Molasses Cookies

For all my fellow molasses lovers, here is an old-fashioned cookie with that classic molasses flavor we adore. It's my forever-favorite recipe for Molasses Cookies, all crinkly and cracked on top. For a real treat? Spread a little Molasses Ice Cream between a couple of Molasses Cookies: instant Molasses Sandwich Cookies!

Molasses Cookies ♥, old-fashioned cookies, soft, chewy or crisp, your choice.

Homemade Old-Fashioned Cookies Made from Scratch. Great for After-School and Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies. Ships Well.

Just One ... or Two ... or Three ... or ...

When I first moved to St. Louis, I set out to make new friends. Right away, I went looking for a book club and soon found one!

Turns out, it was no ordinary book club. It was organized by a dictator lawyer passionate about life-long reading. Members were a mix of men and women, many from old St. Louis families. Deep, thoughtful conversations were led by a grad student hired by the group.

The reading rhythm was unusual, two series of four or five books, often real tomes, with Sunday-night gatherings only a couple of weeks apart in the spring and again in the fall.

I loved this group but only lasted a couple of years: I traveled for work and dang frequent Sunday flights meant missing too many sessions.

How about this for a small world?! I haven't been a member for years but my now-husband's older son is!

But what about the cookies, AK?!

Well, this reading group took short breaks mid-conversation for a quick snack.

One night, the host served wonderful old-fashioned Molasses Cookies! One bite and I was smitten.

It's been my go-to recipe ever since, that's going way back into the mid 1990s!

Molasses Cookies ♥, old-fashioned cookies, soft, chewy or crisp, your choice.

About This Recipe

Molasses Cookies are old-fashioned cookies, classics in their very simplicity.

The distinctive ingredients are salted butter; molasses (mild, robust or blackstrap); and a heady mix of spices (ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves). The other ingredients are all typical for homemade cookies, just sugar, a single egg, all-purpose flour and baking soda.

The cookie dough is quick to mix (just 10 minutes!) but then is chilled for at least two hours to prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking. After chilling, the dough is shaped into small balls which are rolled in sugar, this creates a crisp, sweet outer edge on the baked cookies.

The cookies bake quite flat with a "cracked" appearance on top and can be soft, chewy or crisp just by adjusting the baking time.

The recipe makes five dozen small Molasses Cookies. I hope you love them!

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • It's a simple, old-fashioned cookie, unadorned, just what it is, no more
  • It's all about the molasses, enhanced by spices
  • It calls for every-day ingredients easily found in every-day grocery stores, nothing special, nothing to shop for, nothing to hunt up at some specialty shop or order online
  • It's easy to adjust the texture (soft or chewy or crispy) just by adjusting the baking time
  • The cookies both keep and travel well
  • Are you a dunker? Just dunk a Molasses Cookie in cold milk or hot coffee. Swoon ...
  • Or a sandwich cookie-er? Spread some Molasses Ice Cream between a couple of Molasses Cookies. Oh.My.Goodness.
Molasses Cookies sandwiched with Molasses Ice Cream ♥, old-fashioned cookies, soft, chewy or crisp, your choice.

What's In Molasses Cookies? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Butter Yep, good old-fashioned butter. For fat, some recipes call for vegetable oil or vegetable shortening like Crisco. Others for bacon grease. And oh, the original recipe called for margarine, if that's your go-to fat. But butter really works in a simple cookie like this, for flavor, for consistency. FYI I really do recommend salted butter for old-fashioned cookies like this. I know, I know, so many bakers are insistent about unsalted butter, in order to better control the salt volume. But did you know that unsalted butter is an American affectation? That European bakers use salted butter? So do I. And yes, you still add a little salt to the cookie dough. For baking, my favorite butter is Land O' Lakes Salted Butter.

  • Molasses I love molasses! This recipe works with mild (some times called light) or robust (some times called dark) molasses like those easily found from Grandma's Molasses. It also works with blackstrap molasses, the stronger, more bitter form of molasses. Your choice. A reader once substituted maple syrup and adjusted the spices by substituting ground nutmeg for ground ginger: it was very good but an entirely different cookie.

  • Egg Just one, size large!

  • The Spices! The spice mix is so important to these cookies. Luckily, they're both common and familiar ground spices, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

  • Sugar for the Cookie Dough Plain white sugar works here. If you're a little short, sure, substitute some portion of brown sugar. Would all brown sugar work? Yes, I do believe so. After all, brown sugar is just white sugar mixed with a little molasses.

  • Sugar for Rolling There are "puffy" molasses cookies (I have a favorite which isn't yet online) but these cookies bake flat not rounded on top. In part, this is because before baking, the dough is rolled into small dough balls which are rolled in sugar. Plain white sugar works, so does raw sugar. Don't skip the rolling! It gives the cookies a crisp, sweet, sparkly exterior.

  • Flour Use all-purpose flour for this cookie. Would the whole grain but finely ground flour called "white whole-wheat" flour work? I think so, I have good luck with one-for-one substitutions.

  • Leavening Leavening is what makes cookies and other baked goods plump up a bit or a lot. (Yeast is another form of leavening, mostly used for baking bread.) Baking soda and baking powder are the most common leavening for cookies, cakes, bars and other baked good. The two products may have similar names but they are not interchangeable. This recipe calls for baking soda.
Molasses Ice Cream ♥, unusual and alluring, familiar and unexpected. Pair it with Molasses Cookies!

Other Fun Molasses-y Treats

Over the years, my collection of cookie recipes definitely veers toward molasses. No surprise, many of them are especially suited to festive occasions around the Christmas holidays.

  • FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS Go for Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies.
  • FOR DRAMATIC CUT-OUT COOKIES Frosty Christmas Trees are easy-to-handle gingerbread cut-out cookies, so pretty rolled out as snowy trees.
  • SPIKED WITH FRESH CRANBERRIES Fresh Cranberry Bars are chewy, almost-blondie molasses and spice bars with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".
  • AN OLD-FASHIONED DESSERT Cranberry Pudding is an English-style cake served warm with butter sauce.
  • TO BRING ENTIRE TABLES TO SILENCE, mix a batch of Gingerbread Pudding Cake, layers of cake and pudding. It's magic!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If these Molasses Cookies (to say nothing of the amazing Molasses Ice Cream ... ) hit the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Molasses Cookies ♥, my favorite recipe for classic molasses cookies, make them soft, chewy or crisp, your choice.


Mix: 10 minutes
Chill: At least 2 hours
Shape and bake: 45 minutes
Makes 5 dozen small cookies
  • 3/4 cup (170g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (70g) mild or strong or blackstrap molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 250g
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons additional sugar for rolling (don't skip this step!)

MIX THE DOUGH Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg and combine well. Stir together all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine well with butter mixture.

CHILL THE DOUGH Gather the dough into a round, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake, at least 2 hours or overnight.

ROLL, SUGAR & BAKE Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Between your hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls (about 12g in weight), then roll in sugar. Place on a bare baking sheet, about 20 cookies per sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly with bottom of a glass. Bake for 8 – 11 minutes, the shorter time for "soft" cookies, the longer for "crispy", somewhere in the middle for "chewy". Cool on a rack or on paper towels.

VARIATIONS The mother of invention! A reader found herself without molasses and substituted maple syrup. She went one step further and used nutmeg instead of ginger. "Excellent" were her results!

ALANNA's TIPS Butter measurements come in so many variations. Just know this. 3/4 cup butter = 12 tablespoons butter = 1-1/2 sticks butter = 170g butter. Whew. I use both mild molasses for a slightly milder cookie and blackstrap molasses, my favorite, for that lovely distinctive molasses flavor. Canadian readers, I've also made Molasses Cookies with both Crosby's Fancy Molasses (mild) and Cooking Molasses (stronger). Chilling the dough makes it easier to shape the balls. If you skip this step (I do, occasionally) the cookies will really spread; just arrange them well apart on the baking sheet. For years, I've used regular white sugar for rolling the balls of cookie dough. But then I tried using the so-called "raw" sugar. Those cookies turned out especially crisp on the exterior, while the centers were especially chewy. Wonderful! How do you like your Molasses Cookies? Just vary the baking time for "soft" or "chewy" or "crisp" molasses cookies! People do love Molasses Cookies! They are real crowd pleasers and ship and travel well, too.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cookie (assumes 60): 54 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; Sat Fat: 1g; 10mg Cholesterol; 63mg Sodium; 8g Carb; 0g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3 (but 2 cookies = 5 for myWW)

More Recipes for Old-Fashioned Classic Cookies

~ cookie recipes ~
Banana Oatmeal Cookies ♥, oatmeal cookies with a banana twist.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies ♥, a coffee fix and a chocolate fix both at once.

Family Shortbread ♥, spare, simple, ethereal English shortbread. Lots of family tricks and tips, all in one place.

This Recipe Has Moved

for Molasses Ice Cream,
please see

~ Molasses Ice Cream ~

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2003 (print), 2008 (online), 2012, 2016 (repub) & 2021 (stand-alone)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous10/09/2008

    I think those molasses cookies would make great ice cream sandwiches with just some plain vanilla in the middle! Since it's still hot in San Diego, that sounds perfect right now! But the molasses ice cream also sounds great!

  2. Molasses is one of my favorite baking ingredients. I can't remember ever having molasses ice cream, so I must give that a try. It sounds delish!

  3. Nicole ~ I think you're exactly right, in fact, I made sandwich cookies using both the molasses cookies and the molasses ice cream. They tasted great but didn't look so hot. To be soft enough to spread, the ice cream was so soft that it spread a lot when back in the freezer. This is the price for no-preservative, no-stabilizer ice cream.

    Andrea ~ It had been a good four or five years since making the molasses ice cream and honestly, I wondered. Would it still taste good?! It really was! It's completely creamy and the molasses flavor is just perfect. I'm sorry that I've put the ice cream freezer away for the season. Hmm. It's still 80F, maybe the season's not over yet!

  4. Anonymous1/31/2009

    After starting these cookies, I realized there was molasses in the pantry. I subsititued maple syrup and nutmeg for the ginger. Excellent! These cookies will help keep me on track.



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna