Old-Fashioned Ginger Spice Cookies

5 stars based on 27 votes

As a special treat for the holidays, I’m delighted to give you a sneak preview of one of my favorite recipes from my upcoming cookbook, Once Upon a Chef, The CookbookPerfect for all your upcoming festivities or a sweet gift for friends and family, these old-fashioned ginger spice cookies are a real crowd pleaser. Every year, my daughter and I bake them for her holiday 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.

Old-Fashioned Ginger Spice Cookies

Servings: 38 cookies


  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 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 centermost positions. Line two 13-by-18‑in baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Form tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in the raw sugar to coat generously. Arrange the dough balls about 2-1/2 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.
Once Upon a Chef - The Cookbook - Get your copy now!

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 97
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 70 mg
  • Cholesterol: 14 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    These are fabulous! I didn’t have any ground ginger, so I grated 6-8Tbsp ginger root I had in the freezer. Wow Oui!

    Thanks so much for sharing! PS: Love your cookbook!

    - Sandie S on July 8, 2018 Reply
    • ☺️

      - Jenn on July 8, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Bought your cookbook & this was the first recipe we picked out to make. DELICIOUS!!! My 3 & 6 year old went wild for them. I made recipe exactly as written & they turned out just like your picture. Perfect cookie to dip into a tea or hot chocolate :-). Thanks for making me look like a star again Jenn!

    - TracyV on June 5, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I make things regularly from your website because I can almost always count on them being wonderful. These cookies were no exception. I usually follow the recipe exactly the first time through but was halfway through getting them made when I found no ground ginger in my normally “well-stocked” spice cabinet. I ended up grating about 2 teaspoons (not enough) fresh ginger and had some old candied ginger that needed to be used and chopped it up as well and added both to the recipe. Still ended up great. Thank you!

    - Linda H. on March 3, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love the idea of black pepper in this recipe I did age the batter several days in the fridge. They came out delicious the natural sugarcoating works beautifully i’m making these again

    - Merry Gasorek on March 2, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are fabulous!

    - Laura Kargov on February 8, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We found these ginger spice cookies to be now one of our family favorites of all time.
    They are the kind of cookie you never get tired of..! !

    - Susan K on February 5, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These cookies are fantastic! I’ve been searching for a ginger cookie recipe with just the right combination of flavor and texture and this is definitely the winner! I made the dough and then had trouble finding the time to bake off the cookies, so ended up refrigerating the dough for a day and half before baking. The cookies still came out perfect and the dough was very easy to work with.

    - Sarah on January 11, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Turned out wonderful. Everyone was asking for the recipe. They looked like the pictures and they really simple to make. I loved the way they looked and tasted.

    - Sherry Mason on December 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just wondering what the cookies will be like after 3 days? They could easily be eaten quickly (yummm!) but I am sending them in a care package to someone.

    - Julie on December 25, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Julie, I think they’d keep for 3 days in an airtight container. Glad you like them!

      - Jenn on December 25, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just baked these and they are delicious. I had no powedered ginger so I used fresh (about 2 tsp grated) and omitted about 4 tbs of sugars because we have young kids who really don’t need the extra refined sugar.
    I also refrigerated the dough about 24 hours, as I ran out of time to bake them last night.
    The cookies are still plenty sweet for our taste. They are crispy outside and soft inside, just the way I like them. Thank you for a lovely recipe.

    - Yasmin on December 23, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    These cookies were wonderful. The spices, especially the pepper added a nice kick to the flavor while rolling them in the sugar added a lovely crunchy sweet touch. I will definitely make these again.

    - Karen on December 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last weekend and they were delicious! It really put me in the mood for Christmas.

    - Jeremy on December 19, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love gingersnap cookies! These are really good as written, but I love to add chopped, crystallized ginger to the dough. It adds a new layer of flavor. I probably added 1/2 cup…maybe a little bit more. Can’t keep my hand out of the cookie jar:-)

    Thanks Jenn for providing us with so many good recipes over the last year. The best to you and your family at this special time of year!


    - Linda Grimes on December 19, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe! I don’t bake frequently (though I am an experienced home cook) but when I do, I always know that Jenn’s recipes are the ones that I want to use. They are straightforward and turn out the way they are supposed to after following instructions. These ginger cookies were no exception. I made the dough the night before (when I had some time) and chilled it overnight, covered with some plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. I was worried that the dough would be too tough, but it softened up as it warmed up. I did find that I needed more than 10 minutes in my oven, but I think that was because I didn’t know what kind of texture I was looking for. They were certainly puffed up but also very very soft, and I was just worried that they would be undercooked. I ended up cooking them for 14 minutes per sheet (I couldn’t fit more than 1 sheet at a time). They did deflate once cooled and were indeed crunchy and chewy. I like the flavour a lot – full of warm spices but not too strong. One batch made 37 cookies for me. I would make these again!

    - Jenn on December 18, 2017 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Oh I wanted to add that they were also not too sweet, which I liked!

      - Jenn on December 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made THREE (yes, three) batches of these this weekend. They are absolutely delicious and have the perfect spice balance. They are soft and chewy, sweet and spicy. LOVE them. My friend thought I bought them at a bakery, and my husband who doesn’t usually like ginger snaps is a fan.

    - Sheila Weiss on December 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn, Just stumbled upon your website when looking for a Brussels sprout recipe and then found the cookies… 🙂 Regarding these ginger cookies and others, any suggestions for a high altitude and a very dry climate? Very excited to try many of your dishes! Thanks!

    - Meredith on December 17, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Meredith, glad you’ve happened upon the blog! Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience baking at high altitude, but maybe these tips will help. Hope you enjoy the cookies if you try them!

      - Jenn on December 18, 2017 Reply
  • Do you think it would be okay to substitute brown sugar for the turbinado? Thanks!

    - Karen on December 17, 2017 Reply
    • You could, Karen – the cookies just won’t be quite as crisp on the exterior.

      - Jenn on December 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love these cookies! They are truly addictive! Even my husband, who is particular about his Ginger Cookies, loves these! I can’t wait to make them for my college son who LOVES ginger.

    - Katie on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • Can you substitute fresh ginger?

    - Jean on December 12, 2017 Reply
    • Sure!

      - Jenn on December 12, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Have been looking for a nice, chewy ginger cookie and these are great. Love everything on your website. Can’t wait for your cookbook to come out

    - Romi on December 11, 2017 Reply
  • I’m planning on making these today. Made your snicker doodles yesterday and my husband loved them. I plan on making some of your other cookies from your 14 holiday cookie list. Can they be frozen successfully since Christmas is still 2 weeks away?

    - Dee Dee on December 11, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Dee Dee, Yes these should freeze well. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are delicious cookies! I baked them for an office holiday cookie swap yesterday and got many requests for the recipe. Thank you Jenn…can’t wait for the book!

    - Karen on December 10, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    At 79 yrs old my mother has been craving ginger cookies. I made the following substitutes using what my mother had available in her kitchen. White sugar for the recipe and brown sugar for the coating, golden syrup instead of the molasses and omitted the pepper at her request. I convered everything to ml quantities so it was easier to rewrite the recipe for my mother to use. The dough was definitely easier to work with when refrigerated. In future we will double the recipe and refrigerate the dough in smaller quantities and bake the cookies over a few days. These are really good.

    - Elze on December 10, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are wonderful – soft, a little chewy and spicy, with a nice crunch from the sugar. I followed the recipe exactly, except that I was a little short on molasses and had to top up with honey. I baked them for 9 1/2 minutes. They are very soft and puffy when they come out of the oven, but they settle and firm up while cooling. I love the ginger flavor. Do not hesitate to add the pepper; the spice mixture is perfect. As soon as I tasted them, I put molasses on my shopping list so that I can make them again. A winner in every way.

    - Vicki Frederick on December 9, 2017 Reply
  • Can the dough be chilled overnight or is that too long?

    - Julie on December 7, 2017 Reply
    • That’s fine, Julie. Please lmk how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 7, 2017 Reply
  • Jenn, seems my recent streak of bad luck followed me into the kitchen today. I was looking forward to baking a batch of your ginger spice cookies to share with a new neighbor and a neighbor with a birthday. As I put them in the fridge, I realized I had put honey in place of the molasses. Are they worth baking? Or can I just blame it on bad karma and go back to bed?

    - June Venable on December 7, 2017 Reply
    • Hi June, I definitely think they are worth baking! They won’t have that deep molasses flavor but they should still be tasty. That said, if you would rather just go back to bed, I’m all for that too – sometimes it’s just not meant to be :).

      - Jenn on December 7, 2017 Reply
      • Thanks, Jenn. I took the plunge and baked them. Turned out fine, but I plan to try again with correct ingredients!

        Love your site – recommended it to a male friend who enjoys cooking.

        Thanks again.


        - June on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • These look delicious—have you ever tried them with gluten free flour?

    - Sandy on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Sandy, I can’t say that I have, but I think it should work. I’ve heard great things about King Arthur’s gluten-free flour. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 6, 2017 Reply
  • am going to leave out the cloves…should I up anything else to compensate

    - Carol on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Carol, you’d be fine substituting with additional ginger, cinnamon, or allspice. 🙂

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • Could you include the nutrition info for these cookies?

    - Nancy Robertson on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Just added them – enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Can’t wait to make these ginger spice cookies! They are one my favorites. Can I leave out the black pepper?


    - Lisa on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Lisa – that’s fine. 🙂

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    There I was studying for a final exam on the “Law Governing Lawyers” when I was PLEASANTLY surprised by your latest email – Ginger Spice Cookies!!! Break! Question: Why the black pepper?

    - Rosa on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Rosa, I love a little black pepper in ginger cookies – it adds a little kick.

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    These sound great !! Should I use light or dark Molasses?
    Thanks- Laura

    - Laura on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Laura, I use light (Grandma’s). Hope you enjoy the cookies!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These look wonderful, and I can’t wait to try! I have everything in the cupboard/fridge to make these today except for allspice. Is there a reasonable substitute I could use?

    - Tracy Le on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Tracy, I’d replace the allspice with more cinnamon – should be fine. I’d love to know how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is just what I’ve been looking for! I’d like to make these before the holidays and freeze them (fully baked). What is the best way to freeze cookies?

    - P on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi P, I’d freeze them in a freezer-safe airtight container with wax or parchment paper between the layers. Hope you like them!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • These are my favorite cookies! I can’t wait to try them. Will they freeze well? I saw they can only be stored for 3 days and would love to get a head start on my baking.

    - Kerry on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Kerry, I’ve never frozen them, but I think they should freeze nicely. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • These cookies look perfect! I love the addition of black pepper! I always add a bit whenever I make ginger cookies. It takes them to the next level! I want to be able to freeze some of these cookies in already shaped balls. Do you think rolling in the raw sugar prior to freezing is the best or rolling in sugar just be for baking Is best? Thanks, Jenn!

    - Deb on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Deb, I thik you could go either way with the sugar. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These look amazing! A quick question regarding the turbinado sugar–I looked at it on Amazon, and it looks like there are white and brownish versions. Which do you use? Thanks so much! Looking forward to your cookbook! 🙂

    - Amy on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Amy, I use the brown but either will work. Hope you enjoy them!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hello all,
    I added a 1/4 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger to this recipe, and the cookies turned out fantastic. Thanks for a great addition to my holiday cookie baking!

    - JaxJayne on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Did you add the crystallized ginger and omit the ground ginger in the recipe?


      - Sharon Penner on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • Any idea if i can make these to be gluten free… my husband is celiac…

    - Laura on December 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Laura, I haven’t tried these with gluten-free flour, but I think it should work. I’ve heard great things about this gluten-free flour. Please LMK how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    Is there a substitute for Turbinado sugar? If not, how long does it keep since none of my recipes call for it other than this one and your apple tart? Also, is it dark molasses that you use?


    - Denise Smith on December 4, 2017 Reply
    • It keeps forever, Denise – I highly recommend using it as it lends really nice texture. And I use light molasses (Grandma’s). 🙂

      - Jenn on December 4, 2017 Reply
  • My all-time favorite cookie is a seasonal store-bought chewy ginger cookie with bits of candied ginger. Have looked and looked for a recipe, and I think this might work. Do you think I can dice candied ginger to add to this dough? I’d love to try that!

    - Judy on December 4, 2017 Reply
    • Definitely! I’d love to know how it turns out. 🙂

      - Jenn on December 4, 2017 Reply
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