Chewy and perfectly spiced, these molasses cookies are full of sweet molasses flavor! As a bonus, they also don’t require any chilling, and the dough can be made ahead. Absolutely amazing on a holiday dessert tray, or for a fun winter afternoon treat!
This is one of my Cookie recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
It’s almost December, which means it’s prime baking season!!
Cookies are one of my favorite desserts to make, because you can easily make the dough up ahead of time, and they freeze really well.
These molasses cookies are tender and chewy, with a sweet deep molasses flavor and warm holiday spices! The recipe comes from my Grandma, and it’s one of my family’s favorites (even the kiddos!).
These cookies are similar in flavor to a gingersnap cookie, although a bit sweeter, and super tender instead of crisp.
Perfect with a glass of milk (or eggnog!), holiday dessert trays, cookie exchanges, or a fun family treat; I hope you give these cookies a try this holiday season!
How to make chewy molasses cookies?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Beat wet ingredients. In this recipe, that’s the brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg. I find a hand mixer works best for this.
- Stir in dry ingredients. The flour, baking soda, and spices can be stirred in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, but you can also use a mixer and mix until JUST combined.
- Roll into balls. I like to use a cookie scoop to measure the amount of dough needed, then roll with my hands.
- Roll in sugar. Using granulated sugar to coat the dough balls helps them achieve those crackly tops.
- Bake. You want to bake the cookies on parchment paper for easy cleanup, until the edges are set and the tops look dry and cracked.
Using a cookie scoop is the best way to make uniform looking cookies. I like to use this scoop. Once you scoop some dough, just a quick roll in between your palms should give you a great looking cookie.
Variations of this recipe
- Other molasses – while I’ve only tested this recipe with light unsulphured molasses, I think it would work well with dark unsulphured molasses as well.
- Chocolate – for a fun presentation and flavor, try drizzling the cookies in melted white or milk chocolate. You could also dip half the cookie in the chocolate as well, and add some fun holiday sprinkles.
- Butter – I haven’t tested this recipe with an equal amount of unsalted butter, but a few readers have tried it and said it works really well. Just make sure to soften the butter at room temperature a bit, so it’s not rock hard (otherwise it won’t mix very well).
- Sandwich – one of my favorite things to do with these cookies is to make an ice cream sandwich with them! Sandwich two cookies with a scoop of vanilla, cinnamon, or coffee flavored ice cream.
- Chilled – generally, I don’t need to chill these cookies, but if you find that your dough is a bit too soft to scoop and roll into balls, then cover the dough and chill for 30-60 minutes, until the dough is easier to work with. There are so many variables that can effect the softness of the dough, so it’s best to use your judgement with regards to if the dough is able to be scooped and rolled.
This happens because the cookies are rolled in sugar. The sugar dries out the top layer of the cookie during the baking process, while the rest of the cookie is still baking, which causes the cracking.
We love to use unsulphured light molasses for these cookies (Grandma’s original brand). Light molasses is what’s commonly found in large grocery stores. Using sulphured or backstrap molasses isn’t recommended, as they can be less sweet and more bitter.
Making cookies ahead of time
These cookies are so easy, but you can even make them easier by mixing up the dough ahead of time!
That way when the baking mood strikes, all you have to do it pull out the pre-made dough and bake.
The dough can also be frozen into individual balls.
Bake from frozen, as directed, adding an additional 1-3 minutes to the cook time.
Baked cookies can also be frozen. Just thaw before eating.
Leftover cookies will keep at room temperature (in an airtight container) for about a week.
Cookie scoops are the most versatile kitchen tool… you can use them for cookies, meatballs, ice cream, and more! This scoop is the exact size you’ll need for these cookies!
This recipe was originally posted on the site in November 2014, and has been updated with additional information and new photos in November 2023.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat "wet" ingredients
- In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg on a MED LOW speed until combined.
Stir in "dry" ingredients
- Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Stir until just combined.
Scoop dough and bake
- Use a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop to scoop dough, then roll into a ball with your hands.
- Add some granulated sugar (the amount is up to you), to a small bowl. Roll each dough ball in sugar, then place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 13-16 minutes until just set and cookies appear dry and cracked.
- Remove cookies from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.
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- This recipe makes approximately 24 cookies, which you’re free to divide into as many servings as you’d like.
- I find it easier to buy the shortening in rectangular packages instead of the tubs. The rectangular packages are marked for easy measuring and you don’t need to deal with a measuring cup.
- I prefer to measure the molasses in a dry measuring cup that’s been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for easy removal.
- If the dough is too soft and difficult to roll into balls, cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.