisp at the edges, the rest was still somewhat soft (but not as soft as a chewy cookie). They have continued to soften over the past couple of days. Any idea what I did wrong? Did I just not bake them long enough? Dough too cold/not cold enough? My cookie was a bit more flat than your picture as well. I’m planning on going for a round 2 with these, so any guesses would be appreciated.

  19. I have made this recipe several times. My husband and mother in law love them! I like to make them in the middle of summer just to make the house smell like Christmas in July! I made them today, they always turn out great! Thank you Sally. I love all your recipes, they never fail to impress!

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