Soft, tender ginger cookies without molasses have a soft, chewy texture and a perfectly spiced flavor. They are easy to whip up and make your house smell like Santa’s bakery. This recipe is perfect when you crave ginger molasses cookies, but don’t have molasses at hand.
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Molasses is integral to gingerbread and gingersnaps and contributes to the warm, spicy flavor. But if you don’t have molasses, you might be looking for a ginger cookie recipe without molasses, and I have just the thing for you!
I absolutely love ginger molasses cookies. However, molasses isn’t an ingredient I often use, so I decided to create a ginger cookie without molasses.
Each December, we bake multiple batches – they always go so, so fast. I blame it on the elves, though. Cunning little creatures they are.
And while they are the perfect Christmas cookies, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy them year-round. My family requests them all the time, and I’m always happy to oblige.
No molasses ginger cookies
My favorite thing about these cookies is the soft, chewy texture. The outside is a little crisp, while the interior has a chewy, tender crumb that is so delicious.
Then again, the best thing could be the warm, cozy flavor. The cookies are generously spiced, so you can enjoy the full aroma of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in every bite.
It only takes a handful of ingredients to make ginger cookies without molasses. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- Flour: Trusty all-purpose flour gives these no molasses ginger cookies the best texture and chew. I recommend measuring the flour with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have that, be sure to employ the spoon and level technique for the best results.
- Baking soda ensures the cookies spread and gives them their signature crackle top.
- Brown Sugar adds sweetness and structure to these cookies. I highly recommend dark brown sugar because it contains some molasses and gives the best flavor. But light brown sugar or a mix of brown sugar and white/granulated sugar will work, too, if that is what you have.
- Spices add so much warmth and depth of flavor. I used a combination of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves.
- Butter: I like salted butter, but you can also use unsalted butter and add extra salt. Either way, let the butter soften to room temperature.
- Egg: You’ll only need 1 egg for these molasses-less ginger cookies. If you forget to take the egg out ahead of time, place it in a bowl of warm water to warm up for 10 minutes.
- Vanilla extract for that perfect sweet and cozy cookie flavor.
- Maple syrup acts as our molasses substitute. You won’t get that distinct molasses aroma, but maple syrup provides plenty of moisture and chewiness. Trust me, your ginger snaps without molasses will still be irresistibly delicious!
- Medium cookie scoop makes portioning the cookie dough a breeze.
- Light-colored cookie pans are perfect for even baking.
- Pre-cut parchment paper sheets are super convenient.
The best thing about these gingersnap cookies without molasses is that they are so easy to make. If you can bake a chocolate chip cookie, you can whip up these cookies. Here is the recipe step-by-step:
#1: Make cookie dough
- Beat butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Mix in liquid ingredients. Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture may look curdled but will smooth out once you add the dry ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
#2: Chill and shape cookies
- Chill the dough. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can chill the dough in the mixing bowl or transfer it into a food container to save space in the fridge.
- Shape cookies. Remove the cookie dough from the fridge. Use a medium cookie scoop with a release lever to scoop dough balls. Roll each ball smooth with your hands, and then roll in the granulated sugar.
#3: Bake and cool cookies
- Bake cookies. Arrange the cookie dough balls 2 in / 5 cm apart on lined baking sheets and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cool. Let your cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt chocolate. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a water bath on the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl at 40% power in 30-second bursts until smooth.
- Decorate cookies. Cover your work surface with parchment paper. Dip each cookie halfway in the melted chocolate, allowing the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. (I only dipped the front of the cookies so they still lay flat.) Alternately, use a fork to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Place the cookies on the parchment paper until the chocolate sets.
Tips for success
Make your ginger cookies without molasses the best by using these quick and simple baking tips! They will help you along the way, and your soft gingersnaps will taste amazing when you pull them out of the oven.
- Refrigerate the cookie dough: The chewy gingersnap cookies will stay thick and chewy when the cookie dough is cooled. 1 to 2 hours in the fridge will do the trick.
- Roll the dough evenly: A cookie scoop will help to keep the cookies all the same size. This ensures that all cookies bake evenly.
- Don’t overbake: This is key to achieving soft, chewy cookies. Take them out of the oven when the edges are set, and the tops begin to crack. The cookies will continue to cook as they cool on the baking sheets, so don’t overbake them.
- Let cookies cool before dipping: Wait for your gingersnaps to cool completely before dipping them in chocolate.
I personally wouldn’t change a thing about this soft ginger snaps recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! They are very versatile, and you can change them in a few ways to make them more special.
- Candied ginger: Up the ginger flavor by stirring 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger into the dough.
- Chocolate chips: Make these cookies extra scrumptious by adding 1 cup chocolate chips. I love white chocolate, but milk and even dark chocolate taste delish too.
- Extracts: Swap out the vanilla extract for orange extract, butter rum extract, or any other flavor that pairs well with the warm spicy aroma.
- White chocolate: Dip each cookie in melted white chocolate or drizzle it liberally over your cookies.
- Frosting: For a decadent treat, ice the cookies with cream cheese frosting or buttercream.
How to store ginger cookies without molasses
Allow the easy ginger cookies to cool before packaging. Then store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Use parchment (baking) paper to separate the cookies when stacking them. Optionally, add a slice of bread to keep them moist.
Ginger snap cookies without molasses are best eaten within 2 to 3 days, but will last up to 5 days on the counter. You can also keep them in the fridge for 7 to 10 days.
Can I freeze soft ginger cookies without molasses?
Yes! To freeze, put the cookies in a freezer-safe container or storage bag and freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend placing parchment (baking) paper between the cookies to prevent sticking.
To defrost, lay out the cookies at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Sure! After mixing the cookie dough, cover it tightly with plastic wrap (cling film) and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When it’s time to bake, scoop the dough, roll in sugar, and bake. In case the dough is too firm for scooping, allow it to warm up for 30 minutes.
- No molasses: Whether your run out or simply don’t like molasses, my recipe uses maple syrup as a molasses substitute. Maple syrup makes these cookies irresistibly soft, and you’ll love the subtle toffee aroma!
- Perfect texture: This ginger cookies without molasses recipe is a far cry from the dry, cardboard-like gingersnap cookies of your childhood. They are chewy, soft-baked, and perfectly spiced.
- Simple ingredients: All ingredients in these no molasses spice cookies are pantry staples and easy to find.
- Holiday cookies: These no molasses gingersnaps are great holiday cookies, perfect for Christmas bake sales, cookie exchanges, cookie platters, and to nibble all winter long.
What is molasses anyway?
Molasses is a sticky-sweet syrup with a warm, sweet, slightly smoky flavor. Light molasses boasts the mildest flavor, medium and dark molasses have a robust aroma. Blackstrap molasses tastes bitter and less sweet.
Molasses is a byproduct of making sugar. Juices extracted from sugarcane and sugar beets are cooked down until sugar crystalizes and is removed. The leftover syrup is called molasses.
What does molasses do in cookies?
Molasses is a sweetener and flavoring in cookies. It provides moisture and contributes to a darker color and rich, sweet-sour flavor.
What is the best substitute for molasses in ginger cookies?
There are several other sweeteners that work as swap-ins for molasses. While none have the same flavor as molasses, they are excellent 1-to-1 substitutes for molasses and work in a pinch if you are out of molasses.
- Brown Sugar is a combination of granulated sugar and molasses, making it an excellent molasses substitute. Dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar.
- Maple Syrup is another great alternative to molasses. It adds moisture and sweetness and a lovely toffee note.
- Honey: Even though it tastes differently, it has a similar texture to molasses and will work as a substitute for molasses in ginger cookies.
- Dark Corn Syrup is a mix of corn syrup and molasses. Since it has similar sweetness and consistency, it’s a great 1-for-1 molasses replacement.
- Golden Syrup, also known as light treacle, is a sugarcane syrup popular in the British islands. You can substitute molasses with the same amount of golden syrup.
- Black treacle is the British counterpart to molasses and works great in recipes that call for molasses.
I can’t say no to homemade holiday cookies. They go perfectly with a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace and make perfect gifts. Here are some more Christmas cookie recipes you need to try this year!