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Molasses Cookies Recipe is Easy to Make

Molasses Cookies Recipe is Easy to Make

I first learned about molasses cookies when my neighbor brought them over with other holiday cookies. I never had them before. A few months later, I decided to make some because I wanted to use up a jar of molasses I had from making another recipe.

My son has a palm oil allergy which means I bake everything from scratch. Pretty much all store-bought cookies and most desserts are made with palm oil.

I marvel at people who make a variety of cookies at one time. I wish I was that person, but I’m not. However, I am proud of myself for making different cookie recipes throughout the year. These molasses cookies are an easy and delicious recipe.

Molasses cookies are made with molasses, a thick, dark syrup that is a byproduct of the sugar-making process. Molasses has a deep, rich flavor that gives them a unique taste that is sweet and also slightly bitter. Be sure to use light or dark molasses — not blackstrap molasses.

Molasses Cookies

You can find jars of molasses in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, Target, Walmart, etc. It is usually shelved next to other baking ingredients such as flour, sugar, and spices. You can find it in bottles, cans or even in pouches. I used a brand called Grandma’s Original Molasses. It’s a versatile ingredient, used in many different recipes, including gingerbread.

This recipe for molasses cookies makes 24 cookies. Hands-on prep time takes about 10 minutes. It’s best to refrigerate the dough for an hour in the fridge. They should turn out soft, slightly chewy, and sweet.

Use these step-by-step directions below along with tips for making, storing instructions, serving suggestions, etc.

What You Need to Make Soft Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, also called powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or one-to-one gluten-free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar for rolling the dough balls in

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl for wet ingredients
  • Medium-sized bowl for dry ingredients 
  • Electric mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
  • Plate to roll the dough balls in the sugar

How to Make Molasses Cookies

  1. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  2. In the large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together with mixer. Stop when it is fluffy and light.
  3. Add in the egg and molasses until well combined.
  4. In the medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined; don’t overmix.
  6. Cover and chill the dough for one hour in the refrigerator.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Spoon some granulated sugar on a small plate, and roll the balls in the sugar, coating them entirely.
  9. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. (You should be able to fit 12 on a standard cookie sheet or baking pan.)
  10. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and set on stovetop to allow cookies to cool. After 5 minutes or so, transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
soft molasses cookies

soft molasses cookies

Tips for Making Dough Balls

When making the dough balls, they should be about 1 inch in diameter. This will yield cookies that are around 2 – 3 inches in diameter and about ½ inch thick after they are baked. This is a standard size for most molasses cookies, but you can make them bigger or smaller depending on your preference.

If you make the dough balls larger, the cookies will take longer to bake and may come out flatter and less uniform in shape. The key is to keep the size of the dough balls consistent so that all the cookies bake evenly and come out approximately the same size.

How to Store Homemade Molasses Cookies

Store molasses cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. Do not refrigerate. You can also freeze them. Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of your homemade cookies and enjoy them at a later time. When stored properly, they should last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

It’s also a great way to have a few at a time. Make a batch and enjoy them over the next few weeks.

How to Freeze Molasses Cookies

Wait until they are completely cool before placing them in an airtight container or a zip-top plastic bag. This will help prevent moisture from getting into the cookies which can cause them to become stale. Squeeze out as much air as possible from the container or bag to prevent freezer burn.

You can also use parchment paper or aluminum foil to separate the layers of cookies so that they won’t stick together.

When you are ready to enjoy them, remove the frozen cookies and separate them. Thaw them at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes. I like to space them out on a cooking rack to help them thaw. 

Another option is to freeze the cookie dough instead of the baked cookies. When you are ready to bake the cookies, let them thaw at room temperature for about an hour before shaping and baking them.

While the texture of the cookies might change a bit after freezing and thawing, they will still taste good. 

holiday cookie assortment

They go well in a holiday cookie assortment

Recipe Tips for Soft Molasses Cookies

  • Use unsalted butter. The salt in salted butter can affect the overall taste of the cookies.
  • Make the dough balls relatively the same size so they will bake evenly.
  • If you find the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk to moisten it.
  • You can make the dough in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking the cookies. You can also freeze the dough for 3 months.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy with a cup of tea, coffee, milk, etc. They are perfect for dessert. You may decide to sprinkle some powdered sugar over them or a simple icing. Either will make them sweeter and a bit more visually appealing, though it will change the taste.

Another idea is to crumble a few over vanilla palm oil free ice cream, or make an ice cream sandwich with a scoop of ice cream between two cookies. The molasses flavor goes well with the sweetness of vanilla ice cream. 

molasses cookie recipe

Try to make all the dough balls the same size so they bake uniformly 

What Do Molasses Cookies Taste Like?

Molasses cookies have a unique taste: sweet and a little bit of bitterness. They are soft cookies with a chewy texture with hints of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I consider it more of a grown-up cookie — great to serve with coffee or tea. 

Other FAQs

Can I use blackstrap molasses instead of regular molasses in a molasses cookie recipe?

No, don’t use blackstrap molasses when making molasses cookies. It has a stronger, more bitter flavor than regular molasses. Regular molasses — sometimes called “original” — will give the cookies the right balance of sweet and bitter. 

How do you make gluten-free molasses cookies?

Use one-to-one baking flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour. You can find it at most grocery stores as well as Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc. I almost always use it when making gluten-free cookies and desserts, and love it.

What do molasses cookies look like?

Molasses cookies are brown because of the molasses. They are typically shaped as round balls, rolled in granulated sugar before baking. The sugar creates a delicate crust on the surface of the cookies. They also usually have a slightly crackled surface with a bit of a shine on it, due to the sugar. 

If you use light molasses the cookies will be a lighter brown than if you use dark molasses.

What other types of cookies should I serve with molasses cookies?

All cookies are great and molasses cookies will go well with any of them. They are often made around the holidays and served on platters with a variety of Christmas cookies such as thumbprint cookies, gingerbread cookies, madeleines, ginger snaps, and Mexican wedding cookies.

Taste-wise, they go well with ginger cookies and chai cookies, both of which have warm and spicy notes. Shortbread cookies are buttery and crumbly and are a nice contrast in texture to the chewy texture of molasses cookies. Sugar cookies are a classic and simple and pair well with the rich and complex flavors in molasses cookies. Another idea is oatmeal cookies which are heartier and will balance out the sweetness in cookies with molasses.

What is molasses?

Molasses is a type of liquid sugar that is the product of the sugar beet and sugar cane refinement process. In bakery recipes, it adds moisture, crust, and consistency. It’s used in brown sugar, giving it its sweetness and color.

Baking Cookies at Home

The unique flavor of molasses gives these cookies a special taste that sets them apart from other types of cookies. Making them at home is a great way to enjoy this classic treat without having to purchase them from a store.

Making them at home means you will avoid palm oil common in cookies that you buy in grocery stores. Learn more about palm oil free cookies and making your own palm oil free desserts.

Molasses Cookies Recipe

Make it your own. You can add oats, raisins, and pure vanilla extract to make oatmeal raisin molasses cookies. You can also add in nuts or dried fruits for a variety.

I’m not someone who loves baking a variety of cookies at one time — the way some people love making Christmas cookies. However, I do like making different kinds throughout the year. Making this molasses cookies recipe is a great way to use up a jar of molasses you may have from another recipe.

If you make these cookies, please leave me a note in the Comments about why you made them and how they turned out. As always, thanks for being interested in palm oil free cookie recipes and baking from scratch. 

molasses cookies
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Molasses Cookies Recipe is Easy to Make

These molasses cookies are soft, chewy, and sweet. Leave the butter to get to room temperature (30 - 60 minutes) before baking. Allow time for dough to chill which will prevent the cookies from spreading. Enjoy anytime!
Course Dessert
Keyword easy molasses cookies, molasses cookies, molasses cookies recipe, recipe for molasses cookies, soft molasses cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Dough chilling time 1 hour
Servings 24 cookies

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl for wet ingredients
  • Medium bowl for dry ingredients
  • Electric mixer hand or stand
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
  • Small plate to roll the dough balls in the sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar also called powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or one-to-one gluten free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar to roll the dough balls in

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with mixer until it's light and fluffy.
  • Beat in egg and the molasses until well combined.
  • In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • Chill the dough for one hour in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Spoon a few teaspoons of granulated sugar on a plate, and roll dough balls in the sugar.
  • Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie. (You should be able to fit 12 dough balls on a standard cookie sheet or baking pan.)
  • Bake 12 - 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown.
  • Set the baking sheet on a cooling rack for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Be sure to use light or dark molasses -- not blackstrap molasses.
  • The dough balls should be about 1 inch in diameter. Keep the size of the dough balls consistent so the cookies bake evenly.
  • Store molasses cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can also freeze them. Cool them completely before storing and eliminate excess air if storing in bags.
  • You can make the dough in advance and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for one hour before shaping and baking.

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