Old-Fashioned Ginger Spice Cookies

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe
Ginger Spice Cookies

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Soft and chewy with a crackled sugar crust, these ginger spice cookies have just the right balance of spices to please kids and adults alike.

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

Soft and chewy with a crackled sugar crust, these ginger spice cookies have just the right balance of spices to please kids and adults alike.

Servings: 38 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 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 centermost positions. Line two 13 x 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 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

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  • 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.

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  • These cookies are the best Gingersnap cookies. I have been making them for over a year now. They are my granddaughters favorite cookie and my husband loves them also. They are easy and quick to make and turn out wonderful every time.

    • — Erika Horn on December 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, thank you for a delicious recipe! I’ve made these yummy cookies several times, love them! Question for you, though. My dad has mentioned wanting to make molasses cookies with a “dollop of jam” in the center. Would this recipe work, and if so any suggestions on the jam and when to add it?
    Thank you!

    • — Theresa B. on December 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like these! Unfortunately, I don’t think that technique will work for these cookies — sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • The batch I made had a bitter aftertaste. I double-checked that I followed the recipe correctly. Not sure what I did wrong. Any thoughts?

    • — Anderson on November 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Anderson, Sorry you had a problem with these! What type of molasses did you use? Any chance it was blackstrap as that could give the cookies a slightly bitter taste. Also, could you have made a mistake when measuring the baking soda?

      • — Jenn on November 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi there! I have a question if you don’t mind. I was looking for a soft spice cookie or molasses cookies to bake for some friends and found your recipe in my search. I’d love to try it, but your recipe says to ball the cookies. I’m looking for a recipe I can roll to cut leaf shaped cookies. Will your recipe let us do that? If so, how thick should the cookie dough be before cutting with cookie cutters to stay a soft cookie?

    We have a delicious sugar cookie recipe we use all the time that is intended to be molded, but when we tried rolling it to make leaf shaped cookies, the cookies were hard. We don’t want that. Any advice would be welcome and appreciated. Thank you so much.

    • — Laura on November 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura This isn’t a great recipe for that purpose. I’d recommend this recipe instead. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi there. I went to the link you shared, but unfortunately those cookies claim to be firm and I’m looking for soft. They’re also for molasses cookies and I’m looking for spice. Thank you anyway.

        • — Laura on November 20, 2020
        • Reply
        • OK — sorry to hear it won’t meet your needs!

          • — Jenn on November 22, 2020
          • Reply
  • I was wondering if it was better/different if using a gas oven vs an electric oven. So, I made one batch in the gas oven and one batch in the electric oven, both at the same time. Baked exactly for the the same amount of time and both turned out identical. Looked the same and tasted the same — both were delicious.

    • — Sharon on November 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have two ovens – a gas oven and an electric oven. Which one would you suggest I use for baking these cookies? Thank you

    • — Sharon on November 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • I have an electric oven, so I’d go that route. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Can I substitute maple syrup for molasses? Would I need to change the amount? Thanks!

    • — Meaghan on October 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Meaghan, they will taste slightly different but maple syrup should work (and it would be the same amount). Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe for the autumnal equinox and it was amazingly good. Soft, simple but tasty cookies. I am a huge fan. Thanks for sharing this recipe!! Can’t wait to try more

  • Would I be able to use honey instead of molasses for these?

    • Hi Varya, It will work, but the cookies won’t have that classic flavor that only molasses can provide. Hope that helps!

  • Just made these, followed recipe exactly, they are so delicious,soft and chewy as described. A great recipe that I will use again and again!👍🏽😊

  • I made these cookies today and they are very good. However, the texture is more like a sugar cookie, very soft. What did I do wrong?

    • Hi Paula, Sorry you were disappointed with the texture. These cookies are actually intended to be soft. If you’d prefer a crispier version, I’d suggest this recipe.

  • I just baked my third batch of these delicious cookies (in a week!) and my whole family love them – my son loves to help rolling the cookie dough in sugar. I substituted the golden syrup for maple syrup in the last batch and they were still amazing. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Not really a baker, but these cookies were simple and delicious. Shared them at work and everyone loved them. Only complaint was that we ran out of them. Thank you!

  • I made these cookies a few days ago. They turned out exactly how you described, crunchy on the outside while being soft on the inside. The next day, after being stored one night in an airtight container, the entire cookie was the soft texture. Still delicious, but what went wrong?

    • Hi Debbie, Glad you enjoyed the cookies! Are you in a humid environment?

      • I am in southeast Texas, 90% humidity…is that why mine went soft overnight? Are there any changes that I can make in the future to prevent this? Thank you !

        • — Doreen Sanders
        • Reply
        • I do think that’s why they got soft. I haven’t tried this but some bakers place a piece of bread in with the cookies to help absorb any excess moisture. To refresh the soft cookies, try heating them for 5 min or so in a 300°F oven. (Another idea for future batches would be to freeze the dough balls and bake them as needed.) Hope that helps!

          • Thank you Jenn! Between your website, and your cookbook I am becoming a better cook! Thoroughly enjoying your recipes and appreciate your interaction! Thanks again!

            • — Doreen Sanders
      • Hi Jenn, I actually have a humidity gauge and it’s reading normal, not too high and not to low. I might have put them in the sealed container while they were still slightly warm. Do you think that could’ve caused it? Love your cookbook!

        • Yep, that would do it. 🙂

  • These cookies were absolutely fabulous, great taste and texture. Loved by all! 😋

  • Hi Jen, excited to make these cookies for an Xmas day dinner I’m hosting. My question is not about the recipe but about baking with kids. You mentioned that you bake with your daughter. My daughter has just turned one, and I’m hoping in a few years I can start baking and cooking with her. I’d love a blog post about how you did it with yours. Things like what tasks work well, how do you keep her interested and focused, what tools are useful and safe to use etc. Anyhow, I hope this is not too off topic. I love your recipes and I hope to show my daughter how to make them too!

    • Hi Mae, Baking with your kids really can be a great experience as long as you pay attention to where they are developmentally. I will add your suggestion to potential content to develop (and thanks for the suggestion)!

  • Should I form them into balls before chilling or chill the dough they form them?
    Thank you

    • Chill the dough first, then form the balls. Enjoy!

  • Amazing and easy recipe! You can’t go wrong! The texture and taste is well balanced throughout. Rotating the tray while baking helps for even consistency! Definitely bake on parchment paper to avoid sticking while removing! Looking for a cookie to make for holiday parties-this IS IT!

  • Great cookie recipe. Easy to follow, great flavor! It’s a keeper.

  • Came out perfectly.

    I got a new oven this year, with both a conventional oven setting and a convection oven setting. I baked them both ways and the convection oven setting at 350 degrees worked perfectly. It made them puff up beautifully with small cracks across the top, which looks awesome. This is the third time I have made them, and they are by far my family’s favorite cookie. They are the only cookie my husband will eat. And he eats plenty of them.

  • Hi, The cookies were fabulous. I made the cookies with 5600 ft altitude adjustments, based on a previous reviewer from Lake Tahoe. I increased the temp to 365, increased flour by 1 T, decreased sugar by 1 T, decreased baking soda a bit; I added about 1-2 TBS of extra egg white for 1 batch, and for a different batch I added about 1 extra T of molasses; I rolled the cookies in demerara sugar mixed with some Christmas sprinkles and they look so festive! This will be my new go to Christmas cookie, along with the Coconut-Lime Mexican Wedding Cookies on this site.

  • I made the dough and put batter in the refrigerator but don’t have time to bake today. Do I need to have it sit out prior to baking tomorrow and, if so, for how long?

    • No, they don’t need to sit out at all. Hope you enjoy!

  • These are my new favorite! I made these exactly as the recipe and they are delicious!

    • Hi Jenn. Love your recipes. Make them often and they are always delicious. I’m going to make these cookies but don’t have raw sugar. Can I roll them in regular granulated sugar. Thanks.

      • Sure, Eileen – they won’t be quite as crunchy, but they will still be delicious. 🙂

        • Hi Jenn! I’m planning on freezing the dough balls prior to baking. Would you recommend rolling in the sugar before freezing or immediately prior to baking? Love your recipes! Thanks in advance!

          • — Aly on November 9, 2020
          • Reply
          • Hi Aly, You could go either way with the sugar, so just do whatever’s easiest for you. Enjoy!

            • — Jenn on November 9, 2020
  • Can white pepper be substituted for the black pepper in this recipe? Thanks.

    • Hi Stella, it should be fine. Enjoy!

  • The recipe calls for the dough to be chilled for a few hours until firm. How much time do you allow for this to occur?

    • I generally refrigerate it for about 3 to 4 hours.

  • Hey Jennifer~
    Whats the difference between these and your crispy ginger cookies?

    • Hi Kim, These are thick and chewy; the others are thin and crispy.

      • which ones are your favorites?

        • Definitely these! 🙂

  • Do you have any recommendations for high altitude (around 7,000 ft) ?

    • Hi Courtney, 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. Hope you enjoy the cookies if you make them!

      • Thank you. That’s a great resource! I cooked them exactly as your recipe says minus a little bake time and they were amazing!

        • Hello Jennifer, I will make these Ginger cookies, but what kind of Molasses do I buy? I see two kinds dark and light. Thank you, Bonnie Brownfield

          • — Bonnie Brownfield
          • Reply
          • Hi Bonnie, I’d go with the light – that’s what I use. Hope you enjoy!

            • — Jenn
  • Love these Ginger Spice cookies! Our ginger loving family gobbled them up. They have the perfect combination of crispy and chewy! I have made these several times, they are easy and delicious! Even good for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea…

    • — Katie Callister
    • Reply
  • These cookies are the best. I made them for Christmas, and next year I have to bring three times more because they were such a hit. They taste wonderful, but the best part is the texture, slight crisp and crunch on the outside and a soft, chewy center. Follow the recipe exactly! They go especially well with bourbon and hot tea.

  • I love these cookies! Just finished making my third batch in three weeks. I would only change one thing: the baking time. In my oven, I have found that 12 minutes (total time) works best: 6 minutes for the first side, then rotate and switch shelves as the recipe directs, and bake 6 minutes more. The cookies come out puffed and the surface is cracked, with a hint of crunch on the top. For me, less time than 12 minutes in the oven meant less rise and a doughier consistency. But both (a little crunchy vs. chewy) are great, so it’s a matter of taste. Thanks Jenn; your recipes are the best!

  • These cookies are fantastic, and we loved them without changing a single thing! As always, the beauty of a Jenn Segal recipe–truly tried and true! Well, I take that back! My husband and son-in-law would change the name to “Bourbon BFF’s”!! 🙂 I made these for Christmas and everyone LOVED them, especially those who were paring them with their special bourbon–a match made in heaven! The spices are nicely balanced, the cookie the perfect combination of chewy and soft with a delightful crunch from the turbinado sugar, and they stay that way! I know I will be making these cookies over and over.

  • Can these, or any other floured cookie, have good wheat flour substitutions?
    I can work around the dairy but not the wheat!

    • — sybil wertheim
    • Reply
    • Yes, have you tried King Arthur Flour’s Measure for Measure flour? I think it’d work well here.

  • I made these cookies for Christmas and they were loved by everyone. I mixed them up late in the day, so I left the dough in the fridge overnight and baked them the next morning. My kids and I were surprised, and happy, at how soft they stay – even after 4 days. They are so flavorful, and I love the sugar coating. I did not change anything with the recipe and, for me, there is no need to. I will definitely make them again and again, as these instantly became my “comfort cookie”.

  • Greetings from Toronto Canada Jenn! I’ve had my eyes on these cookies on your site for a while and decided to add them to my Christmas cookie list. I left them a little longer than 9 mins the 1st time, a little firm, but still great for dunking! So good, I made a 2nd batch on Sunday and timed those perfectly. As others have said, the spices are perfect and makes for a smooth flavour. They have been a delicious hit at every house I bring them to!

  • WOW! I made these at the last minute. I followed the directions, rolled in to balls and froze them. I let them sit out about 30 min while the oven was preheating and baked my first batch. First, it smelled like Christmas/holiday, while baking I refrigerated the remaining container of dough balls. I followed Jenn’s description to bake until they puffed and then went flat. In my oven that was 11 minutes. (I started checking the first couple of pans at 9 min however until I felt that was the right amount of time:)
    Everyone loved the crispiness of this cookie, and what was left have kept well for now 2 days.
    Great recipe to save, adding to many others from this website

  • My firiends and I did a cookie exchange. I made these. EVERONE said these cookies were the best of the lot!! Yay. Love these!

  • This is a wonderful and easy recipe. The cookies remind me of the ones I loved as a child.
    Will definitely make this a part of my holiday cookie recipes.

    • Reply
  • These fit the bill for the perfect taste of Christmas.

  • These are amazing! I made them with half of the molasses and ran out so I used honey for the other half. They turned out perfectly and were a hit with the whole family!

  • These have a really nice balance of spice, and the pepper is a good addition. I also took a chance on half a batch and added some chopped candied ginger. I added abut 1/4 cup, so quite a bit. We loved the addition, but it may be too spicy for kids. That meant more for the adults!

    • — Kathy Jensen Dawson
    • Reply
  • Once again a perfect recipe!! They came out perfect and so fitting for a cold day with a nice hot chocolate!

    Thanks again!

  • Wonderful recipe! And, just in time for the holidays!

    • — Connie Hoffman
    • Reply
  • I added these cookies to my Christmas baking this year and they are a big hit. Really delicious recipe!

  • I just baked these cookies and they are sooooo delicious! We love the bit of crunch that the turbinado sugar added. These are definitely a new favorite at our house!

  • Jenn, 2 questions please: What is the reason for chilling the dough before making the cookies? Have you ever tried using Crisco instead of butter for this recipe? If so, what is the difference between the two.

    • Hi Pam, Chilling the dough prevents the cookies from spreading flat in the oven. I haven’t tried these with Crisco, as I much prefer the taste of butter in cookies. In general, shortening is flavorless and makes for puffier cookies. Hope that helps!

  • Delicious!

  • Hi Jenn,

    I made these cookies last week, and although they were absolutely delicious and we gobbled them up, mine were as flat as paper. I only baked one sheet of cookies at a time in the middle of the oven, could this have affected them since the directions say to bake two at a time? If not, any other idea what could have caused them to be so flat? Thanks in advance, and thank you for all of the wonderful recipes!!

    • Hi Anne, Did you chill the dough adequately?

      • Yes, it actually chilled over night. Too long?

        • That’s so strange, Anne – too cold shouldn’t cause a problem. Is it possible your baking soda is expired, or that you mismeasured the flour?

  • These were absolutely fantastic and I’m not usually a ginger fan! Will be making many batches for my kids’ teachers this year. Thank you for another winner Jenn!

  • I loved these cookies. I found that I had to flatten the balls down prior to baking otherwise they stayed doughy and browned too much on the bottom. I think that’s because I left them in the fridge overnight so the dough was quite firm. The second tray cooked wonderfully and I enjoyed the taste. Rolling them in dark brown sugar is a nice touch compared to white sugar. Thank you for sharing this tried and true recipe!

  • Absolutely fabulous . Made them tonight and my partner said they were better than the ones in Ottolenghi !

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