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


Soft Molasses Cookies Recipe Video

Let’s watch how quickly and easily these cookies come together.


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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380 Comments

  1. I stored some dough in the freezer and saved it for the later months and it was still good!

  2. Jennifer Jacobs says:

    Just made these – wow! Heavenly. I used my Cookie Preset on my Wolf Convection Steam oven (which was 340 for 12 minutes) and they came out perfectly! Also rolled dough balls in turbinado sugar. Can’t wait to try freezing some of the cookie dough for next time.

  3. Made these cookies exactly according to the directions, they were sooooo good. Only disappointment was they didn’t spread at all (only refrigerated for 30 minutes…cause I needed cookies sooner than later) they were just these little brown mounds of sweet and spicy goodness. Even removed from oven and banged as suggested, nothing. Didn’t affect their taste, we made two and half dozen and they were gone in three days. Anyways, on second batch even tried to gently press a few with a fork right out of the oven and they were so thick and chewy it would have taken a lot more pressure to flatten them than I was willing to give, so we at them as is (rounded) and they were delicious anyways. Sharing this recipe with my son, who’s granny always supplied him with store brand molasses and/or iced oatmeal cookies, he’s gonna be so happy with these.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheila, I’m so glad you enjoyed these cookies! When cookies aren’t spreading, it usually means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour) soaking up all the liquid. Make sure you are properly measuring your flour. You can see more about this in the post 5 Cookie Baking Tips to Improve Your Next Batch – see tip number two the section called “What if cookies AREN’T spreading?”

  4. just made some.. they were gone in minutes.

  5. Do you have a recipe for molasses bar pan cookies please?

  6. What happens if you use salted butter?

    1. Hi Mary, the cookies are plenty sweet even if you use salted butter. However, feel free to reduce the salt down to 1/8 teaspoon if desired.

  7. Sandy Simpson says:

    Love this recipe. I freeze them for our afternoon coffee. Our golden retriever stares at the freezer door until I take them out and give her a little treat. Lately I’ve been adding some black pepper for an extra kick. All of your recipes are great and family approved. Will have to mail some to the grandkids during this terrible time to make their day sweeter. Thank yiu

  8. Christine Longley says:

    I made these cookies and they taste wonderful but mine were flat like pancakes and the dough was very gooey. I refrigerated the dough for an hour.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christine, To help troubleshoot flat cookies you can see these 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading. I hope they help!

  9. Flavor was great but I was surprised that it was a bit more “cakey” then I thought it would be. Next time I make this recipe I will back of on the Baking Soda from 1-1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon or maybe even a bit less. Also I made it with Pumpkin Spice and Ground Clove which was fine but next time I think I will have Ground ginger on hand so I can kick up that flavor a bit more than what the Pumpkin spice offered.

    1. First time making this recipe tonight and I also ended up with a”cakey” cookie, despite being very careful to follow the directions to a T. I love a good chewy molasses cookie, so was a little disappointed. I may follow your lead and back off of the baking soda next time.

      1. I found a different but similar recipe and again backed off on the baking soda and saw similar results on the first batch out of the oven. My action on the next batch into the oven was to back off on the baking time by a few minutes but more importantly I immediately flatten then with a spatula right out of the oven.

        Those turned out exactly how I wanted them; a slight crunch on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Once fully cooled I stored them in an airtight container and they stayed that way until they were all consumed. In my home that was around 4 days and that was a 40 cookie batch! LOL

  10. Hi Sally!
    Just tried this recipe and my cookies didn’t spread very much and didn’t turn out very chewy. The taste was great though!! I refrigerated them for about 2-3 hours and let them rest at room temp for 30min before baking. While baking, I didn’t see many cracks so I tried banging the pan to get the cracks like you suggested, but that didn’t seem to help in my case. Where do you think I went wrong?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jasmine, When cookies aren’t spreading, it means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour) soaking up all the liquid. Make sure you are properly measuring your flour. When measuring flour, use the spoon & level method. Do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag. Doing so leaves you with excess flour in the cookie dough. If banging the pan doesn’t work you can use a spoon to slightly flatten them out if needed.

  11. These turned out really great. As recommended I used a kitchen scale to precisely measure the flour. The dough was quite sticky but putting in the fridge helped it firm up a lot. One thing I did change was subbing all of the spices for 1.5 teaspoons of cloves because I wanted only clove flavor. The end result was a beautiful soft cookie with some crispyness around the edges. I’m so happy with the result!

  12. Angela Williams says:

    Can you use coconut oil as a substitute for some of the butter? Has anyone tried this?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Angela, We haven’t tested it but solid coconut oil should work.

  13. I made the first batch they seemed to not be very chewy the second batch I took off the cookie sheet out of the oven and put on cooling rack my husband said they were much more Chewier I have a home at 4,800 elevation I would like to use same recipe there any suggestions for baking at a high elevation? Thank you

  14. Are you using butter or shortening in these recipes for molasses cookies… i am confused.. I thought shortening made a better cookie. Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marie, We use butter in just about all of our cookie recipes!

  15. Hey Sally!

    Great site btw! I was wondering about tinkering with making a sweet potato ginger molasses cookies – not vegan or gluten free – but just adding some in there for some holiday fun and resourcefulness.. do you think I could play around with subtracting some butter and sugar from the recipe in order to have some positive results? I feel like the egg should stay where it is, yes?

    1. Hi Sean, it’s worth playing around with this recipe. I would perhaps reduce the butter to 1/2 cup, increase the flour a bit, and add 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree/mashed plain sweet potatoes. I’ve never tested this, but that’s where I would start. You could try these pumpkin cookies and replace the pumpkin with sweet potato puree/mashed plain sweet potatoes. Not sure about adding molasses to that recipe though.

  16. These are delicious and were a huge hit with everyone. I actually thought they were a little too “butter forward” the first day, but the flavors melded together more as time went on. I froze them and whenever I pulled a batch out to have a treat or to give away- they were still perfect, like they had just been made.

    1. Made these for the first time today and the texture is exactly what I was going for!! I often have spreading issues with my cookies (very warm kitchen) so I did chill them a couple of minutes on the pan after rolling them to make sure that didn’t happen.

      My only complaint is that there’s nowhere near enough ginger in the recipe, but I’ll play around with it for next time – I might try subbing in grated ginger for the powdered, that usually pumps up the ginger taste!

  17. These cookies are amazing! They are perfectly spiced and sweet. I made my cookies on the larger side and made 26 cookies. The sides of the cookies were slightly crunchy while the middle of the cookie was very soft. These cookies are going to be on my regular rotation from now on.

  18. Mine didn’t end up cracking, but were still delicious nonetheless. The house now smells amazing .
    Great recipe!

  19. These are delicious!! The only problem I have is, no matter what I do (including dropping the cookie sheet), they won’t crack! They’re so yummy but just don’t have the ‘molasses cookie’ look.

  20. Michelle Guillaume says:

    This is one of the best recipes for molasses cookies I have ever made! I am not a molasses cookie fan….but these fit the bill. I did take them out of the oven a few minutes early, so that they were soft in the middle. They had a perfect chewy consistency. As mentioned by someone else, I did take a spatula and gently push down on them as they cooled. The cookie cracks widened a bit; the cookie was flat, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

  21. Absolutely perfect cookies !!I read the reviews and only put in 1 tsp of baking soda . ❤️

  22. Hi, Sally! Your molasses cookies (this version, as well as the other soft version) have been part of my holiday cookie routine for years. Thank you for your delicious recipes I have recently been experimenting with rye flour in some of my cookies and cakes. Generally, I have had luck using rye flour to replace 1/4 to 1/3 of the AP flour. Do you have any experience, advice, etc. for this particular substitution? Happy Holidays! Erin

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erin, We have never tested this (or any cookie!) recipe using rye flour. Let us know if you try it!

  23. Hi 🙂 In your molasses cookie comparison section, you state your moms recipe is in your cookbook. So there is a difference in this recipe to your moms?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gretchen, Both recipes use the same basic ingredients – but the amounts/ratios are a little different. This recipe is the chewiest of the two!

  24. Not what l expected – I am an experienced baker, but l must say when l read this recipe l was a bit sceptical on the chewiness. My cookies turned out soft and cakey, NOT chewy like l had wished for, l have to double check to make sure l hadn’t made your other recipe by mistake. Perhaps this has something to do with climate. Though these cookies were not chewy, they did smell nice and taste good fresh, just don’t double or triple the batch at a time cause they won’t stay soft forever.

  25. Delicious, but this cookie was a big fail! Followed recipe exactly. Chilled for 2 hours. Was worries they would be too cold but by the time i rolled them and dipped in sugar, into the oven they went! Flat as a pancake!!! No crinkles. Great flavor. Not sure what went wrong. I used a scale for flour! Baked 12 min but they were raw I had to put them back in!

  26. Patrick Gustin says:

    Hands down the best cookies ever. I followed the directions to the letter and they came out perfectly even at 5600 feet above sea level . Thank you for a perfect recipe.

  27. I usually never leave comments on recipes but holy cow! These were bomb

  28. I decided to try your recipe because it used butter. My go-to recipe uses shortening (and/or bacon grease). Everything seemed to mix as expected. Today I took the wrapped dough out of the refrigerator.
    I had a lot of trouble rolling the balls. The dough stuck on everything. It was impossible to get a nice round ball.
    I tried letting the dough warm a bit. I tried putting some dough back into the frig. Nothing worked.
    The cookies spread thin and did not crackle like I’m used to. I did bang the cookie sheet as you suggested. Needless to say, I only got five cookies that were round and I would be proud to use in the cookie exchange.. BUT… they taste wonderful! Crispy edges, soft, chewy centers.
    What can I do to improve the shape ,next time?

    1. Hi Leslie! So sorry you had trouble with these cookies spreading too much. You may find this blog post helpful with lots of tips and tricks to prevent spreading next time! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/tips-for-cookie-spreading/

  29. Hey Sally, is there any way I can substitute the butter in the recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kismat, None that we have tested, though you could try solid coconut oil or a vegan butter substitute.

  30. Another winner! Like a soft chewy gingersnap. Really great recipe. I made mine a little small but I like how cute and two-bite sized they are. I’m excited to add these to my cookie plates to hand out to neighbors this year.

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