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These Best Ever Molasses Cookies have a slightly crisp sugar coated edge and a soft, tender, chewy center. With a rich deep ginger and molasses flavor, they are the perfect holiday cookie! Serve these up at your next holiday party, family gathering or just because.

Molasses has such a dark rich vibrant flavor it goes perfectly with sweet and savory. From Warm Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce to Melt in Your Mouth Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken to Baked Beans, molasses is such a fun ingredient to cook with and eat!

Best Ever Molasses Cookies areal view.

Best Ever Molasses Cookies

I came upon this recipe in a cookie contest a few years ago and it was a winner then and it still is! It originates from the 1970’s and is still as good now as it was then. The sharp taste of the molasses is perfectly balanced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves then rolled in sugar to give it that tiny bit of crunch.  If you love a good rich dense, not too sweet cookie, this is it! It screams Christmas.

This is the handwritten recipe from Millie Dunn submitted by her daughter, Megan from San Diego, from the 1970’s for Molasses Cookies. These are the perfect cookie and the holiday wouldn’t be complete without them.


Handwritten recipe for molasses cookies.

Molasses Ingredients

Feel free to double the batch for extras

  • Shortening: I like to use butter flavored shortening.
  • Sugar: This is for the cookies, you’ll need more for rolling.
  • Molasses: dark, thick, rich and full bodied flavor
  • Egg: Make sure it’s large
  • Flour: All purpose or unbleached will both work.
  • Baking soda: This is your raising agent.
  • Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves: these spices are perfect paired with molasses
  • Salt: Creates balance in the flavor.
  • White Chocolate Chips:  Optional

Let’s Make Cookies

Cookies are always welcomed at the table, especially around the holidays.

  1. Prepare: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use cooking spray.
  2. Melt: In a small saucepan or in the microwave melt the shortening. Add the sugar molasses and egg and mix until incorporated.
  3. Mix: In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to the wet mixture and stir till a dough forms.
  4. Scoop: Scoop into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.
  5. Bake:Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 min.
  6. Dip: This is optional. Once cooled melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave and dip cookies. These cookies are perfect as they are but I decided to make them more festive. We dipped them in white chocolate and added Christmas sprinkles. They turned out so amazing!

The Ins and Outs of Wonderful Molasses!

Either the light or dark will work in this recipe.

  • What is it: In a nutshell molasses is a byproduct of the sugar-making process, resulting in the brown syrupy liquid left over after boiling once the sugar crystals have been removed.
  • Molasses: There are several varieties on store shelves and it can be confusing to know which one to use.
    • Light: This is produced after the first boiling of the sugar cane or beet and is light and mild in flavor. It also has a light color. This is commonly used in baking marinades, rubs and sauces. You can even use it like honey as a topping for toast or oatmeal. It can make cookies softer and breads crustier.
    • Dark: This is darker thicker syrup comes from the second boiling. It’s also known as a full bodied molasses, it’s not as sweet, and commonly used in gingerbread cookies.
    • Blackstrap: This is created from the third boiling and is very thick, very dark and a bit bitter in taste.  Only use if specifically called for in a recipe.
    • Unsulphured vs. Sulphured Molasses: Sulphured molasses is molasses that has been treated with sulphur dioxide as a preservative. However, since the sulphuring process can leave the molasses with a strong pronounced chemical flavor and is less sweet, most commercial molasses is unsulphured.

Tips and Variations:

These cookies are such a classic. They make the perfect Christmas cookie and are the perfect addition to that Christmas cookie plate!

  • Chill: To help the cookies keep their shape and be easy to roll you can chill the dough before rolling, although it’s not necessary.
  • Spice:  If you’d like a stronger ginger flavor, you definitely add more or for a whole new level of flavor use fresh ginger.
  • Dip it:  Try melting milk, semi sweet chocolate chips or even butterscotch chips for different toppings.
  • Roll it:  Roll in colored sugar for a festive look
  • Store: These will keep at room temperature in an airtight container up to a week. Or freeze for up to 4 months. YUMMY!!

Stack of Best Ever Molasses Cookies.

More Cookies to Love!

Because cookies are just so fun to make and eat!

Watch a video on how to make Molasses Cookies HERE:

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Best Ever Molasses Cookies

5 from 9 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Best Ever Molasses Cookies have a slightly crisp sugar coated edge and a soft and chewy center. These are the perfect holiday cookie!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use cooking spray.
  • Melt the shortening in a small saucepan or in the microwave and let cool. Add the sugar, molasses, and egg and mix until incorporated.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until it forms a dough and is incorporated.
  • Scoop into one inch balls and roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack and dip in white chocolate if desired.


If dipping in chocolate: melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl stirring after 30 seconds until melted.


Calories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 144mgPotassium: 65mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 10IUCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Betty Crocker Cookbook Recipe
    This recipe (using brown sugar) was taken from the 1961 edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook. The wording says “ Thick, chewy, with cracked, sugary tops. We begged the recipe from Mrs. Tom Fredell in St. Paul , Minnesota.”

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I wasn’t too sure about melting the shortening but I followed the recipe almost to the letter, I did add 1/2 tsp nutmeg as well. They turned out lovely. I will make this time and time again as this is a favourite of my granddaughter.

  3. It looks delicious, loved this unique and simple cookie recipe. Thanks for sharing the amazing recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    I made two batches of these for Christmas. Baked them yesterday and they are SO good!!
    And I buy Sustainably harvested palm oil shortening from Tropical Traditions instead of crisco. I think the neutrality of shortening instead of butter makes the spices shine! ❤️

  5. Instead of shortening can you use an oil like vegetable oil or canola oil? I don’t see any place I’ve asked this before