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Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

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Soft and chewy with a crackled sugar crust, these gingery molasses cookies are loved by kids and adults alike.

Molasses cookies in a jar and on a board.

Every year, my daughter and I bake these gingery molasses cookies for her holiday cookie bake sale and every year, they sell like hotcakes. Soft and chewy with a crackled sugar crust, they have just the right balance of spices to please kids and adults alike. You’ll note that the recipe calls for black pepper. I promise, no one will know it’s there, but it adds a delightful little kick that lingers on the palate. Allow a few hours for the dough to chill in the fridge before baking.

What You’ll Need To Make Molasses Cookies

ingredients for molasses cookies

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper.

dry ingredients in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked dry ingredients

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), combine the butter and the granulated and light brown sugars.

butter and sugar in mixing bowl

Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

beaten butter and sugars

Add the egg and molasses.

adding the egg and molasses

Beat to combine.

molasses and egg beaten into batter

Add the flour mixture.

adding the dry ingredients to the batter

Mix on low speed until combined.

molasses cookie batter

Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, a few hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F and set two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two 13 x 18 in baking sheets with parchment paper. Form heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in the raw sugar to coat generously. Arrange the dough balls about 2½ in apart on the prepared baking sheets.

rolling molasses cookie dough balls in sugar

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, until puffed and set. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

molasses cookies cooling on rack

Store the molasses cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Molasses cookies in a jar and on a board.

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Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Soft and chewy with a crackled sugar crust, these gingery molasses cookies are loved by kids and adults alike.

Servings: About 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus a few hours to chill


  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup unsulphured molasses, such as Grandma's Original
  • ½ cup raw sugar (also called turbinado or demerara sugar), for rolling cookies


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), beat the butter and the granulated and light brown sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, a few hours.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F and set two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two 13 x 18 in baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Form heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in the raw sugar to coat generously. Arrange the dough balls about 2½ in apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, until puffed and set. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To freeze after baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 103
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 74 mg
  • Cholesterol: 15 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • I make these for my niece and this improved on my previous recipe and was much easier to mix and prepare ( I’ve killed handheld blenders in the past when adding the flour mixture).

    I was nervous about cooking at 350 but it made a thinner crisper cookie.

    • — Doug on December 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I make the dough in my food processor?

    • — Ella Rajani on December 14, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think that would work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’ve made these the past few years and have loved them. This year I would like to make them gluten free. Has anyone tried this?

    • — Heather on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you like them! Oftentimes, readers will comment that they’ve adapted my baked goods to be gluten-free, but I don’t see any comments mentioning that here, so you’d be the “guinea pig.”) If you want to give it a try, I know a lot of readers have had great luck with Cup4Cup and King Arthur’s Measure for Measure flour. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thank you for the “cook mode” button, which I just discovered tonight. LOVE that. These cookies are a holiday must. I cannot wait for them to come out of the oven. Your pecan shortbread will be a new one for me to try and is next on my list. Many thanks for all of the delicious, “tested and perfected” recipes.

    • — Bess on December 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • I recently discovered “cook mode” too. I wondered if it was new or something I’ve over looked for a couple years…which wouldn’t surprise me. 😉 If it’s new it’s a great addition!

      • — Sharon T on December 10, 2023
      • Reply
      • It’s new 😊

        • — Jenn on December 11, 2023
        • Reply
      • Where/what is the “cook mode” button? I can’t find it anywhere?

        PS. I’m baking these cookies for the third time now and I absolutely love them! I have been giving them out for teacher Christmas gifts and they get rave reviews! I’ve never had a recipe from Jenn that didn’t work. This site is my cooking and baking bible.

        • — Elisa Rambaldi on December 20, 2023
        • Reply
        • Thanks for your very sweet words about the recipes! ❣️
          The cook mode button is in between the list of ingredients and the instructions—look for a pale pink line separating the two. If you don’t see it, it may be that your device does not support it.

          • — Jenn on December 21, 2023
          • Reply
  • Can I freeze the dough to use later?

    • — Andrea on December 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure! See the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions.

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • The best molasses spice cookies!

    • — Joanne Thayer on October 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I give 10 stars?
    Years ago after a hike in the mountains we stopped at a little bakery and I had a delicious ginger cookie with bits of candied ginger. Back home again I could never find a recipe that successfully replicated the chewy, gingery deliciousness that I remembered. When I saw the amount of ginger in this recipe I crossed my fingers and made it, adding some chopped bits of candied ginger. Oh, wow! These are just as delicious as the cookie I remembered. I love these cookies! Thank you, Jenn.

    • — Judy on February 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, do I need to rotate the sheets if using a convection oven? Would there be any adjustments to bake time or temperature? I have had great success with your recipes. Thank you!

    • — Marie on January 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Marie, While technically you shouldn’t need to rotate the baking sheets if using the convection setting, I would just for extra insurance. When using convection, the rule of thumb is to reduce the temp by 25°F (the timing can stay the same).

      • — Jenn on January 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • The best molasses cookies I and my family have ever eaten.

    • — Steve in Florida on December 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Success the first time I try the recipe! So delicious that my husband (who doesn’t normally have a sweet tooth) has to reach for second helping 😃. Definitely a keeper. Thank you so much for the clear and detailed instructions.

    • — May Fung on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • These cookies are delicious. They were even a big hit with my wife, who ordinarily doesn’t like stuff with molasses in it. I made a half recipe first, cutting all the ingredients in half except for the egg. The full batch followed the recipe exactly. In both cases the dough was very stiff and the cookies didn’t flatten out like the ones in the pictures. They were little domes, though the texture seemed right. Do you think they needed more liquid of some kind?

    • — Jim on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jim, Did you use all-purpose flour and use the spoon-and-level method to measure it?

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2022
      • Reply
      • Yes on the flour. I did spoon it into the measuring cup but it was a big serving spoon. Maybe the flour was still too packed down?

        • — Jim on December 20, 2022
        • Reply
        • What brand of flour do you use?

          • — Jenn on December 20, 2022
          • Reply
          • Robin Hood

            • — Jim on December 22, 2022
          • I just compared the protein content in Robin Hood versus King Arthur flour (the brand I use). I see that Robin Hood has a higher protein content which could have contributed to the problems you had. I’d either look for a brand that has a lower protein content, or I see that Robin Hood makes a cake and pastry flour that I think would work as well. Hope that helps!

            • — Jenn on December 23, 2022
  • Perfectly delicious! I will be making frequently!

    • — Becket on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • These cookies are amazing! I’ve been making them for years. The recipe is perfect and I’ve never had to modify. They come out chewie every time.

    • — Anna M on December 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • I loved these cookies!

    • — Gabriela on December 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the best ginger cookie I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried many different recipes! Everyone who tastes them loves them. I can’t make just one batch when I make them!! I’ve frozen them and they taste just as good thawed as they do when you first make them. Thanks, Jen, for another great recipe!!
    Happy Holidays to you ❤️

    • — Cheryl on December 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can not wait to try these! I will let you know.. also want to try the Linzers! Thank❤️

    • — Gloria on December 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Question – can these be frozen? I generally bake a sizable portion of cookies each Christmas and gift to neighbors.

    • — KMG on December 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Definitely! See the freezer-friendly instructions at the bottom of the recipe. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2022
      • Reply
  • I am an avid Jenn follower, owning both cookbooks and using her website. I decided to add these to our holiday cookie bake, and they are delicious!! I’ve been sharing the recipe with all who have tasted the cookies. Thank you for another winner!

    • — Tammy Ludgatis on December 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made these cookies today. The recipe is so easy! My stars, these are fabulous cookies!!
    Thank you Jenn!

    • — S Harvey on December 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made these today and they are delicious,crunchy outside from the Turbinado,chewy and moist inside. All spices I used are freshly ground including the ginger which is amazing . If one has the time to dry and grind fresh ginger I promise you`ll never go back to store bought.We`re already planning our next batch to give out as gifts. It`s no surprise Jenn that these sell like hot cakes! Thanks for this truly amazing recipe.

    • — lowandslow on November 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • These cookies taste incredible!
    You will NOT be able to have just one!
    Our new family favourite.

    • — Karen Blaak on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Every bite is perfect. Great cookie with perfect spice.

    • — Stefanie on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Just popped these in the oven – excited to see how they come out.

    Curious how they’re different in from your Crispy Ginger Cookies? I just discovered that recipe and am now wondering if I should’ve baked those instead!

    • — SY on August 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi SY, These are puffier and chewier – if I had to pick between the two, these would be my favorite hands down. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 7, 2022
      • Reply
      • Good to know – I’m a chewy cookie gal so glad I picked the right one.

        They turned out fabulously! I appreciated that they had less sugar as well – I dialed it back even further by four tbsp (which may have been a bit too much; next time I’ll do two to not lose as much of the chew), but still were great. Thank you!!

        • — SY on August 9, 2022
        • Reply
  • total fail. They stayed in a ball. I refrigerated for a couple minutes so they didn’t flatten too fast. They didn’t. When time was up they were uncooked golf balls. I baked for 5 minute more and then they were officially golf balls. Followed recipe to a T. Don’t know what happened. I am at high altitude.

    • — Triia on June 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • I’m sorry you had a problem with these! If you followed the recipe to a T, the only thing I can think of is that the altitude impacted them. I don’t have experience baking at high altitudes so, unfortunately, I don’t have any wisdom to share – I’m sorry! You may find these tips helpful though.

      • — Jenn on June 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have made these twice now and both times have been a huge hit. They smell, look and taste amazing. I didn’t have any raw sugar left to roll them in but had coffee crystals so used that instead and they turned out perfectly.

  • Love, love this recipe! It’s my first time making spiced cookies. Hubby loves it as well. He kept saying “this is so good” while munching on the cookie. At first I thought the ginger flavor is strong but as it sits, it seemed to mellow. I also appreciate the friendly freezer instruction. I like that I can freeze the dough and not have to eat them in one sitting, lol. Thank you, Jenn!

  • These cookies are absolutely perfect. Bakery worthy! Made for Christmas and piped on little holly leaves and berries. 10/10

    • These are my new favorite cookies! A hit everywhere I take them! I’ve been asked for the recipe so many times. Love sharing it, Jenn. You’ve achieved perfection with this cookie!

      • — Debbie on November 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • These are amazing! Great cookie for anytime of year but love them for the holidays.

  • Really easy to make and so tasty! One thing I love about your recipes is they always come out as expected (so far at least!) . These were no exception. My family loves spice cookies so I increased the spices a bit and they are a big hit!
    Thank you

  • I’m not a cook, but your directions I can follow. I like spicy food (I’m of Indian origin) but not too much spice in a sweet treat, and found these to be spot on for that lovely gingery-cookie flavor. And the crunchy exterior with soft insides- yum! I was skeptical about the black pepper but followed directions and left it in, and I didn’t regret it. Thanks for another great one!

  • Way too sweet for me. They are still pretty good though. I recommend them to be eaten with a glass of milk or black coffee on the side.

  • These sound delicious! I’d like to reduce the amount of sugar, how much can I reduce it and which sugars? Thanks!

    • Hi Julie, You can cut back either or both the granulated and brown sugar by 2 tablespoons. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • I cut out 4 tbsp of sugar (2 tbsp white and 2 tbsp brown) and the cookies are still phenomenal! I reduced my first batch by 2 tablespoons.

        Thanks for another wonderful recipe. ❤️

        • — Monica on November 12, 2023
        • Reply
  • OMG!! I now live in the UK and have been missing my favourite item from Trader Joe’s…molasses cookies. Look no further, these are them. YUM!! It took forever but I found “date molasses” in the international food aisle at Waitrose. It worked perfectly! They sell pomegranate molasses as well. I baked on 170C on the fan setting. Thank you for bringing a bit of home to our Christmas this year!

  • These are tasty and easy to make. I think I will amp up the spices a bit next time as they were a little mild for my taste. But definitely a keeper!

  • Hi Jen, I am going to freeze these until ready to bake. Do you roll them in the sugar and freeze, or roll in sugar before baking? And, these are delicious!

    • — Denise LaBarre
    • Reply
    • Hi Denise, Glad you like them! And you can go either way with the sugar; it doesn’t make a difference.

      • Hello! My cookies came out puffy at first but then fell flat. I refrigerated the dough overnight and baked them for 9 minutes (my oven bakes relatively fast so I did not want to go over the 9 minutes). Any ideas on what I should do differently to keep them puffy?

        • Hi Kelly, They may be a bit underbaked. It could also be the brand of flour – what are you using?

  • Amazing flavor!!!! We love the crunch from the raw sugar coating! I rotated the , moved them front to back, and used a timer…..however, the two pans of cookies did not turn out the same. (My oven gets much hotter in the back) I will definitely make these again (fabulous flavor!) but would like to know if it would work to bake only one pan at a time.

    • Yes that would be a good solution – keep in mind the bake time will be just a bit shorter.

      • Great cookies! Made these tonight and they were a hit! I cut back on the sugar in recipe based on the previous note and only rolled the tops with the sugar to cut back again. They tasted great! Look forward to having with a tea or coffee.

  • After making a number of really bad Ginger Cookie recipes – thrown out in the garbage – I turned to Jenn Segal once again. These Old Fashioned Ginger Cookies are brilliant!!! Mixture great texture – I’ve never baked with molasses before (I used “Black Strap”) and cookies “to die for”!!! Will make them at least Double quantity next time. Soft middles, with delicious crunchy outer raw sugar coating – these are the best!!! Jen, Melbourne, Australia

  • I love this recipe! The buiscuites came out nice a soft in the middle with a soft centre which was perfect. I added mildly flavoured glazed ginger bits.

    Some comments to note. The ginger was a little too mild for my ‘ginger snaps’ pallet. I replaced the ‘all spice’ with freshly ground nutmeg and ground ginger powder which slightly over played the nutmeg flavours. Next time I will use actual ‘all spice’.

    Otherwise, highly recommended. The addition of fresh pepper is fantastic and adds a little ‘je ne ce quo’. 🙂

  • Perfect recipe! Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. So yummy.

    • — Sarah Bertrand
    • Reply
  • Delicious and came out looking beautiful, and will definitely make again.
    I made them a little smaller to feel less guilty when having with morning coffee! (baked for 10mins as recipe)
    Just as information to others.. in UK, I used “black treacle” instead of molasses. They look less flat and came out shaped more like an amaretto biscuit, but gorgeous either way.
    Thank you, Jen!

  • Delightfully soft cookie with a nice outside crunch which is exactly what I was looking for. I found that putting the dough in the fridge overnight resulted in a better spice flavor balance.

  • I made these for Christmas this year and they were wonderful. I decided to freeze most of the batch and cook only a few at a time so they were always fresh. This year (2021) one of our favorite places to go is shutting its doors after nearly (goodbye Fly Creek Cider Mill) 150 years in business, they make a cookie which tastes exactly like these. So even though I am very sad I can at least have a taste of the cookies they made and sold.

    • — Susan Stevenson
    • Reply
  • I must admit, I do not enjoy baking with molasses. BUT, gingerbread cookies are my husband’s favorite sweet treat. So, I decided to make these (they’re super easy to make), and they were an instant hit in our home! Kids and husband were happy! I did decide to freeze half the batch, and they tasted super fresh even after pulling them out of the freezer. Enjoy, and happy baking!

  • These are my no-fail go to ginger cookies. I made 4 batches for Christmas gifts. I do make one change, I add a couple tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger, which adds an additional chew and spice to the cookie. They freeze beautifully, and I’m not infrequen caught eating one straight from the freezer. 😉

  • Delicious, soft and the perfect amount of spice! Great with a cup of coffee! I’ve never made cookies with molasses before, I could tell it really made a big difference. Baking these cookies filled the house with the wonderful scent of the holidays!

  • My family and I love so many of your recipes and they always turn out well, so I was really surprised these cookies didn’t. They had nice flavor and were slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside but they didn’t flatten out at all. They seemed very heavy and I had to smash them flat with the bottom of a glass after I baked them. I used butter and did the chilling- any suggestions?

    • Hi Jessica, I’m wondering if you used too much flour in these. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Even a few extra ounces can make a big difference. This article/video explains it nicely.

  • Another HIT with this recipe! Jenn, you are amazing! I love these cookies and after giving my neighbor some, she begged for the recipe! Thank you so much!

    • These cookies had a good texture and the recipe was very easy to follow. Unfortunately, my cookies had a strong bitter flavor. Maybe I’m just sensitive to the taste of baking soda, although I did only use half the amount the recipe called for to try to avoid this. Or maybe it’s a result of using cooking molasses (only had this and blackstrap molasses), but I’ve used cooking molasses in muffins and didn’t get the bitteriness that these cookies had. Any idea where I went wrong?

      • Hi Karen, sorry to hear this came out with a better flavor. I strongly suspect it was the molasses you used. From what I understand, cooking molasses is partially made with blackstrap molasses which can add that bitter flavor. If you try these again, I’d use molasses like this. Hope that helps!

  • I have a question- I didn’t have molasses, all sold out everywhere, so I looked it up and used 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar and same amount of water, since the dough seemed dry and clumpy. Kept it in the fridge for several hours and cooked as instructed- they came out doughy, still soft but not chewy cookie like. Is it just the molasses? Did I do something else wrong? What do you advise to substitute if no molasses? Thanks so much for this and for all of your recipes! 🙂

    • Hi Raha, Unfortunately, there really is no good substitute for molasses — and that’s what gives these cookies their wonderful flavor and texture. I’d hold off making them again until you can get molasses. Maybe order online?

  • Perfect old-fashioned deliciousness! I always need to make these 2 or 3 times during the holidays. Thank you!

  • Yum!!!! This recipe is also in the Once Upon a Chef cookbook. It’s so good. They have the prefect blend of sweet and spice, and a nice moist but still crisp texture. They smell amazing while they are baking!

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