Seriously Soft Molasses Cookies

Homemade soft molasses cookies with crackly tops are super chewy and perfectly spiced. They stay seriously soft for days– if they last that long– and are always a holiday favorite.

molasses cookies

Molasses cookies have always been my top choice because they bring me right back to my childhood. I grew up helping my mom bake them. After rolling the dough in the sugar and watching them bake through the little oven window, my sweet reward was biting into a warm cookie fresh from the oven. In addition to the nostalgia, the soft texture paired with cozy molasses puts them above any other cookie.

Sorry chocolate chip cookies, you don’t even compare.

stack of soft molasses cookies

Molasses Cookie Comparison

Since they’re a favorite, I have plenty gingersnap/molasses cookie recipes on my website and in my cookbooks. Most stem from the same-ish recipe with the exception of the crisp variety. Let’s review what makes each undeniably delicious:

  • Soft White Chocolate Chip Molasses Cookies: Studded with white chocolate chips, these cookies are lusciously soft and mega chewy. You’ll love the combination of cozy spices and white chocolate.
  • Caramel Molasses Cookies: We’re combining molasses and caramel in this crinkly-topped cookie.
  • Soft Gingersnap Molasses Cookies: These extra soft cookies are fat and fluffy!
  • Ginger Pistachio Cookies: I add salty pistachios to my mom’s classic recipe. These ginger molasses cookies are soft, salty, sweet, and spiced. Find this recipe in Sally’s Cookie Addiction cookbook.
  • Crisp Molasses Cookies: Another favorite! These are extra crisp. If you’re looking for a crunchy molasses cookie, this one’s for you– they actually snap when you break them!

If I had to chose, I would always reach for my mom’s recipe that lives in Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook. Nothing compares to mom’s.

molasses cookie dough in a glass bowl

What Makes These Molasses Cookies Different?

Another molasses cookie recipe? Yes! These cookies are different from my other varieties and here’s why– they’re soft, crackly, and chewier than all the rest. I used my traditional soft gingersnap molasses cookies recipe as a starting point (the cute puffy ones!). My goal was to produce a flatter, chewier cookie with the same amount of softness. To accomplish this, I used the same ingredients but slightly altered the ratios:

  • Flour: I reduced the flour considerably to yield a flatter cookie.
  • Baking Soda: To avoid a super flat and overly greasy cookie, I increased the baking soda. Need that lift!
  • Spices: Same amount. This careful blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves is exactly what every molasses cookie needs!
  • Butter, Brown Sugar, Egg, + Vanilla: Same amounts. Brown sugar is what helps produce the softest molasses cookie ever. (In fact, it’s the first thing I changed when making my crisp molasses cookies.)
  • Molasses: Too much liquid in a cookie dough will cause cookies to over-spread. I reduced the molasses by 1 Tablespoon to prevent this from happening. 1/4 cup of molasses still provides the cookies with all the delicious molasses flavor you crave in a Christmas cookie.

Mission accomplished. These cookies are mega chewy, mega soft, and mega crackly!

jar of molasses

Which Molasses Do I Use?

There are varying intensities of molasses on store shelves from lighter molasses to blackstrap molasses. Go for a dark molasses, also sold as “robust” molasses. Blackstrap molasses can be quite intense– I don’t bake with it too often.

I’m not working with any of these companies, but I prefer either Grandma’s brand, Brer Rabbit brand, or Wholesome! brand. Wholesome’s organic molasses is super dark, so it will make your cookies a little darker. Look how dark it makes my spiced gingerbread loaf. As opposed to the same recipe as a cake (moist gingerbread snack cake) made with Grandma’s brand. What a difference in color!

rolling a molasses cookie dough ball into a bowl of granulated sugar

molasses cookie dough balls rolled in granulated sugar on a baking sheet

How to Make Soft Molasses Cookies

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients together.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
  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. The cookies will puff up as they bake then gently sink back down. This is what creates those familiar crinkles and crackles we love. If your cookies aren’t cracking, gently bang the cookie sheet on the counter 2-3x which will help those warm cookies spread and crack on top. See recipe direction #5.

This is a wonderful make-ahead recipe because the cookies stay seriously soft for days (if they last that long!).

molasses cookies


Soft Molasses Cookies Recipe Video

Let’s watch how quickly and easily these cookies come together.


molasses cookies on a black plate

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molasses cookies

Seriously Soft Molasses Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 30-32 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These seriously soft molasses cookies are the most tender and chewy gingersnap cookies around!


Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) unsulphured or dark molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Rolling

  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated or coarse sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high speed until creamy and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the molasses and beat until combined. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour and up to 2-3 days.
  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. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The cookies may not spread in the oven if the dough is that cold. Roll cookie dough, 1 Tablespoon each, into balls. Roll each in granulated sugar and arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until edges appear set. If the tops aren’t appearing cracked as pictured, remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently bang it on the counter 2-3x. This will help those warm cookies spread out and crack on top. Return to the oven for 1 additional minute.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. Unbaked cookie dough balls (before rolling in sugar) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in granulated sugar. Bake as directed. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Molasses, Silpat Baking Mat, Cookie Sheet, and Cooling Rack
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: soft molasses cookies, molasses cookies

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394 Comments

  1. Gryphonisle says:

    Ginger makes this a ginger molasses cookie, not a true molasses cookie (a recipe for which I’d love to find). As the name would imply, a ginger snap is by nature a crispy cookie, so anything other would be a ginger cookie or soft ginger cookie.

    That said, this is certainly a nice recipe. I added about of an inch of minced fresh ginger (I should have upped the powdered to a full Tbsp as well) but otherwise changed nothing. The cookies baked nicely, kept their shape, and had a lovely texture and a mild flavor of ginger, with only a hint of molasses. The sparkling sugar I used gave them a nice crispy surface texture. I’d make this again.

  2. merry beyeler says:

    high altitude changes? i live at 7000 feet in santa fe.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Merry, we wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. We know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html Let us know if you give these cookies a try!

    2. Can anyone tell me approximately how many calories are in each cookie. Just curious

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Barbara, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  3. Ok, the flavor was great and the extra crunch with the course sugar was really nice. Thanks for that tip. However, I did not get the crackled top at all. Tapping the pan with the first batch didn’t do anything. On the second batch, I pressed the dough a little before baking and then tapped the pan about a minute before the bake was finished and still no crackles. The second batch was slightly flatter than the first but still too tall and spongy (and I did spoon and level the flour).
    I was looking back through the ingredient list and I think (not quite sure) that I may have forgotten the baking soda. Would that have prevented the cookies from spreading more?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Steve! Yes, the baking soda will help the cookies rise and crack while baking. That could definitely be the issue. Hope they’re still delicious!

  4. Tammi Matta says:

    I’d like to try and bring out the molasses flavor. Why suggestions?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tammi, There are varying intensities of molasses. We use unsulphured molasses but you can reach for a darker variety. Black strap molasses is the most robust in terms of flavor.

  5. Angela Laird says:

    I made a batch of these this morning. My mum and dad always like to have cookies with their tea at lunch. Mum said they are as good as my aunties recipe. My auntie just turned 101.

  6. These have become my new favorite cookie!! I added a dash of cayenne pepper to the rolling sugar mix and we absolutely loved it.

  7. How is this cooki different than the soft gingersnap recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi MD, the soft gingersnap cookie was actually the inspiration for this cookie! Those are softer, fatter, and fluffier. If you take a look at the section titled “What makes the molasses cookies different?” you can see all the ways Sally modified the recipe for these cookies. Let us know if you give them a try!

      1. Oh I didn’t even see that section, thanks!
        I just made the soft gingersnap recipe, chilling in the fridge now. Your gingerbread man cookie is by far my favourite so thought I’d try another recipe of yours

  8. Hi Sally! So, still in process of making them, but my husband, toddler, and myself tasted from the first batch. They are sooooooo good!! I didn’t have ground cloves and accidentally added the nutmeg as the amount of cinnamon, but all is amazing still! Thank you for this recipe!

  9. I have baked these cookies a few times, and it seems that every time mine spread out very flat, and end up with tiny holes in the tops rather than the smooth tops with cracks like in your pictures? What am I doing wrong? Could it be over/undercreaming the butter? Maybe they aren’t cold enough? Would really appreciate some help!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eric, it sounds like your butter may have been too soft/warm to begin with. That’s usually a culprit for overspreading cookies. Also, chilling for longer than the recommended hour should also help for next time. Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try!

  10. Question, when you refer to the changes in recipe, are those reflected in the actual recipe? Or are we to do that in addition to?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nick! The changes are reflected in the current recipe. Hope you enjoy them!

  11. Rachel Pearson says:

    Help! I’ve developed a cinnamon allergy! How can I modify this recipe to get a similar taste?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel! You can leave out the cinnamon and play around with adding some more of the other spices to make up for it. Let us know what you try!

  12. I made these vegan replacing the egg with a chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 1/2 tbsp water, sit 5 min), and using vegan butter (Earth Balance).
    They turned out wonderful!
    They cracked nicely when i slapped them with one of those paper thin metal spatulas. I felt too clumsy to do the cookie sheet slamming thing.

  13. How wouldyou make these bar cookies?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shannon, you can definitely use this cookie dough for cookie bars. A 9×13 inch pan would be best. We’re unsure of the exact bake time. Let us know what you try!

  14. Delicious! However mine did not crack on top.

  15. Hi! I love your blog! I was wondering, how long do YOU put the cookies in the freezer for? Just wanted to know, thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lili, We freeze cookies all the time for up to three months! You might find the post, How to Freeze Cookie Dough, helpful to see exactly how we freeze both cookie dough and baked cookies.

  16. Lisa Wilson says:

    Has anyone tried omitting the ginger? Since these are basically soft ginger cookies (snaps). I was looking for more of a true molasses cookie. I thought leaving out the ginger might achieve that.

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