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These old fashioned chewy molasses cookies are soft, warmly spiced, and just how Grandma made them!

Old Fashioned Chewy Molasses Cookies with text overlay
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love these Molasses Cookies
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Molasses Cookies
  4. Preparation and Storage Tips
  5. Recipe Variations
  6. Tips for the Best Chewy Molasses Cookies
  7. Old Fashioned Chewy Molasses Cookies Recipe

Looking for other old-fashioned Christmas cookies? Try these Williamsburg gingerbread cookies, make a batch of soft cut-out sugar cookies, and whip up a tray of 3-ingredient Scottish shortbread cookies, too!

Why You’ll Love these Molasses Cookies

Share a batch with friends during the holidays, gift them to your favorite teacher, or enjoy one with a hot cup of tea this afternoon. You don’t need a special occasion to treat yourself and your loved ones to these soft molasses cookies!

I’ve tested this recipe so many times (with plenty of fails along the way) to bring you the absolute best molasses cookie recipe! Trust me — you don’t have to be “a baker” to get these right. Here’s why these are some of our favorite cookies…

  • They’re perfectly soft and chewy — so satisfying to sink your teeth into!
  • The sugar coating gives them a slightly crisp exterior.
  • They’re freezer-friendly, so you can bake them ahead of the holidays and just pull them out when you need a sweet treat for sharing.
  • They’re loaded with warm spices for the ultimate cozy dessert!
Butter and sugar creamed in mixer

What Molasses Cookies Taste Like (they’re not the same as Gingersnaps)

While molasses cookies and gingersnap cookies share many of the same primary flavors — namely, dark molasses and spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg — there are a few major differences.

These molasses cookies are soft and chewy, while gingersnap cookies are typically crisp on the outside and just slightly chewy on the inside. The ginger flavor is also less prominent in molasses cookies.

Old Fashioned Molasses Coookie dough in mixer bowl

What Makes Cookies More Chewy Instead of Crunchy

Cookies that are soft and chewy incorporate more moisture in the dough. That’s why you’ll find both butter and oil in this recipe. Those ingredients, along with the molasses, contribute a lot of moisture and result in chewy (not crunchy!) cookies!

Bowl of molasses cookie dough with medium scoop

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of chewy molasses cookies. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step directions are included the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Butter: I use salted butter since that’s what I always have in my fridge, but you can sub with unsalted butter when necessary. If using unsalted butter, I recommend adding an extra ½ teaspoon of salt to the dough.
  • Sugar: to sweeten the dough and for rolling on the outside of the dough balls.
  • Molasses: adds flavor, color, sweetness, and moisture to the dough. This is the brand of unsulphured molasses that I always use.
  • Canola oil: adds moisture and keeps them soft.
  • Vanilla extract: for extra flavor.
  • Baking soda: the leavening agent that helps the cookies puff up and rise.
  • Salt: balances the sweetness and adds depth of flavor.
  • Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg: warm spices that give the cookies their cozy flavor.
  • Eggs: gives the dough structure.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the cookie dough.
Dough ball coated in sugar on baking sheet

How to Make Molasses Cookies

These molasses cookies are made without shortening, and use butter instead! As a result, I always have the ingredients on hand to whip up a batch when a craving strikes.

  • Mix together the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use an electric hand mixer).
  • Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
  • Roll the dough into balls (a cookie scoop helps with this) and coat in sugar.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes.
Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies on a plate with coffee in the background

How to Keep Molasses Cookies Soft

The key to keeping the molasses cookies soft and chewy is pulling them out of the oven before they’re crispy and brown all over. You want the dough to be set and the edges to be turning brown, but the cookies should still be soft. They will continue to firm up as they cool, but they will maintain that great chewy texture!

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: Prepare the dough up to 3 days in advance, keeping it covered in your fridge until you’re ready to bake.
  • How to Freeze the Dough: You can also freeze the cookie dough before baking. This recipe freezes best if you portion out the cookie dough balls and coat them in sugar first. Arrange the dough balls on baking sheets, freeze, and then wrap tightly in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, just pull a couple of frozen dough balls from the oven and bake in a 350°F oven. You’ll need to add about 1-2 more minutes to the baking time since you’re starting with frozen dough.
  • Storage: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last on the counter for about 3 days. To extend the life of your cookies, wrap them tightly and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Stack of three soft molasses cookies on china plate

Recipe Variations

  • For spicy molasses cookies, add extra ginger. You can also stir in some chopped crystallized ginger, or use grated fresh gingerroot. The more ginger, the spicier the dough!
  • I use salted butter since that’s what I always have in my fridge, but you can sub with unsalted butter when necessary. If using unsalted butter, I recommend adding an extra ½ teaspoon of salt to the dough.
  • The granulated sugar gives the outside of the cookies a slightly crisp texture, which is a hallmark of old fashioned chewy molasses cookies. That said, you can certainly skip this step if you don’t want to bother!
  • Cut all of the ingredients in half to prepare a smaller batch of cookies.
  • Mix-In’s: if you like a fully-loaded cookie, try adding white chocolate chips, raisins, and/or nuts to the dough before baking.
Molasses cookies on cooling rack

Tips for the Best Chewy Molasses Cookies

  • Do not use blackstrap molasses in this recipe. I recommend Grandma’s brand unsulphured molasses, or another similar variety.
  • Allow the butter and egg to come to room temperature before mixing the dough.
  • Chill the dough for at least 2 hours (and preferably much longer). The cold, hydrated dough yields the thickest, chewiest cookies.
  • Don’t over-mix the dough once you add the flour. Stir just until completely combined, but no more. This will avoid a dry, tough cookie.
  • Pull the cookies out of the oven as soon as the edges are lightly browned and starting to set. They will look underbaked in the center, but they will continue to firm up as they cool. This keeps the cookies soft and chewy.
Close up image of molasses cookies on plate

More Old Fashioned Cookie Recipes to Try

Russian Tea Cakes {Snowball Cookies}

1 hour hr 30 minutes mins

Snickerdoodle Cookies

56 minutes mins

My Grandmother’s Bourbon Balls

15 minutes mins

Square shot of old fashioned chewy molasses cookies on a cooling rack.

Old Fashioned Chewy Molasses Cookies

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total: 26 minutes
Servings 41 cookies
Calories 119 kcal
Soft, chewy, and warmly spiced cookies — just like Grandma's!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until smooth. Add the molasses, oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg and mix until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Slowly add the flour until just combined.
    Molasses cookie dough in a bowl.
  • Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or up to 2-3 days).
    Process shot showing how to make old fashioned chewy molasses cookies.
  • When dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Place remaining 1 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl.
    Bowl of granulated sugar.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and use a scoop to form the dough into round balls. Roll each ball of dough in the sugar. Place dough balls onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.
    Molasses cookie dough balls on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 10-11 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and starting to brown on the edges. They will still be soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
    Soft and thick chewy molasses cookies on a wire rack.

Notes

  • Do not use blackstrap molasses in this recipe. I recommend Grandma’s brand unsulphured molasses, or another similar variety.
  • Allow the butter and egg to come to room temperature before mixing the dough.
  • Chill the dough for at least 2 hours (and preferably much longer). The cold, hydrated dough yields the thickest, chewiest cookies.
  • Don’t over-mix the dough once you add the flour. Stir just until completely combined, but no more. This will avoid a dry, tough cookie.
  • Pull the cookies out of the oven as soon as the edges are lightly browned and starting to set. They will look underbaked in the center, but they will continue to firm up as they cool. This keeps the cookies soft and chewy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 119kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 175mgPotassium: 75mgSugar: 7gVitamin A: 150IUCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.8mg
Keyword: chewy molasses cookies, molasses cookies, old fashioned chewy molasses cookies, soft ginger cookies
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These cookies are amazing! I made them once to give as neighbor gifts but had to make them a second time because my daughters and I all wanted more for us. Thank you so much for sharing what is now a favorite cookie recipe! (I”m not sure why I’m not able to select the number of stars, but I happily give it 5 stars.)

  2. Hi Blair!
    This week I had a little extra time because I didn’t have to deal with the commute due to the coronavirus. I thought I’d try your Old Fashioned Chewy Molasses Cookies.-they are delicious, thank you for sharing this recipe with us!

    1. Great idea, Kris! Now I want a batch of them, too! Those are definitely some of my favorite cookies. 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      One of my fondest childhood memories is of standing on the little stepstool in my grandma’s kitchen “helping” her make “Molasses Crinkles” which continued to be family tradition well into my adulthood. Sadly, though, she has passed on and I haven’t been able to locate all of her old recipes and have been hunting online for a replacement. This one seems to fit the bill judging by the images; I’ve seen recipes where the cookie is meant to be puffed up and cakey and ones where they are crunchy-I was looking for ones that are flat, round, chewy and have those distinctive crinkles all over-which yours appears to have. I am bookmarking this for later. 🙂

    1. Hi, Maddie! There’s a full recipe card at the bottom of the post with a list of all of the specific measurements for each ingredient. You’ll need 2 eggs. Hope that helps, and enjoy the cookies!

  3. I made these once and they came out perfect. Then I made them a 2nd time and they came out totally different, they kind of puffed up. Any idea what went wrong?

    1. Hi, Rachel! I have no idea what may have gone wrong the second time. It’s really hard for me to guess since I wasn’t there. If the recipe is measured, chilled and baked correctly, it should work perfectly. I would assume that maybe you accidentally mis-measured an ingredient? Sorry I can’t be more helpful. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Blair- I am making the molasses cookies and am very excited for them to hurry up and chill!!! I did notice that my ginger powder was out of date so I grated some fresh ginger that I happened to have. Do you think they will turn out ok?

    1. Hi, Gayle! I hope they turned out well! I imagine the fresh ginger should work fine — it would just add a more potent spicy ginger flavor to the cookies. 🙂

    1. Hi, Maven! The eggs are included in the ingredient list second from the bottom (just above the flour). Hope that helps!

    1. Hi, Janet! I’d start with 1 cup of raisins and maybe 1/2 cup of nuts? Or you could add more nuts and go up to 1 cup. For a more subtle taste of the mix-ins, cut the raisins and nuts back to 1/2 cup each. 🙂