These spiced molasses cookies are incredibly reminiscent of a gingersnap although they boast a surprise hit of black pepper for just the right warmth. The cookies not only contrast sweet with savory but crisp with tender.

We can say from personal experience that you’ll be thankful the recipe makes such a big batch. Trust us, you won’t have problems making them disappear. Consider yourself warned.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers love this chewy molasses spice cookie recipe. They adored the “beautiful crackle finish” and the crunchy edges and chewy centers of the cookies. They’re also praising the recipe for being “delicious, different, and easy to make.”

Notes on Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter–If you substitute salted butter, decrease the amount of kosher salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Kosher salt–Look for light, dark, or fancy molasses. Blackstrap molasses is too bitter, and the flavor will overwhelm the cookies.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and spices together. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the molasses and egg. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until it comes together.
  2. Chill the dough for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Roll the dough into balls. Coat each ball with sugar and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake the cookies. Cook just until the edges are browned, and the center is still soft. Cool completely.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the secret to making chewy molasses cookies?

To keep the center of your cookies soft and chewy, there are two important things to remember. First, chill your dough. Second, don’t overbake your cookies. Remove them from the oven just as the edges begin to darken, and the center is still soft.

Can you freeze these cookies?

Yes. Freeze the molasses spice cookies between layers of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

What’s the difference between fancy and blackstrap molasses?

Molasses is produced by boiling sugarcane juice. The first and second boilings produce light and dark molasses, which is sweet and perfect for baking. Blackstrap molasses comes from the third boiling, and is darker and more bitter than “fancy” molasses.

Helpful Tips

  • Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for longer storage.
  • To make scooping and shaping the dough easier, use a spring-loaded cookie scoop.

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A molasses spice cookie on the saucer of a cup of tea, more cookies in a pile and on a wire rack.

Molasses Spice Cookies

4.50 / 2 votes
These molasses spice cookies aren’t your ordinary cookies. Sure, they’re made with flour, butter, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and molasses, but they get a nice savoriness from black pepper. Bet you can’t stop at just one.
David Leite
Servings48 servings
Calories71 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar, for sprinkling


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and pepper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, beat in the molasses and then the egg. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing well.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place the superfine sugar in a plastic or paper bag. Scoop up a little less than a tablespoon of dough and roll it in the palms of your hands to form a 1/2-inch (12-mm) diameter ball. As you work, drop each ball into the bag containing the superfine sugar. Shake the bag to evenly coat each ball. Set the sugarcoated balls at least 2-inches (5-cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets as the cookies will spread quite a lot during baking.
  • Bake until the edges of the cookies start to color, 11 to 15 minutes.
  • Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack for further cooling.


  1. Storage–Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  2. Freezing–The cookies can be frozen for up 2 months. Store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.
  3. Rolling the dough–For easier rolling, use a spring-loaded cookie scoop.
Kevin's Kitchen Cookbook

Adapted From

Kevin’s Kitchen

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 71 kcalCarbohydrates: 11 gProtein: 1 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 11 mgSodium: 73 mgPotassium: 36 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 7 gVitamin A: 94 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 7 mgIron: 1 mg

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Kevin Jacobs. Photo © 2017 Kevin Jacobs. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These simple yet divine molasses spice cookies take no more than 10 minutes of your active time. So plan on whatever amount of time you choose to chill the dough plus 10 minutes. After mixing the dough, I ventured out into the world for several hours.

Upon my return, I was presented with a chilled ball of dough, just right for rolling into perfect half-inch globes and coating with sugar and some very coarsely ground black peppercorns which I mixed with the sugar.

Simply out of laziness, I also chose to use regular granulated sugar, which I simply to a small bowl and tossed the dough balls around in the mixture. I baked the cookies for 12 minutes, after which I was treated to nearly 40 crisp, delicious spiced cookies with very little effort.

I can’t help but think these would be heavenly, paired with a maple buttercream frosting between 2 of these cookies for a spectacular fall, sandwich cookie. Of course, this only works if you can refrain from devouring them as soon as they cool. I should mention that my cookies had a crackled top unlike the photo.

This was a solid molasses spice cookie with a beautiful crackle finish. The taste was lovely and not overly sweet. The dough was quick to put together—it took me just 10 minutes.

Pepper in cookies???? Hmm, I was dubious! But they pack a yummy, surprising, unique, and subtle “WOW” factor, and I know that I will make them time and again.

This recipe is delicious, different, and easy to make. Combining a bit of pepper with the cinnamon gives a taste reminiscent of those red hot cinnamon candies that I gobbled down as a kid. But they aren’t red, they look rather plain, and the subtle “kick” is unexpected and delightful.

They were simple to make, especially when I used a spring-loaded cookie scoop to make the dough balls. To make a 1/2-inch dough ball I used a scant 1 tablespoon of dough but the baked cookies still came out a little bigger than the 2 inches diameter stated in the recipe (they ranged from 2.5 to 3 inches, but no complaints on that from my delighted tasters!). These cookies do spread quite a bit when baking, so be generous in calculating the 2 inch space between each dough ball on your cookie sheet.

After the required 15 minutes of cooling, the molasses spice cookies were easily removed from the cookie sheet which I had lined with a sheet of parchment paper lightly greased with butter (rubbing the parchment with the greasy side of the wrapper from a stick of butter). Even with my slightly larger cookies, the recipe yielded 44 cookies, all of which got gobbled up fairly quickly.

It is true that these cookies are indeed addictive, so baker beware! Hard to say how well they kept—just like the author says, these cookies are too good to last long—after 3 days they were still delicious and had no change and then they were gone.

Love, love, love these molasses spice cookies! At first bite, they seem very similar to a gingersnap, but the bite of the black pepper delivers a unique and addictive spin on these super easy cookies. We have been enjoying them for 4 days now, and they are still as delicious as fresh.

The initial bite was crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. A nice blend of cinnamon and molasses. Perfect! This recipe was easy to put together.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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