These Molasses Crinkle Cookies are super chewy, warmly spiced, and beautifully crackled on top. The sugar coating creates crispy edges and a lovely glittery look that is perfect for the holidays. Pair these easy-to-make, impressive cookies with a glass of milk or a warm cup of tea for a cozy winter treat.
Molasses crinkle cookies are one of my all-time favorites.
I make them every year around the holidays and they're always a big hit. There's just something about the warm spices, brown sugar, and molasses that feels so cozy and perfect for Christmas baking.
I love this recipe because the cookies are a wonderful combination of chewy, soft, and crispy edges. And I swear they're even better the next day as the flavors meld together and they become just a little bit chewier.
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What are Molasses?
Molasses is a thick, dark syrup made during the refinement process of cane sugar. It's a sweetener that is often used in gingerbread cookies, baked beans, and meat marinades.
Sugar is made by extracting juice from sugar cane. Then, that juice is boiled to remove the liquid, leaving behind sugar crystals. The thick, brown syrup by-product leftover from this process is molasses.
Blackstrap Molasses vs Unsulphured Molasses
The difference between these two types of molasses is how they're processed.
Blackstrap molasses is the result of boiling down molasses in a three-step process, resulting in a thick, concentrated syrup that is lower in sugar. It's bitter in flavor and is not often used in baking.
On the other hand, unsulphured molasses is made after the initial processing of cane sugar, sometimes called the "first boil." This type of molasses has not been treated with sulfur dioxide, which can leave a chemical taste behind. You'll mostly find unsulphured molasses at the grocery store.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Soft & Chewy- Baked until just cooked through, these molasses ginger cookies stay gorgeously soft and chewy in the center.
- Crispy Edges- The edges of these cookies get nice and crispy thanks to the sugar coating.
- Warmly Spiced- Spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, these cookies are a delicious fall and winter treat.
- Quick- The cookie dough batter comes together quickly and easily and the cookies bake up in under 10 minutes. The hardest part is waiting for the cookie dough to chill. But, I promise, it's worth the wait!
- Easy to Make- These old-fashioned molasses crinkle cookies are super easy to make. And if you have a stand mixer or hand mixer, they're even easier. You'll want to make them every holiday season.
- Perfect for the Holidays- It isn't Christmas without molasses crinkle cookies. The smell of ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar, and molasses wafting through the air is what the holidays are all about.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- All-Purpose Flour- I make this recipe with unbleached all-purpose flour and use a sifter to remove any lumps.
- Unsulphured Molasses- Most grocery stores will carry unsulphured molasses because its sweeter and better tasting than other types of molasses. I like Grandma's Original Molasses best for its mild, sweet flavor.
- Butter- Unsalted butter works best in this recipe. If you only have salted butter on hand, reduce the amount of salt to ⅛ teaspoon.
- Vegetable Oil- Since vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature, it helps the cookies stay soft and moist compared to an all-butter cookie. You can also use canola oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil (not extra virgin).
- Brown Sugar- Since it's made with molasses, brown sugar amps up the molasses flavor of these cookies.
- Granulated Sugar- I use a little granulated sugar in the cookie dough and also to roll the cookie dough balls in.
- Egg- Just one egg provides structure and leavening to the cookies.
- Vanilla Extract- Pairs well with the warm spices and adds flavor.
- Warm Spices- Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg give these cookies a warm, well-spiced flavor.
- Baking Soda- Used to help the cookies rise and give them their signature crinkled look.
- Salt- Use fine table salt or sea salt. Not coarse or flaky.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer- Using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer makes this recipe a breeze. Everything comes together right in the mixing bowl so it makes for easy cleanup too. While expensive, a good stand mixer is a worthwhile investment if you bake a lot.
- Hand Mixer (Alternative)- If you don't have a stand mixer, a hand mixer works well for this recipe. When I don't feel like pulling out my stand mixer, I reach for my KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer. It takes a little more elbow grease, but does a beautiful job mixing the cookie dough.
- Flour Sifter- Sifting the dry ingredients ensures there are no lumps of flour, baking soda, or spices throughout our cookie dough. I've used both a traditional flour sifter and a fine mesh sieve to sift dry ingredients and both work well.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make this molasses crinkle cookies recipe.
Step 1: Sift together dry ingredients. Place a flour sifter or fine mesh sieve over the top of a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt to the sifter and sift the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Set aside.
Step 2: Mix the wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vegetable oil and beat until well combined. Beat in the molasses and vanilla extract until mixed well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Step 3: Combine the wet and dry ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Shape and roll cookie dough in sugar. About 20 minutes before the cookie dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add about ½ cup of granulated sugar to a shallow bowl or plate. Roll a heaping ½ tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball shape, then roll each ball in the granulated sugar.
Step 5: Bake the cookies. Space the cookie dough balls evenly on the prepared baking sheet and do not flatten them. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes or until just set and beginning to crack on the top. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing.
Tips for Success
- Measure the flour by weight. To prevent ending up with dry, crumbly cookies, I recommend measuring the flour in grams using a kitchen scale. It's easy to overmeasure flour when using measuring cups because flour compacts. If you don't have a kitchen scale, gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup instead of scooping.
- Sift the dry ingredients. Sifting the dry ingredients helps remove any large lumps that we don't want to end up in our cookie dough. Additionally, sifted flour is lighter, airier, and easier to incorporate with other ingredients.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Room temperature butter and eggs cream together much more readily than cold. Leave the butter and egg out on the counter for an hour or two before making your cookie dough for the best results.
- Don't skip chilling the dough. Chilling the cookie dough is an important step. Cold cookie dough holds its shape better in the oven and is less likely to spread. It also helps us achieve that classic crinkle cookie look.
- Make the dough balls all the same size. I find that a heaping ½ tablespoon of cookie dough gives me approximately 42 perfectly sized cookies.
☕️ Serving Suggestion: Serve these molasses cookies with a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or egg nog for a cozy and festive treat.
Here are a few ways you can customize these molasses crinkle cookies to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Gluten-Free- While I haven't tested it myself, you can try swapping the regular flour for all-purpose gluten-free flour. I like Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free One-to-One Baking Flour. If you try this, let me know how it turns out!
- Powdered Sugar- Roll the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar for a snow-covered look.
- Chocolate Dipped- Melt dark chocolate or white chocolate and dip half of the cookie into it. Then, sprinkle some chopped nuts, dried fruit, or festive sprinkles on the chocolate before it dries.
- Chai Spiced- Experimenting with different warm spices can make for a more interesting cookie. Try adding a little allspice and cardamom to the mix. Or swap all of the spices in the recipe for 4 teaspoons of my Chai Spice Blend.
- Candied Ginger- Mix some chopped candied ginger right into the cookie dough for an extra ginger-flavored cookie.
Storage and Freezing
- Refrigerator- Raw cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-4 days, according to the USDA.
- Freezer- If you want to freeze this molasses crinkle cookie dough, I recommend rolling them into balls, but not rolling in sugar. Then, flash freeze the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet before storing them in a freezer-safe plastic bag for up to 2 months. You can then roll the frozen cookie dough in sugar and bake them directly from frozen. Keep in mind that you may need to add a few extra minutes to the bake time.
- Room Temperature- According to the USDA, homemade cookies can be safely stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
- Freezer- Allow the cookies to cool completely before placing them inside of a freezer-safe bag and storing in the freezer for 8-12 months.
Quick Tip: Place a piece of bread in the container with your cookies when storing them at room temperature. This trick will help keep your cookies beautifully moist and soft.
When it comes to make-ahead cookies, you have a lot of options.
You can prepare the cookie dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to bake. Alternatively, you can fully bake the cookies and store them either at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for several months.
For best results, I recommend waiting to bake these molasses crinkles until just before serving so you can enjoy them at their freshest and most flavorful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Molasses adds complex flavor, sweetness, and richness to cookies. It is also responsible for the signature dark brown color of molasses crinkle cookies.
There are several reasons why your cookies may not have cracked: low oven temperature, not enough leavening agent, over-mixing the dough, and not creaming the fat for long enough.
For soft, chewy cookies, the real trick is to not bake them for too long. For this recipe, a heaping ½ tablespoon cookie dough ball bakes perfectly in about 8 minutes. When storing your cookies, add a slice of bread to the airtight container to keep them soft for days.
Yes! If you prefer a crisp molasses cookie, bake them for an additional 1-2 minutes longer.
- 2 ¼ cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Additional sugar for rolling
- Place a flour sifter or fine mesh sieve over the top of a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt to the sifter and sift the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Set aside.2 ¼ cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vegetable oil and beat until well combined. Beat in the molasses and vanilla extract until mixed well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, ¼ cup unsulphured molasses, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
- About 20 minutes before the cookie dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add about ½ cup of granulated sugar to a shallow bowl or plate. Roll a heaping ½ tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball shape, then roll each ball in the granulated sugar.Additional sugar for rolling
- Space the cookie dough balls evenly on the prepared baking sheet and do not flatten them. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes or until just set and beginning to crack on the top. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing.
- Storage: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 12 months.
- Make Ahead: Make the cookie dough up to 3 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Alternatively, freeze the cookie dough for up to 2 months.