Ginger Spiced Dark Molasses Sugar Cookies

March 30, 2010
20 Ratings
  • Prep time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook time 24 minutes
  • Serves 24
Author Notes

These cookies are spicy, sweet and rich with molasses. Take care not to overbake the cookie and you will have a chewy center that will melt in your mouth. For added spice and bite, add diced candied ginger to the batter. —TasteFood

Test Kitchen Notes

There are those who seek their thrills from pâte à choux, and others who find pleasure in the perfect whipped meringue. Me, I dream of gingerbread.

First of all, it is awfully fun to make, especially with those recipes that call for dumping baking soda into a hot cauldron of sticky brew, and standing back as it rises like a volcano. Further, it comes in so many diverting forms. There are ginger snaps, gingerbread boys–their little noses fashioned from red hots–and plain old Guy Fawkes cakes, a gingerbread heavy on molasses that goes perfectly with a cup of strong coffee.

If you too believe that life in greatly enhanced by the marriage of ginger and molasses, and want it in a weeknight treat, I recommend you turn to Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies.

A few weeks ago, I was putting together doughs for a housewarming party, which I froze and then baked on the day of the event. I had plenty of chocolate confections, and my new standard, the brown sugar cookie. I needed something else.

A ginger cookie seemed like great middle ground, one that seeks to please all palates and offend only those opposed to its most inherent qualities, which unlike chocolate chip cookies, does not demand partisan loyalty. It is the state controller of desserts–really what’s not to like? And do you even know what it does?

This is a weeknight dessert because it takes less time to whip up than a burrito. Regular bakers will find all of the needed ingredients around the house. There is something incredibly chewy about this version, and highly spicy, even without the candied addition (which I did not put in) perhaps because it calls for a bit more molasses than many ginger cookie recipes. You will note that TasteFood asks you to form rather large balls, but just do it, because you want these cookies to be a little decadent in size.

If you are thinking of freezing cookie dough for holiday baking I suggest you add this to your list. The one night after work you decide that if you are forced to press out one more ill-shaped wreath that burns along the edges you are going to scream into the night, or at least take a very long walk around the block during which you ponder why it is that you are doing all the holiday baking even though you really like it but could someone else maybe fold a load of laundry, this recipe is going to bail you out. –Jestei
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger (optional)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
  1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger if using. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° F. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gail Gray
    Gail Gray
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Miachel Pruett
    Miachel Pruett
  • Martin
  • SweetArlene

85 Reviews

kcinmn September 19, 2023
I have been making these since the recipe was first published in 2010 and they are spectacular! A hit at both work and at the church bake sale - I found out after a few years of bringing them that the women working the bake sale would set them aside to purchase themselves (so of course I just shared this recipe with them!) I leave out the candied ginger, and I chill the dough before baking which always gives me the perfect chewy cookie.
Akiko N. December 15, 2022
Absolutely delicious and easy to follow recipe! Highly recommended!!
Gail G. November 10, 2022
I am not a phenomenal Baker by far. But I got ambition to make my favorite cookie and that is the Ginger cookie. This cookie turned out delicious!!! I followed it to a tee and only added a small dash of Cayenne pepper.
t December 6, 2021
Just made these to go with some homemade eggnog and they are a hit, soft, crispy, flavorful and pretty. I didn't use theandied ginger just because I didn't have any and subbed Chinese 5 spice for the allspice, because it's what I had on hand. Will definitely make these again
Napabk November 13, 2021
Great flavor…easy to make…a new favorite cookie!
Taylor S. January 7, 2020
One of the best ginger/molasses cookies I've made. They spread out quite nicely, and one minute makes all the difference between chewy and crispy. They are excellent either way!
Kari2011 January 11, 2019
I've made this cookie many times, but this Christmas season, my brain must have been on holiday which means I messed up the recipe that resulted in deliciousness!

My goof was this - 1/2 cup more butter than the recipe called for and an addition of baking powder, probably between 1/2 teaspoon to 1 whole teaspoon. I tried to take it out, but wasn't successful in getting it all. The addition of the baking powder resulted in a little more cakey cookie that also was a little more savory. A perfect little bite to go with coffee.
Pragna H. December 23, 2018
Hi there! Are you able to share the weight measurements for this recipe? I want to make sure I get the right amount of flour, molasses, and brown sugar. Thanks much!
Kristine December 21, 2018
Hands down the best cookies I've made this year! I've been looking for ginger cookies for a long time and these are so good!

Did everything as written, only increased baking time to 15 mins (at 12 they barely felt set)
Miachel P. December 8, 2018
Loved this recipe. I subbed out all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour, and the cookies came out fluffy and delicious. Not the "chewy center" texture I expected, but I'll definitely repeat!

Like another reviewer mentioned I was also hesitant taking the cookies out of the oven so early because they looked soft, but they definitely firm up after resting out of the oven.
Martin December 2, 2018
How pronounced is the molasses in this cookie? Just came off another gingerbread cookie with the same amount of molasses. While I wouldn't mind tasting a hint of molasses, if it's one of the dominant tastes then I wouldn't enjoy them. Anyone know if this is so, and if yes, then if it can be changed?
TasteFood December 2, 2018
The molasses is somewhat prominent, but the ginger and spices nicely balance it. You might try upping the brown sugar to 1 cup and reducing the molssses to 1/4 cup as an alternative.
Martin December 3, 2018
Thanks a lot for the answer. Is it possible to reduce the molasses without upping the sugar? Or will this compromise the cookie?
Kristine December 21, 2018
Try it yourself and tell us!
Mica G. October 7, 2018
Just made these and they turned out amazing! Super fluffy and soft on the inside, with a nice bite on the edges. I added a bit more ginger & cinnamon because I love spice and iced them with a light cream cheese frosting for a lil extra sumn sumn
VF June 10, 2018
These are the perfect mix of spices and sugar. They hold up well in a sealed container and the dough freezes well.
SweetArlene December 4, 2017
I just made these cookies for the first time and they are simply amazing. I didn't have crystallized ginger so I just grated some fresh ginger. These cookies are definitely going on my Christmas cookie gifts this holiday season! The flavors are outstanding and the crunch of the sugar on the outside, combined with the soft center, make these my new favorites.
Sarah D. December 9, 2016
These were fantastic! Soft, chewy and looked beautiful. My sister (who lives 1,700km away) requested I make her a batch and send her way. I cooked them for about 10-11 minutes, makign sure to keep an eye on them during the last minute. This recipe is my go-to for molasses cookies!
saramarsh October 1, 2016
Followed the recipe exactly and they were flat and no cracking! Took them out so as not to burn them, and while the flavor was fantastic, they look pretty ugly.
I used a cookie scooper, flattened them a bit with the back side of a spoon, and put them in, at 10 min. I could see they weren't raising or cracking..I'm not sure what went wrong :(
I'd love to make these again, so if anyone can shed light, or had a similar problem and you were able to remedy it, please let me know.
missperry42 December 21, 2023
I recently had the same problem. I've made these cookies in the past and had no trouble with the crinkle top. This time half of my batch had a crinkle top and half did not, even though it was identical. Maybe it was something with mixing the dough? or with flattening them. They were not flat but I could not get them to crinkle.
Gtpublic December 6, 2015
I consider myself a good baker and something is very wrong with this recipe. I hate giving this kind of review because when ever I read a review like this I usually think that the person can't read a recipe or doesn't have much baking experience, specially when there are so many good reviews.

The flavor of this cookie is fabulous but the balance of dry to wet is off. I put my batter in the refrigerator for an hour but the batter was still way too soft. The size of the ball in the recipe is an inch and a half. That makes a very large cookie. Did you mean an 1 1/2" when the cookie is flattened? My cookies were huge and spread out covering the entire cookie sheet and were very greasy? Not presentable for the party I intended to bring them to.

This cookie may have worked as a ice box cookie. An hour in the refrigerator was certainly not enough. I hate it when recipes are not clear or inaccurate. Disappointed in food52 specially for a community pick.
mrslarkin December 6, 2015
Sorry to hear that! I've made this cookie many times, and it always works for me. One of my favorites.
Gtpublic December 6, 2015
how long did you refrigerate the batter?
TasteFood December 6, 2015
I am also sorry to hear that! I have no idea why your batter was so wet. Could it be that you added 3/4 pound butter instead of 3/4 cup? (As much as I bake, I've done that before.) I will be making these again soon and will be back to comment.
Gtpublic December 6, 2015
I used a stick and half of butter which is 3/4 of a cup. Also the size of the cookie was huge. A one and half inch rolled ball is very large.
mrslarkin December 6, 2015
Did you make 24 balls, Gtpublic? I think that's how many the recipe makes, right TasteFood?
Micki December 6, 2015
Hmm, that is strange. I made them last night and they turned out perfectly as they always do (making these since 2013). However, I left my batter outside for 1.5 hours in probably -4 a bit colder than the fridge. Maybe that's why. Sorry to hear it didn't work. They aren't greasy cookies at all so something is off.
Gtpublic December 6, 2015
Thanks everyone for your input. Although they looked very strange I brought them to tonight's party because they actually did taste good. I think the problem with my cookies was that the dough was not cold enough when I rolled them into balls. One hour in the frig was not long enough. I think I had about 20 cookies but when they cooked it just formed one giant cookie which I cut into squares. I think I will try this again with a longer chill time.
Veronica H. December 5, 2015
These are so tasty! Didn't have candied ginger, so I substituted 2.5 tbsp of a mixture that was half grated ginger, half sugar.
kumalavula January 14, 2015
ginger molasses can only be improved by adding what? cardamom!
these were easy to put together and came out of the oven soft but became harder as they cooled. the aroma wafting out of the oven was pretty amazing as well.
em-i-lis January 14, 2015
These are delicious! I made them on sdebrango's recommendation, and, as usual, she didn't lead me astray. Fantastic!