These molasses crinkle cookies are an old-fashioned recipe that makes the best soft & chewy ginger cookies. Rolling them in sugar gives them a sparkly, snow-covered look, and they get their signature crinkly top when baked. These cookies are a must on any holiday cookie platter!
I have loved baking Christmas cookies for as long as I can remember. I seem to come by this quite naturally as my mom was famous for making dozens of tins of cookies to give away as gifts during the holiday season.
Each time I pull out this hand-written recipe, I remember my mom and how much she loved doing this same exact thing. My girls may not get the opportunity to bake with their grandma, but they will hear plenty of stories about her and eat plenty of her treats.
I hope you take the time to carry on your own special holiday traditions, whatever they may be.
These cookies are one of my go-to recipes that I make every year!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This old-fashioned cookie recipe is just like grandma (or mom) used to make!
- The spice and warmth in the flavors of this cookie are perfect for fall and the winter holiday season. Santa loves these!
- These cookies are irresistibly soft and chewy with the perfect balance of sugar and spice.
- They are a great addition to a holiday cookie platter or cookie exchange!
Here are some tips & tricks for the ingredients needed for this recipe. Find exact measurements in the recipe card below!
- Shortening - These cookies use shortening instead of butter. This makes the cookies not spread as much when baking, and makes a tender cookie.
- Molasses - A must-have ingredient for this cookie. A mild, unsulphured molasses works best. You can use dark molasses if you really love a deep molasses flavor. Avoid blackstrap molasses for baking as it has a bitter flavor.
- Spices - Cloves, ginger and cinnamon give the cookies their quintessential flavor. These cookies aren't overly sweet, and these flavors give them the perfect "spice".
- White sugar - The cookie dough itself contains sugar, and some extra is used to roll the cookie dough balls in before baking. This gives them their sparkly, sweet exterior.
Step 1 - In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer cream together shortening and 1 cup white sugar until fluffy.
Add in egg & molasses and beat well.
Step 2 - In a separate mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. I like to give them a good whisk.
Step 3 - Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Step 4 - At this point you have 2 options. You want to let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
You can just cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator to chill, then scoop it.
I prefer to make the cookie dough balls, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, and then chill them. That way when the dough hardens, you've already done the work of scooping.
Use a heaping tablespoon or a #30 cookie scoop to make the dough balls about 1 ¾ inches in diameter.
Step 5 - Place remaining ⅓ cup white sugar on a small plate. After chilling the dough, roll the balls in the sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Step 6 - Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Step 7 - Allow the cookies to cool on the tray for 2 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Roll dough balls in powdered sugar for a different snow-covered look.
- Add a cup of white chocolate chips to the batter before baking.
- Drizzle the cookie or dip half the cookie in melted white chocolate or almond bark after they are baked and cooled. Add sprinkles, too!
Store cookies in an airtight container in either the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to a week. This makes them perfect for holiday baking!
Baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 6 months. Christmas in July, anyone?
Raw cookie dough can be formed into balls and frozen for up to 3 months.
If you are making a variety of holiday cookies, be sure to store these molasses cookies in a separate container from other flavors. The strong spices in these cookies will cross over to other cookies if in the same container.
- Spray your measuring cup with cooking spray to help the molasses come out a lot easier!
- Chill the dough! This is worth the extra time it takes. This gives the flavors a chance to meld together and chills the fats. This will prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- A #30 cookie scoop makes easy work and uniform cookies.
- Bake cookies one pan at a time on the center rack. This allows for the most even baking. Cookies baked on a lower rack may get overdone on the bottom. I usually have to do 2 batches.
- Do not cook the cookies longer than 12 minutes. Because of the color of the dough, it will be difficult to see the cookies get golden brown. You will know they're done when the top is crackled and dry, and the edge will be slightly darker than the rest of the cookie. The smell will also be irresistible!
Ginger snaps and molasses cookies are made from a same dough, but the difference is in the baking time. Molasses cookies are baked a shorter amount of time, leaving them soft and chewy. Ginger snaps are baked for longer so they crisp up, giving them their "snap".
A light or dark molasses works best for baking depending if you want a more mild or strong flavor. You want an unsulphured molasses as it has a more pure and sweet flavor. Blackstrap molasses has a bitter flavor and is better suited for savory dishes.
There are a few factors. Make sure your baking soda is fresh. Secondly, preheat your oven fully before baking to make sure it is hot enough. Chilling the dough is also important as not doing so can make the cookies spread too much and too quickly to get those signature crinkles.
Other Holiday Desserts You'll Love
Have you made one of my recipes? I’d love your feedback on the comment box and star rating below the recipe!
Molasses Crinkle Cookies
- ¾ cup shortening
- 1 ⅓ cups white sugar divided
- 4 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cloves ground
- 1 tsp. ginger ground
- 1 tsp. cinnamon ground
- In a large mixing bowl cream shortening & 1 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Mix well.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt & spices. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. I like to scoop the dough into balls before chilling. Use a #30 cookie scoop or spoon to make balls about 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place remaining ⅓ cup sugar on a small plate. After chilling the dough, roll each ball in the sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake cookies 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.