With their bendy centers and slightly crunchy edges, these cookies are the perfect combination of soft and crisp. Rye flour is their not-so-secret ingredient, enhancing both the cookies’ texture and their complex and alluringly spicy flavor.—King Arthur Baking Company

Spiced Rye Ginger Cookies FAQs

I love ginger. How can I boost the flavor?

Welcome to the club! These cookies offer a rounded spice punch with lots of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper. But if you want to go to town, you can add finely chopped candied ginger. Just heaping in more ground ginger could give too much of a pungent bite.

What does the rye flour do for these spice cookies?

Rye flour–and this recipe calls for medium rye, which is important–lends the cookies a more complex flavor and nuttiness and pairs beautifully with the warm spices. Resist the urge to use plain all-purpose flour. You’ll be richly rewarded going with rye flour. Trust me.

Five spiced rye ginger cookies

Spiced Rye Ginger Cookies

5 from 1 vote
With their bendy centers and slightly crunchy edges, these cookies are the perfect combination of soft and crisp. Rye flour is their not-so-secret ingredient, enhancing both the cookies’ texture and their complex and alluringly spicy flavor.
David Leite
Servings24 cookies
Calories79 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


For the dough

  • Butter, for the baking sheets
  • 2 cups medium rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses

For baking

  • 1/3 cup coarse sparkling sugar or 1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar


Make the dough

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Lightly butter two rimmed baking sheets (or line with parchment paper).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand whisk, an electric hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the sugar and oil until well combined. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
  • Stir in the molasses, followed by the dry ingredients, and mix well. The dough may be covered and refrigerated at this point for several hours, if desired, and to help reduce spreading during the bake time.

Shape and bake the cookies

  • Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to portion 1 1/4-inch (3-cm) balls of dough. Roll the dough balls in granulated or sparkling sugar to coat before placing onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave 2 inches (5 cm) between the balls on all sides as they’ll spread as they bake.
  • Bake the cookies until they’re puffed and the edges are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave on the rimmed baking sheets to cool completely. Cookies will keep for several days at room temperature in an airtight container, and can be frozen for longer storage.
The King Arthur Baking Company Essential Cookie Companion

Adapted From

The King Arthur Baking Company Essential Cookie Companion

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 79 kcalCarbohydrates: 18 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 8 mgSodium: 99 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 12 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 King Arthur Baking Company. Photo © 2021 Liz Neily. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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I loved this recipe for spiced rye ginger cookies because it was fast, easy, and resulted in a delicious, tasty cookie! I was drawn to the rye flour when I saw this recipe and liked the idea of using whole grain rather than all-purpose flour for taste and texture. The cookies turned out just as described with the perfect combination of being soft and crisp–and the spices and their heat came through from the black pepper and ginger. The spices were not overwhelming but just right.

I measured the ingredients by weight for accuracy and ease. The dough was a little soft and I was concerned they would spread too much, but they turned out slightly puffy with cracks. I would make these again. And they would be perfect for the holidays!

I have so many friends and family that love a good spice cookie during the holidays, I just had to try these spiced rye ginger cookies. Happily, they go with most holiday drinks, including eggnog, spiced cider, and coffee.

The recipe turned out to be pretty easy to prepare. I ended up making two changes. First, I replaced two tablespoons of the rye flour with all-purpose flour (mine was labeled ‘dark rye’). It turned out dark and spicy, but not bitter. I would repeat that if using a ‘dark rye’ flour.

Second, I played with the coating. I tried using two different coatings—one was maple sugar, and the other was demerara (coarse sugar). I liked the sparkle of the coarse sugar, but the flavor of the maple sugar melded nicely with the spice. In the end, I used a combo of the two.

The baking time was right on, and like any chewy cookie, I opted for shorter cooking time. When removing from the oven, they look a bit like mushroom caps. As they cool, they deflate and get the crackled look to them. I cooled on the sheet as instructed, enjoying the spicy fragrance throughout the house.

Overall, I loved the simplicity of this recipe and the chewy, spicy texture. It’s strong, but subtle at the same time. The additional bonus is that the ingredient cost is pretty reasonable (no butter, no vanilla, no nuts, no chocolate).

Anybody who has ever tasted Claire Ptak’s rye brownies (from the Violet Bakery/Violet Cakes) knows that subbing in rye flour in sweet baked goods is usually a very good idea. These are no exception. These were peppery sweet and delightfully crispy. I know the description says both chewy and crisp, but my first batch seemed so liquidy at 15 minutes that I went to 18, and I was delighted with the crispness. Went 15 minutes on the second batch, and yes, they had the chewy crisp combo, which I did not like as much but my husband preferred. I’m also not sure this is a cookie for kids, as the pepper is quite pronounced, which I loved!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also 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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