Chewy Molasses Cookies

Soft, crackly, and irresistible.

Chewy Molasses Cookies

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
22 mins
24 cookies

Molasses cookies are a holiday favorite. Their sweet, delicately spiced flavor is a favorite of many when the weather is chilly and the fires are roaring.

But molasses cookies are a delicious option any time of the year, when you want something a bit different from the standard chocolate chip cookie. Here, learn why we love Chewy Molasses Cookies so much, and find out ways to change up the recipe if you want to make them a bit different each time you make a batch for the cookie jar.

What's in Molasses Cookies?

  • Butter: You want unsalted butter of course, because you're adding salt later. Salted butter might make these a bit too salty. But if you only have salted butter, use it, and omit the salt.
  • Sugar: We use white sugar and two types of brown sugar. The brown sugars have molasses in them, which ups the molasses flavor in these cookies. We split the brown sugar with both light and dark, but you could use all of either type.
  • Egg and baking soda: These ingredients help the raw cookie dough spread and rise slightly when baking. Baking powder would make these cookies too puffy and dense.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour. It provides the right chewy texture.
  • Salt: Salt is always needed in baking recipes. It helps round out the sweetness and contrast it for the just-right pitch of flavors.
  • Molasses: We'll discuss this a bit more below, but obviously molasses cookies need molasses. Use whichever darkness you prefer, but dark molasses is our pick.

What Is the Best Molasses for Cookies?

You can use any grade of molasses for molasses cookies, but there are a few things to consider:

  • The darker the molasses, the stronger the flavor.
  • Blackstrap molasses might be a bit bitter, so omit the salt if you use it.
  • We prefer dark molasses for its flavor and hint of sweetness. Light molasses may not contribute the flavor you expect in classic molasses cookies.

What's the Difference Between Molasses Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies?

This really comes down to textures: Gingerbread cookies are usually crisper and snap, but molasses cookies lend themselves to a chewy, soft texture. Besides that, the cookies often have similar flavors because they rely on the same spices (namely ginger, cinnamon, and cloves). Our recipe doesn't have those spices, so you'll get a more straightforward molasses flavor.

Chewy Molasses Cookies

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Tips for the Best Molasses Cookies

Fresh molasses cookies will last about 3 days in an air-tight container. To keep the cookies fresh and soft, store them with a slice of bread.

If the molasses you're using in this recipe is on the thin and runny side, the dough may be a bit too soft. If your dough doesn't hold well when rolled into balls, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes before shaping.

You don't want to overbake these cookies, so keep each dough ball the same size. (Use a kitchen scale if you need to for precise measurements.) That way, all the cookies bake evenly, and every one is soft and chewy.


Add spices: Our recipe for Chewy Molasses Cookies doesn't include any spices, but you could certainly add them to your recipe. We recommend 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, and 1/2 tsp. ground cloves as a starting point. Also consider using cardamom, allspice, anise, or even black pepper.

Add zest: Orange zest would be a delicious addition to this molasses cookie dough. Complement it with some ground cinnamon.

Add dried cranberries: Instead of oatmeal-raisin cookies, opt for cranberry-molasses cookies. They'll be a hit. Fold in 1/2 cup.

Roll dough balls in sugar: Some recipes for classic molasses cookies call for rolling dough balls in white sugar before baking. The sugar provides a delicate crunch to the crackly tops of the cookies. That's a perfect choice for the holidays.

Other Holiday Cookie Favorites

Making a cookie tin for holiday gifting? Consider these Christmas cookie recipes to go with your molasses crinkles:


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/4 cup molasses

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. table salt

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the brown sugars, egg, molasses, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

  3. Combine dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, and flour) in a separate bowl. With mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.

  4. Divide the dough into 24 equal balls. Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cookie tops crackle. When you remove the cookies from the oven, the bottoms and interior may still feel a little soft. The tops should be cracked revealing the softer interior. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

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