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The BEST Chewy Molasses Cookies

These chewy molasses cookies were my great grandmother’s vintage recipe. Some links in this article are affiliate links that may earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Holding a chewy molasses cookies

I host an annual cookie exchange now. Really, it isn’t so much about the cookies as it is about getting together with friends and actually having some time to spend together, chatting and enjoying each others’ company.

Of course, cookies are involved, and it’s all yummy. Just like with bake sales, I don’t want to choose something obvious and similar to what others do.

These chewy molasses cookies are perfect for that. They are unique but still a classic cookie.

When I was a little kid, my great grandmother used to always have a green plastic container of these (and her oatmeal raisin cookies) in her freezer.

Every time we visited – which was often – she would give me these chewy cookies. I ate them still frozen, but trust me, they’re even better when fresh.

For me, the ginger flavor and the spices make them a perfect cookie for the holiday season. In fact, I just might leave some out for Santa this year.

Plate of chewy molasses cookies

Are molasses cookies dairy free?

These ginger molasses cookies are dairy free! Instead of butter, they use oil.

They are not vegan, as they have an egg, but if you wish to make vegan molasses cookies, simply swap out the egg for a substitute. You can use ground flaxseed, aquafaba from chickpeas, or a mashed banana.

But for those with a dairy allergy or dairy intolerance, these make a perfect allergen friendly cookie.

Why should I use whole spices instead of already ground spices?

I preach this regularly. When you grind or grate your own spices, they have so much more flavor.

If you purchase ground nutmeg or ground cloves, they tend to lose their flavor relatively quickly – or at least more quickly than I can use my entire container of ground cloves. Ground spices are best when used within six months.

The whole spice lasts much longer in your pantry, which also makes it far more cost effective. No one likes having to throw out partially used bottles of anything.

I will make an exception for cinnamon, however, as I use cinnamon in so many things that it doesn’t lose its flavor. It’s also far harder to grind into a powder than nutmeg or cloves, for example.

For nutmeg, I use my zester and grate it directly into the bowl just like I do fresh ginger.

For cloves, I use a mini coffee grinder. When I’m only doing a small amount like I do for these chewy molasses cookies, I may have to turn it sideways a little or shake it gently to ensure it grinds the whole clove, but that’s easy.

What kind of ginger should I use?

Whenever I cook or bake, I always use fresh ginger. It has the best and strongest taste, which matters to me.

You can use ground ginger for this, but make sure it is a relatively new bottle. See above for more on whole versus dried spices.

Whatever you do, do not use candied ginger. It has its place, and it tastes delicious, but it does not work in this recipe.

If you use fresh ginger, buy a root, and use a microplane zester to grate off however much you want.

I use a spoon to peel the skin away before I grate my ginger, and that works well and quickly. If you prefer, you can also use a vegetable peeler or a knife.

You won’t come anywhere near using the entire ginger root, and that’s ok. Put it in a bag, then toss it in the freezer.

Frozen ginger root lasts for what seems like forever. And yes, grate it while still frozen, but be smart and wrap it in a towel so your hand doesn’t get too cold.

Can I make the cookie dough in advance?

As with most homemade cookie recipe, it works well to make your dough and then make the cookies later. If you plan to make them later in the day or the next day, simple cover your bowl with plastic wrap or put it in a sealed container in the fridge.

If you want to make your cookies much later, you can also freeze your dough. While you can freeze the entire batch in a tightly sealed container for a month or even more, I have a better idea.

Before I freeze my cookies, I use my cookie scoop to portion the cookies. I place them on my jelly roll pan (touching is fine here) and freeze them for an hour.

Once they’re frozen, place the individual cookie dough balls into a plastic bag, remove as much air as you can, then seal it and freeze them for a month or more.

When you want cookies, remove as many cookie as you want and place them on your baking sheet. Let them thaw while you preheat the oven, and just add another couple minutes to the bake time.

Voila!

Will these chewy molasses cookies freeze well?

You saw me say I ate these straight from my great grandmother’s freezer, right? Yes, you can absolutely freeze them if you won’t eat your freshly baked cookies right away.

They last there again for a month or even longer. Make sure you have them in a tightly sealed container, and I like to separate each layer with waxed paper so they separate easily without breaking.

It’s up to you whether you let them thaw before you enjoy or eat them while still frozen like I always did! Just watch your teeth!

What sugar should I use for the outside of these cookies?

When I make these, I often use granulated sugar, and that works fine. However, if you have natural cane sugar, use that instead.

Cane sugar is a larger grain than granulated sugar. This will help it create a bigger crunch when you bite into it later, and it can look prettier, too.

How to Make the Best Chewy Molasses Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats. These cookies will stick if you don’t line your baking sheets.

In a bowl, beat together your oil and sugar until they’re lightened in color and have come together nicely. Add the egg and molasses, and beat well again.

Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to the batter and mix well. Slowly stir the flour into the dough.

This makes a fairly stiff dough, more so than a chocolate chip cookie dough and definitely less sticky. The cookies will still be fine.

Use a cookie scoop to portion these out onto your prepared baking sheets.

Place extra sugar on a small plate. Use the flat bottom of a glass to dip into the plate of sugar, then gently press the cookies to flatten them just a bit. you want them a little over a half inch tall.

Flattening cookies with a glass bottom

Once you do each cookie, dip the glass into the sugar again and gently tap the top of each cookie to deposit just a little extra sugar onto each cookie without flattening them any further.

I find this easier than flattening the dough balls by hand and rolling them in sugar, which is how my great grandmother used to make them.

Bake at 350 degrees for nine minutes for smaller cookies potentially up to 11 or 12 for large cookies.

When you take them out, not all the tops will have cracked yet. That’s fine. So long as you’re starting to see cracks in many of the cookies, you’re good to go.

Molasses cookies fresh from the oven on a baking sheet

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for three minutes, then use a spatula to place them on a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. They start out super puffy but do flatten some as they cool.

Image shows a hand Holding a chewy molasses cookie.

Chewy Molasses Cookies

This heirloom recipe for a classic Christmas cookie passed down from my great grandmother, this easy recipe makes soft and chewy cookies filled with the flavors of the season.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Lactose
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 116kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • Additional white sugar for dipping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
  • In a bowl, beat together oil and sugar. Add egg and molasses, then beat well.
    2/3 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/3 cup molasses, 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves and mix, then and flour and stir until combined.
    1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 2 1/3 cups flour
  • Use a cookie scoop to portion dough onto prepared baking sheets.
  • Place extra sugar on a small plate. Use flat bottom of a glass to dip into sugar, then gently press cookies to flatten them to 1/2".
    Additional white sugar for dipping
  • Dip the glass into sugar again and gently tap the top of each cookie to deposit extra sugar onto each cookie.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.
  • Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool.

Video

Notes

  • You can use a larger cookie scoop and make extra big cookies. Let them bake slightly longer, up to 11 or 12 for large cookies. Remove them from the oven when the tops just start to crack.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 94mg | Sugar: 9g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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  1. […] out a plate with some of these, some molasses cookies, chocolate peppermint shortbread, and you’re all […]

  2. […] inspired by anything for some reason, unlike last year where I decided easily and quickly to make molasses cookies and egg nog cookies.  They were awesome.  I finally decided on what kind of cookies to make with […]

  3. Michelle says:

    Tami – They were so good. We've been trying to save them just for Little Miss because they're naturally dairy free – hard around Christmas! – but ummmm we all just want to eat them ourselves 😉

    Sandra – Ha! That's because I used my cookie scoop. It makes a huge difference with lots of cookies. Shhh, don't tell.

  4. Sandra says:

    I've never tried to make molasses cookies. Yours look so perfect, each and every one of them! I am thankful for your Tasty Tuesday recipes!

  5. Tami says:

    Going to add this to my cookie list!!! Yummy!!!!

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