Molasses Cookies

Christmas = Gingerbread. That’s why you need these soft gingerbread molasses cookies on your Christmas baking list! They’re thick with a subtle molasses flavor and will make your house smell just like Christmas morning when you bake them.

I’m a recovering picky eater. Even in my love of sweets, there were some things that I never tried because I didn’t think they would taste very good. Gingerbread was one of those things.

From what I remember, I didn’t grow up eating gingerbread. But about 7 years ago, I tried it. And it was amazing. And now I can’t get enough of it during the Christmas season.

These Soft Baked Gingerbread Cookies (AKA Molasses Cookies) are ones that my sister makes for Christmas every year. And to be honest, with all the chocolate chip cookies, candies, snowballs and saltine toffee sitting around, I never was that big on eating these molasses cookies. I should have just stayed away, because now I’m addicted!

plate of soft baked gingerbread cookies

If you love molasses flavor, you’ll want to try this cake.

Why you’ll love these cookies:

  • no refrigeration necessary
  • soft, chewy and thick
  • buttermilk and molasses flavor
  • sugary on the outside
  • makes a big batch, but it’s easy to halve the recipe

What do molasses cookies taste like?

Ground ginger is the main spice that gives these cookies their amazing flavor. But don’t forget the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, too. I highly recommend freshly grated nutmeg. It will really boost the flavor of these cookies. You can buy nutmeg nuts in the grocery store or on Amazon.

plate of cookies with one broken in half

How to Make Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies are one of the easiest cookies to make. The dough comes together quickly and easily and there is no need to refrigerate. You can scoop the soft dough and roll them in sugar, place them on a baking sheet and bake. Easy as that!

  • In a large bowl, mix together the shortening, brown sugar, molasses and buttermilk. The mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry…it will all come together with the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed sugar mixture and mix well. The dough will be very soft and slightly sticky, but you should be able to roll them without too much sticking.
molasses cookie batter in a mixing bowl
  • Roll the dough into balls and then roll the balls in sugar.
molasses cookie dough ball in a bowl of sugar
  • Place the cookie dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. Don’t over bake the cookies. We remove them before they get browned.
soft gingerbread cookie on a baking mat

How do you store molasses cookies?

If you love soft gingerbread, this is the recipe for you. Shortening and buttermilk keeps the cookies thick and soft. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature and they’ll be soft for days.

They also freeze well! This recipe makes a large batch…about 4-5 dozen depending on how big you make the cookies, so this is important. Just be sure to allow the cookies to defrost completely before you unwrap them from the storage container. Learn how to freeze cookies here.

molasses cookies on a plate
molasses cookies on a plate

Soft Baked Molasses Cookies

5 from 8 votes
Molasses Cookies have the taste of gingerbread cookies, but are soft and thick. Roll the dough balls in sugar for the perfect sweetness!
Servings 60
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup extra sugar for rolling dough

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, mix together the shortening, brown sugar, molasses and buttermilk. The mixture will look curdled, but don't worry…it will all come together with the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed sugar mixture and mix well. The dough will be very soft and slightly sticky, but you should be able to roll
  • Roll the dough into balls and then roll the balls in sugar.
  • Place the cookie dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. Don't over bake the cookies. We remove them before they get browned.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 60 cookies, with 1 serving being 1 cookie. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.

Nutrition

Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 104mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 111
Keyword christmas cookies, cookies without eggs, easy cookies, egg free cookies, gingerbread cookies

Our Favorite Cookie Tools?

  • Saigon Cinnamon: This is our favorite cinnamon. You can’t beat its flavor!
  • Stand Mixer: A hand mixer will work, but I always find it easier to make cookie dough with a stand mixer.
  • Beater Blade with Scraper: The best invention ever!
  • Buttermilk: If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, use this dry buttermilk powder. It keeps longer!
  • Silpat: For all of your non-stick, cookie-making needs. This is in the top 3 must-have kitchen tools. I don’t know what I’d do without them!
  • Baking Sheet: I like to use flat baking sheets for easy removing baked goods easily.
  • Cookie Plate Set: Display your homemade cookies in style. Everyone thinks this cookie plate is so cute!
  • Check out these stackable cookie racks.

About Lizzy T

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Comments

  1. For the soft baked gingerbread cookies, can you replace shortening with butter? Shortening is so unhealthy I don’t want to use it, but I have a feeling that butter will make them hard. What do you think?
    Thanks!

    1. Carlotta, I’ve never tried to replace the shortening for butter in this specific recipe, but I think it would be worth a try. Soften the butter so it incorporates into the mixture well, but then refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes after you roll it into balls. Refrigerating the dough should keep the cookies from flattening during baking which will keep them softer. Let me know if you try it!

    2. Did Carlotta ever let you know whether she tried using butter in the gingerbread cookie in place of shortening, and how they turned out?

    3. 5 stars
      These cookies are amazing! I did replace the shortening with butter, i used 1 cup of unsalted homemade butter. Thank you so much for the recipe these are my hubby’s favorite!

  2. 5 stars
    These are sooo good. It’s hard to resist them after baking too as the house smells wonderful. I stored mine in an airtight container and they remained soft.

  3. How long can you keep these please? I’m thinking of making some for gifts for Christmas which is about a week away.

    1. They freeze well. Wrap them tightly in an airtight container, then allow them to defrost completely before removing them from the container.

  4. I love to make gingerbread molasses cookies, but they crack open on me every time. I have tried wetting the dough more and have tried increasing the molasses but to no avail. I shop at a local grocery super store that has a scratch bakery and their gingerbread molasses cookies don’t have cracks in them. How do I get the cracks from happening?

    1. Rolling them in sugar, I believe causes the cracks, but most gingerbread/molasses cookies I have seen have had the cracks, like the cookies in the picture for this recipe. Mine have the cracks in them when I make them. I have several recipes, some for chewy, some for ginger snaps, which are crunchy and some like this recipe, which are soft.. You could try not rolling them in sugar, but I like the extra sweetness that gives them.

  5. 5 stars
    I was craving the soft kind of ginger cookie. I made it this evening and they turned out amazing the buttermilk makes them so soft. I made them larger, I plan to cut them in half and fill them with coconut buttercream frosting It will be divine ginger coconut sandwich cookie:)

    1. 5 stars
      Oh that sounds delicious! Please let me know how they came out!! I made these for christmas just no with the coconut but i made these cookies. They are so good that my dad ended up eating them all after we made our cookie trays of course, and my mom and I only have a couple each. Not fair so making them again tomorrow for just us! Cant waiting! But please let mr know how they are with the coconut cream filling.

  6. You didn’t specify if you used dark or light brown sugar. I have always used light but since a ginger/molasses cookie, I wonder if you used dark brown instead.

    1. Thanks, that’s what I did. I also tried butter instead of shortening. The dough was VERY soft and mushy and hard to roll. So I first put them into the fridge for 40 min, but still soft. So I pullled off ball size pieces, rolled them in the sugar till I could roll them into a ball. I then put them back into fridge to harden and then baked them. THey did need more time b/c they were cold, about 17 min. They came out puffy but flatteded upon cooling, but still soft inside. Everyone declared them a success both in taste and texture. I will try with shortening next, as I have had many requests for more cookies. Many thanks for your great recipe. It will be a favorite all year long.

  7. 5 stars
    These are amazing.. I can’t find another word better to describe them. My mom and I always back lot of different Christmas cookies and we make trays and always have left overs for us. Well needless to say these we’re the main cookies to go. And what was left over my husband and father ate so im making more tomorrow. I was thinking of cutting the batch in half but since my mom didnt get to eat but only 2 cookies I’m not cutying in half I’m giving half to them and keeping the other half for my husband and myself. Good to know they freeze well so I’m going to put some I the freezer secretly for me. They’re too good and I crave them. I think I be making more throughout the yr as well. Christmas cookies are the best but you dont only have to eat them at christmas. 😉

    1. For each cup of buttermilk that the recipe calls for, simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir to combine, then allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

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