Best Homemade Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Old fashioned Molasses cookies are traditional Christmas cookies.  Slightly crispy outside and tender chewy inside. It’s not the holidays without them.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies - Traditional holiday cookie. Slightly crisp outside and chewy tender inside!

Why You’ll Love These

  • This vintage molasses cookie recipe produces soft and chewy cookies with the perfect warm spices you want from a molasses cookie.
  • These are grandma’s old-fashioned molasses cookies, you remember!
  • This recipe makes 50 cookies! Great for gifting to friends and neighbors during the holidays.

I have been making these for years, and they are always expected to be on our holiday cookie tray. They are easy to make and always devoured.

If you love the traditional spices of the holidays, try our gingerbread cookies, gingerbread biscotti, spicy gingerbread loaf, and gingerbread.

Key Ingredients

  • Molasses – Molasses can vary in flavor and intensity. Look for fancy molasses. For these cookies, we recommend the brand Grandma’s Original Molasses (dark molasses). I have used blackstrap molasses, but that’s just me (I like a strong flavor). It’s a stronger, more robust flavor but can also be a little bitter.
  • Shortening – Yes, shortening! This is an old recipe; they used shortening (lard) because it was cheaper. I have used butter, and it’s just not the same cookie. The texture and structure are different when using butter.
  • Spices – The combination of cloves, ginger, and cinnamon is perfect for us. Some people are sensitive to ground cloves and think they can be too strong. Feel free to adjust to your taste.

How to Make Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Whisk the flour, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium-size bowl, and set aside.

Dry ingredients mixed together in a metal bowl.
Wet ingredients mixed together in a white bowl.

Mix the sugar, molasses, eggs, and shortening together in a large bowl.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour up to overnight.

Finished cookie dough in a white bowl.
Dough balls rolled in sugar and placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours up to overnight. I usually do it overnight. The flavors really develop.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the chilled dough into tablespoon-size balls, and dip one side into granulated sugar.

Place the dough balls about 2″ apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Rotate racks if placing more than one baking sheet at a time in the oven.

Let cool for 2 minutes on the pan, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies in a white and silver box.

My family claims these cookies to be quite addictive, so beware! Store in an airtight container.

This is a great recipe for that cookie swap during the holidays!

Tips

  • Let the shortening cool enough that it won’t curdle the eggs.
  • When measuring the molasses, spray the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray, so the molasses pours out easily.
  • DO NOT skip chilling the dough! A minimum of 2 hours is absolutely necessary for these cookies not to spread too much during baking.
  • Use a cookie scoop to ensure the dough balls are the same size for even baking.
  • Do not overbake. The cookies will puff up in the center when baking. As soon as they begin to crack and the edges are set, remove them from the oven. As they cool, they deflate and crisp up more around the edges.
  • Let cool for at least 10 minutes. You want to allow time for those cracks and crevices to settle and for the centers to bake fully.

FAQ

Can I substitute butter for shortening in molasses cookies?

You can, but it will change the taste and texture of these old-fashioned soft molasses cookies.

Why are my molasses cookies flat?

I personally have never had this happen. Be sure to chill the dough long enough. The cookies do spread during baking but should not come out flat.

Can I use a hand mixer or a stand mixer?

The dough can be tough to mix by hand but muster on and keep stirring. I have made these with my stand mixer and hand-held electric mixer several times, and they just don’t seem to come out the same. It’s probably overmixing the dough with a mixer. So put those biceps to work.

Storing

Store completely cooled cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for about two weeks. I have had them last longer.

Freezing

Let the baked cookies cool completely, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 2 months for the best quality.

You can also freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls (not rolled in sugar) on a parchment-lined baking sheet until solid. Then place them in an air-tight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake from frozen, you may need to add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies in an open Christmas gift box.

Best Homemade Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies Recipe

Old fashioned molasses cookies are a traditional holiday cookie. Slightly crispy outside and chewy tender inside. Chock full of those holiday flavors!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookie, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies, molasses, old fashioned
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 50
Calories: 134kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening, melted and cooled

Instructions

  • Whisk the flour, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium-size bowl, set aside.
    4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 4 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Mix the sugar, molasses, eggs and shortening together in a large bowl.
    2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup dark molasses, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cup shortening, melted and cooled
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough into tablespoon size balls, dip one side into granulated sugar and place about 2″ apart on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Rotate racks if placing more than one baking sheet at a time in the oven.
  • Allow to cool 2 minutes on the pan then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Notes

You can substitute butter but it will change the taste and texture of these old-fashioned soft molasses cookies.
Storing – Store completely cooled cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks. I have had them last much longer.
Freezing – Baked cookies allow to cool completely, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 2 months for the best quality. 
Freeze the cookie dough balls (not rolled in sugar) on a parchment-lined baking sheet until solid. Then place them in an air-tight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake from frozen you made need to add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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