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These easy spice cookies are chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. They have the flavor of gingerbread but with the texture of a chewy sugar cookie.
These chewy spice cookies have all the flavor of classic soft gingerbread cookies with a fraction of the work! No rolling and cutting needed here. The flavor and texture was best after resting overnight in the refrigerator but you could chill them for a minimum of an hour.
These are the perfect easy cookies to bring to your next Christmas cookie exchange or gift them alongside these chocolate chip shortbread cookies, Christmas crinkle cookies and fudgy brownies. You might also want to check out these easy Christmas cookie recipes for more holiday inspiration!
Table of Contents
Why You Will Love these Spice Cookies
- No chill, easy cookie dough. These cookies are simple to make and they don’t even need to be refrigerated before baking. An overnight rest in the refrigerator does make them even better, but it isn’t necessary if you are pressed for time!
- Chewy & crunchy texture. These cookies have it all! They have a chewy center and a crunchy caramelized outside.
- Unique and balanced spices. This spice mix has less ginger than gingersnaps or gingerbread cookies and some other additions like black pepper like pfeffernüsse and speculoos cookies.
- They package & ship well! These molasses cookies travel well! Package in a decorative box or tin without a lot of extra space for the best results.
Professional Tips for Making Spice Cookies
- Roll the cookie dough in sanding sugar before baking. Rolling the dough in sanding sugar or turbinado sugar is optional but a wonderful touch. It adds texture and a festive, glittery appearance.
- Use traditional dark molasses. I did a taste test between traditional dark molasses and blackstrap molasses. I enjoyed the flavor of the more robust blackstrap, but most did not. Using traditional molasses, such as Grandma’s molasses, adds flavor that is in balance with the spices.
- Trust the spices. Some are unexpected but they are all wonderfully balanced and absolutely delightful! Perfect with a warm cup of tea or coffee.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter in order to control the flavor of the cookies. Room temperature butter works best in this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar will aerate the butter by trapping air in between the sugar and butter molecules.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar adds moisture to the dough and helps keep them soft after baking. It is one more layer of molasses flavor.
- Egg yolk: This adds fat without the moisture from the egg white. These make the cookies chewy and helps inhibit gluten development.
- Molasses: I use Grandma’s Molasses in this recipe and in others like these spice cookies and this gingerbread cake recipe. Unsulphered molasses has a smooth, yet robust flavor that will not overpower the spices.
- Vanilla Extract
- All-purpose Flour
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is less salty per teaspoon than table salt. It is preferable in all baking recipes.
- Baking Soda: This cookie dough has a high level of acidity from the vinegar and molasses. Baking soda will react powerfully with them and create soft, chewy cookies that puff in the oven then fall flat when perfectly baked.
- Ground ginger: Ginger is the second most powerful flavor in these cookies. Make sure your ground ginger is fresh and a good quality for the most impactful flavor.
- Ground cinnamon: I love Saigon cinnamon but any ground cinnamon will do.
- Ground cloves: While they seem like an unimportant addition, cloves really round out the spice profile. Without it, they would seem flat and just not quite right.
- Ground Allspice:
- Ground Black Pepper: Ground black pepper adds a little heat and interest to this spiced cookie dough!
- Turbinado sugar: Rolling the cookies in turbinado sugar before baking is optional but a lovely way to add extra crunch and a little sparkle.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations or Substitutions
- Vary the spices: I encourage you to try the spices as written but you could also experiment with pumpkin spice in the Fall or even speculoos spice mix!
- Molasses: I do not recommend using blackstrap molasses in this recipe unless you would like a strongly flavored molasses cookie.
- Dark brown sugar: You could use light brown sugar if you don’t have dark brown, or you could use all granulated sugar. There is plenty of molasses to flavor and soften the dough.
How to Make Easy Spice Cookies
Use these instructions to make the best spice cookies! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375° and line baking sheets with parchment paper, if you are not going to chill the dough. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and set aside.
Step 2: Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl using your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
Step 3: Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla until well combined. Beat in molasses until completely incorporated.
Step 4: With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture a large spoonful at a time until just combined.
Refrigerate dough for at least an hour. They were best after a 24 hour rest in the refrigerator.
Step 5: Preheat the oven to375°F. Roll 2 tablespoons of dough into balls and gently roll in the turbinado sugar. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. In the case of these cookies, bigger is not better. They didn’t crack as nicely and they spread out and looked ugly. You could also roll the dough into balls before refrigerating.
Step 6: Bake at 375°F for 8-11 minutes or until the tops crack and the centers look matte but are still soft.
Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
These cookies crisp as they cool so it is super important that you don’t over bake them or you will be woefully disappointed. I took mine out right after the tops cracked but the centers were still soft to the touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store spice cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week. They do begin to lose their freshness after about 5. For longer storage, freeze the cookie dough after rolling in balls. Allow to warm to refrigerated temperature before baking for best results.
These cookies ship wonderfully. They are stable and fairly durable. Try packaging in a tin or box without much extra room to keep them from banging around and crushing each other.
The dough does not need to be chilled prior to baking but I found that the flavors were best after they melded in the refrigerator overnight.
The measurement of the flour in this recipe is very particular because there is not much additional moisture. Only one egg yolk and a half cup of molasses. Even a little extra flour will keep the cookies from spreading. You could always try pressing them flat before baking or baking the cookie sheet on the countertop straight from the oven.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar packed
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup molasses
- Turbinado sugar for coating the outsides ~1/3 cup
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl using your stand mixer or an electric hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
- Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla until well combined. Beat in molasses until completely incorporated.
- Slowly add flour mixture until combined, mixing on low.
- Refrigerate dough for at least an hour. They were best after a 24 hour stint in the refrigerator.
- Roll 2 tablespoons of dough into balls and gently roll in the turbinado sugar. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. In the case of these cookies, bigger is not better. They didn’t crack as nicely and they spread out and looked ugly.
- Bake at 375°F for 8-11 minutes or until the tops crack and the centers still look under baked. Do not be tempted to leave them in the oven until the centers set unless you want gingersnaps.