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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

More Christmas Cookie Recipes

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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: 3032 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. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze 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. Great cookie for dipping in milk! Mine didn’t get that pretty crinkle on top, but the taste and texture were still delicious!

  2. Hi l didn’t like this recipe they didnt rise up bake them anyway they were doughy in side won’t use this recipe again

    1. I am not very skilled at baking cookies. However, following this recipe my cookies turned out perfect: airy inside, soft, flavorful. This will be my new go-to cookie recipe.

  3. I have made other recipes from Sally, however this one was a flop, it was like the center didn’t cook, I even tried baking longer, still didn’t,t work, I added more flour thinking it would help, the cookie rose but it wasn’t, great. I was very disappointed.

  4. Definitely nice and soft! Didn’t get the pretty sugar texture on the top, maybe I should’ve used rock sugar instead of granulated. All in all, loved it!

  5. Delicious and easy, especially if you use a food processor. Came out soft and flavorful. I would definitely double or triple the recipe as mine made 28 cookies. You will want many more!

  6. I loved this recipe! Cookies cooked through and cracked, great flavour. Thanks Sally!

  7. To me, the name of the cookie is misleading. It is not a real old fashioned molasses cookie but rather a ginger snap type cookie. Very little molasses flavor to the cookie, I definitely can taste the ginger. Made the cookie as written, paid attention to the amount and temperature of ingredients as suggested. I did like the texture, fresh and cooled from the oven. It was soft and had risen as expected. As is cools even more, I can see it becoming harder, more like a ginger snap.

    1. I accidentally hit the send button without finishing my email completely and correctly. Also, I hadn’t finished editing my comment. Should read “ As it cools”.

  8. I’ve made this recipe before and it came out great! I made them today in my new oven and they came out more cake like. Can I reduce the temp when baking?

    1. Hi Raymond, did you make any ingredient changes to the recipe? If possible, it may be helpful to invest in an oven thermometer to see if your oven temperature is running hotter than it reads. Then you can adjust as needed for future batches.

  9. I made these cookies as written and found the texture to be lovely, as advertised – perfectly soft, and very photogenic. My kids are crazy about them. However I found the baking soda flavor to be overwhelming. Agree with other poster that molasses flavor isn’t very strong (I used unsulfured Brer Rabbit full flavor). Mine didn’t taste especially spicy either. Perhaps my spices are too old, I bought most of them 6 months ago. I plan on playing with the baking soda – subbing half out for baking powder, and seeing if that fixes the main problem, or perhaps will look for a new recipe somewhere else.

  10. Made these because I was stressed and needed to do something with my hands. The cookies themselves were absolutely delicious, but I did increase the amount of spices used for personal preference, as I prefer spicier cookies, especially with milk. (My total amounts were about 1Tbs each of cinnamon and ginger, and 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg and cloves, for anyone who wants them.)

    Even with the additional spice, the molasses still shines through, and it is a lovely cookie, easily in the top three cookie recipes I’ve made.

    This recipe, however, didn’t yield a super soft cookie for me. Instead, my cookies were closer to a ginger snap texture-wise after cooling enough to eat. This isn’t a bad thing to me, as they are sturdier to dip in milk. It was more of a happy surprise. I suspect this was something on my end, perhaps the butter I used was slightly too warm.

    Either way, positively scrumptious, will absolutely bake again. Thank you!

    1. I was very excited to find a recipe for a flat, chewy molasses cookie but I’ve made these twice and they turned out fat and cakey instead both times. I spooned and leveled my flour so I shouldn’t have more flour than called for in the recipe. The dough chilled for about an hour and a half. Any suggestions for how I can get them to turn out more like the photos?

      1. Hi Caroline, A trick we started using with another cookie recipe could work with these. If you remove the cookies from the oven halfway through bake time and gently bang the pan on the counter, the cookies will flatten out. Then do this one more time right after you remove them from the oven. This will help them deflate, form the crinkles, and taste more chewy.

  11. My go-to cookie recipe!! I made these and two of my friends ate the entire batch. Since then, I have made these four times. They are not overly sweet and have a subtle spice, but not so much your eyes water 😉 I usually do add a tad more spice than the recipe calls for, like just a dash more than called for, otherwise I do not alter the recipe in any way. It’s wonderful!! Thank you!

  12. Terrible recipe. The cookies were dry and did not flatten out and didn’t have much taste. I will not use this recipe again.

  13. Best molasses cookies ever!!!!!! I was worried I was going to do something wrong but followed the instructions which are super easy. But thank you for the recipe!!! Definitely going into the recipe box.

  14. I tried your recipe with golden brown sugar and blackstrap molasses and it’s absolutely delicious.

  15. What a yummy cookie! Always a hit at church when my cookie Sunday rolls around and these are among the offerings! No change to the cookie ingredients, per se… I simply roll them in allspice sugar in lieu of the granulated sugar called for. Scrumptious!

  16. I like a crisp cookie, but my family likes soft ones, so I thought I’d try these. I agree that there isn’t a very strong molasses flavor, more ginger-y. And mine didn’t spread out at all even though the dough was room temperature. Didn’t look at all like the picture. Going back to my old recipe.

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