These old-fashioned molasses cookies have a great chewy texture from real butter and molasses while slightly crispy on the outside and a beautiful cracked effect from rolling the cookie dough in white sugar. Soft molasses cookies are perfect for the holiday season - loaded with warm spices. Enjoy a freshly baked batch of molasses cookies with a warm mug of eggnog or crumbled-over ice cream.
- Butter and egg - These ingredients should be at room temperature as this will help to incorporate them into the cookie dough mixture better. While I’ve used unsalted butter, you could use salted butter instead, but you’ll need to omit the salt in the ingredients. I haven't tried making these cookies with coconut oil but I'm sure it would still work.
- Sugar - The combination of brown sugar and molasses creates a crispy outer edge and a soft and buttery center.
- Spices - I’ve used cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger in these molasses cookies. They are typical spices used in molasses cookie recipes that provide warmth. Ground cloves can also be added.
- Baking soda - Check the expiry date on your baking soda, as this will impact the rise of the cookies. I’ve also opted to sift the baking soda like the flour for an extra smooth cookie batter.
- Flour - All-purpose flour is a sturdy option for soft and buttery cookies, but you could also use gluten-free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill. I prefer to sift the flour for an extra smooth cookie batter.
- Granulated sugar - For rolling the cookie balls.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down where you'll find the recipe card.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Mix in molasses and the egg until well incorporated.
Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and baking soda to the mixing bowl and mix well.
Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed, just until combined.
Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Preheat at an oven temperature of 350F.
Roll dough into 1 ½" balls and roll them in the granulated sugar until coated.
Place dough balls 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet pan, lined with parchment paper.
Bake cookies for 11 minutes.
Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container, cookie jar, or freezer bag.
- Ensure that the eggs and butter are both at room temperature, which helps them mix well into the cookie batter.
- You can easily double the ingredients to make an extra batch of cookies and store them in the freezer to enjoy whenever you like. Alternatively, freeze the unbaked cookie balls on the cookie sheet for longer storage or wrap the dough in plastic wrap to store in the freezer or fridge.
- Always check the expiry date on your baking soda label, as old or expired ingredients can affect how these cookies rise while baking.
- Consider using a cookie scoop to create uniform-sized cookie dough balls when adding them to the prepared baking sheets.
- It’s important to chill the cookie dough before baking. The chilling of the dough will help to make the dough less sticky and easier to roll into balls. It will also ensure that the cookies don’t spread flat while baking.
Freezing and Storing Instructions
Cool the old-fashioned molasses cookies before storing them completely.
Transfer to airtight container and keep at room temperature for 3-4 days or freeze for 2-3 months. Although I don't recommend freezing baked cookies as they will lose their crisp texture.
If you want to keep them for later, freeze the unbaked cookie dough (add plastic wrap around it first) instead. Let thaw to room temperature and until it's easy enough to roll these.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are different types of molasses, some more suitable when following an old-fashioned molasses cookie recipe. You can use light molasses or dark molasses to make these cookies. The darker molasses will create a stronger flavor and a darker color in the cookies, so choose based on personal preference.
Something like blackstrap molasses has a very strong flavor, almost bitter, which is why I wouldn't use it when making these chewy molasses cookies.
Molasses cookies are chewy, while gingersnap cookies are slightly chewy on the inside but much crispier on the outside, “snapping” when pressure is applied.
Yes, you can substitute butter for shortening, resulting in a crispier cookie than chewy cookies made with butter. Cookies made with butter are also typically richer in flavor.
If you do opt for shortening, use a one-to-one swap ratio.
If your molasses cookies have spread flat, it could be that the cookie dough wasn’t chilled for long enough or your kitchen is too warm.
If you are making batches of cookies, watch out for using a cookie sheet that is still warm from the previous batch of cookies, as this will cause your fresh cookie dough to spread while baking.
There are a few reasons why the molasses cookies haven’t developed that “cracked look.” This could be due to expired or old baking soda, not creaming the butter long enough to create air pockets to assist the baking soda, or over-mixing the cookie dough, which over-develops gluten.
Thank you so much for reading about these old-fashioned molasses cookies. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have! I love reading your feedback.
Easy Cookie Recipes
If you're looking for more Christmas-themed cookies you have to try our Christmas Spritz Cookies next!
Did you make this recipe? Please be sure to leave a rating and a comment below. Thank you!
Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar for rolling the cookies
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Mix in molasses and the egg until well incorporated.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and baking soda to the mixing bowl and mix well.
- Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed, just until combined.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat at an oven temperature of 350F.
- Roll dough into 1 ½" balls and roll them in the granulated sugar until coated.
- Place dough balls 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet pan, lined with parchment paper.
- Bake cookies for 11 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container, cookie jar, or freezer bag.