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
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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

Equipment

  • 1 1/4 inch cookie scoop (optional)

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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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190 Comments

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  • Reply
    Lynn
    December 1, 2017 at 5:56 am

    I upped the amount of spices to my taste in the dough- I like a bite! Then I added a bit more of the spices to the sugar mixture to roll the cookies before baking (and freezing!). The texture of this cookie is perfect- chewy goodness! Made these this morning- YUMMY! Ate more than I want to admit to- then rolled the remaining dough into balls and a cinnamon sugar mix before freezing. It’ll make that last minute holiday baking so much easier! Thank you! Love your site!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 1, 2017 at 7:12 am

      Thank Lynn, I love your idea of adding spices to the coating sugar, nice!

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    November 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    My powdered Ginger was ancient and I used to small eggs I was disappointed they didn’t turn out crunchy or chewy because of it nor did they have the flavor everyone’s saying I even added chopped up raw ginger and chopped up candy ginger being that I’m 65 years old could account for my need of strong ginger cookies I will try again thank you

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      I sure hope you give them another try Bonnie, spices definitely need to be refreshed pretty often, for sure. And I find that cookie recipes need to be followed pretty closely because even small changes can cause big differences in the results. Let me know how it goes if you try them again, and I’m always here to answer any questions you might have.

      • Reply
        Patricia
        December 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

        Sue,
        My butter and sugar didn’t cream. Is that going to be a problem??

        • Reply
          Sue
          December 28, 2017 at 8:14 pm

          Was your butter cold? I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t cream up together otherwise. These cookies are pretty forgiving, so as long as you got them well mixed you should be fine 🙂

  • Reply
    Janyne
    November 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Hi Sue,
    I had a question about freezing the cookie dough. I was wondering if it matters whether the dough balls are rolled in sugar prior to freezing or if it is better to freeze the dough balls plain – then thaw them out and roll them just before cooking. I wasn’t sure if the sugar would tend to fall off the dough if it was rolled prior to freezing.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 6, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Good question. I might do both, actually, just tp insure you get a good coating. It also depends on whether you’re going to cook them from frozen or let them thaw. If you let them thaw a bit you can roll them right before baking, but I’m guessing if they’re still frozen they won’t pick up much sugar.

  • Reply
    Joana
    October 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    We had dark, chewy ginger cookies when we visited Ohio’s Amish country and loved them, so of course I wanted to duplicate the recipe. These aren’t as dark and are soft rather than chewy right out of the oven, but the flavor is amazing! I’m hiding a few to see if they get chewier in a day or two, and maybe I will bake them a minute or two longer next time—and there will definitely be many next times! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      They do come out of the oven soft, but become chewy as they cool, in my experience. And I wonder if you use dark brown sugar and a robust molasses like blackstrap, these cookies might turn out darker like the Amish ones you had, Joana.

  • Reply
    CToth
    October 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Absolutely DELICIOUS! I have made these several times and they are just wonderful. I bake them about 13-14 mins and they are still soft but have a slight crisp crunch around the edges. Love that they are flat and actually taste better with each passing day.
    Excellent with a cup of tea.
    Thank you.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 8, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      You’re so welcome, and you’re so right, they do gt better every day 🙂

    • Reply
      Jan Mazzetta
      October 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      My cookies didn’t spread out like yours did, but they are absolutely delicious!

  • Reply
    CToth
    October 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    These cookies are very good,. They turned out perfectly and I like that there was no refrigeration time needed. They look beautiful. They are definitely chewy! One pan I baked for 11 mins – they yielded chewy cookies, the second pan I baked for 14 mins for a crispier cookie. Loved them both. Thank you

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 3, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, it’s always so useful to everybody!

      • Reply
        Sue
        October 3, 2017 at 6:17 pm

        And I agree with you about the no refrigeration, there’s nothing worse than being ready for a fresh baked cookie and having to wait for that extra step 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristen
    September 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I just made these and they are awesome! Will definitely make again and again. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      I’m excited that you liked these, Kristen, they are one of my family’s favorite cookies.

  • Reply
    Sherrie
    September 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I want to make these for my cookie trays, do the baked cookies freeze ok?

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Yes, this type of moist cookie does freeze well, just be sure to follow good freezing practices and wrap them really well, and airtight!

  • Reply
    Lyn
    September 1, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Love the chewy Ginger cookies. Mine didn’t flatten out as much so half the batch, I left in a little longer to crunch up. Taste more spicy than ginger, so would add a little more ginger. I did put a small piece of crystallized ginger in the center of each and I would definitely make these again thankyou.

  • Reply
    Dion Williams
    August 9, 2017 at 4:35 am

    Now in the chocolate recipe the flour amount is not the same is that suppose to be like that ?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 9, 2017 at 6:14 am

      I substituted cocoa powder for some of the flour in that recipe Dion.

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