These homemade molasses crinkle cookies are thick, chewy, and perfectly spiced- with gorgeous crackled sugar tops! Made with sweet molasses and brown butter for extra flavor, they are the best-elevated twist on a holiday favorite!
Molasses cookies have always been my favorite Christmas cookie- they are soft, chewy, and packed with warm spices!
To elevate them into molasses crinkle cookies, we added brown butter, and ground ginger and rolled them in white sugar! This results in cookies with a beautiful crinkle top and a crispy texture, while still being soft and gooey in the center.
Why We Love Molasses Crinkle Cookies
- Thick and chewy molasses cookies with crisp edges and soft centers.
- Packed with classic holiday spices like brown butter, cinnamon, ginger, and molasses.
- Delicious sugary tops that crack while baking.
- No hand mixer or stand mixer is required- you can make molasses crinkle cookies with just a whisk and mixing bowl. (For more one-bowl recipes, try our butterscotch chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip pumpkin cookies!)
- Perfect cookies for Christmas and holiday baking- pack these gorgeous cookies into cookie boxes for your next cookie exchange or holiday party!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Molasses: Like in our gingerbread cake, molasses adds a rich and sweet flavor to the cookie dough. We recommend using regular molasses, like Grandma's Molasses, for its sweet and mild flavor. Avoid blackstrap molasses, which is stronger and bitter!
Egg: For structure and an extra chewy texture, we use one whole egg and an extra egg yolk! The extra fat from the egg yolk yields a super soft and chewy texture, similar to our chocolate crinkles!
Ginger: A little bit of ground ginger is added to the cookie dough for a mildly spicy ginger flavor. If you love a stronger-flavored ginger molasses cookie, you can add some finely diced candied ginger!
Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon gives these molasses crinkle cookies a delicious warm spiced flavor, like in our spiced oatmeal cake.
Granulated sugar: While crucial to the dough for sweetness and moisture, it is also a key component to achieving the beautiful cracks on the tops of the cookies. You can also roll them in turbinado sugar for a crunchier texture.
Butter: For a warm and buttery flavor, we are going to brown the butter! This adds another level of flavor to these molasses crinkle cookies. (We love brown butter so much that we put it in our brown butter toffee cookies and brown butter pumpkin cookies, too.)
The Science Behind Crinkle Cookies
Like in all baking, there is a bit of science involved in achieving the crinkled top! For the top of the cookies to crinkle in the oven, the top of the surface has to dry out before it has finished spreading and rising. This dry surface hardens, cracks, and pulls apart producing the super beautiful crinkly, cracked exterior.
We can achieve this by rolling the molasses cookies in sugar twice- with the second time leaving sugar on top before baking!
Step 1: Brown the butter. Cook the butter until there are brown bits of butter solid at the bottom of the pan. Scrape the browned butter into your mixing bowl and let it cool to room temperature before using.
Step 2: Whisk in the sugars. Whisk the dark brown sugar and granulated sugar into the melted butter.
Step 3: Mix in the wet ingredients. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until combined. Then mix in the molasses.
Step 4: Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Step 5: Scoop the cookie dough. Scoop the molasses cookie dough using a large cookie scoop onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Roll each cookie in granulated sugar, cover, and chill for at least 2-3 hours (overnight for the best flavor!).
Step 6: Bake the cookies! Roll each cookie dough ball in sugar, leaving a pile on top for crackly tops. Bake until puffy and crackled. Let the molasses crinkle cookies cool on a wire rack then enjoy!
Tips for Perfect Crinkle Cookies
- Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the "metric" button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
- Room-temperature butter is key! If the butter is too hot it will melt the sugar prematurely, which will make the cookies spread excessively in the oven.
- To prevent excess spreading, it's important to chill the dough for a minimum of 2-3 hours.
- For best results, pile an ample amount of sugar on top of the cookie dough balls before baking. See process photo #6 above for a visual of what they should look like!
- For soft and chewy centers, underbake the cookies! Remove them from the oven when the edges are just set and the centers are crackled.
You likely need to have more sugar on the tops of the cookies before baking. The sugar helps dry out the top layer before the rest of the cookie bakes, which is what causes those deep crinkles.
This is almost always due to using too much flour. My top recommendation is to use a kitchen scale to weigh all of the ingredients for accuracy!
The dough must be chilled before baking otherwise the cookies will spread excessively when baking!
Store leftover molasses crinkle cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Once scooped and rolled in sugar, let the cookie dough balls freeze completely on the tray. Then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. They can be baked from the freezer for 12-15 minutes.
More Christmas Cookie Ideas
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Molasses Crinkle Cookies
- 14 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp dark brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Grandma's Molasses
- 2 ¼ cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour *See notes below for measuring*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup granulated sugar for rolling
- Brown the butter. In a stainless steel pan, cook the butter over medium heat. The butter will foam, crackle, and pop- which is normal! Stand by and stir it occasionally. When there are brown bits of butter at the bottom of the pan and it smells nutty, scrape all of the butter into a large bowl and set it aside to cool to room temperature. You should have about ¾ cup or 160 grams of browned butter!14 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Whisk in the sugars. Once at room temperature, whisk in the sugar and dark brown sugar.¾ cup + 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar
- Mix in the wet ingredients. Then whisk in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and molasses.1 large egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ cup Grandma's Molasses
- Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.2 ¼ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Scoop and chill the molasses cookie dough. Scoop the dough with a large 3 tablespoon cookie scoop. Roll each one in granulated sugar and place it on a parchment-lined baking tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the fridge for a minimum of 3-4 hours, or overnight for the best flavor!½ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
- Bake the cookies. Roll the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar again, this time leaving a pile of sugar on the tops of the cookies. See photo #6 in the post above for a visual. Bake the molasses crinkle cookies spaced 2-3 inches apart until the tops are crackled, about 10-13 minutes. Let the tray cool on a wire cooling rack. Sprinkle the tops with more granulated sugar if desired.
- Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls and bake them frozen!
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.