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

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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245 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, these look so good. I love the idea of the chewy cookie with the thinner crisp edges but also love the white chocolate chips.. could I add some without altering the recipe? Also, what do you think about adding some freshly grated ginger for an extra gingery taste? Thanks! 

    1. You can add a little fresh ginger, yes! And white chips too– I’d say 1 heaping cup would be enough.

  2. I just want to let you know I baked these cookies tonight. I left them cooling on the rack. When I came back into the room there was only two left. My 3 and 7 year old apparently loved these cookies. Thank you! 

  3. I just made these cookies and they are divine! Their consistency and texture reminds me of the vegan peanut butter cookies sold by Whole Foods bakery. Do you happen to have a peanut butter cookie recipe with the same chewy texture as these? I’ve tried to find something similar, but all the recipes I’ve tried end up too puffy and cake-like. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi Meredith! These peanut butter cookies are pretty dense and chewy. I think they’re what you’re looking for!

  4. I made these today and OOPS put the whole 2 sticks of butter in instead of 1.5. Still look and taste pretty good although they are more melt-in-your-mouth than chewy and the edges are slightly thinner. Looking forward to the results without the mistake! Thanks for the recipe. 

  5. Hi Sally! I just tried this recipe and it tastes delicious! Unfortunately, my cookies didn’t spread very much, and stayed quite puffed up. They don’t look nice and flat like yours do. I only refrigerated the dough for about 45 mins, didn’t let it stand before rolling and baking. Any ideas on what I need to do to get that nice flat spread cookie? Thank you!!

    1. Hey Dawn! Try pressing the cookie dough balls down before baking. This “head start” will help encourage them to spread out while baking.

  6. Hi Sally,
    Did you use fancy or black strap molasses for your cookies?

    1. I don’t– I use a dark variety, but not as dark as blackstrap. That’s very strong, but you can absolutely use it if you prefer its flavor.

  7. Similar to one or two others mine spread but didn’t crack so not sure the texture was right, though they tasted great =]  Any thoughts on what I might have done wrong are much appreciated – I’m planning to make some more for family ahead of Christmas.

  8. These cookies were fantastic and easy! Every recipe I’ve tried on your website has been great (especially the pumpkin pie and pecan pie recipes for Thanksgiving). Your website has become my go-to for baked goods. Thanks!

  9. This recipe just won me first place in my company’s Christmas cookie bake off! Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. Sally, these are so delicious. I have already made this recipe THREE times during the Christmas season. I keep bringing it to all the holiday parties- it’s truly a show stopper! It is SO soft, and the perfect amount of sweetness. By the way, I also discovered that it’s perfect as an ice cream cookie sandwich 😉 Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  11. My husband really wants raisins in the cookie. How much should I add and do I need to modify the recipe at all ? Love all your recipes.

    1. No need to alter the recipe, just add about 1 cup of raisins to the dough.

  12. These molasses cookies are wonderful! I will surely be making them often. Only had a few crinkles though …. would have liked more like yours. ..lol

  13. Can I sub fresh ginger? And if so, how much is a good sub?

    1. Hi Alyssa! You sure can. I would add 2 teaspoons of finely minced fresh ginger.

  14. Darla Buccigrossi says:

    Made these for homemade cookies day; they are now one of my favs! Soft middles but crispy on the edges, great spice flavor but not overpowering. Delicious

  15. Debbie Y.Danis says:

    Oh my goodness.. This will be my go-to recipe for ginger snaps from now on. They are delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  16. OMG, these were seriously so delicious. Everyone absolutely raved about them. Every single recipe I have made of yours hasn’t just been good but outstanding. I love your site and know when I make something of yours I can trust it will be delicious. Thanks so much!

  17. A keeper recipe for me. I just discovered your site and am going to try several of your recipes. I wanted to add some new recipes to the ones I usually make.

  18. Sharon Worley says:

    These sound amazing! I have never tried making molasses cookies myself although I have eaten MANY! I’m on a quest to make hand sized cookies this year as gifts and thought I’d try these – I’m wondering if you think these would adapt well to a bigger size cookie?

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem! Make sure you add a couple minutes to the bake time.

  19. Hi Sally, I am your new fan! Between crispy and soft molasses cookies, which one do you like better? I noticed that crispy recipe uses more sugar and less flour. Correct? I want to make one of the two for Xmas party. Can’t decide! Please help!!! Thanks.

    Warmest regards,
    Shirley

    1. Correct! More sugar = crispier texture. I love the crispy molasses cookies because they SNAP just like old fashioned gingersnap cookies. It really depends on which texture you’re looking for. Soft or crunchy?

  20. Shannon Matzke says:

    Great taste, but my cookies came out too airy. I’d like to make them chewier, and I have some dough left. Any suggestions on how to modify the already made dough? (I used Margerine which may be my issue but looking to rectify!)

  21. Wow! Outstanding recipe! I always bake my favorite recipes for my sons for Christmas gifts – they are so happy to receive them! While I have a favorite of ginger/chocolate chip that I make annually (and that I made when I had my bakery, he wanted to have a ‘molasses cookie’/chewy’. I stumbled onto your recipe, desired to try it out and voilà – I followed all directions – delightful flavor, crinkles and all. I’m sitting down right now to sneak one for myself along with a delightful espresso! In heaven! Thank you, Sally!

  22. I made these cookies last night and they tasted great. But they were more on the cakey side and they really didn’t spread or fall. They stayed in their ball shape but they had some crinkle. What did I do wrong? Does it matter if you us a stand mixer or hand mixer?

    1. Hi Roberta! The cookies taste cakey since they didn’t spread much. I suggest you skip the chilling if you try the recipe again. They’ll be a little more flat that way. 🙂

  23. Jocelyn Pascall says:

    Hi there – do these stay soft even after freezing the baked cookies? For some reason I always worry that freezing will ruin softness. Thank you!!

    1. They sure do! Let them come to room temperature before eating. When storing at room temperature, cover the cookies tightly and place a piece a bread in the container with the cookies. Sounds odd, but this will keep cookies soft FOR DAYS!

  24. I’ve made these twice in two weeks and they were fantastic both times! Full of flavor, soft and chewy and devoured in minutes. I made slight adjustments for high altitude and they turned out delicious. Thanks for the great recipe!

  25. If I make these again, I’ll shorten the baking time to 10 min. They didn’t crack much on top, so I left them in for 12 min., then had to toss a few that turned out too dark on the bottom. I also found the flavor to be a bit more subtle than others I’ve tasted (but not baked myself). The ones that weren’t too overdone were definitely soft!

  26. I just made these and WOAH they are delicious! Best molasses cookies I’ve ever had. I followed the directions exactly and they came out great! Thank you Sally for this recipe 🙂

  27. I tried these twice, and they resemble the “soft Gingersnap molasses cookies” recipe picture more so than the ones pictured under “seriously soft molasses cookies”. I doubled the recipe and used less baking soda the 2nd time around, with the same result. They puffed up and never settled back down after baking for 10 minutes! Oddly, some had crinkles and some didn’t. By the end of my giant dough ball, I had tried some with not rolling in sugar, some with only the top placed in sugar, and some with the whole thing rolled in sugar. Some were chilled for an hour, and some were not. I initially baked on silicone mats, but they didn’t spread much…so I used a metal cookie sheet for a batch and didn’t notice a difference. If you want big, puffy soft cookies, then this is the recipe for you. I am going for a flatter cookie…like the one in the main picture.

    1. Just made 4 batches of this today for my neighbors’ wedding, it tastes amazing! Definitely make these when you have the chance.

    2. Same thing happened to me. I followed the instructions without changing anything and my cookies came out really puffy and not spreaded like the picture. They are still good but I found them a little “flaky” and I wish we could taste a little more the molasse. I will probably try it again but with some changes to get the right texture and taste.

  28. These were perfect!!!!!!!!! My first time making molasses cookies and I used Sally’s recipe. They were so soft and delicious – brought them to a family party and the only issue was that I didn’t make a double batch 🙂

  29. I’m a little frustrated that I can’t think of another cookie that I want to bake right now, but I’ve come to accept that I am but it’s humble servant.
    This is like the 5th time I’ve baked cookies in the past few months and 4/5 times has been this recipe. I love it so much! It takes me back to my childhood flavors when my mother would make cookies that smelled and tasted like these 🙂

    I’m going to do a double batch this time.
    I have been making my own sugar mixture with: salt, paprika, cinnamon, and sugar.

  30. These are the must-do for Christmas. In our annual rotation now.

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