close up photo of molasses cookies

Soft Molasses Cookies

These are probably my favorite Christmas cookies to bake of all of them - they're quick, easy and talk about delicious. I love how they have that crunch on the outside and the softness on the inside!
And the best part? With the sparkly sugar crystals all around, they’re pretty enough so you don’t need to add any fancy decorations. Holiday win!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Traditional
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 30 cookies
Author Nora Rusev



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses

For Rolling

  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • Prepare dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Prepare wet ingredients: Beat the butter in a separate large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and softened. Add 3/4 cup sugar and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and cream together well.
  • Make dough: Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a smooth dough forms.
  • Shape cookies: Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Scoop off scant tablespoons of dough, roll them into balls with slightly damp hands, then roll in the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Bake: Place the cookie dough balls on an uncreased cookie sheet with enough space between them and bake in the preheated oven for around 7-8 minutes, or until the top looks dry and they're puffy.
  • Cool: Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.



    Baking Tips:

    Cream the wet ingredients well. Make sure to beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Once you add the egg and the molasses, keep beating long enough until the mixture looks almost like a thick whipped cream.
    This gives the cookies more stability during baking, making them thick, soft and pillowy rather than flatter and chewier. Not that flat and chewy is a bad quality in a ginger cookie, it’s just a different one than we’re going for here.
    Don’t overwork the dough. Once you add the dry ingredients, only stir for as long as you need to make a smooth and soft cookie dough. Don’t attempt to knead it, it’s too sticky AND kneading would result in tough cookies.
    Don’t add more flour. The dough is very, very soft. If it is too soft to roll into balls, let it stand for 5-10 minutes. The flour should absorb some of the liquid and the dough should be more manageable now.
    Resist the urge to add more flour (unless it’s wet and almost paste-like, of course). If you add too much flour, the cookies won’t melt down as much as they should in the oven.
    Dampen your hands slightly to roll the dough into balls. By just very lightly dampening your hands (not too much, or the cookie dough balls will end up soggy), the dough sticks less to your hands and it’s easier to roll them.
    Pay attention while baking them. They are easily over-baked, which results in dry cookies. Boo! Depending on how your oven runs, they may be done after 6 minutes – or need a full 10 minutes. It’s best to bake a test batch of two to three cookies before baking them all. That way you can figure out your best baking time!

    Storage Instructions:

    Store the cooled cookies in an airtight cookie jar on the counter for 5-7 days.

    Freezer Instructions:

    To freeze the unbaked cookie dough: I prefer freezing the cookies dough already rolled into balls. Just place them on a lined baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours, or until solid.
    Then transfer to a freezer bag and label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months) before placing in the freezer.
    To bake, remove from the freezer bag and let stand at room temperature on a plate for 15 minutes while your oven preheats. Roll the cookie dough in sugar and bake as directed in the recipe, adding a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.
    To freeze baked cookies: Freeze baked cookies in layers in a freezer-friendly container, separating each layer with wax paper. Label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months), then place in the freezer.
    To defrost, remove the cookies from the container and let them sit at room temperature on a wire rack for a couple of hours, or until defrosted.