Soft Ginger-Molasses Cookies


These aren't your grandmother's molasses cookies.

Soft Ginger-Molasses Cookies
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Bake Time:
20 mins
Cool Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 25 mins
2 ½ dozen

Get ready to meet the ultimate molasses cookie. That's right: Our updated version of the classic Molasses-Ginger cookie might just sweep Grandma off her feet. Soft Molasses-Ginger Cookies check all the boxes—a nice dose of spice, a soft, gooey texture, and a beautiful cracked, crinkled top. Crystallized ginger really takes these cookies to the next level in terms of flavor, packing a punch of sweet heat that pairs beautifully with the dried spices.

This straightforward cookie recipe is easy for any home cook to follow, from novices to experienced holiday hostesses. If you don't have all of the individual spices for this recipe, substitute 3 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice. It's important to thoroughly chill the dough (at least one hour or up to overnight) to allow all the flavors to mingle and ensure that your cookies don't flatten in the oven. Once the dough chills, simply scoop and bake. This recipe makes enough for 2 ½ dozen, so you can bake the cookies off in 2 batches (or save some dough for later). Finally, a drizzle of super-simple icing (made from powdered sugar and lemon juice) and a sprinkle of sparkling sugar really takes these cookies over the top.

Serve these nostalgic, flavor-packed cookies at your family's holiday gathering and get ready for Grandma to swoon.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar

  • cup unsulfured molasses

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (from 1 [3-oz.] pkg. crystallized ginger)

  • 1 ½ cups unsifted powdered sugar 

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), as needed

  • Sparkling sugar or sanding sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter, brown sugar, molasses, and ½ cup of the granulated sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Fold in crystallized ginger. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to overnight (8 hours).

  3. Remove dough from refrigerator, and unwrap. Using a 2-inch cookie scoop (about 3 tablespoons), scoop cookie dough into rounds, and roll each into a smooth ball. (You should have about 30 balls.) Place remaining ½ cup granulated sugar on a plate. Roll balls in sugar to coat, and arrange 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in 2 batches in preheated oven until cookies have crackles and edges are slightly darker in color, 10 to 12 minutes per batch. Let cool on baking sheet 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  4. Whisk together powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl until combined and smooth; whisk in additional lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies; sprinkle with sparkling sugar or sanding sugar as desired.

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