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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

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 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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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Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Michelle, If you wish to try it you would want to replace the egg with a vegan substitute (like flax egg) instead of leaving it out completely. We haven’t tested this so we are unsure of the results, but let us know if you do! You may also be interested in our egg free baking recipes.

      1. Hello. First I would like to say these cookies are delicious! It was my first time making them. Mine did not flatten, or look like yours at all. They were little mounds. Any suggestions? Thank you.

      2. Hi Angela! How did you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.

      3. I made these today with a flax egg and vegan butter! They turned out well. Not quite enough of a ginger taste for me though.

        You can also put a small piece of candied ginger on top. So good!

      4. She can leave egg out and use tsp cornstarch and 3 tsp water instead. Tried and true

    2. Just finished making these and they turned out pretty good. They really spread out but I’m sure it’s because I only put in freezer for half hour. Flavor is great and my husband loves a chewy cookies. Namaste 🙂

    1. Hi Bonnie, 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

    2. Hi! Just chiming in here, I also live at 5,000 ft in CO and have made this recipe a few times as-is with deliciously perfect results!!

  1. I have made these a couple of times, and my family loves them. I didn’t have any cloves, so I substituted 1/4 tsp. Mace. I am diabetic, so I used 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar blend for the sugar. I think I had a little too much flour as they didn’t flatten, but they were still so good. And they smell heavenly when they’re baking

    1. Hey! You have the amount of butter incorrect in your recipe.
      You call for 3/4 of a cup butter, or 170 g, but 3/4 of a cup butter weighs 340 grams.
      If you use 340 grams of butter it’s waaay too much butter, so make sure you only use 170 grams.

      1. Hi Lars! The butter weights are correct in the recipe – 3/4 cup is 170g, not 340g. You can read more about measuring baking ingredients in this post!

  2. I weighted everything which was a first for me (and I was really surprised by extra flour I would have added if I didn’t) and used 1/8 of teaspoon less baking soda bc it seemed like a lot. They came out pretty good. A different texture than I’m used to but I still like them a lot.

  3. I can definitely taste the baking soda in these and they did not spread properly for me even though I spooned and leveled the flour. They were more cake then cookie and not chewy at all. My hubby loved them and didn’t taste it the baking soda so I may try these again but greatly reduce the baking soda.

  4. Delicious! I read all the reviews first so I was a little nervous about cakiness/not cracking but I left the recipe as-is and they cracked beautifully. Upon biting in, they look like they are a bit cakey but they feel pretty chewy! Will make again, thank you 🙂

    1. Mine did not crack but the where still delicious, i did the trick to tap and bake 1 more min but notbung, maybe next try.

  5. I have made these cookies many times before and I absolutely love them. However I was wondering if I could use fresh ginger paste in place of the ground ginger?

    1. Hi Sarah, We haven’t tested it but it should work just fine. Enjoy!

  6. I have made this recipe 3 times (and doubled the recipe). So very good. The dough is actually better then the baked cookie!

    1. Hi Ruth,
      I just had to jump in. Raw cookies can make you very sick…both from the raw eggs and raw flour. There are cookie dough recipes that have no eggs and instruct you to spread the flour out on a cookie sheet and bake it for like 10 minutes before using the flour. This would only be for the cookie dough recipe. You can’t then make a cookie out of it by baking.

      1. When we were young, everyone tried the dough without getting sick. But eggs were fresh and not refrigerated. Once they are refrigerated, they will spoil more easily.

  7. I have made these before and they were a huge hit! Thanks a bunch for sharing. My question..i want to use cookie cutters. How can I get that same sugar sparkle I get qith the rolled cookies?

  8. Not only are these cookies seriously soft but they are also seriously delicious!! I will defintely add these to my annual holiday baking list, thanks!

  9. Perfect chewy sugar cookie texture! Make for an awesome treat both frozen or thawed.

  10. This recipe was a huge disappointment. The cookies did not spread out much, they were not soft or chewy, and didn’t have much molasses flavor. I followed the recipe to a tee and used Brer Rabbit molasses as recommended, but they were a bust. I will not be making them again.

    1. I Always use more molasses and spices and use a little extra flour to make up the difference. I’m Pretty good at eyeballing texture and have made these cookies many times and are delicious. You can always pat them down with the spatula to keep them flatter after they come out and sprinkle with sugar. Try it again!!!

  11. Hi Sally, I inadvertently left out the salt in the recipe. The dough is in the fridge. What can I expect in the way of problems?

    1. Hi Heidi, You may notice a small change in flavor but the cookies will still come out!

  12. Just like my grandmother’s “ginger snaps” that had no snap. Hers were soft too!!! Grandma’s original recipe has sadly been lost but this recipe tasted just like hers. My daughter and I made these for Christmas and they were wonderfully tender and chewy and the flavor was WOW!!!! For those who have problems with cookies being too crispy, we always remove them just before we think they are ready come out of the oven. You can always put them back in. Everyone’s ovens are different. My daughter’s batch was softer than my batch. Our cookies didn’t come out flat and were more “cake like” This is going to be a keeper for sure!! Thank you, Sally!!

  13. These were really great! We really loved the slightly crispy outside and soft inside. These are also perfectly spiced and flavorful. I should have immediately made two batches. These will be gone by tomorrow.

  14. Just finished making these cookies and they are fabulous! My daughter and I both love molasses cookies and this was the last cookies I made to finish a holiday box I’m sending her and my son in law. I love them so much I had to make myself stay away from the kitchen so I’d have some left. Thank you so much for the recipe. It’s going to be a recipe I’ll make all year long!

    1. Hi Linda, we are so glad you love these! We hope your daughter loves them just as much!

  15. I found big differences between the measured vs the weighed amounts of flour. I went with the weighed amount. Everything was measured and exactly. Cookies did not crack – they spread out a lot. Taste was good and texture chewy, but looked flat and un-cracked.

  16. I just looked it up – your numbers are wrong. One cup of flour weighs 161g. You ask for 2-1/4 cup or 281 grams of flour. 281 grams = 1.75 cups = 1 cups + ¾ cup. That is according to this conversion site:

    1. Hi Baker, Thank you for reaching out. 1 cup all-purpose flour should weigh 125 grams (4 1/2 ounces). You can see all common measurements in our post on How to Measure Ingredients (scroll down to the pink box of “common weights”). If you use much more flour than that you will notice that your cookies are dry and do not spread.

  17. No need to post this as a comment, I just wanted to ask a question…this is the first recipe I’ve tried of yours that I didn’t love 100%. The cookies have good flavour but don’t have the density I was hoping for that I usually get with this type of cookie in general. They came out light and almost fluffy. I followed the recipe as written, is there a trick or something I’m maybe doing wrong?

    1. Hi Autumn, A cakey/fluffy cookie could be the result of too much flour in the dough – how are you measuring? Make sure to spoon and level (not scoop!) to avoid this in the future.

  18. Stellar recipe!
    Missing my mother something awful lately, and making these made me feel close to her memory. She used to slide them off the baking sheet onto brown paper to cool.
    Although I love the traditional spice combination, my boyfriend doesn’t care for ginger; and I really want him to experience the joyous warmth of a molasses cookie.
    Any thoughts on how these might taste without ginger?
    Would increasing the other spices a bit be a good idea when omitting the ginger?
    I only use Saigon cinnamon, which has a stronger taste, so I’m not sure about increasing that.
    I will experiment and let you know how it goes but thought you might have already successfully done so.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Deanna! What a sweet way to remember your mother. You can leave the ginger out, especially with your stronger cinnamon, you shouldn’t miss it. Let us know how it goes!

  19. I too followed the recipe by weight. My cookies were cakey but still very good. Just not chewy. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      1. Hi Linda, you can add about 1 cup of raisins to the dough!

  20. The dough is incredibly sticky. But you said that so I expected it. I, perhaps, added a smidge too much molasses.

    It looks like a simple cookie but it has so much flavor from all those spices in each bite. I am in love. Perfect “warm” cookie for this cold, snowy day!

  21. Kind of bland flavor and not as chewy as I had wanted. I followed the recipe exactly and weighed the flour and sugars. Any suggestions? I am looking for a chewy molasses cookie.

    1. Hi Mary, Thank you for trying this recipe. If your cookies were not chewy they could simply have been over baked. If you decide to try them again, try baking them for only 10 minutes. Once the edges are set take them as out the centers will continue to set as they cool on the cookie sheet.

  22. Do you think these soft molasses cookies would hold up to dipping half in melted white chocolate? Or, would you recommend your crispier gingersnap cookie for that?

    1. Hi Catherine, these should be just fine to dip in white chocolate. Enjoy!

  23. This was a good, basic molasses cookie recipe. I used about a cup of lard instead of butter because I always use lard for molasses cookies. Also 3t of pumpkin pie spice instead of the separate spices. They spread out nicely, didn’t crackle much but the edges were perfectly crispy and the inside soft and chewy. I’d say don’t stress over making every measurement perfect and just make a cookie.

  24. I love molasses/ginger cookies, so I made these. I followed the recipe exactly. I generally don’t weigh my ingredients, as I’ve been baking for 40 years. After reading the comments, I did weigh everything. My cookies were not chewy, definently cake like. I did the counter banging with the cookie sheet, too. I also felt they weren’t flavorful enough. Just my opinion.

  25. Been baking for 30+ years and always looking for a good molasses cookie recipe. Followed directions to the letter and did not get the result I had hoped for. Cookies were not chewy, more cake like and the flavor just wasn’t there. Even tried reducing the bake time for the last 2 trays.

  26. I’ve made this recipe many times and they always turn out delicious! Very soft, chewy, and well-spiced.

  27. Lace cookies
    These cookies flattened and ran together while baking. Was it the NZ butter? The temps outside have been hot . The batter tasted great!

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