Favorite Chewy Ginger Cookies

stacked chewy ginger molasses cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies are our family’s official holiday cookie. They’re crisp on the outside, nice and chewy inside, and full of warm spices and molasses. We’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love them.

chewy ginger cookie on a white board

Chewy ginger molasses cookies are the first thing you should make this holiday season

If you have the urge to do some holiday baking but want something quick and easy, with ingredients you’ve already got in the kitchen, these chewy molasses cookies are the perfect choice. The recipe is a cinch to make, and the whole house smells festive when they’re in the oven.

Everybody gravitates toward these cookies, but what makes them so special? I think it’s a combination of the flavor and texture. And maybe because we only make them this one time of year; they’ve become associated with the warmth and excitement of the holidays.

a stack of chewy molasses cookies

Chewy ginger cookies make memories…

This recipe comes from our good friend Liz. When my girls were very young she opened up her sunny kitchen to them every December for an afternoon of holiday cookie baking. They made huge messes and baked lots of cookies, but these were the memory makers. They scent the kitchen and are absolutely irresistible when eaten warm from the oven. Thanks Liz—not only for giving us a favorite family recipe but for introducing my girls to the joys of baking.

(*update: Liz has since passed away from breast cancer, but we think of her every time we make these cookies.)

chewy ginger cookies cooling on a rack

The dough for these chewy molasses cookies is a simple affair. No chilling, rolling, or cutting ~ just scoop and bake.

That’s my kind of cookie 🙂 Tossing the little balls of soft dough in sugar gives the cookies a lovely delicate crunch. And by the way this is a recipe that even young kids can help with. Mine used to love to watch through the oven window as they transform from sparkly little balls of dough into flat, crinkly cookies. It only takes 10 minutes!

Making ginger molasses cookie batter

What you’ll need:

  • butter ~ unsalted, at room temperature
  • granulated sugar ~ some for the dough and some for rolling
  • egg
  • molasses ~ this is what gives these cookies their character. Molasses should be a pantry staple in any baker’s kitchen
  • flour
  • baking soda
  • cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice
molasses cookies ready to bake on a baking sheet

The secret to chewy ginger cookies is molasses

Molasses is a sweet thick syrup that’s a byproduct of the sugar refining process. The name molasses derives from ancient Greek and Latin roots mel, meaning honey. It’s what gives brown sugar its color and flavor, and it’s one of my favorite ingredients to bake with. Without molasses there would be no gingerbread, and no chewy ginger cookies.

Molasses allows my cookies to spread flat but keep that perfect bendy chewy texture. And thanks to the unique moisture retention properties of molasses, they’ll stay chewy for days. Molasses is the under-appreciated ingredient of the season if you ask me. I always keep a bottle (and a spare) in my cupboard, it’s absolutely essential for holiday baking.

What type of molasses to use for cookies

Much like maple syrup, molasses comes in various forms. Brer Rabbit and Grandma’s are two common brands that I love, and both offer a variety of types of molasses, so read your labels.

  • Light molasses is the sweetest and lightest form. It is sometimes called fancy or mild.
  • Dark molasses has a darker color and a more robust flavor. That’s what I used for these cookies, but you can feel comfortable interchanging light and dark molasses in your recipes.
  • Blackstrap molasses is quite bitter and has a very robust flavor. I avoid it for baking.
  • Most molasses on the market today is un-sulfured (molasses was once treated with sulfur dioxide as a preservative, but it’s no longer widely used.)
  • If you’re in the UK you’ll use light (golden) or dark (black) treacle instead.
molasses cookies cooling on a rack

Chewy ginger cookies are a perfect choice for giving, shipping, and freezing

These cookies keep really well thanks to the molasses, and they’re sturdy, too. They make a great choice for giving as a part of a cookie assortment, and for shipping. They freeze well, too, so I guess you could say they’re the perfect cookie 😉  If you love chocolate, try my Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies ~ they have the same great flavor and texture, with a hint of chocolate. And if that’s not enough chocolate for you, try my Chewy Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies.  The combination of dark chocolate and gingery spices is one of my favorites.

golden chewy molasses ginger cookie sprinkled with sugar

Classic holiday cookies from the archives

a stack of ginger cookies
3.91 from 262 votes

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies are the ultimate fall and holiday cookie, full of warm spices and molasses, they’re crisp on the outside and nice and chewy inside.  They’re so easy to make and your whole house will smell amazing.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Yield 24 cookies
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/4 inch cookie scoop (optional)


wet ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

dry ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice


  • Set the oven to 350F Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. I like to do this in a stand mixer, but electric beaters or a wooden spoon will work.
  • Add the egg and molasses and blend well.
  • Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together and add to the wet. Mix until completely blended.
  • Form or scoop balls the size of a small walnut. I like to use a 1 1/4 inch cookie scoop for uniform cookies. Roll each ball in granulated sugar to coat.
  • Place on an un-greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet 2″ apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, and let cool slightly on the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Cook’s notes

  • There’s no need to chill this dough before baking, but you can certainly make it ahead if you like.
  • To freeze the dough I suggest scooping it out onto a baking sheet and freezing until the dough balls are solid.  Then put the dough into a zip lock freezer bag.  Thaw the dough balls before rolling and baking.
  • You can also freeze the baked cookies. Separate layers with waxed paper.
  • This recipe makes flat cookies, if you prefer them puffier, use 2 and 1/4 cups flour.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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More reasons to keep a jar of molasses in your pantry!

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies

a stack of soft glazed gingerbread cookies

Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake, partially sliced



Homemade Gingerbread Ice Cream

Homemade gingerbread ice cream being scooped out of a tub

Reader Rave ~

“I was SO delighted to find your recipe. My sister and I love ginger cookies…especially chewy ginger cookies..mmmmmm! These are spot on delicious. Thank you for sharing…we are all smiling as we can’t stop eating them!” ~Nancy

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Ann Baker
    December 28, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    5 stars
    Absolute perfection. LOVED these! I’m not a super good cookie baker but these were the perfect consistency and flavor. Also stayed fresh for days. Definitely going to become a regular in my holiday baking !

  • Reply
    December 16, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    4 stars
    These have a great texture and were easy to make, but I thought the flavor was missing something – I think it was the lack of salt. I would make them again, but I’d add at least 1/4 tsp salt if not more.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    5 stars
    Make these! These will be a permanent addition to my Christmas cookie baking and probably on regular rotation throughout the year. So delicious. Perfection. I made them a little bit smaller so they were a cute addition to my cookie boxes. Another great recipe, Sue! I know I can trust your recipes. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    I did not have molasses so I used golden syrup. I also added some salt and lots of candied ginger chunks. Delicious delicate cookie! I will up the spices next time since I couldn’t really taste the cinnamon, etc …probably because I added the extra candied ginger. Great recipe!

  • Reply
    Shilpa K
    September 21, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    I am dying to this recipe a try after going through such lovely comments , however unable to get my hands on molasses here in Mumbai
    Kindly let me know if I can still make it with a substitute?
    Many thanks

  • Reply
    Sharon Beverly
    June 7, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    5 stars

  • Reply
    December 22, 2020 at 10:50 am

    5 stars
    I had just enough molasses to make these and they didn’t disappoint! Yum…thank you and Happy Holidays!

    • Reply
      December 22, 2020 at 11:08 am

      You too Maria 🙂

  • Reply
    December 21, 2020 at 6:38 am

    5 stars
    Just made them – fantastic!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2020 at 11:52 am

    4 stars
    Very nice recipe with some minor alterations: used 2/3 cup sugar, increased powdered ginger and added some chopped preserved ginger, rolled dough balls in sparkling sugar. Banged the trays halfway through baking. Got 32 nice flat cookies, crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle. Yum! Thanks so much for this!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      I know a lot of people would love the chopped ginger addition, thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    December 9, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe, Sue. This has been my go-to recipe for the last few years. It’s always been an easy to make recipe ?? However, I now need to stay away from dairy. Have you tried this with margarine? Will it substitute easily?

    • Reply
      December 9, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      I haven’t tried it with margarine, but since you can’t do dairy I think you should experiment. You might also use butter flavored Crisco if you are ok with that. There will be some differences…with margarine the cookies might spread even more, and with the shortening they might spread less.

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