I look forward to these soft and chewy molasses crinkle cookies all year long! With brown sugar, warm spices, and a crunchy sugary coating, these cookies taste like Christmas. They’re one of my faves for holidays, cookie exchanges, and cozy winter nights!

A wire rack of molasses crinkle cookies on a wood table next to a white bowl of sugar, cinnamon sticks, white mugs, and garland.

Have I been living under a rock or does it seem like molasses cookies have been popping off lately?

I mean, I know they’re a classic cookie but I just feel like they’ve been all over my Instagram feed for the past few years. And don’t get me wrong, I get why. Along with cardamom gingerbread cookies and maple pecan sugar cookies, they’ve been one of my must-make holiday cookies for years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

This recipe is by far my favorite molasses cookie ever. They’re super soft, have chewy centers, and the spice level is elite. Make these for all the holiday gatherings this year and then make them again. You’ll definitely want seconds. 😛

Why you’ll love this recipe

I always thought that I hated molasses until I learned how to make molasses cookies way back in pastry school. I experienced those chewy centers with the crunchy sugared edges and omg. Life-changing. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe I’ve been perfecting for the past few years!

  • This recipe is based on old fashioned molasses cookies but have a fun twist thanks to a dash of cardamom & ginger.
  • The cookie dough is super easy and comes together in minutes.
  • The centers are perfectly chewy but the edges are nice and crunchy thanks to raw sugar.
  • They’re the ultimate simple cookie for holiday parties, cookie exchanges, & more!

The ingredient list

White and brown bowls of butter, brown sugar, flour, raw sugar, vanilla, molasses, and spices on a white counter.
  • Flour – regular all-purpose flour will give the cookies structure.
  • Baking soda – this will act as the leavening agent and help the cookies spread.
  • Salt – I use Morton’s Kosher salt to offset the sweetness a bit.
  • Spices – ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves will add so much delicious warmth to these cookies!
  • Butter – the butter will make these cookies rich, flavorful, & tender.
  • Brown sugar – I use dark brown sugar. It adds extra molasses flavor and makes these cookies nice and chewy!
  • Eggs – one egg will hold the dough together and help the cookies puff up and spread.
  • Vanilla – adding a touch of vanilla extract will give the cookies extra flavor.
  • Molasses – make sure you’re looking for unsulphured molasses which is sweet, spicy, and adds moisture to the cookies.
  • Raw sugar – rolling the cookies in raw sugar (Turbinado or Demerara) is the secret for those crackle tops!

Ingredient variations

  • Spices – feel free to replace the spices with equal amounts of a mix like homemade apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, or chai spice.
  • Brown sugar – light brown sugar also works in this recipe! It just won’t add as much moisture and molasses flavor as the dark.
  • Add-ins – feel free to add 1/3 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger or 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips to the dough before baking.
  • Gluten-free – replace the all-purpose flour with a one-to-one gluten-free baking mix like Cup4Cup.
  • Chocolate dipped – dip the cookies halfway in melted dark or white chocolate. So pretty!

How to make these cookies

Three steps to combining flour and spices. In photo 1, a white bowl of flour is on a white counter next to brown bowls of spices and baking soda. In photo 2, the spices have been poured into the bowl of flour. In photo 3, the flour mixture is whisked together.
  1. First, measure the flour and add it to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Add the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. Whisk the mixture until it’s combined. Set it aside for later.
Three steps to mixing cookie dough. In photo 1, butter and brown sugar are in a white bowl. In photo 2, the mixture is creamed. In photo 3, the bowl has an egg in it. In photo 4, the egg is mixed in. In photo 5, molasses is in the bowl. In photo 6, the dough is combined.
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. Then, add the molasses and beat the mixture until smooth.
Six steps to making molasses crinkle cookies. In photo 1, a white bowl of cookie dough has flour in it. In photo 2, the dough is mixed. In photo 3, a scoop is scooping the dough. In photo 4, a hand is rolling the dough. In photo 5, the cookie dough ball is being rolled in raw sugar. In photo 6, the cookie dough balls are placed on parchment paper.
  1. Add the flour mixture to the dough and mix it just until it’s combined. Cover the dough and chill it for at least 2 hours.
  2. Once the dough is chilled, scoop the cookie dough and roll it into balls.
  3. Then, roll the cookie dough balls in raw sugar and place them on parchment-lined sheet pans.
  4. Bake the cookies just until the edges are set and the middles are a bit underdone. Cool and enjoy!

Pro tip

For super chewy cookies, make sure you chill the dough for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. Also, make sure you don’t over-bake the cookies or they will come out cake-y instead of chewy!

Serving ideas

These molasses sugar cookies always make it to cookie exchanges, holiday parties, and Christmas dinner. But honestly, I like enjoying them all winter long – they give major cozy vibes! Also, the cookies are great on their own, but you can also zhuzh them up a bit if you like:

What makes the cookies crinkle?

There’s a lot of science that goes into making the tops of the cookies crinkle. But essentially, the secret trick is the raw sugar! The raw sugar will help dry the outside of the cookie dough while the center stays nice and moist. That dry surface will make the cookies crinkle and look all pretty!

Quick tip

If your cookies haven’t started to crinkle by the 6-7 minute mark, remove the pan from the oven. Using oven mitts, grip the sides of the pan, and firmly “bang” the bottom of the cookie sheet against a counter (or other hard surface) 2-3 times. This should help them crinkle and spread out a bit! Then, finish baking the cookies.

Piles of chewy molasses crinkle cookies.

Storing & make-ahead

To store leftover cookies, stack them in airtight containers. Then, let them sit at room temperature for up to 3 days. Since these cookies have so much molasses in them to keep them soft and chewy, they tend to hold up better compared to other cookies.

You can also make these cookies in advance! Just whip up the dough, cover the bowl, and store it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy the cookies, scoop, roll, bake, and enjoy.

Freezing instructions

You have a couple of options when it comes to freezing these old fashioned molasses cookies. You can either freeze the cookie dough balls or the baked cookies!

  • Cookie dough – after the dough has chilled for at least 2 hours, roll the cookie dough balls and place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Freeze the cookie dough balls for 1-2 hours until they’re solid. Pop them in a freezer bag and freeze them for up to 3 months.
  • To bake frozen cookie dough – let the cookie dough balls warm at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Roll the cookie dough balls in raw sugar. Then, bake the cookies according to the directions. They may just need 1-2 more minutes since they’ll be extra cold!
  • Baked cookies – place the baked cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag. Then, store the cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them defrost for about 1 hour before serving.

Helpful tools

Pro tip

For the best results, I always recommend measuring ingredients with a kitchen scale! But, if you don’t have a scale, just make sure you’re measuring the flour properly. Fluff the flour with a whisk, scoop it into the measuring cups, and level it off without packing it in. Over-measuring the flour will make these cookies dry!

A stack of molasses crinkle cookies on a wire rack next to cinnamon sticks, garland, and a beige linen on a wood table.

Tips & tricks

  • Always use room temperature ingredients. It will help the dough mix together properly and consistently.
  • The dough has to be chilled for those chewy centers. If the dough is too warm, the molasses sugar cookies will be thin and crunchy.
  • If the dough starts to get too warm while you’re rolling, just pop the cookie dough balls in the fridge before baking. 5-10 minutes should do!
  • These cookies will spread quite a bit but don’t worry! As long as they’re properly chilled, they will be nice and chewy.
  • The cookies will look a bit underdone in the centers. They’re supposed to! That’s what makes them chewy instead of cake-y.
  • Let the cookies set for 5 minutes on the pan so they don’t fall apart. Then, you can move them over to the wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe FAQs

Do I have to chill the dough?

100% yes. This dough is very sticky right after you mix it, so chilling the dough helps firm it up a bit. It also gives the dough time to develop extra flavor! But overall, if you want those chewy centers, you’ll have to chill the dough for at least 2 hours or the cookies with spread and end up crunchy.

Can I make these gluten-free?

Definitely! Just replace the all-purpose flour with a one-to-one gluten-free flour. I like Cup4Cup best!

Why didn’t my cookies crack?

If your cookies didn’t crinkle, it’s most likely because you need to roll them in more sugar. Make sure you have a good layer of raw sugar on the outside of the cookie dough balls before you bake them. The sugar will help dry out the surface of the dough which is what makes the cookies crack.

Are ginger snaps and molasses cookies the same?

No, they’re completely different cookies! Even though both of them have molasses and ginger, molasses cookies are usually thick, soft, and chewy. But ginger snaps are typically crisp and crunchy.

What is the difference between unsulphured and blackstrap molasses?

Molasses is all processed the same way. But there are still a few differences!

  • Blackstrap – this molasses is extra concentrated which makes it very thick, salty, and not very sweet. It should never be used in baking or your cookies will end up super bitter, dense, and salty.
  • Sulphured – sulphured molasses has sulphur dioxide which is used as a preservative. I don’t recommend using sulphured because it makes baked goods taste chemical-y!
  • Unsulphured – unsulphured molasses is less concentrated, so it makes baked goods sweet, spicy, super moist, and it tastes more ‘pure’ since it doesn’t have sulphur dioxide. For baked goods, I recommend unsulphured light molasses which has more sugar than dark. I like Grandma’s Molasses!
A wire rack of chewy molasses crinkle cookies on a wood table next to garland, grey cups of coffee, a white bowl of raw sugar, and a brown plate of cookies.

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5 from 1 vote

Chewy Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
I look forward to these soft and chewy molasses crinkle cookies all year long! With brown sugar, warm spices, and a crunchy sugary coating, these cookies taste like Christmas. They're one of my faves for holidays, cookie exchanges and cozy winter nights!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (270 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (114 grams)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (150 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsulphured light molasses (115 grams)
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar, for rolling (100 grams)

Equipment

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, Kosher salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until it's very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Then, add the molasses and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until the dough comes together. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and ensure there are no dry spots. Then, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Once the dough is chilled and you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Pour the raw sugar on a small plate.
  • Using a #40 cookie scoop (2 Tablespoons), scoop the dough into about 24 balls. Using clean hands, roll each portion of dough into a smooth ball. Then, roll each cookie dough ball in the raw sugar. Place the cookie dough balls at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans (6 to a pan). Refrigerate any cookie dough balls that don't fit on the sheet pans.
  • Bake the cookies on the middle rack for 8-9 minutes, flipping the pan halfway through, until the edges are set and the centers are still a bit shiny. (They may look raw in the center but they'll finish cooking as they cool). Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Notes

For the best results, I always recommend measuring ingredients with a kitchen scale! But, if you don’t have a scale, just make sure you’re measuring the flour properly. Fluff the flour with a whisk, scoop it into the measuring cups, and level it off without packing it in. Over-measuring the flour will make these cookies dry!
The dough has to be chilled for those chewy centers. If the dough is too warm, the cookies will be thin and crunchy.
If the dough starts to get too warm while you’re rolling, just pop the cookie dough balls in the fridge before baking. 5-10 minutes should do!
If your cookies haven’t started to crinkle by the 6-7 minute mark, remove the pan from the oven. Using oven mitts, grip the sides of the pan, and firmly “bang” the bottom of the cookie sheet against a counter (or other hard surface) 2-3 times. This should help them crinkle and spread out a bit! Then, finish baking the cookies.
These cookies will spread quite a bit but don’t worry! As long as they’re properly chilled, they will be nice and chewy.
The cookies will look a bit underdone in the centers. They’re supposed to! That’s what makes them chewy instead of cake-y.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 19.2g, Protein: 1.5g, Fat: 4.2g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 187mg, Potassium: 93mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 9.1g, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 1mg
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xo Sara Lynn