Cookies Currently Craving

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

October 21, 2021

It’s not exactly sweater weather around here just yet, but in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in full on Fall […]

It’s not exactly sweater weather around here just yet, but in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in full on Fall baking mode. If it’s filled with pumpkin, cinnamon or apple spice – it’s on the menu! If you haven’t tried my Apple Cider Bundt Cake or Pumpkin Bread with Streusel Topping, the time is now my friends. 

As soon as the calendar strikes October I’m pretty much glued to the oven 24/7. And now all I can think about are these Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies that I’ve already baked three times! Yep. THREE times. They’re just that good!

old fashioned molasses cookies cooling on parchment paper

These easy molasses cookies taste like they’re straight from a bakery. Made with rich, brown butter and bursting with warm, cozy spices these cookies are everything I crave in a holiday cookie.

Those crackly, sugar-dusted tops make these a serious contender for the world’s best Christmas cookie! It’s impossible to eat just one.

close up of soft and chewy molasses cookie sprinkled with sugar

Molasses cookies v. gingersnaps v. gingerbread

Spiced cookies are a holiday staple and you’ve probably noshed on your fair share of grandma’s molasses cookies, gingersnaps and of course, everyone’s childhood favorite – gingerbread. All of these cookies contain similar amounts of warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves and equal amounts of molasses (typically about ¼ cup).

The difference between them all comes down to how the cookie crumbles. Gingersnaps bake for longer than gingerbread, making them the crispiest of the three cookies. Gingerbread is almost always rolled out into shapes and bakes up slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Molasses cookies, arguably the most crave-worthy of the three, are delightfully soft and chewy and are rolled in sugar before baking. Yes please!

bite taken out of molasses cookie with crumbs around it

Why you’ll love these cookies

  • Quick and easy to make. These cookies are made extra delicious with the magic of brown butter. While we do have to wait for the butter to chill until firm once browned, it’s absolutely worth the extra step. And once the dough is mixed, there’s no chilling or rolling out of the dough required. Just scoop, dunk and bake!
  • Stay fresh for days. If you love a soft molasses cookie that tastes even better on the second (and third!) day after baking, this is the recipe for you. Thanks to a combination of butter, molasses and coconut oil, the cookies have soft, moist centers that hold their flavor and texture for days – if they last that long!
  • Great for gift giving. This is a sturdy cookie that stands up well to travel. Tote them to your holiday office party or pack them up to ship to faraway family members. People will go crazy for these cookies and they won’t crumble en route. And because they stay fresh well beyond the day they are baked, you can make them ahead of time and trust that they’ll still be soft and full of flavor upon arrival.

Ingredients for molasses cookies

Baking perfectly soft and chewy molasses cookies from scratch is easy and I bet you already have all of the ingredients stocked in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour – regular unbleached all-purpose flour is all you need for this recipe. Too much flour is often the culprit for dry, crumbly cookies so be sure to accurately measure the flour using a digital kitchen scale.
  • Butter – for this recipe we will brown the butter and then chill it until firm so that it creams together with the sugars just as softened butter would. Allow time to bring the brown butter back to room temperature once it’s reached a solid state in the refrigerator. If you’ve never browned butter before, not to worry. Visit this post for all the details on how to brown butter from start to finish. It’s so easy!
  • Coconut oil – this recipe calls for half butter and half coconut oil because I love the flavor and texture it delivers. Use unrefined and organic coconut oil for best results. It’s minimally processed and has a very mild coconut flavor, which you can rarely taste in baked goods. The oil should be soft, but not melted.
  • Brown sugar and granulated sugar – a combination of sugars makes these cookies sweet (but not too sweet) and also gives them their addictively delicious soft and chewy texture.
  • Molasses – I prefer the flavor of regular dark molasses (unsulphured) over light molasses. Blackstrap molasses is a bit too pungent for my taste. Keep a jar of molasses stocked in your pantry – it stays fresh for at least a year and requires no refrigeration.
  • Spices – the best molasses cookies have the perfect blend of spices including cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Feel free to tinker with the exact quantities to suit your taste.

These cookies bake up seriously soft, perfectly spiced and full of heavenly crinkles and cracks to sink your teeth into. You’re going to love them!

ingredients for molasses cookies on marble countertop

Which molasses is best?

Regular dark molasses gives these cookies a deep, robust flavor without being too overpowering. For a rich flavor that combines nicely with the warm spices, I recommend using Grandma’s unsulphured molasses. Not sponsored, just a fan.

Generally speaking, I do not bake with blackstrap molasses as I find the flavor a bit too bold and slightly bitter.

How to make molasses cookies

Baking fresh molasses cookies is quick and easy. Invite some friends over while you bake because your kitchen will smell amaazzinngg!!

step by step guide to making molasses cookies in a stand mixer
  1. Brown the butter. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Once melted, stir frequently as the butter crackles and foams. The butter will begin to form brown bits that fall to the bottom of the pan. This takes about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the butter into a heat safe bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 30-40 minutes. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes to soften slightly.
  2. Cream the butter, coconut oil and sugars together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg. Make sure the egg is at room temperature and mix well until fully combined.
mixing molasses cookie dough in a stand mixer bowl
  1. Mix in the molasses. Beat on low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in two additions until incorporated. Do not over mix.
molasses cookie dough balls covered in sugar
  1. Roll the dough into balls and cover in sugar. For picture perfect cookies I really like to weigh each piece of dough using a kitchen scale. Each of the cookies will be uniform in size and bake evenly. I love a giant molasses cookie so I scoop them into 2 ounce balls. Roll the dough between your hands until round and then gently toss them in a bowl of granulated sugar until covered.
  2. Press down to flatten the dough. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, gently press down on the top of the dough balls to flatten them slightly. We don’t want the cookies to be thin when baked so avoid pressing too hard.
  3. Bake. Place the cookies in a preheated 325°F oven and bake for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will be puffed in the center and the tops should be cracked. Do not over bake. As the cookies cool they will sink down and all the cracks and crinkles will settle in. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
stack of soft and chewy molasses cookies on a cooling rack with milk

How to store cookies

I can almost guarantee these cookies won’t even make it to the cookie jar but if you do have a few leftover, store them tightly covered at room temperature. To keep them extra fresh, place a piece of soft bread in the container alongside the cookies.

One of the things I love most about these cookies is that they freeze beautifully. To freeze them before baking, place the dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour. Then transfer the cookie balls to a large plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to bake, defrost the cookie dough at room temperature and then roll in sugar just before baking.

To freeze the baked cookies, cool them completely and then wrap tightly in a plastic bag. Store flat in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature before serving with your favorite hot toddy or cup of warm cocoa. Or be like me and pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds and feel like you’re eating a warm cookie fresh from the oven.

molasses cookies dusted with granulated sugar on baking tray

Tips for soft and chewy molasses cookies

I cannot get enough of these cookies. In fact, I’m so in love that they might just give my favorite chocolate chippers a run for their money! With their crisp edges, moist centers and the perfect hint of cozy spices, I have a feeling these cookies will be your new favorite holiday tradition. Follow the tips below for perfectly baked cookies every time.

  • Weigh the cookie dough balls. For even baking and uniform cookies I always recommend weighing the dough first. This way all of the cookies will bake at the same rate and look picture perfect on your cookie platter.
  • Do not over bake. As the cookies bake they will puff up in the centers and look a bit delicate. Once you see those signature cracks on top of the cookies and the edges are set, remove the cookies from the oven. As the cookies cool they will deflate and crisp up even more around the edges. Don’t be tempted to leave the cookies in the oven too long or they will be hard.
  • Bake one sheet at a time. The cookies do spread in the oven so place the balls two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Because the oven temperature can vary from the top to bottom shelf, I recommend baking the cookies on the center rack one sheet at a time for consistent results.
  • Cool for 10 minutes. These cookies will smell heavenly fresh from the oven but believe me, you want to hold off on that first bite for at least 10 minutes. Allow time for those cracks and crevasses to settle in and the centers to fully bake through. These cookies actually taste best a day or two after baking once all of the flavors and textures have had time to marry together.

FAQ’s

Can I use a hand mixer?

Yes. I recommend a stand mixer for this recipe because after adding the dry ingredients, the dough can get a bit thick and tough to mix by hand. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand-held mixer will work just fine.

Can I make these cookies ahead of time?

Absolutely! These cookies will stay fresh for nearly a full week at room temperature so they’re the perfect make-ahead dessert.

Can I use candied ginger?

Yes. For an extra dose of gingery goodness and added crunch, add up to a 1/4 cup of diced candied ginger. Talk about a quintessential holiday treat!

Why are my cookies hard?

If you over bake the cookies or add too much flour, they will bake up hard and crunchy instead of soft and chewy. Be sure to measure your flour correctly, bake no more than the suggested time and check your oven temperature using an oven thermometer.

Can I roll the cookies in course sugar?

A delicious idea! I use granulated sugar for this recipe simply for convenience but rolling the cookies in course sparkling sugar would add a touch of sparkle and crunch. You can also use natural cane sugar which also has a slightly courser texture than standard granulated sugar.

I know it’s still October but I hereby declare these soft and chewy molasses cookies my favorite Christmas cookie of the year! Maybe the whole decade!! They’re a forever favorite and I can’t say enough good things about them.

Bake a batch today or bookmark the recipe for the holidays. Either way, these cookies are an absolute must-make!

Looking for more easy and delicious cookie recipes? Try one of these favorites…

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Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: 16 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Put these seriously delicious soft and chewy molasses cookies at the tippy top of your holiday baking list. With their chewy edges, soft centers and sugar-dusted tops, people will go crazy for these cookies! Perfect for your annual holiday cookie swap or for shipping to far away family and friends. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, browned but in solid form at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, soft but not melted
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (80 g) dark molasses, not blackstrap
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. To brown the butter, begin by melting it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, continue to heat the butter. It will begin to crackle and foam. Continue stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until the butter begins to brown. Small bits of golden brown milk solids will form in the bottom of the pan. The butter is ready when it stops making the crackling sound and the color turns amber. Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a heat-safe bowl. Scrape the bits of brown butter from the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Refrigerate the butter until firm, about 45 minutes to an hour. 
  2. Once firm, remove the butter from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Fill a small bowl with about 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together for about 2 minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and mix to combine well, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the molasses and mix on low speed until incorporated.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients one cup at a time until just combined. Do not over mix.
  8. Use a large cookie scoop to portion out 2 ounce balls of dough. Use your hands to roll the dough into a ball and then roll the ball in the bowl of granulated sugar. 
  9. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie. Use the palm of your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup to gently flatten the top of the cookies.
  10. Bake one sheet at a time on the center rack of the oven for 11-12 minutes or until there are cracks on the tops of the cookies. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  11. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Dust with additional granulated sugar if desired. 

Notes

To freeze the cookie dough before baking, roll the dough into balls and freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet for about an hour. Transfer the dough balls to a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, defrost the dough at room temperature and then roll in granulated sugar before baking.

Store the cookies tightly covered at room temperature for up to one week.

Keywords: old fashioned molasses cookies, molasses cookies, soft and chewy molasses cookies

  • Reply
    Breanne
    December 5, 2022 at 5:23 am

    These cookies are SO good! One of the best cookie recipes I’ve tried & they will now be one of my favorite holiday cookies to make. Soft, chewy, & heavenly to bite into, really yummy & perfectly spiced. The brown butter adds richness & depth to the flavor, & love that sugar-coated outside. They are special! On top of all that, I finally achieved that look I always want, with those cracks. That almost never happens. Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Samie
    November 27, 2022 at 1:01 am

    Okay, so these are the BEST cookies. My husband is a fireman, so I told him I’d make him a treat to bring to the firehouse. The station devoured the cookies in one day! One even said they were the best cookies he had ever had. So to say these cookies were a hit is an understatement. They’re quick and easy and always come out perfect. I’ve also made them for potlucks and work, they’re always a big hit.

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      November 27, 2022 at 4:24 am

      This makes me so happy! So glad you love them and thank you for sharing!!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    October 18, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Can butter be substituted for the coconut oil?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      October 18, 2022 at 10:09 pm

      Yes, but the texture won’t be the same.

  • Reply
    Erin m.
    November 29, 2021 at 1:35 am

    This recipe is awesome! I made these over the weekend and they turned out perfectly! Thank you for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Audrey Rivest
    November 9, 2021 at 2:59 am

    One of the best cookie recipe I ever made!! However, I don’t know what I did wrong, because I carefully followed each steps, but my cookies came out of the oven as flat as a crepe. Oops

  • Reply
    Suzie
    October 22, 2021 at 1:02 am

    These are my ultimate favorite cookies and I must give these a bake, they look amazing!! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Suzie
      December 21, 2021 at 3:40 am

      Finally made these and wish I had made them sooner! They are hands down the best cookie recipe I’ve ever had!! They came out perfectly cracked and the right amount of spice. These won’t just be a holiday cookie. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Melinda
    October 22, 2021 at 12:29 am

    These are so far at the top of my holiday baking list that I’ve already made them!! They are just what you imagine. The perfect little edge in the spice, the texture from the cracks, crinkles, and sprinkles of sugar. They almost make your mouth water while you eat them! They will be on repeat throughout the holidays!! ❤️❤️

  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 21, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    Love these chewy cookies. It’s a must try recipe.

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