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 of 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 one individually and 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.
- 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!
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies: These are an elevated twist to our classic molasses cookies. You’ll appreciate the added cocoa flavor and how they are beautifully finished with dark chocolate and crystallized ginger.
If I had to choose, 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.)
- Molasses: Make sure you’re using a dark molasses, but do not use blackstrap because it is too intense for these 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 Grandma’s, Brer Rabbit, or Wholesome brands. 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
- Snowball Cookies
- Spiced Eggnog Oatmeal Cream Pies
And here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.Print
Seriously Soft Molasses Cookies
- Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 30-32 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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 1/2 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
- 1/3 cup (80ml) 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, preheat the oven, then roll in granulated sugar. Bake as directed. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Special Tools: Stand Mixer | Molasses | Silpat Baking Mat | Cookie Sheet | 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
I love this and all your recipes. You’re the best Sally!
I love this and all your recipes. You’re the best Sally!!
First time trying this recipe
Refrigerated overnight and amazing…great taste & chewy!
These are… AMAZING! My first time making molasses cookies and I’m so proud of them. One little mistake I made was my butter wasn’t quite soft enough, and it did affect some of them that had tiny chunks of butter. Didn’t mess them up, but I’ll be sure to set it in a warmer room next time.
Super soft, great spice and flavor without being overwhelming. First time making them and they turned out great. Feel like they would go great with a hot cup of tea.
I made this recipe for the first time tonight, opting to try a new recipe instead of my go-to Soft Molasses Cookies. The flavour is good; I was disappointed, however, that they didn’t have any cracks as seen in the photo with the recipe. I understand the suggestion is to tap the cookie sheet on the counter 2 to 3x, but why is that necessary?
Hi Lori, the cracks and crinkles appear in the cookies after the cookies rise up in the oven, and then fall back down. Tapping the baking sheet on the counter can help too, as it helps deflate the cookies a bit. Were your cookies puffy in the oven, or did they just spread out?
This is such a delicious recipe. I’ve never made these kinds of cookies before and was excited to try. After reading the comments and getting a lot of mixed reviews with flat or not flat cookies, I decided to try anyways. Mine came out perfectly and were not flat at all. I refrigerated the dough for 1.5 hours. No substitutes, everything was prefect. I’m making these again tomorrow for the office. Thanks for a great cookie!
These look like the picture and taste good. I prefer my molasses cookies thicker, these do flatten out but the photo is accurate.
I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I used to buy Molasses cookies because I didn’t think I could bake them even though I am a seasoned baker and make countless items every month for my kids, friends, and family! My favorite molasses cookie was discontinued, and I sent my husband searching for them! I came across this recipe and I made the dough yesterday afternoon. This morning, I woke up, prepared another batch of cookies that needed to be chilled and took these out of the fridge after being in there overnight. I used granulated sugar to roll as that was all I had and I don’t like a lot of sugar on the outside of my cookies anyway.
I just ate one, fresh from the oven with coffee. OMG!!!
I have eaten 3 and had to remind myself that these need to be frozen for Christmas! This will definitely be my go-to Molasses cookie recipe! Your recipes haven’t failed me yet, so I am not sure why I was afraid to bake these on my own!
We’re so glad you love these cookies, Kim!
All but a few of the last cookies turned out perfectly. I think the dough was too warm on the last few because it started to get sticky.
This is my new favorite recipe! I had to switch to gluten-free baking last year, and the results have almost entirely been somewhere in the range of disappointing to disastrous. Last week I decided to try coming back to your tried and true recipes, but subbed in GF flour. I let the dough refrigerate for the full 24 hours. Because of how weird GF flour cooks in my oven, I had to lower the temp by 25° and bake the cookies for only 1/2 the called for time…but they turned out PERFECTLY! The molasses cookies were incredibly flavorful, soft, and moist, and best of all, no one in my family had a clue I hadn’t made “normal” cookies. They were still delicious days later, and I can’t wait to make them again!
Cookies baked up well and are soft centered with slightly crisp edges but the flavor is really lacking. I wanted more of a spice punch in these and it fell really short.
I’m not a baker. Decent cook, but I had never baked cookies in my life. One day I got a hankering for some molasses cookies, and I found this recipe and decided to give it a shot. Oh boy, are these some delicious cookies. Perfectly soft, great flavor. With some guidance from my wife (good baker) these are simple to make and so tasty, especially around the holiday time. I’m going to make another batch to impress everyone at Christmas
Great recipe. They stay soft for days when stored properly. One of my Christmas go-to o cookies.
Recipe turned out well. Yield is a bit off for 1 tbsp cookies. 1.5tbsp balls will yield 30-32
These got really flat for me, so I chilled them longer, overnight, and they spread a little less but way to much for this type of cookie, and no cracking on top. Great flavor but not a classic molasses crinkle look.
Hi HK, it sounds like your butter may be a bit warmer than room temperature which could be causing the cookies to spread. This post on how to prevent cookies from spreading should help for troubleshooting. Thank you for giving these cookies a try!
Made these today and followed the directions to a t. They turned out great! Chilled for 3 hours and they flattened out perfectly. I did not have an issue with them becoming flat like a pancake. Would recommend you give them a try!
Best chewy molasses cookie recipe! I substitute margarine for butter, pumpkin spice for nutmeg. Followed recipe to the letter after that. So good, so easy.
Thank you for the pumpkin spice recommendation! That is what i used and mmmm so good!
Can I use dark corn syrup instead of molasses
Hi Cindy, molasses is a key ingredient in these cookies so for best taste and outcome, we don’t recommend swapping it with any other ingredients.
Always perfect!! Always hand out this recipe!! Thank you ♥️ I use only coconut palm sugar and turns out great for those wanting to not use white sugar. Otherwise I follow the recipe exactly and it’s awesome! Beautiful cookies!
Can you double cookie recipes like this without compromise, or would the ingredients need to be altered? Also, if I make a version of these with Dutch processed cocoa, is that an ingredient that doubles well in cookie recipes without compromise?
Hi Alisa, as long as your mixer can withstand the added volume, you can generally double cookie recipes without problem (while with batters and doughs, separate batches is best!). Simply double all the ingredients.
Mine did not flatten at all. Quite the contrary, they stayed dome-like. They were delicious though! Just don’t know why they didn’t turn out like the picture with all the ingredients followed to a T. Otherwise, yeah they were scrumptious. 🙂
Same, got pancakes. So disappointing. Followed the recipe exactly.
I want to try this recipe soon. But i don’t have these types of molasses. Can i use date molasses ??
Hi Renata, I haven’t tested that so I’m unsure. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work though.
First time using this recipe. Was looking for a simple molasses cookie.
This was over the top! My wife is my food critique and she loves them!
She’s thinking this could be our new Christmas cookie!
Fantastic recipe! The cookies turned out really well. Subbed GF flour and Just Egg, as we manage food allergies. You would never know! Definitely a keeper!
Had 3/4 cup of peanut butter sitting in the cupboard, and decided to bake these.
Best ever! This recipe is a keeper!
Next, your molasses cookies.
Are these the measurements for the softer cookie ? Or do you reduce the flor from this measurement! Thanks Gina
Turned into pancakes
Hi Lisa! Did you chill the dough? Always make sure to start with proper room temperature butter as well. Thank you for giving these cookies a try!
Everything was room temp. Good flavor just flat…
Thank you for saying that , mine did too !
Mine too! And I followed recipe precisely. First Sally recipe that I have been disappointed by…
Easy to follow this recipe and cookies turned out ok. I will try another recipe though because this did not have enough spice or molasses flavor for my taste.
Glad to see I wasn’t the only one. While they ARE very good, I want a little more “punch”
I wanted a “kick” also so I added a rounded 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper and leveled 1/4 tsp ground white pepper but otherwise followed this recipe to a “T” and loved it! (Was going to try 1/4 tsp ground cardamom too but didn’t have any)
Making another batch this week!
I am a little surprised at the number of folks who report issues with this recipe. I find it to be one of the most fuss free and reliable cookie recipes in my very small repertoire and I am prone to baking error! They always come out soft, chewy, and flavorful. I use a 1.5 tbsp scoop and loosely roll the cookies before covering in the granulated sugar (I don’t like rock/turbinado sugar). I get the crinkles every time but I dont roll the balls to perfectly smooth spheres. I follow the ingredients and method exactly and don’t ‘pan bang’ these cookies at all but I have done that for other recipes with good effect.
I agree. I love this recipe. Never have any issues and everyone loves them. My girls ask for these cookies all year
I’m no expert baker by any means. I’ve done Sally’s cookie recipes a couple years now though and I can say with high confidence any spreading issues people are seeing has to do with the chilling. This dough seems a bit more finicky about the temp it’s at when rolled and baked. I did a triple batch and most turned out perfect. There were a couple though I had spread horribly and those were the ones that were a big sticky when I rolled them.
I agree. I’ve never had a problem with this recipe. These cookies come out perfect. Best molasses cookie.
Thank you! Very helpful and mine turned out perfect:)