Extra chewy, moist and soft molasses crinkle cookies. From the glittering crinkle top to the warm spiced flavour, these chewy molasses cookies are just like grandma used to make!
Nothing says Christmas season quite like baking with molasses. If you’re a cookie person like me, you know how amazing it feels to bake the perfect cookies. These molasses crinkle cookies are soft, extra moist, with a slightly chewy interior. They taste like Christmas morning in a bite, warming your mouth with wonderful ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg flavours.
The rich flavour in this recipe comes from molasses, which add a deep caramelised aroma, but also keeps the cookies moist. This is hands down the perfect molasses cookie recipe, because it tastes and looks amazing.
And the best part? You can take these old fashioned cookies to the next level by adding extra spices, chocolate and decorations.
In the mood for holiday baking and looking for more Christmas cookie recipes? Check out my Chewy Molasses Sandwich Cookies or the popular Gingerbread Cookies without molasses. If you’re feeling playful, these Starbucks Snowman Cookies are the ones for you!
Why these are the best molasses crinkles
- Soft and chewy: These molasses crinkles have the perfect balance of soft and chewy texture. The cookies practically melt in your mouth, whilst the sugar coating adds some much needed crunch.
- Deep, rich flavour: The blend of molasses, dark brown sugar and spice blend make these cookies taste and smell like Christmas. They are rich, decadent and absolutely addictive!
- Easy to make: You only need one large mixing bowl, a hand mixer and a few minutes to prepare these cookies. They’re THAT quick and easy to make!
- Old school: These old fashioned molasses crinkle cookies will definitely bring you back to your childhood. Once you bite into a cookie you’ll remember Christmas mornings at grandma’s.
- Versatile: Feel free to adjust this recipe and make it more interesting by adding candied ginger, chocolate chips, raisins and much more!
How to get a good crinkled top
Crinkle cookies are an absolute staple and very popular because of their beautiful cracked top. With or without crinkle, soft molasses cookies taste absolutely delicious. However, if you’re after those pretty crackles, here’s how to get that finish:
- Chill the dough – chilling the dough is essential for this recipe. Refrigerating hardens the dough enough so it can be scooped, and helps the cookies spread just the right enough. Warm dough is difficult to shape and will spread much too quickly in the oven, making for pancake flat cookies.
- Don’t handle the dough – Try not to touch the cookie dough too much if possible. Rolling it between your hands can warm up the dough too much and ruin the crinkling top.
- Use a cookie scoop – Using a cookie scoop shapes the dough into a perfect ball, without needing to shape it with your hands. This helps keep the dough cold and the cookie will bake into a perfect disc shape.
- Roll through sugar – Rolling through sugar helps the crackling process. Using granulated sugar will make the top of the cookies crunchy and glittery. You can also use powdered sugar, which makes for a bigger contrast. Use a lot of powdered sugar, as too little sugar will melt away when baking.
- Bake at the right temperature – It’s important to preheat the oven well and ensure it’s at the right temperature. I like to bake crinkle cookies at 325F (170C), as it’s hot enough to bake through without burning them.
- Tap the tray – If your cookies aren’t cracking as they should, take them out and gently tap the tray on the work surface a few times to force some cracks. Toss back into the over for an extra 1-2 minutes.
Apart from the molasses, all ingredients used in this recipe can be found in most pantries or grocery stores. Here’s what’s needed to make soft molasses cookies:
- Butter – unsalted butter works best. Ensure it is softened to room temperature before using.
- Brown sugar – I recommend using dark brown sugar for a more intense and deeper flavour. However, you can also use light brown sugar or turbinado sugar.
- Plain sugar – Granulated white sugar is needed, but you can substitute it with more brown sugar for a deeper, richer flavour.
- Molasses – I recommend using unsulphured molasses like Grandma’s Original Molasses. You can also use blackstrap molasses for a very deep flavour. However, I recommend adding extra sugar if using the latter.
- Egg – Large egg is needed, at room temperature.
- Vanilla – Optional, but highly recommended. You can use either vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Flour – All-purpose flour is needed for this recipe. I do not recommend using self-rising flour, as it contains baking powder.
- Salt – Fine table salt or sea salt works best. I like using pink Himalayan salt because it’s much softer in taste.
- Baking soda – Needed to make the molasses crinkles soft and chewy, and help them spread when baking. It cannot be replace with anything else and is essential in this recipe.
- Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are essential for this molasses crinkles recipe. Optionally, you can also add cloves powder for a kick.
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Pour in the molasses and mix again.
2. Crack in the egg and mix to combine.
3. Pour in vanilla extract and mix once more.
4. Sift in all the dry ingredients, then use an electric mixer on medium speed to combine into a sticky cookie dough.
5. Cover dough with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to form cookie balls.
6. Roll cookie balls through sugar, then place on lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool down a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
I love these chewy molasses crinkle cookies because they’re very versatile. You can add your favourite toppings and customise this recipe to your preferences. These are some of my favourite ideas:
- Candied ginger – great for an extra kick! Simply dice it into small pieces and mix it into the batter. I like to also press some into the top as soon as the cookies come out of the oven.
- Dried fruit – Similar to candied ginger, chop dried fruit into small pieces and mix it into the batter. For an extra Christmassy flavour, I recommend dried cranberries, raisins or orange.
- Chocolate chips – Both white and milk chocolate work for this recipe. Personally I prefer white chocolate chips because it has a more neutral flavour. Mix the chips into the batter, then press some more into the top immediately after baking.
- A spicy kick – Add ¼ teaspoon extra ground cloves. For extra spiciness, I recommend adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed pink peppercorns.
- Icing – Make some royal icing and drizzle it over the top of the cookies in a zig-zag pattern. Colour it red and green for extra festive finish!
- Melted chocolate topping – Similarly to icing, you can use melted chocolate to drizzle over the top of the molasses crinkle cookies. For ease, you can use colourful candy melts.
- Sprinkles – If you’re drizzling the top of the cookies with icing or chocolate, add some festive sprinkles on top before it hardens.
- Cream cheese filling – Pipe some White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting on top for an extra creamy cookie. You can also pipe some frosting between two cookies to turn them into Molasses Sandwich Cookies.
- Ice cream sandwich – If you’re feeling extra adventurous, sandwich two molasses crinkles with ice cream to make a delicious treat. I recommend vanilla, butterscotch or white chocolate ice cream flavours.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Room temperature ingredients – Ensure all wet ingredients are at room temperature before making the cookie dough. This way the ingredients mix well and the cookies will have the best consistency.
- Don’t add extra flour – The dough will seem very sticky, but don’t be tempted to add more flour. Too much flour will make the cookies very dense and they won’t spread or crack like they’re supposed to.
- Chill the dough – Chilling is crucial for the texture, flavour and cracks on top. Make sure you chill the dough for at least 1 hour before baking the cookies. If you chill the dough longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before shaping.
- Generous sugar coating – Whether you’re using granulated sugar or powdered sugar, make sure you coat the cookies with a LOT of cookies. If it looks like too much sugar, it’s probably right! If too little sugar is used it will melt into the cookies and you won’t be able to see it.
- Leave enough space – The cookies spread quite a lot when baking, so make sure you leave at least 2-3 inches between all cookies.
- Don’t over-bake – Once baked, the cookies can look underdone or too soft. Don’t worry, they will harden once cooled. This way you will get chewy and soft molasses crinkle cookies, without making them too crunchy. So don’t bake them for longer than needed.
How to store
Room temperature: Once fully cooled, transfer the molasses cookies into an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.
Fridge: I don’t recommend storing the baked cookies in the fridge, as the moisture can make them too soft. Instead, you can store the raw cookie dough in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Freezer: Again, I don’t recommend freezing baked molasses crinkles as they can become too mushy once thawed. However, the raw dough freezes very well. Freeze individual cookie dough balls onto a tray. Once frozen, wrap them in aluminium foil and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Baking from frozen: Let the frozen cookies thaw for 20-30 minutes, then roll them through sugar. Bake for a few minutes longer than usual.
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Molasses Crinkle Cookies Recipe
- ⅓ cup butter, softened (85 grams)
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar (50 grams)
- 3 tablespoons sugar (40 grams)
- 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses (35 grams)
- 1 medium egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (140 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, optional
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- ½ cup white chocolate, for drizzling
- In a large mixing bowl add softened butter and sugars, combining them with a hand mixer until fluffy and light. Pour in the molasses and mix well to combine.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract, then mix again to combine, for about 1-2 minutes.
- Separately in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, all spices and salt. Whisk well to combine, then add them into the butter mixture.
- Combine everything with a hand mixer on low speed, without over-mixing. Place the dough into plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Line two large cookie sheets and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). If the cookie dough has been chilled for more than 2 hours, let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop up cookie dough. Shape all pieces into balls, then roll them through granulated or powdered sugar.
- Place all cookie dough balls onto the lined baking sheets, at least 2-3 inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges appear firm. The centre will still be soft, but that’s okay.
- If the cookies do not appear cracked, gently rap the sheet on the kitchen counter a few times. Alternatively, press cookies down with a flat spatula to create cracks. Bake for 1 extra minute afterwards.
- Once baked, let cookies cool down for 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt white chocolate in the microwave, then drizzle it over the cookies. Whilst the chocolate is still melted, add sprinkles on top. Refrigerate cookies for 10-15 minutes to harden the chocolate.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- Nutritional value is estimative and it is calculated per 1 plain molasses crinkle cookie (without chocolate or sprinkles).