These soft ginger molasses cookies are assertively spiced with ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. There’s no chill time required and the dough contains more molasses than most recipes, leading to a crinkled and chewy cookie! Cardamom is the secret ingredient that really amps the flavor in these old-fashioned, super soft molasses cookies.
This recipe was originally published on December 20, 2017. As of December 9, 2021 it has been updated to include new photos, baking tips, and a recipe video! No surprise here, I’m still obsessed with this recipe and I hope you love it too.
Is there anything better than a deeply spiced, warming, gooey-centered and crispy-edged soft molasses cookie? With gingerbread flavors reminiscent of my dark and intense gingerbread cake, and those beautiful sparkles from rolling them in sugar, I honestly can’t think of a Christmas cookie I like better. Every December, these are the cookies I look forward to the most.
I realize that’s not a common opinion.
I suppose it’s understandable that the humble, old-fashioned molasses cookie sometimes gets pushed to the side when you have peanut butter blossoms and colorful sugar cookies and all manner of pepperminty chocolate things competing for attention. I get it.
But not today. Today, these super soft molasses cookies shine on their own stage.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Today we are going to celebrate this unassuming, chewy molasses ginger cookie for all the glory that it is: a warmly spiced, soft-centered, crispy-edged, sparkly hug. That’s right, a cookie hug.
I don’t know when I fell in love with (admittedly old-fashioned, or perhaps we’ll say classic) molasses cookies, but I’m pretty sure this love will last a lifetime. They’re just so comforting and friendly, yet a little spicy. There’s a lot of subtlety to them, a lot of intrigue. I’m a big fan of intrigue in my baked goods.
So what makes THESE soft molasses cookies the best ones?
- Complex flavor from ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, AND cardamom (not many recipes use this and I think it makes a difference!)
- More molasses than most recipes call for so you get EXTRA flavor and richness
- NO CHILL TIME. Let me repeat, you do not have to chill this dough!
- Recipe yields 24 cookies for an adequate, yet not overwhelming amount of cookies.
- All-purpose flour
- Ground spices: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom
- Baking soda and salt
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar (did you know brown sugar has molasses in it too? Double the molasses, hehe)
- Molasses (I use Grandma’s brand; see below for an explanation)
- Unsalted butter (many recipes call for shortening or vegetable oil but I much prefer the flavor and texture of butter in my molasses cookies)
- Coarse or granulated sugar for coating the outsides of the cookies and making them crinkly and sparkly
What kind of molasses should I use for the softest molasses cookies?
Any dark, standard store bought molasses will do (I usually use the Grandma’s brand with the yellow label) but do not use blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap is much more bitter and has less moisture than regular molasses because it is a later byproduct of the sugar-making process (the third boiling of sugarcane juice, whereas regular molasses comes from the second boiling).
How to Make Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies: Step by Step
I do recommend using a mixer for this molasses cookie dough for best results, but this is still a simple recipe. All we do is:
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl;
- Beat the wet ingredients together using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until they are the color and texture of creamy peanut butter (this takes 2-3 minutes on high speed!);
- Combine them using the lowest possible speed on your mixer until the dough just comes together;
- Scoop the cookie dough (I like using a #40 1.5 tablespoon scoop) and roll in sugar (or shake it in a ziploc bag with sugar, it’s easier and evenly coats the dough every time); and
- Bake for just 8-10 minutes! No chill time required.
If the dough seems overly sticky: Refrigerate it for an hour until it is firm enough to scoop. I have had some readers experience this issue, although I haven’t myself. Chilling the dough usually fixes the problem!
No mixer option: You could make the cookies without a mixer if you prefer, since we’re using melted butter in the dough. You’d just whisk the wet ingredients together QUITE vigorously until smooth and lighter in color, then add in the dry and combine with a rubber spatula until a dough forms.
For best texture in the final baked cookies, I like to use a mixer to incorporate the most air into the dough, resulting in crisp edges and soft interiors. It’s important to beat the butter, molasses, brown sugar and egg together until the mixture becomes a lighter color, reminiscent in both color and texture of smooth peanut butter.
Add the whisked dry ingredients slowly with the mixer on its lowest possible speed so your flour doesn’t fly all over the kitchen. Stop once you have a cohesive dough!
If the dough seems extremely sticky, you can refrigerate it for an hour and it should be scoopable. I usually find my dough to be just fine for scooping and rolling without the need to refrigerate, but kitchens and ingredients vary!
Use a cookie scoop for even, round cookies (I use this 1.5 tablespoon #40 cookie scoop and love it), roll them into balls, coat them in sugar, and then bake for 10 minutes or less.
Emerge with crackly, spicy, softest-ever molasses cookies, highly reminiscent of gingerbread. Congratulate self.
The other great thing about these cookies? They stay fresh and soft for a super long time.
- Room temperature: keep them well wrapped (I keep them in a small tupperware container) so they aren’t exposed to a lot of air, and these little bundles of joy will stay soft for-EVER…aka 5+ days.
- Refrigerator: up to 2 weeks
- Freezer: You can freeze the baked molasses cookies, well wrapped in plastic wrap in a freezer bag, and then set them out on the counter to defrost whenever you want them! Or, freeze the dough after you form it into balls, so you can have warm cookies on demand. Just bake from frozen and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time.
You can see in the photo below the difference between a cookie baked from room temperature dough (left), and a cookie baked directly from frozen dough (right). Both are soft and delicious, but the ones baked from frozen are slightly thicker in the center. I will never turn down a chewy molasses cookie so I like them both 🙂
I’m thinking these would be the perfect homemade Christmas cookie gifts in little bags or jars, if you’re into that sort of thing. I know I wouldn’t mind receiving one.
I wish you the most wonderful, stress-free, worry-free, cookie-filled Christmas and holiday season!
More Holiday Recipes
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Single Layer Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Snickerdoodle Cake
If you bake these soft ginger molasses cookies, please leave a star rating and review below! It helps other readers and means so much. Thank you!
Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch cardamom (optional)
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter melted and cooled
- ⅓ cup (67g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup (80ml) molasses
- ¼ cup (50g) Coarse or granulated sugar, for rolling cookies (I use turbinado sugar)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, and molasses with a hand mixer or stand mixer, on medium to medium-high speed, until fluffy and well combined — about 2 minutes. It should turn a lighter brown and be the color and texture of smooth peanut butter.
- While mixer is running on its lowest speed, slowly add flour mixture a bit at a time to the molasses mixture. Don’t dump the whole thing in at once or you’ll have flour everywhere. Stop when the mixture is just combined – don’t overbeat.
- Put coarse or granulated sugar in a bowl or on a plate. Use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop or spoon to scoop out dough, then roll into a ball between your hands. Roll the ball in the sugar until it is coated, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough, keeping balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are puffed and spread, and cracks have developed on the tops. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
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Gah. Those crackles. They get me every time.
Delicious! These cookies are so good & easy to make. I used white whole wheat flour (didn’t have AP) and whisked by hand (too lazy to pull out mixer). I messed up & forgot the molasses so added after the flour. Just mixed it all gently by hand and the dough came together nicely. I didn’t have coarse sugar so I dipped the balls of dough in Swedish Pearl sugar, baked 9 minutes and they were perfect (and obviously it’s a very forgiving recipe with my mess ups!).
Thank you for another tasty & easy to follow recipe.
Love to hear that – thank you so much for the kind review!
Amazing recipe! Comes together so fast! This recipe comes closest to my Gram’s molasses cookies! Thanks so much!
Love that! Thanks so much Juli!
Just pure deliciousness!
I made not one, but 2 batches of these cookies over the holiday season. I LOVE a chewy molasses cookie. They are easy to prepare and I love that they are just sweet enough, but not overly sweet like a lot of other holiday cookies! Note: I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes prior to rolling into balls.
So glad you loved these, Laura! Thanks for the review!
Omg – so so sooo good. Thank you for sharing!
You’re the best!!
These are the BEST MOLASSES COOKIES I’VE EVER HAD!!!!! I can’t believe how easy these were to make with no chill time and they turned out perfectly crinkly and so well-spiced! love the cardamom!
Thankyouthankyouthankyouuu!!!!!!!. You are a blessing!!!! I had a ratatouille moment eating these. I was transported to my childhood, I cannot believeeee that out of all the recipes online this is it!!!!! This.is.THEE.ONE. Im soooo glad i didnt have to go thru a bunch, you were the first one i found. When i saw the pictures, i knew they would be good. You are amazing!
OMG thank you for this amazing review! I am so glad they were exactly what you were looking for!! <3
WOW! Molasses cookies have always been a big favorite of mine. The spices, the wonderful molasses flavor and the soft chewy center…..can’t get enough of these cookies! The added bonus of this recipe is that it makes a smaller batch…..much more manageable and probably better for my waistline!
Thanks Phoebe!! This one is a favorite for me too!
LOVE these cookies! So quick and easy, perfectly chewy, so festive, and always a fan favorite! They’ve been in my holiday cookie “must bake” rotation since I discovered them 4 years ago!
That’s so great to hear! Thanks Megan!!
Love these! The texture is perfectly soft, flavor is not too sweet and they store very well!
Thanks so much Alice!
Hi! I’m making these cookies right now and ran into a problem. I’ve added all the ingredients and combined, but have a batter that is much too wet to roll into balls. It is like a thick cake batter… I’m going to pop it in the fridge for a while to see if chilling will make the butter solidify and make it more like a cookie dough. Any ideas? I can’t think of anything I did wrong, I followed the recipe to a T with 2 cups flour (scooped into a dry measuring cup with a spoon and then leveled off on top), 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter melted, 1 egg, and I double checked my amounts for the molasses, sugar etc… I’m hesitant to add a lot more flour and accidentally make the cookies too dry. It’s about 75 degrees in my kitchen so I am doubtful that the environment is the issue.
Hi Sarah – sorry to hear you’re having this issue! Refrigerating the dough for up to an hour should help. It should be a slightly sticky dough but easy enough to roll into balls. Hope it turns out well for you!
Chilling the dough did the trick! It got nice and firm and scoopable. Yay!
The funny thing afterwards is that my cookies baked a lot flatter than what your pics show. Like, flat as a pancake. I baked the first batch in larger balls (1 oz), but for batch 2 cut those in half to make small 1/2 oz balls hoping that would help, but they were still flat. They are delicious and the flavor is 100% on point! Also by baking on the low end of the time they are still wonderfully chewy with crisp edges, so all is well. I have had this happen whenever I use butter in molasses cookies. When I have used shortening in the past I get that beautiful fluffy rise and they don’t spread as much, which is what made me so intrigued to try your recipe that was all butter. Interesting! I’m not complaining, the cookies are still wonderful, but do wonder how you got them to not spread so much using this recipe.
So odd! I’ve never had that happen, in fact I usually want them to spread more than they do. Maybe try weighing your flour instead of using a measuring cup- it almost sounds like you didn’t have enough flour. My standard cups of flour are 125 grams so it would be 250 grams. Glad you still enjoyed the cookies 🙂
I would die to have a dozen of these in front of my face right at this moment. They look SO amazing and full of rich flavor!
Thanks Karly! Molasses is my favorite flavor bomb!
Thank you for this recipe. We have a wonderful friend who loves molasses cookies. He’s been a bit “out of sorts” lately (January can do that to you), so I’m making these cookies to cheer him up and let him know that we love him.
That sounds like a wonderful idea, Linda! Hope you and your friend love them.