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 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.
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.
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.)
Mission accomplished. These cookies are mega chewy, mega soft, and mega crackly!
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!
How to Make Soft Molasses Cookies
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Combine the wet ingredients together.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
- Chill cookie dough. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Roll cookie dough into balls. Use about 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie.
- Generously roll each cookie dough ball in granulated sugar. For sparkle, of course!
- 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!).
More Christmas Cookie Recipes
- Christmas Cookie Sparkles
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies
- Neapolitan Cookies
These seriously soft molasses cookies are the most tender and chewy gingersnap cookies around!
- 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
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated or coarse sugar, for rolling
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.
- 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Molasses, Silpat Baking Mat, Cookie Sheet, and Cooling Rack
- 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