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
Print
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
    Vanessa
    December 12, 2018 at 6:59 am

    How much is 1.5 sticks of butter? Is that really 3 cups??

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 12, 2018 at 7:45 am

      That’s 3/4 cup, Vanessa.

  • Reply
    Sharon
    December 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    5 stars
    I just made these cookies best ginger cookies ever! I made them with 1/2 the sugar they are so good thank for sharing.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Great to know they do ok with less sugar, thanks Sharon and happy holidays <3

  • Reply
    Christie
    December 11, 2018 at 4:37 am

    These cookies are amazing! I was wondering if they freeze well after baking them :)?

  • Reply
    Terry C.
    November 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    5 stars
    I age my Aden these cookies 3 times in the last week and a half! It is a new favorite to those I have sent or given them to. They ship amazingly well. No breakage and the flavor and chewiness is still there according me to my best friend. She says she will order again soon!

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I did add some spices to the sugar like another reviewer, but not a lot. The cookies have the right amount of spice and I didn’t want too much more. My house smells so amazing…again as I made them again tonight for some guests coming for the weekend. I am anticipating their cookie craving to be quite satisfied! ??

    I look forward to trying your other recipes if they are as good as these Chewy Ginger cookies!!

    Terry

    • Reply
      Terry C.
      November 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      Ha ha ha, that should have read, “ I have made these cookies 3 times…”. I sure don’t even know how the beginning to that first line got so messed up. I know I proof read it before sending it. So weird! Oh will I am sure you figured out what I meant. ?

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for the great feedback Terry 🙂 You make a good point that these cookies ship well because they’re soft and chewy, not fragile.

  • Reply
    Vicky
    October 29, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    My son has a milk allergy, so I was wondering if I could substitute margarine for the unsalted butter.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 29, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      That should work fine Vicky.

    • Reply
      Samantha
      December 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Vicky,

      I too have a dairy allergy and they actually make dairy free buttery sticks that work perfectly in this recipe! I have not tried straight margarine.

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm

        Thanks for that info Samantha.

      • Reply
        Victoria B Whitaker
        November 16, 2020 at 9:00 am

        I don’t know if I’m the same Vicky who asked this question 2 years ago, but thank you so much for your response! So funny – I was just scrolling through the questions to see if someone asked this particular question, and I came upon your answer to “Vicky”. I’m going to give the Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks a try. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Wanda
    October 27, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Hello what kind of molasses s/b used?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 27, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      Regular, not blackstrap.

      • Reply
        Chris
        December 16, 2020 at 7:12 pm

        Why no blackstrap?

        • Reply
          Sue
          December 17, 2020 at 5:26 am

          Blackstrap is super strong and bitter, Chris, so I always like to warn people against accidentally picking it up. If you happen to love it you can certainly use it, though.

  • Reply
    Colleen
    October 23, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I was wondering what kind of sugar goes in the chewy ginger cookies. Confectioners or powdered?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Regular granulated sugar Colleen, not confectioners or powdered.

      • Reply
        Michelle
        December 13, 2018 at 8:47 pm

        Do you think brown sugar would work well ?

        • Reply
          Sue
          December 13, 2018 at 9:06 pm

          Great question ~ brown sugar is just regular sugar with molasses added to it, so I’m not sure you’d gain anything by using it since molasses is in the recipe. But you can substitute it, in the same amount, for the regular sugar. You might notice a change in texture, but it would be interesting to try.

  • Reply
    Lorraine wish
    August 7, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Ginger in what form? Dry or fresh chopped?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 7, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      These cookies use powdered ginger Lorraine.

  • Reply
    Carol
    July 25, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    What size cookie scoop do you use for these cookies?

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 25, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Hey Carol ~ I use my 1 1/2 inch scoop.

      • Reply
        Carol
        July 25, 2018 at 7:09 pm

        Thank you <3

  • Reply
    bella
    April 18, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and the cookies turned out delicious! My Bible Study class gobbled them up and my family adored them. The only thing I changed was to use Kerrygold salted butter because that’s all I had.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      Kerrygold butter is wonderful, so I bet your cookies were fantastic, thanks so much for coming back here to let us know Bella 🙂

    • Reply
      Colleen
      November 27, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Kerrygold butter is never the wrong choice 🙂

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