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Soft molasses cookies with crisp exteriors loaded with warm cozy spices. Stacked in a cellophane bag and wrapped with a festive ribbon – they make wonderful holiday gifts!

Overhead view of soft molasses cookies.

I love so much about the holidays. Shopping for presents, wrapping gifts, Advent services and all the other preparations for Santa’s arrival. I have Christmas music on repeat, and when the smell of these delicious chewy ginger molasses cookies wafts through the house, it really feels like Christmas.

Don’t feel you have to wait for the holidays to bake these cookies though – they are delicious any time of year.

These cookies are similar to my chewy gingersnap cookies, but they use only dark brown sugar, and more of it, and less ginger. So they are darker in color, richer in flavor, and the ginger isn’t quite as snappy as the soft gingersnap recipe. They’re both delicious and either make a terrific addition to a holiday cookie swap!

Just like my gingersnap cookies – these cookies remind me so much of my grandmother. Some of my fondest memories with her were the times we spent together baking in her kitchen. She taught me so much about baking, and I hear her voice instructing me as I make these, even now.

It is important to roll these dough balls before the dough gets too soft. You can pop the dough in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up the dough if it does. And, as strange as it seems, use wet hands when rolling the dough. I don’t understand exactly why it works, but trust me, it does.

Other cookies I love to make around the holidays include these white chocolate peppermint cookies, my icebox cookies, my Russian teacakes, and of course, everyone’s favorite peanut butter blossom cookies.

I like to assemble cookie tins to gift as teacher or neighbor gifts – and these molasses cookies are always included!

These cookies have a rich deep flavor, thanks to the molasses and the dark brown sugar. They are soft and chewy, and with the added spices of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves – they make the kitchen smell delicious while they are cooking.


Recipe Snapshot

  • TASTE: Sweet molasses, just like grandma made.
  • TEXTURE: Soft and chewy with a crinkly sugar top.
  • EASE: Easy.
  • TIME: 30 minutes.

What You’ll Need

This recipe calls for ingredients you likely have in your baking closet. When using molasses, make sure you use regular unsulphered molasses.

Ingredients

  • Dark brown sugar – This has a richer, deeper flavor than light brown sugar.
  • Shortening – I don’t use shortening often, but it makes these cookies extra soft and chewy.
  • Molasses – The namesake ingredient of these cookies. Deep and rich and sweet.
  • Egg – At room temperature.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda – For leavening.
  • Spices – Ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves.
  • Salt – I always use kosher salt in baking.
  • Granulated sugar – For rolling. If you have demerara or turbinado sugar it will make for a crunchier topping, but regular granulated white sugar works just fine.

Recommended Tools

  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheets
  • Cookie scoop
Side view of soft molasses cookies.

How to Make Soft Molasses Cookies

This soft molasses cookie recipe follows a fairly standard cookie making process. I often instruct you to preheat the oven to 350, but these bake at 325 to keep them a super soft and chewy. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper before you start making the dough.

  1. Mix the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and brown sugar until fluffy, and then add in the molasses and egg.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Stir with a whisk. Slowly stir the dry mixture into the molasses mixture just until dough forms.
  3. Prepare the cookies. Scoop and roll the dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, roll the dough balls into the granulated sugar, and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
  4. Bake. Bake for 13-16 minutes, until the cookies look dry and set. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookie dough rolled in sugar.

Handy tip:

These cookies freeze remarkably well. I like to keep the dough balls (before they are rolled in sugar) in my freezer. They’ll stay good this way for up to 3 months. Roll frozen dough balls in sugar and bake as directed. You may need to add an extra minute to the bake time if they are straight out of the freezer.

Tips For Success

  • Use unsulphered, not blackstrap molasses for these cookies. Blackstrap molasses is an extra potent, extra bitter version of molasses made from additional processing. The resulting darker, bitter bitter molasses works well in bbq sauce and some baked beans recipes, but not in these cookies.
  • Don’t overcook these cookies. The shortening will keep them soft but don’t risk it – they are chewy molasses cookies after all.
Soft molasses cookie broken in half.

Storage & Freezing

  1. The cookies will remain fresh for 1 week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  2. The cookie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and continue the recipe instructions.
  3. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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Printable Recipe

Overhead view of soft molasses cookies.

Soft Molasses Cookies

Yield: 39 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes

Soft molasses cookies with crisp exteriors loaded with warm cozy spices. They make wonderful holiday gifts!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (200 g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup (138 g) shortening, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (85 g) molasses
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 ¼ cups (292 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar until fluffy and blended. Beat in the molasses and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all of the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Stir with a whisk. Slowly stir the dry mixture into the molasses mixture just until dough forms.
  4. Roll the dough into 1 tablespoon sized balls, rolls the balls into the remaining sugar, and place them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 13-16 minutes, until the cookies look dry and set.
  6. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Adapted from my chewy gingersnap cookies.

Make ahead tip

  1. The cookies will remain fresh for 1 week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  2. The cookie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and continue the recipe instructions.
  3. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  4. Cookie dough can be rolled into balls and frozen for up to 3 months. Roll frozen dough balls in sugar and bake as directed. You may need to add an additional minute or two to the bake time.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 39 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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2 Comments

  1. Sounds delicious. You have amazing recipes. For those of us that are not a fan of ginger what would you recommend as a substitution?