Molasses Cookie Recipe

These wonderfully soft and chewy molasses cookies have a deep rich butter and molasses flavor with warm spices. It’s impossible to not fall in love with one of my favorite cookies!
↓ Recipe Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 3 hrs 32 mins
Serves: 24 cookies
molasses cookies piled on a black plate

This molasses cookie recipe is the perfect holiday treat. Dark molasses with butter, warm spices, and a signature crackly top stay true to the recipe from the 1800s, but with a modern twist. Add a tiny bit of coffee to deepen the rich flavors of the spices. A must-make cookie every fall and winter!molasses cookies piled on a black plate

This dough comes together quickly, which is great because you can use your mixer or just a bowl and spoon, but it does take a little time to chill. The chill is what keeps this cookie from spreading too much and keeps the cookie soft. The dough can stay in the fridge or freezer for a few weeks, which I love to prep ahead for the holiday season. It seems like there is always a need for cookies last minute. 

Molasses is the key ingredient for a molasses cookie. Molasses is a syrup that is the product resulting from refining sugarcane into sugar. There are a few different types of molasses, dark, light, sulphered, unsulphered and black strap. The kind of molasses you use matters. Sulphered and black strap molasses are very bitter and more often used in savory recipes. I recommend dark or light unsulphered molasses for baking. It is also easiest to find in a grocery store. A little goes a long way, so I am able to keep a jar of molasses for quite a while in my refrigerator. jar of grandma's molasses on a marble platter

Brown Sugar is granulated sugar with molasses added to it. It gives this recipe just that much more deep flavor and chewy texture. You can use light or dark brown sugar, both work well in this recipe. Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it, giving it a darker color. We use white granulated sugar for the exterior to give the cookie a sparkle and a crackly top.

Butter… I can’t think of a more delicious ingredient in cookies. The flavor and fat are key to the performance of the cookie as well as the mouthfeel. 

Instant coffee is totally optional, I chose to include it because I really wanted to deepen the warm flavors of this cookie. Coffee can help highlight the flavors of the molasses as well as the spices. I chose instant granules because I didn’t want to add any extra moisture to the dough.

How to Make Molasses Cookies

  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and instant coffee in a large bowl with a whisk, then set it aside.dry ingredients for molasses cookies in a large glass bowl
  2. Add the brown sugar and softened butter to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.butter and brown sugar in the bowl of stand mixercreamed butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl
  3. Stop the mixer when adding the molasses to avoid the thick syrup from splattering on the sides of the bowl. Mix until the molasses is incorporated, then scrape the bottom of the bowl for the stubborn butter.molasses and creamed butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl
  4. Mix in the egg until it’s fully incorporated. hand adding a bowl of eggs into a cookie dough
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is evenly incorporated. You can briefly mix on low speed in your mixer, or combine by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon.hands mixing together cookie dough with a spatula
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 3 hours or overnight. Chilling the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and stops them from spreading.cookie dough wrapped in plastic on a table
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  8. Scoop 1.5-ounce balls of dough (about 2 Tablespoons), roll them in the extra granulated sugar, and place them on the cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Gently press the top of the cookie slightly, to keep the cookie from rolling around. cookie scoop placing a dough ball on a food scalehand rolling a cookie dough ball in sugar
  9. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until the edges are slightly browning and the center is puffed and no longer wet looking. The center might “glisten” a bit, but if the cookie appears set, it is donebaked molasses cookies on a sheet pan
  10. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. They are very soft due to the sugar so they need a few minutes to set up before being moved. hand holding a molasses cookie above a sheet pan
  11. Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can wrap and freeze the cookies for 2 weeks, or freeze the unbaked cookie dough for up to 3 months. Pro-tip: Pre-roll the cookie dough balls and freeze them, making it even quicker to bake them off fresh. Just roll them in the granulated sugar and pop them in the oven.molasses cookies on a black plate

FAQ

What’s the best molasses for cookies?

The flavor of this cookie is distinct because of the star ingredient. I recommend unsulfured molasses. It will be the easiest to find at the grocery store. Sulphered and blackstrap molasses are more bitter and sharper in flavor, so I do not recommend using those types in baking. 

Why are my molasses cookies flat? 

If the dough is not chilled for long enough it will spread in the oven and once it has spread there is not enough structure in the flour to keep it puffed. Molasses is thick and gooey, and it will want to stay in that state if allowed. 
Make sure your butter isn’t too soft or warm, even though you will chill it, the consistency of the butter can affect the outcome. To ensure your cookies turn out right, use a scale to measure your ingredients.

Why didn’t my cookies crack? 

If the cookies didn’t get a good enough layer of sugar before going in the oven, that changes how the exterior bakes. It can be fun to experiment too, with different types of sugar or coating, like cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or maybe some cocoa powder. 

What if I don’t have time to chill my dough? 

The dough is very soft with a high ratio of butter and sugar, also molasses, which is an invert sugar (syrup) and that is what makes chewy cookies. So for the best results chilling the dough gives the flour time to hydrate, the butter to firm, and the syrup time to thicken. Once the cold cookie dough goes into the oven. It will warm and bake slower than warm dough, allowing the baking soda to do its job of puffing up the cookie and forming its shape before it melts out flat. That being said, if you are looking for a flat cookie, go ahead and bake the dough at room temperature. It will remain pretty chewy because of the molasses. 

Is molasses the same as gingerbread?

While gingerbread cookies and molasses cookies both are yummy holiday cookies with spices and molasses, they are not the same. Molasses cookies have cloves for a deep, rich flavor and are soft and chewy compared to snappy and crispy gingerbread.

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Authentic Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gingerbread Cake

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
molasses cookies piled on a black plate

Molasses Cookie Recipe

These wonderfully soft and chewy molasses cookies have a deep rich butter and molasses flavor with warm spices. It’s impossible to not fall in love with one of my favorite cookies!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Chilling Time: 3 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs 32 mins
Serves: 24 cookies
Calories: 155kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (12 oz) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter softened but not melted
  • 1 cup (7 oz) brown sugar dark or light
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (3 oz) molasses unsulphered
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for coating

Equipment

  • 2 sheet pans lined with parchment

Instructions

  • Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and instant coffee in a large bowl with a whisk, then set it aside.
  • Add the brown sugar and softened butter to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Stop the mixer when adding the molasses to avoid the thick syrup from splattering on the sides of the bowl. Mix until the molasses is incorporated, then scrape the bottom of the bowl for the stubborn butter.
  • Mix in the egg until it's fully incorporated. 
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is evenly incorporated. You can briefly mix on low speed in your mixer, or combine by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 3 hours or overnight. Chilling the dough allows the flour to fully hydrate and stops them from spreading.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Scoop 1.5-ounce balls of dough (about 2 Tablespoons), roll them in the extra granulated sugar, and place them on the cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Gently press the top of the cookie slightly, to keep the cookie from rolling around. 
  • Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until the edges are slightly browning and the center is puffed and no longer wet looking. The center might “glisten” a bit, but if the cookie appears set, it is done
  • Cool the cookies for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. They are very soft due to the sugar so they need a few minutes to set up before being moved. 
  • Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can wrap and freeze the cookies for 2 weeks, or freeze the unbaked cookie dough for up to 3 months. Pro-tip: Pre-roll the cookie dough balls and freeze them, making it even quicker to bake them off fresh. Just roll them in the granulated sugar and pop them in the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 155kcal (8%) | Carbohydrates: 24g (8%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 6g (9%) | Saturated Fat: 4g (20%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 23mg (8%) | Sodium: 148mg (6%) | Potassium: 84mg (2%) | Fiber: 0.4g (2%) | Sugar: 14g (16%) | Vitamin A: 189IU (4%) | Vitamin C: 0.004mg | Calcium: 21mg (2%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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