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

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: 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. Absolutely delicious! My husband LOVED them. Tha nks for the yummy recipe. It’s a keeper!

    1. I only have blackstrap molasses. Can i still use that if i cut the amount in half or somethinf

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Jessica, Blackstrap molasses is much stronger but if you enjoy the flavor you can use it here with no other changes. We haven’t tested it but you can also try using half of your blackstrap molasses and half maple syrup to cut the flavor a bit. Let us know what you try!

      2. I just tried it with half black strap/half maple syrup. Absolutely delicious!

  2. This turned out exactly like your recipe and pictures! The taste AMAZING. I weighed out all of the ingredients. Thank you! A Keeper and the house smells great.

  3. Do you prefer these with light or dark brown sugar?

    1. Hi Christine, I’ve made them both ways and don’t notice a huge difference, especially since we’re adding molasses anyway. You can use either.

  4. These are really amazing cookies. For my most recent bake, I added a brown butter icing and it was an excellent addition to cookie

  5. Followed the recipe to a tee. Used dark brown sugar too. After baking 3 trays of these cookies, I decided to eat one. The cookies baked up nice and looked pretty when they cooled. After I took a bite of the cooled cookie, I tossed it in the garbage. This recipe does not have the molasses taste I remember from my granny’s kitchen. Also, I could taste the baking soda in the cookie. Unfortunately, I did not continue baking the remaining batter in the bowl. Sorry for the review, but this cookie is not for me.

    1. If you can’t say something nice... says:

      Why on earth would you toss it in the trash? These are good cookies regardless of if they weren’t what you were looking for. Maybe your spices were too old?

    2. Loretta Hanyo says:

      Thank you for your honest review. Have not tried the recipe, was looking for one to try. When looking at the ingredients I was questioning only 1/4 cup molasses. Didn’t think it was going to give me enough of the molasses flavor, I like a heavy molasses flavor, so I looked at reviews, I probably won’t try this recipe even though the picture looks delicious.

    3. Julie Daniel says:

      really? this recipe was not for you? fine. don’t rate them at all. you chose this recipe, then bashed it. you’re the person who shouldn’t be commenting on anything.

    4. Reviews are meant to be honest. Thank you for yours. I tasted the baking soda, as well…not sure what happened. All of my ingredients were fine. May try again and see what happens. What’s great for some just may not be great for others.

  6. Another Sally recipe win! These were a huge hit! Soft and chewy with great spice flavor. I say weighing your ingredients is the way to go!

  7. These cookies are delicious! I added a lemon icing drizzle – just powdered sugar and some lemon juice – on top and it absolutely brought them to another level. Would highly recommend others try it out – though they are lovely without it as well!

  8. I just made these – 5 minutes ago. The flavor is great but…mine got super flat. I followed the recipe exactly and have no idea what happened. Chilled for an hour and a half so that wasn’t the problem.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lyric, these cookies are on the flatter side (than, say, our Soft Gingersnap Molasses Cookies) but I would recommend checking out these 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading. I hope they help!

  9. Do you think I could sub for some all purpose whole wheat flour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, we haven’t tested this recipe with whole wheat flour, but you can certainly give it a try. Expect a much denser cookie.

  10. These are good but need more sugar in my opinion. I’ve used recipes that call for a full cup of sugar, and this only calls for 1/4 cup! I’m sure some of it depends on your taste but if it were me I’d do at least 3/4 cup.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Megan! This recipe calls for 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Could you have missed the brown sugar? They should be perfectly sweet. Thank you so much for giving these a try.

  11. Amazing! I have been looking for this recipe all of my life! Every recipe I try of yours is my new favorite. Thank you!!

  12. Where have these cookies been all my life??! Tried so many recipes and this is finally the one. I took a chance and doubled it…so glad I did! Absolutely perfect. Thank you!

  13. Mine didn’t spread. Maybe because they were too cold but gosh darn it the tasted perfect. I will try this again with less time in the fridge and possibly adding ginger candies.

    I absolutely love this recipe. Thank you!

  14. Just 1/4 tsp of black pepper to bring out the spice and these are awesome!!! Thank you!!!

  15. theresa tillman says:

    The has got to be the best recipe! It’s low in sugar too!

  16. Catherine McConnell says:

    These are really good but turned out flat and crispy for me. Any tricks I can try next time so they’ll be soft like the ones pictured above?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Catherine, If you cookies over-spread I suggest you taking a look at this post with Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading to help your troubleshoot!

  17. I followed the recipe exactly and they were fantastic! Soft, a bit chewy, and the perfect combination of spices makes this cookie a winner. Just what I was hoping for. Your recipes are always top notch!!

  18. Amazing
    These cookies are so delicious. I have tried other molasses cookies trying to find the perfect one. THIS IS IT!!!

  19. I made these as directed and they turned out wonderful! It took me a few batches to get the right thickness, but I think my first ones were too cold. Did. It matter, still tasted amazing. Will be making again and again! Everyone loved them.

  20. Giving this 5 stars in advance because Sally hasn’t let me down yet. Any advice for how to adjust this recipe for high altitudes? I’m at about 5,000ft elevation and I haven’t found a cookie recipe that works for me.

  21. Your site is the first one I go to for anything I need/want to bake. You do a great job with insights and explanations, without feeling like my junior high home ec teacher!
    My house doesn’t have good wifi in the kitchen, so I often run back to the office to print recipes out. Do you have a printed book of any of your favorites? If not, put me on the waiting list!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, we’re so happy you love these cookies! You may love Sally’s books called Sally’s Cookie Addiction and Sally’ Baking Addiction – usually found on Amazon or wherever cookbooks are sold near you (though they’re out of stock most places right now – keep an eye out for them coming back in stock soon!).

  22. The cookies taste pretty good but they didn’t really spread out at all in the oven, even though the dough wasn’t cold…not sure what went wrong but it was definitely disappointing.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had this problem. I haven’t tasted mine yet because they’re special cookies so I’m not sure about the flavor. But yeah, I followed the instructions to a tee, only left the dough in the fridge for an hour and they didn’t spread at all. They DID crack so I didn’t have to bang the tray. A bit disappointed that I ended up with puffy cookies! LOL

  23. Made these many times and they are always perfect. All your cookie recipes havre been keepers

  24. Hi Sally,
    Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe. We love molasses gingersnap/gingerbread cookies and I have been searching for a recipe that would fit the bill with just the right amount of spice. This is it! I made a half batch (just 2 of us and the recipe divides perfectly) and they came out beautifully. I did have to bang the tray as described but ended up with the desired result. Great texture. Even better, they are still soft and chewy a week later! My husband has already asked me to make them again (soon!). Thank you Sally for doing all the hard work perfecting these recipes so that we can reap the rewards at home.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for this sweet review, Shelly!

  25. Logan McQueen says:

    These were super soft and delicious! The sugar adds a nice textural element. Love this recipe. Thanks!

  26. Very well pleased with this recipe. I followed it exactly and the cookies were delicious and looked great. I made a maple drizzle for them too and I will say maple is a perfect flavor buddy for these. Next batch I make I’m gonna try increasing slightly the molasses as I prefer a little more molasses flavor but i really dont like a strong molasses taste either so hope i can hit it just right. Again, loved these cookies!

  27. Very disappointed with this recipe, no matter what I do the cookies will not spread out. I’ve tried this recipe several times now and each time is the same result. Never using this recipe again.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, 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.

  28. These cookies are amazing! I didn’t have cloves, so I skipped that (I don’t love cloves anyway) but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. I had to do the countertop trick to get them to really crack at the top and it worked perfectly. Yum!

  29. At first these wouldn’t spread so I decreased the amount of flour. It worked although they don’t crack as much as they do in your photos but they are delicious and the texture inside is incredible.

    For me, a cup of spooned leveled flour is about 3/4 cup of flour just scooped out. So I used 1 3/4 c flour the second time around, just scooped out because I was feeling lazy.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ann, we’re glad you enjoyed these! You’re correct — when cookies aren’t spreading, it means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour) soaking up all the liquid. Spooning and leveling (or measuring by weight, if possible) is the best way to ensure consistent results. For more, see “What to do if my cookies AREN’T spreading?” under #2 in our post 5 Cookie Baking Tips to Improve your Next Batch.

  30. Laura Merwin says:

    These are delicious! I made them to take to league night, now if I can keep my husband and I from eating them all first … even the dog won’t leave them alone, he just stands there staring at the counter where they are cooling and whines and barks at them. LOL they are German-Rat approved!

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