Molasses Cookies

24 cookies
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

These chewy Molasses Cookies are the perfect holiday treat for Christmas and your holiday cookie exchange.

The most requested Christmas Cookie on the site is our Ultimate (Award Winning I may add) Gingerbread Cookies, but requests come in all year long for Molasses Cookies! This molasses cookie recipe is an old family recipe (over 50 years old), and it is not a letdown! Check out our other Cookie Recipes for more ideas, like Ginger Cookies.

Stack of Molasses Cookies

We’re filling our trays with all kinds of holiday-themed baked cookies this time of year. There are so many types of cookies and kids usually go for their favorite cookies, like Sugar Cookies, because not only are they fun to decorate, but they are a holiday classic. These soft molasses cookies just might become a new family favorite! 

There’s just something special about spiced homemade Molasses Cookies that puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Honestly, we could eat these all year long and it could be part of the reason we stock up on molasses. 

But what exactly is molasses? Molasses is the thick and viscous syrup made from boiling the natural juices of, primarily, sugarcane. There are three levels of boiling (reducing) the cane sugar. The third and final boil is what produces the dark blackstrap molasses used as a sweetener in cooking. Its flavor is bittersweet and earthy, and actually is the main ingredient in the production of rum. Another exciting feature of molasses is that it is high in nutrients too!

These cookies are just as easy to bake as other cookies, but have a rich molasses flavor that’s perfect for winter. The smell of these cookies baking in the oven can take you right to the holidays. It’s like your favorite Gingerbread Cake smell with the portability of cookies!

We also call these Rudolph Cookies in our house because these are the cookies left for the reindeers on Christmas Eve. Santa gets Chocolate Chip Cookies, of course!

These are the perfect Christmas cookies to add to a Christmas cookie tray for your coworkers (hello amazing break-room surprise!) or to give to friends and neighbors. The deep, rich color from the molasses really sets these baked cookies apart from the other holiday cookies.

How to Make Molasses Cookies

Making molasses cookies is really easy. You’ll just combine the ingredients in a shallow bowl, let it cool for an hour, then roll little scoops of dough in the special sanding sugar, put them onto the cookie sheet, and bake! Let them cool on some wire racks afterwards before serving. A few more details are listed here:

  • You’re going to mix the melted butter, brown sugar, sugar and egg in a medium bowl.
  • Add in the molasses until fully mixed in, about 30 seconds.
  • Sift dry ingredients.
  • Add it into the stand mixer on low speed until just combined.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Roll 2 tablespoon sized scoops of dough.
  • Roll in sanding sugar.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Enjoy your freshly baked chewy molasses cookies!

More Christmas Cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a silicone baking mat?

A silicone baking mat functions like parchment paper in that it is heat safe, and is used instead of greasing the pan. Silicone baking mats are made from food-grade silicon and are reusable which makes them highly desirable; whereas parchment paper is not reusable. 

Can I grease the pan if I don’t have a silicone baking mat or parchment paper?

Yes! You can grease the pan with shortening, all-purpose flour, butter or a non-stick cooking spray. If your pan is newer, it might already be a non-stick pan. 

Why is most molasses unsulfured?

Sulfur dioxide was originally added as a preservative, and to lighten the color. The sulfur was eventually removed as the public did not approve of the difference in flavor from this additive, as well as awareness spread about its toxicity.

Can I make my own brown sugar?

Yes! It’s really easy since it uses only two ingredients: refined white sugar and molasses. In a mixing bowl, bag, or blender add one tablespoon of molasses to every one cup of sugar and mix it thoroughly for delicious homemade brown sugar. You can also use regular granulated sugar or raw turbinado sugar which produces a slightly darker version of regular brown sugar. Super yummy in so many recipes! 

Should I use Light or Dark Molasses?

When choosing a molasses for these baked cookies, we recommend a dark molasses due to its deeper flavor. You can use light molasses if preferred, but we suggest using dark molasses for the best taste.

How to Scoop and Roll these Cookies

If this is your first time making these cookies, we suggest using a cookie scoop to help portion out the dough to make the dough balls.

  • This ensures the dough will be uniform in size.
  • Your dough will stay colder (this is better) because the heat of your hand won’t warm it up.
  • You won’t have sticky hands.
  • You can even roll with the tines of a fork in the sugar to make this mess free.
  • It makes the process easier when you have little helpers in the kitchen too!
Molasses Cookie on cookie sheet


  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar is actually made from processed white sugar with a small bit of raw molasses added to coat the granules. You can substitute equally for another sugar. See the FAQ section below for the easy recipe on how to make your own brown sugar at home!
  • Sanding Sugar:  Sanding sugar is a larger and refined course-grain sugar that is not as susceptible to moisture or heat like normal sugar. It is uses as a confectioners decoration as a result of this ability to not dissolve. If you don’t have sanding sugar, you can use regular granulated sugar but may not get the exact same crunchy results used in this recipe.
  • All-purpose flour: This flour can be substituted equally 1-to-1 for whole wheat flour.

Variations on Molasses Cookies

  • Add-Ins: Sprinkle in chocolate chips, either milk chocolate or white chocolate, into the cookie dough for a fun mash-up of two classics. You can also melt chocolate and dip the bottoms in chocolate. This is the ultimate Molasses Cookie for a holiday cookie exchange!
  • Frosting: Add in drops of food coloring (if you want it to be festive) to Buttercream Frosting and spread over the tops of these cookie.
  • Toppings: Drizzle melted caramel or chocolate over these cookies. You could even dip half of it and add sprinkles for a holiday twist.
  • Nuts: Pistachios or Walnuts would make a great addition to a nuttier cookie.

More Delicious Cookies Classics

Sheet tray full of sugar covered Molasses Cookies

Tips for Baking Molasses Cookies

  • Don’t skip the sifting step for the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. It really helps to fully combine it all and makes it lighter and easier to combine with the wet ingredients. Feel free to use a handheld electric mixer in your shallow bowl, if you have one.
  • Well seasoned baking sheets that are great for cookies. If you have issues with baked goods sticking, use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to line the baking sheets. It not only makes clean up a breeze but helps keep your cookies from sticking to the baking sheet making them easier to remove.
  • Make sure to refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. The chilling process helps to solidify the fat in the cookie which helps to eliminate the issue of the cookies spreading while baking.
  • Don’t forget to roll cookie dough balls in the course sanding sugar before baking.

How to Store and Serve

  • Serve: Once you remove the cookies from the oven, allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before serving them. Serve them in a cookie tin for an extra special feel!
  • Store: Store the cookies once they’ve fully cooled at room temperature, store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days (if they last that long!). 
  • Freeze: These cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months if stored in a freezer-safe storage container or bag.
Stack of Molasses Cookies

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Molasses Cookies

These chewy, crunchy Molasses Cookies are the perfect holiday treat for Christmas and your holiday cookie exchange.
Yield 24 cookies
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup coarse sanding sugar


  • To your stand mixer add the butter, brown sugar, sugar and egg on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add in the molasses until fully mixed in, about 30 seconds.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, then add it into the stand mixer on low speed until just combined.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Roll 2 tablespoon sized scoops of dough in coarse sanding sugar and place on cookie sheets at least 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops are cracked then cool for 5 minutes before removing gently from cookie sheets.


Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Molasses Cookies collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I made these and they are the best molasses cookies I’ve ever had!!
    And my grandkids loved them too! Thank you!

  2. I’ve made your delicious molasses cookies before and everyone loved them! But, I have a problem and would appreciate your advice. The dough is mixed and chilling in the refrigerator now and something personal has come up and I can’t bake them until tomorrow. Will they be ok left in the refrigerator until tomorrow? Or will the baking soda not work properly after that long? I really have no choice. I hope they will be ok. I thought I would let the dough warm up a bit tomorrow, maybe 30 to 45 min, before rolling and baking. What do you think. Thanks

    1. Hopefully they were wrapped in an air tight container. If so, I think and extra day will be fine. Let us know how they turned out.

      1. The wait did not harm them! They baked up just as delicious as always. Thanks for a great recipe, I have used it many times. Going to bake another batch today, they aren’t JUST Christmas cookies. They are anytime cookies!

  3. Do you use light brown or dark brown sugar? I usually use dark when recipes call for brown sugar cuz it has more flavor but because these are molasses cookies, I don’t know if dark will make them too molassesy.

    1. I’ve used both light and dark brown sugar over the years. I love the taste both ways:). Can a cookie be to “molassesy”?? lol. Let us know how your cookies turn out!

  4. I finally got around to making these today. I wish I had made them sooner. These are awesome and ADDICTING!! It’s a miserable day here in Pa. today and I ran out of milk. I’m not going out but these cookies are screaming at me to eat them with a big glass of milk. I’ll have them with coffee because I just cannot resist how good these are. And easy to make. Thanks for a great recipe.I’ll be making it again with lots of milk in the fridge.

  5. WOW! These are wonderful. I made them once, lost the recipe.
    Now have found it again. Love them. They are addicting.
    Won’t lose this recipe again.

  6. I followed your recipe exactly by mine came out completely flat! They’re about 4 inches in diameter and suuuper thin. Any idea what went wrong? They’re still delicious though, Santa will love them ?

    1. This comment got lost and I am just seeing it. Were the cookies refrigerated for the hour? I find the cookie dough being cold it really important.

  7. These flattened out and are a waste of baking ingredients! DO NOT USE MELTED BUTTER! You are better off finding another recipe.

    1. Oh no! Did you allow the dough to to be in the refrigerator for an hour before baking? That should’ve allowed it to solidify.

  8. Very appreciative of your sharing your family recipe! I dont have handed down recipes, but hope to create memories with yours!

    I picked this recipe off the internet based on history, pictures, and five star rating. It really delivers. I made with Grandma’s molasses and a separate batch with Blackshear. The Gmail cooked flat, crunchy outside chewy in and were perfect! The blackstrap cooked a little higher but equally delicious. Thank you for helping me establish a go to recipe for this cookie!

  9. These cookies are so good. They remind me of cookies my grandma used to make. So many memories or being at her house and having a treat in her kitchen.

  10. These are some of my absolute favorite cookies. I love rolling in the sugar, or pressing a fork in sugar and then into the cookie. The darker the molasses, the better the cookie!