Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Just like grandma used to make, these soft and chewy cookies have just the right amount of spice. They are the first to disappear from our Christmas cookie plate, every year.

plate of cookies

Soft Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Soft and crinkly molasses cookies with lots of spice flavor and slightly crisp edges.  
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
chilling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Serving Size 24 cookies



  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup plain sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • sparkling sugar for rolling


  • Beat shortening and white sugar together for 3-4 minutes,using electric mixer, until fluffy, scraping down sids as needed. Add egg and molasses and beat until well blended.
  • Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large, separate mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture to shortening and sugar mixture one cup at a time.  Mix at low speed after each addition until just combined.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in fridge one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 convection bake OR 375 on regular bake.  Shape into tablespoon sized balls and roll in sugar individually.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes, depending on how crisp you would like the edges.  Cool on racks. Store in airtight container up to five days. (See notes for freezing instructions.)


Like most cookie dough, this freezes very well.  Shape, roll in sugar, and place the dough balls on a cookie sheet.  Freeze on cookie sheet for a few hours, then place in freezer bag and freeze up to a few months.  Add a minute or so to the baking time if baking from frozen.
You can also freeze fully baked and cooled cookies and simply defrost at room temperature.  
brown cookies with sugar on green and white plate

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • They’re the BEST (honest and truly): sent out a school-wide email with a picture of them, asking who brought them and could they please have the recipe.  Life has been downhill ever since.
  • They’re easy to make: no fancy equipment or ingredients are required. A simple drop cookie that you can make all year long.
  • They’re soft, crinkly, and full of flavor with slightly crisp edges- perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients for cookies on wooden surface

You’ll need the following for this recipe straight from Grandma’s kitchen.

  • shortening (this is the secret for super soft cookies)
  • white sugar
  • egg
  • molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • ground ginger
  • cinnamon
  • allspice
  • cloves
  • sparkling sugar 


Step One: Make the cookie dough

grid of 4 process shots- beating shortening, mixing and adding dry ingredients

The first step is to beat the shortening and granulated sugar together in a large bowl until they are light and fluffy. You will want to use an electric mixer for this recipe. Either a stand mixer or hand mixer will work perfectly fine. To get the right fluffiness, you’ll want to beat on medium speed for about three to five minutes.

Add the egg and molasses and beat into the shortening mixture until thoroughly mixed.

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and all the spices together in a large bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture one cup at a time, mixing on low until just combined. Don’t over-mix!

Step Two: shape and bake

grid of 4 images- cookie dough in bowl chilling, being rolled in sugar, and baked

To guarantee soft and chewy cookies, we need to chill the dough for at least an hour. This helps the cookies bake nice and thick!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you have a convection oven, or set a regular oven to 375. Scoop the cookie dough into tablespoon-sized balls and roll them individually in sparkling sugar. Place the dough balls onto a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. They will spread and flatten a bit but can be placed about an inch apart.

Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes until the edges are slightly darkened. The tops will crack. Let them cool on a cooling rack before you eat them

🥫 Storage instructions

Any leftover cookies will keep just fine on a covered plate for 1-2 days. For longer storage (up to a week) put in a cookie jar or zip-top storage bag.

Like most cookie dough, this freezes very well.  Shape, roll in sugar, and place the dough balls on a cookie sheet.  Freeze on a cookie sheet for a few hours, then place in a freezer bag and freeze up to a few months.  Add a minute or so to the baking time if baking from frozen. You can also freeze fully baked and cooled cookies and simply defrost them at room temperature. 

🔍 FAQs

Can I use butter instead of shortening?

If you must. But the shortening helps them stay soft and chewy and they are better that way.

Can I use brown sugar instead?

Yes, that would be fine and won’t have a huge effect on the finished cookie.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Molasses is sticky to work with, so I always spray the inside of my measuring cup with a non-stick spray. It helps it slide out easily and clean up faster.
  • Don’t use blackstrap molasses, extra dark molasses, or robust molasses: Grandma’s original works well in this recipe.
  • Make sure you chill the dough as the recipe states. Otherwise, the cookies will spread out too much and be flat and crispy, not soft.
  • Sparkling sugar is coarser than normal sugar and gives the cookies a beautiful crunch and sparkle. If you can’t find it, regular white sugar will do fine.
  • A cookie scoop is great for these and any other drop cookies. Look for a cookie scoop with gears rather than a spring, it will last much longer.

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

Having a fun holiday get-together? Try thee recipes too.

finished crinkly molasses cookie on plate
Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

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  1. Quick thinking on the gal looking for the recipe! LOL This would be a great recipe to stash in the freezer for Christmas baking.

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