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Indulgent Sourdough Molasses Cookies Recipe

Soft and chewy Sourdough Molasses cookies are delectable. My family loves these flavorful molasses cookies. And they use up your sourdough discard.

These cookies are perfect for the lunch box and after school treats. They will hold up well and are not too messy.

Molasses Cookies are chewy cookies that are soft in the center. These cookies use blackstrap molasses which gives them a rich and dark flavor profile. The addition of the sourdough discard helps the cookies puff up and maintain that chewy soft texture.

These cookies are easy to make. We go over some tips and tricks in this post for making the best sourdough molasses cookies.

Sourdough Molasses Cookies

Here are a few common questions we ran into about molasses cookies.

What Does Adding Molasses to Cookies do?

Molasses helps add moisture to cookies and will keep the texture of the cookies chewy. The molasses helps the proteins in the cookies spread evenly. Molasses is sometimes used as a substitute for sugar in baked goods. Molasses will make soft and chewy cookies that are full of moisture. For firm cookies that are dry its best to stick to sugar in the cookies and omit the Molasses.

Why Did Molasses Cookies not spread?

Molasses cookies that are not spreading is usually a result of cold dough. Warm dough will spread quickly and the cookies will overspread and become flat. Colder dough will keep the molasses cookies puffy and they will not spread. Too much flour in the cookies can also hinder the spreading process.

To keep Molasses cookies from overspreading, to chilling the dough for 30 minutes before baking. If you want the cookies to spread a bit more, keep the dough room temperature before baking. Do not melt the fats or the cookies will spread and become flat and crispy.

Is Blackstrap Molasses good for Baking Cookies?

Blackstrap molasses can be used for baking cookies. Blackstrap molasses will give the cookies a rich and darker flavor profile. Blackstrap molasses has been boiled down and refined more than regular molasses. Blackstrap molasses tends to be inky black in color and slightly saltier in flavor. This molasses is rich and dark.

We use blackstrap molasses in the molasses cookies. If you want a lighter molasses flavor, you can use regular molasses for these cookies.

Are Ginger Snaps the same as Molasses Cookies?

Gingersnaps are not the same as Molasses cookies. Many people confuse the two cookies, but they are different recipes and two different cookies. Molasses cookies are soft and chewy and contain less ginger than gingersnap cookies. The traditional gingersnap cookies will have a hard exterior that snaps when the cookie is bit into.

Sourdough Molasses Cookies On A Plate
soft textured, crinkly and full of good chew.

More Delicious Sourdough Recipes:

Using up sourdough starter discard is a fun challenge. If you prefer to bake with your discard rather than throw in away. Here are a few more of our discard recipes.

Looking for more sourdough recipes? Check out our entire section on sourdough recipes.

Sourdough Molasses Cookie Recipe:

Sourdough Cookies With Molasses
A well fed starter can add a lot of puff to your cookies.

I’m a big fan of the traditional recipe for molasses cookies. The sourdough discard put a delicious twist on this recipe.

I’m a sourdough baker. I always have sourdough starter sitting around feeding and growing. It’s a wonderful addition to these cookies.

Sourdough Ginger Molasses Cookies
Sourdough ginger molasses cookies made with a weaker starter. Delicious and not so puffy.

Sourdough Molasses Cookies Ingredients:

Unfed sourdough discard improves the texture of these cookies quite a bit in my opinion. And adds only a slightly more intense flavor.

Ingredients For Molasses Cookies
Ingredients for molasses cookies

The Starter:

The cookies pictured in this recipe post cam from two different batches. The ONLY difference in the recipe is the sourdough starter.

You control the outcome of your cookies appearance, texture and to some degree flavor with the starter.

TIP: Recently fed starter will add a milder flavor and puffiness to your cookies.

Unfed sourdough starter will have a grayish color. Using old and unfed starter will make a deeper flavored cookie that is also less cake like.

You’ll recognize a starving (weak) starter by its gray hooch sitting on top. And lack of bubbles in it.

Stir it up for a good sour starter and feed it. Using that in this recipe before it’s fed will definitely put some tang in your cookie.

The same is true for our sourdough peanut butter cookies. The starter makes a difference every time.

Adding sourdough starter to this recipe makes a chewy molasses cookies that is also fairly soft. The starter will help puff the cookie if it’s recently fed.

Sourdough Molasses Cookies Top View
A strong starter will make a puffy cookie.

I also added baking powder. So now we have a crinkly soft chewy molasses cookie. If you prefer a LESS puffy cookie and have a recently fed starter eliminate the baking powder.

If you are looking to use up some sourdough discard give this recipe a try.

The Fats:

Let’s get it right out there on the table. Cookies are not health food. OK. Moving right along.

Raw Molasses Cookies On Tray.
The proper fats will bake these cookie dough balls into the texture you prefer.

For this cookie recipe we swapped out the traditional shortening for coconut oil. Butter is also a great fat to use in this recipe.

Unfortunately the healthier oils like Avocado oil will destroy the structure of the cookie. It cannot hold up as a fat substitute for these molasses cookies.

TIP: DON’T melt the fats. softening means room temperature. NOT liquid. Or your cookies will be flat and crispy.

Shortening is always an option for you if you have it around. I put a note in the printable recipe card for you.

Soft Sourdough Molasses Cookies-Pin Image
These sourdough molasses cookies are soft, chewy and full of delicious spice. Our recipe is easy to follow and create a tasty plateful of treats that keep well for days.

Visual Walkthrough:

Add Brown Sugar, Egg, Butter And Molasses
Blackstrap Molasses is just right for these cookies.

Here are all the steps of mixing and forming these great sourdough discard cookies. Please also watch out video for a complete recipe demonstration.

Our printable recipe card is at the bottom of the post for you. Happy Baking!

TIP: Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper or lay silicone mats on the sheets to prevent sticking. If you have neither grease the baking sheets.

Cool the cookies on wire racks and serve.

Molasses Cookies With Sourdough
A wonderfully soft molasses spice cookie.

Storing Molasses Cookies:

These cookies will stay fresh several days in your airtight cookie jar. They need to be covered or they will dry out.

You can store them in a plastic bag in your fridge for longer fresh storage. (up to a week) Just keep the air away from them.

Freezing Molasses Cookies:

Short term:

  • Stack the completely cooled cookies with parchment between the cookies to keep them from sticking together.
  • Place the stacks in an airtight freezer container.
  • Label with the Name of the recipe and date
  • Store in freezer up to one month.

Longer freezing:

Wrap the stacks of cookies in plastic wrap tightly and then bag or box in freezer bags or containers. Or vacuum wrap the cookies. They will keep up to two months.

Defrost by setting on the counter at room temperature for quicker defrost. Or set them in the fridge for longer defrosting.

Your Printable Recipe Card:

Sourdough Ginger Molasses Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies

Sourdough Molasses Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Delicious molasses cookies full of flavor. These ever popular cookies are so easy to make. Your family will love them!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup sourdough starter (recently fed)
  • 1 Cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup softened Butter
  • 1/4 Cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp, baking powder
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Additional Ingredient: 3 tablespoons sugar for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl Sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat sourdough discard, brown sugar, butter, egg and molasses (I'm using an electric mixer)
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixed ingredients with a large wooden spoon.
  5. Shape dough by rounded Tablespoonful into one inch balls.
  6. Dip tops into sugar
  7. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls, sugared side up about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until cookies are set and appear dry.
  9. Immediately remove from oven, and place cookies on cooling rack.

Notes

Options:

  • Use 1/4 Cup shortening (easiest to use the oblong shortening blocks) in place of the butter or coconut oil.
  • Use your starter recently fed or when it's very hungry. Play around with this idea. Your cookies will change quite a bit in texture depending on the condition and liveliness of your starter.
  • This cookie has a lot of spice. We LOVE them. if you prefer a milder cookie eliminate the cloves and reduce the ginger by half.
  • Eliminate the baking powder for a less cake like puffy cookie.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving Calories 119Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 13mgSodium 143mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 2g

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Sophie

Monday 8th of August 2022

These are seriously extremely good! I've made them at least 10 times. I keep some fresh and freeze the rest. The children get some in the lunches several times a week and don't get tired of them. Thanks for this great recipe. Next, I'll be trying the peanut butter version.

Diane

Monday 8th of August 2022

Hi Sophie, Thanks for the great feedback on this recipe. It's so good to know you enjoy them. These are my personal favorite sourdough cookie. The sourdough peanut butter oatmeal are also well loved in our family. Happy Baking!

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Monday 25th of July 2022

[…] GET THE RECIPE FOR SOURDOUGH MOLASSES COOKIES HERE […]

Lyse

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

I’ve been searching for different recipes I can make with sourdough starter, just accumulates so fast! Just finished making these, I had a craving for my grandma’s molasses cookies. Followed the recipe as best I could converting measurements to grams so probably had a bit less sugar. They are a hit here, a keeper for sure. Made my own Pumpkin spice mix too as I didn’t have any. Wonderful aroma and nice texture. Thanks for sharing this! I’ll be back here to try other of your sourdough shares.

Diane

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Hi Lyse, I'm so glad you enjoyed this sourdough version of molasses cookies. It's one of my favorite cookies now. Also highly recommend the oatmeal peanut butter Sourdough cookies. We have lots of ways to enjoy your discard in yummy recipes. I created them to use up the starter and I'm so impressed with how it widens the field for simple sourdough recipes. Happy Baking!

Cindy mays

Sunday 16th of January 2022

I am not addicted whatsoever to these yummy bad boys! 🤣 I literally make these every single week. Thanks for grammas shared recipe! I’m in love with the older generations recipes. I am included in that older generation comment by the way. LOVE THEM!!!! You have to sing that last part !!!

Diane

Sunday 16th of January 2022

Hi Cindy, You sure do! :) I'm happy your enjoying this sourdough twist on Grandma's cookies. Have a wonderful day!

Tari A

Friday 27th of August 2021

I love molasses cookies and want to try this one, but I like to have all my flour fermented in a dough before baking. Can I make and shape this dough, then ferment in fridge overnight? I have done this method with chocolate chip cookies and several muffin recipes. I read through all the comments and didn’t see that anyone has done this.

Sam

Saturday 25th of September 2021

@Tari A, I want to try this as well! If you place in the fridge, will they still ferment the same as on the counter? We can do long fermented doughs but not ones that aren’t due to food sensitivities. Just wondering if you know the answer 😬

Tari A

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

@Diane, I made these yesterday, with whole wheat pastry flour and decreased sugar to 3/4 c. After mixing as directed, I scooped into balls, then refrigerated them in a covered container for 7-8 hours. I did use sourdough that had been fed the night before, so I expected them to be puffy. To counteract this a little, I flattened them some before baking. They didn’t crinkle like yours, but are delicious and soft. Definitely a keeper recipe. 5 star.

Diane

Friday 27th of August 2021

Hi Tara A, How intriguing! I also have never tried to make cookies this way. B ut I don't see why you can't If you do please let us know how your method works. I may try it myself! Thanks for the interest in our recipe. I hope you love it!

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