Chewy Molasses Spice Cookie Recipe

Yes, these cookies are about as close as you can get to capturing the essence of the winter holidays in a form you can eat, but no, you don't have to wait until December to enjoy them. Really, there's never a bad time for a batch of cookies that's big in flavor yet small in prep time and effort needed. About 15 minutes of hands-on work, a bit of waiting as the cookie dough cools, and then a bake time of less than 10 minutes is all you need to whip up these delectable treats that really will be welcome any day of the year, from Christmas to the summer solstice and every time in between.

That point made, "these are ideal in the fall and winter," says chef, recipe developer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli. She adds: "This is the batch of cookies you will want to make for holiday gatherings," calling them "sweet but with a full-spiced flavor."

And sure, you can roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to create delightful shapes (gingerbread men and women welcome!), or you can decorate them with frosting and sprinkles and all, but you'll just be gilding the lily. The beauty here really is the nuance of spice and sweet, not to mention the ease of preparation and cooking.

Gather your ingredients for these chewy molasses spice cookies

To make a batch of these sweet and spiced cookies, you'll need flour, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, salt, an egg, sugar, molasses, and canola oil.

One important note: there are three kinds of molasses, and they are distinct and different. When choosing your molasses, it's best to go for light molasses if you want a sweeter cookie and for dark molasses if you prefer your cookies a bit less sweet and with more of a spice profile. Using blackstrap molasses, the darkest and least sweet variety, is not advised here.

Mix your wet and dry ingredients, then combine

In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients except the sugar (so that's the flour, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt, and use a whisk or fork to combine them well.

Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the wet ingredients, meaning the egg, molasses, oil, and sugar. Now, using the paddle attachment, mix to combine the wet ingredients well. Finally for this step, pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient mixture and mix again to combine everything. You should have an even, relatively soft dough formed when you are ready to move on.

Chill the dough, then make balls and bake

Now it's time for the hardest part of this recipe: the waiting. You need to chill the dough in the fridge for at least one hour. "Make sure to chill this dough," Carli says, adding: "Because of the high fat content, these need to chill before they are baked. If you don't do this step, they will spread in the oven."

As the chilling time nears an end, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, scoop out one-tablespoon portions and roll them into balls, then place them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets two inches apart. Bake the cookies for eight to 10 minutes, let them cool, then enjoy.

What is molasses, anyway?

These cookies owe their flavor primarily to the molasses for which they're named, though, of course, all those spices and the sugar help out plenty too. But you may find yourself wondering what molasses even is.

In the simplest terms, molasses is a sweet, thick syrup created after solids (sugar crystals) are removed from boiled sugar cane or sugar beet extract. Some other plants are occasionally used to make molasses, like sorghum, but in most cases, it is sourced from the same crops as are used to make pure sugar itself, thus the sweetness, albeit a sweetness less intense and more nuanced than that of refined sugar.

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookie Recipe
4.9 from 12 ratings
The beauty of these cookies is the nuance of spice and sweet, not to mention the ease of preparation and cooking. Try them out for yourself!
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies on a plate
Total time: 23 minutes
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients less sugar (flour, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt) and whisk to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add wet ingredients (egg, molasses, and oil) and sugar, using the paddle attachment mix to combine.
  3. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Scoop out 1-tablespoon portions and roll into balls, then place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, let cool, and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 164
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 6.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 16.2 g
Sodium 111.8 mg
Protein 1.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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