This is the only recipe for Soft Ginger Cookies you’ll ever need! I really mean that. Soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies, with a slightly chewy edge, and packed with spices! But there’s one special ingredient in them that puts these cookies over the top!
Soft ginger cookies, packed with ground ginger and little morsels of candied ginger.
Why you absolutely need to make these soft ginger cookies
I’m not hyped or anything, but these soft ginger cookies really are the best ginger cookies in the world! 😀
- These are super easy to make.
- You can make them ahead of time and freeze the cookie dough if you prefer.
- I add a lot of ground ginger and other spices to make these extra spicy, but not overwhelmingly so.
- They are soft, with just a little chewiness.
- Perfect ginger molasses cookies for anyone who doesn’t like ginger snap cookies.
- The secret ingredient that makes these cookies even better is crystallized ginger. It adds a lovely bite of concentrated candied ginger to the cookies.
I’ve eaten my fair share of ginger cookies that barely tasted like ginger over the years. So I made sure to not only add enough ground ginger to the cookie dough here, but a generous amount of crystallized ginger pieces as well. So that’s a double dose of ginger to warm your heart and soul this holiday season!
But not to worry, these are not too spicy either. The spices and sweetness are perfectly balanced (as all things should be…). And you’ll LOVE these soft, chewy ginger cookies too, guaranteed. Not just during the holidays, but all year long!
Ingredients needed to make soft ginger cookies
I use unsalted butter, as I do for almost all of my baking. You can use salted butter, but you may need to adjust the amount of salt added to the dough.
You can also use vegan butter instead to make a dairy free version. Just make sure not to use “butter” that has a spreadable margarine consistency, because that would make the dough too wet. Look for a vegan / dairy free butter with a similar consistency to regular butter.
White sugar & brown sugar
I use a combination of brown and white sugar. The brown sugar adds flavor, and helps keep the cookies soft. White sugar adds chewiness to the cookies.
What are ginger cookies without molasses? Molasses add a lovely deep flavor to these ginger molasses cookies. I use fancy baking molasses, but these have been made with blackstrap molasses as well, with equally great results.
I use large eggs that weigh about 2 oz with the shell. I haven’t made these cookies without eggs, so I’m not sure how that substitution would work.
I use all purpose flour for these soft ginger cookies. I haven’t made them with bread flour, but that would result in a slightly drier cookie that has a more chewy/rubbery texture (especially if over-mixed).
Baking soda is the chemical leavener that I used for these cookies. I don’t recommend substituting it with baking powder.
You can buy crystallized ginger (or candied ginger) online or at bakery stores. I bought mine online. If you can’t find it, you can omit it, but I highly recommend adding these to your ginger cookies for that extra bit of flavor magic.
These are candied ginger, coated with a generous dusting of sugar. They can come as sliced or ginger chunks. For this recipe, you will have to chop them up before adding to the dough.
Spices and other flavors
These warming spices are a must for these ginger cookies.
- Ground ginger
- All spice
Step by step guide to making the cookies
Make the soft ginger molasses cookie dough
Make sure all the ingredients are measured, and are at room temperature. Another important tip is to scrape the bowl during the mixing process, and at every stage, to make sure all the ingredients are being well incorporated.
Cream the butter until soft and creamy. If you live in a colder region, the butter will still be firm even at room temperature. So I like to warm the butter just a touch in the microwave so that it’s just a little soft, OR I’d cream the butter on its own in the stand mixer.
But if you live in a warmer climate, the butter will be really soft at room temperature. So you can simply add all the sugars and cream the butter sugar together in one step.
Add the salt, white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses, and cream everything together until creamy.
Add the two eggs and vanilla to the butter and sugar mix, and run your mixer on medium speed, until the eggs have incorporated well into the batter.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and all the spices together. Also, chop the crystallized ginger and keep it aside until needed. The spices and candied ginger add a ton of flavor to these soft cookies, so don’t skip them.
Lower the speed of your mixer to the lowest setting (stir speed on my kitchenaid). Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 – 4 additions, while mixing on low. Add the crystallized ginger with the last batch of dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is incorporated.
How to avoid overmixing the dough
It’s VERY important to not overmix the dough. To avoid this, I only add flour in batches, when the previous addition is about 75% mixed in. The dough is also mixed with a spatula at the end to make sure the flour is mixed in well, without overworking the gluten.
When the soft ginger cookie dough is done, refrigerate it for a few hours until chilled. The dough will be very soft, so it’s important to let it chill so that it’s easier to scoop later.
Shaping and baking the cookies
Once the dough is chilled, it’ll be much easier to scoop it into the right size for baking. If you’re baking the cookies right away, don’t forget to preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C.
I like to use a medium cookie scoop with about a 3 tbsp volume. The final weight of each of the cookie dough balls is about 60 g.
OPTIONAL – Roll in sugar. Rolling the dough in raw sugar or granulated white sugar will give these soft ginger cookies a lovely crunch element. I have made these with and without this step, and love both versions.
At this point, you can place all the soft ginger cookie dough portions on a baking tray, and cover it with plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. You can also freeze the cookie dough portions for later.
Since these cookies spread quite a bit, I prefer to bake 4 – 5 cookies per half sheet pan. Place the cookie dough portions evenly spaced on the parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake the cookies for 12 – 15 minutes (rotating halfway through baking time, if needed).
Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool for a few minutes. The cookie will seem more puffed up as soon as they are baked, but they will deflate a little as they cool down.
Use a flat spatula to transfer the soft ginger cookies onto wire racks to cool completely.
Storing the cookies for later
These ginger cookies will keep at room temperature for about 3 – 4 days in an airtight container. They will keep longer if stored in the freezer (for about 3 weeks).
You can also freeze the cookie dough to make it last even longer. The cookie dough portions should be frozen on a baking tray, and once frozen, they can be stored in an airtight container or freezer bags.
The cookies can also be baked from frozen, but then they’ll need to be baked for a couple of extra minutes.
The ultimate soft ginger cookies
These are the best damn soft ginger cookies. End of story.
I’ve made many different ginger cookie versions over the years and finally developed a version that I absolutely love, with my own little twist. Soft, and chewy, full of ginger flavor, and with that added burst of ginger from the crystallized, chewy ginger pieces.
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Soft Ginger Cookies
- 455 g unsalted butter 4 sticks
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 150 g white sugar ¾ cup
- 200 g brown sugar 1 cup
- 255 g molasses ¾ cup
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 600 g AP flour 5 cups, measured by spoon and level method
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice optional
- 200 g crystallized ginger chopped
- Extra raw sugar or granulated sugar optional
- Place the butter in a mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, cream the butter until soft and creamy. This can take as little as 1 minute if your butter is soft, or up to 5 minutes if it's not too soft (especially in colder climes). Scrape the bowl as you go to make sure all the butter is being creamed properly.
- When the butter is soft and creamy, add the salt, white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses, and cream all the ingredients together on medium high speed until fluffy. Scrape the bowl as you go. This can take about 2 – 5 minutes (depending on the temperature of the butter). Mix until you get the right creamy texture of the butter sugar mix.
- Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until the eggs are well combined.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice into a bowl (dry ingredients), and set aside.
- Lower the speed of the mixer to the lowest setting. Add the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions, making sure not to overwork the dough in the process.
- Add the crystallized ginger with the last addition of dry ingredients, and mix until the last bit of flour is about 90% mixed in.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, and mix the dough the rest of the way with a wooden spoon or spatula. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so that all of the flour is mixed in well.
- The dough will be fairly soft. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, until the dough is chilled and easy to scoop.
- Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Line at least 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Scoop the chilled cookie dough using a medium cookie scoop (about 60 g per portion). You can scoop out all of the cookie dough, and keep it chilled in the fridge if you’re baking the cookies within a day, OR freeze it for later.
- OPTIONAL – roll each dough portion in raw sugar or white sugar.
- Place 4 or 5 cookie portions on a half sheet pan (I prefer to bake 4 at a time since these cookies spread quite a bit).
- Bake the cookies for 12 – 15 minutes in the preheated oven, rotating the tray once halfway through. In my conventional oven, this takes about 13 minutes.
- Remove the cookie tray from the oven and let the cookies cool for a few minutes. Use a flat spatula to gently lift the cookies from the baking tray and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough portions.
- The cookies will have a slightly crisp edge and a soft middle as soon as they have cooled down. Cookies will soften with time during storage, and retain slightly chewy edges.
Storing the cookies
- Store the cookies in an airtight container for 3 – 4 days at room temperature. To store them for longer, freeze them in a freezer bag (remove as much air as possible) for up to 1 month.
- You can also freeze the cookie dough portions (once frozen, store them in freezer bags). You can bake these from frozen, but you may need to bake them for a couple of extra minutes then, depending on your oven.