Soft and chewy molasses cookies are a holiday baking staple. Molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves give these easy-to-make spiced Christmas cookies their incredible flavor before they're rolled in sugar and baked to thick and chewy perfection. Plus those crackly tops are just so beautiful!
Soft and chewy molasses cookies just might be my all-time favorite Christmas cookie! As a lover of chewy cookies, the texture of molasses cookies simply can't be beat. But just as delightful as their texture is their flavor! Like gingerbread cookies, molasses cookies are full of delicious spices, but they're a bit sweeter since they're rolled in sugar before baking. And I simply can't get enough of their beautiful, crackly tops.
How to Make Chewy Molasses Cookies from Scratch
We all love cookies that are quick and easy to bake, and these molasses cookies are just that!
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), beat shortening, sugar, and molasses until combined. Add egg and beat until blended.
- Slowly add flour mixture to molasses mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
- Pour extra sugar onto a small plate. Roll dough into balls and roll each ball in sugar.
- Chill the dough balls in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. The beautiful crackle tops will appear as the cookies cool!
What Kind of Molasses is Best for Baking Molasses Cookies?
There are three types of molasses: light (often called "mild"), dark (often called "robust" or "full flavor"), and blackstrap. I recommend dark molasses, such as Grandma's Molasses Robust and Brer Rabbit Full Flavor Molasses, for baking molasses cookies because of its deep molasses flavor. If you prefer, you can also use light molasses (such as Grandma's Molasses Original and Brer Rabbit Mild Molasses), which has a more mild flavor and is sweeter than dark molasses, for this recipe. Avoid blackstrap molasses when baking molasses cookies, as it has a bitter flavor and should only be used for baking when the recipe specifically calls for it. You can read more about the different types of molasses in my gingerbread snowflake cookies post.
Why Bake Molasses Cookies with Vegetable Shortening Instead of Butter
This recipe uses vegetable shortening instead of butter, and while I'm a huge fan of butter, hear me out. Shortening and butter are both fats, and fat is a necessary ingredient in cookies because it adds moisture and tenderness to the dough. Because of their different make up (vegetable shortening is 100% fat while butter is 80% to 86% fat plus water), shortening will yield a cookie that is more tender and chewy, though butter provides delicious flavor to cookies. Since the molasses and spices in these cookies provide such a rich flavor and these cookies don't rely on butter for flavor, I use shortening instead of butter to create a flavorful molasses cookie that is supremely chewy.
How to Store Molasses Cookies
Molasses cookies keep very well, so they're an excellent make-ahead Christmas cookie. To store molasses cookies, seal them in an airtight container once they have cooled completely and store them at room temperature for up to 5 days. Note that molasses cookies will become even more soft as time goes on, and they won't become dry or crumbly like so many other cookies do when stale. You can also freeze molasses cookies, wrapped well and sealed in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Check out my post all about freezing cookie dough and baked cookies for more information!Print
Love these chewy molasses cookies? Leave a review and be sure to check out these other spiced cookie recipes!
This post was updated in December 2020 to provide an improved user experience.