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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310 Comments

  1. awesome cookies… just can’t stop at one!

  2. Wonderful recipe!!!

  3. made this cookie (for christmas family get-together) after searching the internet and library christmas cookie books. SO GLAD i chose this one. one batch and we are hooked…decided THIS recipe will be a new traditional cookie at christmas. this is the first time we’ve ever tried a recipe one time and it became a tradition! here it is easter and it’s looking like it may be a new easter tradition too! not complaining – the spiciness, the texture, the aroma, the not too sweet flavor – all good. thank you for creating and sharing this.

  4. I followed the recipe 100%, chilled the dough for 1.25 hours, and baked them for 15 minutes. They came out perfectly, exactly as described. Delicious. Thank you!

  5. This is what works for me when I want a more flat cookie, like my chocolate chip version, once the baking time is complete (I slightly underbake mine), I let the baking sheet of freshly retrieved from the oven cookies do a controlled slam/drop onto a hard surface (like the burner of my gas range, not sure if it’s a good idea on a smooth surface cooktop). This lets the air out of my puffed up cookies and they are just as I love them!

  6. Nancy Perine says:

    Hello! I enjoyed wandering around your website/blog. Your recipe for Seriously Soft Molasses Cookies caught my eye. I had everything on hand except the molasses and our friendly grocery store just down the block fixed me right up. These were fun to make and were oh, so …. DELICIOUS. I almost ate them all myself, but managed to save a few for friends who stopped by for coffee. They loved them, too. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I followed this recipe exactly and let it set in the fridge for 1 hr. When I was rolling them out the kids saw the color of them and said “mom do you think they will be good?” I said wait and see you will love them. The suspicion was still there after they came out and was even more hesitant to try them. They thought they would brave it out and try them… they now have a new FAVORITE!!! School starts in 4 days and they asked me to make more for the snack in their lunches. Great recipe, thank you for passing this on!

    1. Haha – this gave me a good laugh this morning! I’m so glad they braved the color and that they enjoyed them! 🙂

  8. Hi Sally! So I finally tried a cookie from your site that DOESN’T involve oats or choc chips 😛 and so glad I did, these are super easy and delicious! Tasted them yesterday after baking and thought mmm these are nice, tried them today a day later and WOW they are incredible!! So flavourful and soft, definitely a keeper recipe that gets better the next day!!

  9. Wow! The softest most amazing cookie! These taste heavenly… Will be making more soon

  10. I followed the recipe exactly (even measured the ingredients with a scale). I found that the dough needed to chill closer to 2 hours to firm up enough to roll into balls. My cookies came out a litle cakey though. They also didn’t have the cracked looked as in the picture. The flavor is great though and my house smells amazing!

    Any suggestions to make them more chewy/less cakey?

    1. Hi Emily! Here’s a trick I started with another cookie recipe of mine. 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. These were phenomenal!! Just replaced my favourite ginger molasses cookie recipe
    Of 10 years. So soft – perfect consistency and wonderful flavour.

  12. I have tried MANY of your recipes, and have yet to find one that I don’t love. These cookies are perfect!
    PS-I make your green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole every chance I get because they are also amazing

  13. I made these “seriously soft molasses cookies” exactly as written. I made no changes or substitutions. They came out excellent. In fact, they were a huge hit with Mr. Chocolate-chip-cookies-or-nothing, which is an absolute miracle. He kept saying “Those gingerbread cookies are so good.”
    Needless to say, this recipe is a keeper.

  14. This recipe is perfection! I followed it exactly, and it was just what I was looking for! This is officially my new molasses cookie recipe for life! Thank you!

  15. I made these cookies, but I was mostly unimpressed. But then I realized that I screwed up! I like to measure by weight. Sticky gooey things like molasses are especially suited for measuring by weight. I thought had read somewhere that ML could be converted to grams without conversion. As it turns out that only applies to water. For liquids of other densities you have to use a conversion table. For this recipe, 1/4c off molasses is 85 grams on the scale. Once I corrected my mistake and made this recipe correctly, these are some dang fine cookies!

  16. I just made these last night. I had to tweet them to make them gluten free (I have Celiac) and they are delicious!!!!! They didn’t crackle as much but they are definitely my new go to cookie for the holidays. Everyone loves them and they have no idea they are gluten free.

    Thanks for the recipe Sally!

    1. Hi there! How did you make them gluten free? I’m making these today but I want to make them celiac friendly 🙂

      1. I substituted the flour for King Arthur GF All Purpose Flour and added 2 tsp of Xanthan Gum (1 tsp per cup of flour).

        Then I dipped them halfway in Bakers White Chocolate and YYUUUMMMM!
        They tasted like a Gingerbread Biscotti.

        Enjoy!

  17. I make these cookies at LEAST three times each holiday season, and they never disappoint! SOO yummy and perfect recipe! If you try it, you will be hooked.

  18. This is the best molasses cookies ever , only way to makes these cookies better , glass of milk and dunk cookies in milk while they are still warm

  19. I made these twice. When I make bake I get lazy and use bacel instead of real butter and when I made this the first time the batter turned out too runny and they went very flat (still tasted amazing! Almost better!). Second time I made them I used 1/2 cup of bacel Instead of 3/4 cup and the batter wasn’t so wet and they turned out just like the picture! Also use only 1.5 teaspoon of vanilla and the family loved both batches! Will make this recipe again and again!

  20. Robin J Taylor says:

    Can you swap the butter for oil? We have dairy allergies and I have been looking for cookie recipes!

    1. Hi Robin! I don’t recommend it for this recipe, though you could try solid coconut oil or a vegan butter substitute.

  21. Great recipe! My batch came out fluffy but I loved the softness of them! Taste was amazing not too much of one flavor it was a good mix of spices. I followed the recipe to a t and it is wonderful the way it is! Thank you!

  22. This recipe is amazing. I agree they are equal to if not better than a chocolate chip cookie. I have a cookie exchange to go to and tried 10 other recipes that went in the garbage. These are just perfect and very Christmasy as well.

  23. I love this recipe! They are so tasty! The second time I made them, I started mixing the ingredients before I realized I didn’t have any vanilla. I used maple syrup instead and couldn’t tell the difference at all! So yummy!

  24. I love molasses cookies but they always are to hard. Not with this recipe! Thank you so much they are chewy and amazing!

  25. Could I add butterscotch chips as a mix in to this recipe (as opposed to topping them in a thumbprint)? And what amount of chips would be appropriate?

    1. Absolutely! You can mix in 1 cup.

  26. Hello! Okay, so I’m an avid and pretty talented baker…but I can never get cookies right! After rolling the dough into balls + sugar, are you supposed to flatten them a bit before popping those bad boys into the oven? Or just leave them as balls?

    1. Hi Kay! Leave the cookie dough as balls- they’ll spread while they bake. 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.

  27. How many calories is each cookie?

    1. Hi Sophie, I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  28. Thanks for a great recipe! I live at 5,000 feet and recipes are always quirky for me. For the altitude I subbed in butter flavored Crisco for butter to help control the spreading. I also blitz the flour and baking soda in a food processor so they are really mixed together. I used blackstrap molasses and baked for 10 minutes as altitude affects moisture. I hope this helps your over high altitude baking fans!

    1. Thank you for this! I live at 5400 feet and I always have to play with the altitude effects when baking.

  29. These are delicious! (Wait till they’re cool to eat or you won’t taste the complexity!) Mine didn’t spread as much as the pictures and by 10 minutes they were too set for the tapping to work so next time I’ll take out and tap around 8 minutes. Still so good though! For anyone wondering – I weighed each rolled cookie before sugaring and went with between 21 and 25 grams per cookie so they were very even sized. I can never figure out what 1 tablespoon of cookie dough is!

  30. These were amazing and super easy! Will definitely make again!

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