These old-fashioned Molasses Crinkle Cookies combine the perfect combination of soft and chewy cookies with perfectly crackled tops. Packed full of deep molasses flavour, they're a classic Holiday cookie.
What better time of year is there than diving headlong into cookie season? I just love all the baking! Cranberry Orange Shortbread or my Gingerbread Stamp Cookies are made yearly for the school teachers.
These Molasses Crinkle Cookies will definitely be added to the cookie gift list. A little bag of these will make anyone happy. They're the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
This easy-to-make cookie recipe produces perfectly spiced cookies that highlight the rich molasses within. They have crisp edges but a thick, chewy cookie centre. You'll be making these every year, guaranteed!
❓ What are Molasses Crinkle Cookies?
This molasses crinkle recipe is synonymous with the Holiday and Festive Season, as it embodies cosy childhood nostalgia. They're also known as Southern Molasses Cookies, Chewy Ginger Cookies, Spice Cookies or Grandma's Molasses Cookies.
But what are they? Molasses Crinkle Cookies are simple cookies packed full of flavour with a signature crinkled look once baked.
The cookies, similar to Ginger Snap Cookies, have lots of deep molasses flavour accentuated by the brown sugar, which creates a soft and chewy centre to each cookie.
The cookies are filled with classic Holiday spices such as cinnamon, cloves and ginger. These spices don't dominate, rather they sit in harmony with the molasses flavour letting the smoky notes shine.
The distinct crackle top, accentuated by the cookie dough balls being rolled in sugar before baking, is eye-catching and festive. The sugar provides the perfect amount of crunch and texture.
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients are basic pantry or fridge staples. You'll easily find the ingredients in your local store.
- Rich flavour. The addition of spices and molasses to these cookies makes the flavour sing! Warming, well-rounded, flavourful - they are truly delicious.
- Incredible texture. The cookies are baked until the edges just turn crispy, which means the inside stays moist. Once cooled, they have the most incredibly soft and chewy texture. Heavenly!
- Play with the flavour. Want more wintery spices, then add chai and nutmeg or ramp up the ginger flavour. You can play!
- Simple to make. No fancy techniques are needed whatsoever.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Whilst the ingredients list is simple, there are a few pointers on some specific ingredients that will help you make these incredible Molasses Crinkle Cookies.
- Butter - Unsalted, room temperature butter is needed. Make sure it's soft enough to cream properly with the sugars, as they need a chance to dissolve into the butter in the first step of the recipe.
- Sugar - I've only used brown sugar in this recipe. It contains molasses and so helps firstly by bumping up the molasses flavour, but secondly by adding more moisture to the cookies, which translates to more chew factor! Substitute with light brown sugar.
- Baking soda - It helps the cookies lift and aerates, which creates the signature chewiness.
- Spices - compared to my Gingersnap cookies, I've toned down the flavour by reducing the amount of ginger. This allows the molasses to shine through.
Choosing your Molasses
There are three types of molasses on the market. Which one is best to use in our Molasses Crinkle Cookies?
- Black Strap Molasses has a more intense, robust, bold flavour and is more often found in savoury cooking. It's dark and intense with bitter notes due to the low sugar content. It would be too strong for our molasses spice cookies.
- Dark Unsulphered Molasses is rich and smoky but sweeter than blackstrap. It's this richness we are looking for in the Molasses Cookies. In the UK, Lyle's Black Treacle is our equivalent. Grandma's Molasses is a popular brand in the States.
- Light Unsulphured Molasses is sweeter and milder in flavour and can be used to substitute its darker counterpart if you prefer a softer Molasses flavour.
- Extra ginger: If you want that real ginger zing, then add ½ cup of chopped crystallised ginger into the cookie dough. You can also add some grated fresh ginger for that extra robust spice and heat if you crave that.
- More spice: Add in extra cinnamon, nutmeg and some chai spice blend into the dough for a bold spice flavour.
- Milder flavour: If you want less bold, well-rounded flavoured Molasses cookies, then use a combination of light brown and white sugar rather than brown sugar.
- Chocolate Molasses Cookies: Substitute a ¼ cup flour with cocoa powder for a twist on the classic.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
STEP 1. Prepare baking trays. Line two baking trays with baking paper. It's best to bake one tray of cookies at a time on the middle oven shelf.
STEP 2. Cream the butter and sugar. The room-temperature butter and brown sugar are added to the bowl of a stand mixer and creamed for 5 or so minutes.
This allows the sugar crystals to dissolve into the butter and the butter itself to aerate, which helps with the texture of the cookies. You'll want to see the mixture get visibly paler and thicker (Images 1 & 2).
STEP 3. Add the wet ingredients. The single egg and molasses are added to the bowl. Mix them into the creamed butter until well combined (Images 3 & 4).
TIP: Scrape the base and sides of the bowl
The molasses is a very sticky, thick substance that tends to sink to the bottom of the mixing bowl and stick to it under the butter mixture.
Ensure that halfway through, you scrape down the sides and the base of the bowl to lift this stickiness and mix it in again to ensure that it's evenly distributed throughout.
STEP 4: Add dry ingredients. Sift in the remaining ingredients. That's the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Sift them directly into the mixing bowl. The act of sifting will automatically mix the dry ingredients and remove any lumps from the flour.
Mix it in until you see the dough forming. Don't over-mix at this point; if a few flour streaks remain, then this is good!! (Images 5 & 6) Remove the bowl from the mixer and use your fingers to squeeze the dough together to become one cohesive ball.
TIP: Refrigerate cookie dough
The dough is very soft and will be impossible to roll balls without it sticking to your hands. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or until you can handle it to roll.
STEP 5: Roll into balls. Scoop out the cookie dough using a cookie scoop (Image 7) and gently roll a ball in between the palms of your hands (Image 8). Try not to roll it for too long, though, as this warms up the butter.
TIP: Equal-sized cookies
If you don't have a cookie scoop, then weighing the cookie dough balls to 30 grams will give you complete accuracy. This equates to one and a half tablespoons of dough.
Toss each of the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar (Image 9), then place them on the prepared baking trays. Make sure to leave 5 cm (2-inches) between each ball as they will spread in the oven (Image 10).
STEP 5. Bake. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Pop the cookies in the refrigerator whilst you wait for the oven to come to temperature. Bake one tray at a time for 8 to 10 minutes or when just set on the outside. They must be slightly underdone in the centre to get a soft texture.
The cookies will puff up and crack when in the oven. This is totally normal. The cracks in the surface mean that when you remove them from the oven, the hot air/steam will escape quickly through those cracks, and they'll flatten.
TIP: Get more crinkles on top
Give the tray a bang on the countertop to help get more crinkle out of your cookies!
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Weigh your flour using digital scales for the most accurate way of measuring it out. Too much flour will lead to dry cookies, whilst too little will make them spread.
- Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl whilst making the dough often. Sticky molasses does just that - stick! So scrape it off the bottom, so it incorporates evenly.
- Weigh your cookie balls. For the best chance at even-sized cookies/biscuits, weigh each ball on digital scales. Or use a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop to portion them out.
- Don't omit the chill time. The dough is very soft and needs to chill for at least 30 minutes before scooping and rolling.
- Leave room on the baking tray. These cookies will spread in the oven, so leave plenty of room around them to avoid them baking into one huge cookie. (I'd still eat that, though!!)
- Want crispier cookies? No problem, leave them in the oven for an extra 5 minutes or so to bake.
📋 Recipe FAQs
If there is too much flour in the dough, this could prevent the dough from cracking. Also, check if the baking soda has expired. This would inhibit the dough from puffing up in the oven, which causes cracks.
The reason for this is that the dough wasn't refrigerated for long enough prior to rolling out the balls and baking. The butter has to re-solidify enough for the cookies to maintain their shape; otherwise, they'll end up like flat pancakes.
In my recipe, you refrigerate the dough before rolling it into balls and baking.
Alternatively, if the dough isn't too soft to handle, then roll the balls and then refrigerate them. The butter needs a chance to harden, which means during the baking process, it takes longer to melt, meaning the cookies hold their shape more.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: Molasses Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They stay chewy, and the taste will even improve!
To freeze: Store rolled cookie dough balls in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake from frozen, adding a couple of minutes to the bake time. Or freeze cookies for up to 3 months and thaw overnight.
🍪 More Festive Cookie Recipes
If you tried this Molasses Crinkle Cookies Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you.
Molasses Crinkle Cookies Recipe
- Baking Tray
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 220 g brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 70 g dark unsulphered molasses , Lyles Dark Treacle or Grandmas Molasses
- 290 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, or nutmeg or all-spice
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 100 g granulated sugar (optional), for rolling dough balls in
- Prepare oven and trays. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two baking trays/sheets with parchment paper (or use one and cook in batches).
- Cream butter and sugar together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium to high for 4 to 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl.
- Add wet ingredients. Add in the egg and molasses and beat again until combined. Again, scrape down the base and sides of the bowl as the molasses tends to stick to the bottom.
- Sift in dry ingredients. Sift into the bowl the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves and add in the salt. Mix until a soft dough starts to form. Don't over-mix. The dough is very soft so refrigerate for 30 minutes or until you can roll the balls without them being too sticky.
- Roll into balls. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out 1 - 1½ tablespoons of dough and roll it into balls between the palms of your hands. (30g per ball makes the perfect size cookie for me.) Dust hands lightly with flour if necessary. Roll the balls in sugar, then place balls onto the prepared baking trays leaving 5 cm (2-inches) between them as they do spread whilst baking.
- Bake. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes until just set around the edges and cracked on the top. I suggest baking one tray at a time on the middle shelf. They will be puffy when you remove them from the oven but will flatten as soon as you take them out. Once out of the oven, give the tray a firm tap on the countertop to help increase the crinkles. Leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.