Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies

This easy recipe for Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies is a delicious twist on a classic gingersnap. These cookies are chewy in the middle, crispy on the outside, have a mild spice and an intense buttery flavor. These are my ultimate holiday cookies! 

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I've been a cookie baking machine lately. Isn't everyone this time of year?

Growing up, we never ate cookies like this. I don't think I'd ever even tried a gingersnap until I met my husband. They just weren't in my family's repertoire, and there wasn't really anything about them that made me particularly interested in trying them. But then a few years ago I tried a real, homemade gingersnap, all of my preconceived notions went out the window. I couldn't believe I'd been missing out on these this whole time!

Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies randomly spread out on a table with cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger and twineA plate of Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies decorated with evergreen leaves

Since then, I've messed around with several different ginger cookie recipes. Who knew there were so many kinds? There's gingerbread, gingersnaps, ginger spice, ginger molasses and on and on. What is the difference between all of them? Sheesh. I couldn't even begin to tell you. What I can tell you is that this cookie recipe I'm giving you today is what I consider my ultimate ginger cookie. Let's talk about why.

I like spice, but not too much, and some ginger cookies are over the top. Have you ever eaten a gingersnap only to have your mouth catch on fire from all the ginger? Lots of people love that, but not me. I don't want my cookies to leave an after-burn.  I also don't like too much molasses, as its bitterness has a tendency to overpower the rest of the cookie. My cookies have just enough molasses to make them chewy, and just enough spice to make them taste warm and Christmasy.

Stack of Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies with cinnamon sticks and evergreen leaves in the foreground Close up of a broken Brown Butter Ginger Molasses with ginger and cinnamon sticks in the background

I like my cookies slightly crisp on the outside, but definitely a bit under-baked and chewy in the center. That's where Mr. Gaffney and I firmly disagree. He insists on cookies being crispy (so they're better for dunking in milk), and while I can certainly get down with that, I don't think every cookie benefits from being crispy. Some are just better soft and chewy, and these definitely fall into that category. For the record, Mr. Gaffney had no complaints at all.

I always want to taste the butter in a cookie, so I went ahead and browned it for this recipe. Because of all the spices, I wasn't sure if the subtle flavor of brown butter would really come through, but it did. It makes them taste so much richer, so much more interesting than usual. It makes such a wonderful difference, in fact, that now I can't imagine eating a ginger cookie any other way.

plate of Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies decorated with cinnamon sticks and evergreen leavesclose up of Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies on a plate

In order to give these brown butter ginger molasses cookies an extra bit of texture, I roll the balls of dough around in a bit of sugar before baking to give them an irresistible crunchy coating on the outside. I love using a coarse sugar like Demerara or Sugar in the Raw, but granulated will work just as well.

These are the traditional ginger molasses cookies everyone bakes around the holidays, only tailored to taste exactly the way I like them. If you love a spice cookie that strikes the perfect balance between crispy and chewy, and tastes strongly of butter and just subtly of spice, these might just be your ultimate ginger molasses cookies too.

stack of Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies with broken cookie and cinnamon sticks in the foreground

One Year Ago: Whole Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Two Years Ago: Beet + Carrot Latkes with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Sour Cream, Classic Potato Gratin
Three Years Ago: Meyer Lemon Marinated Olives, Red Wine Poached Pear Tarte Tatin
Four Years Ago: Pignoli Cookies

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Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies are lightly spiced and intensely buttery with a chewy, crispy texture. An easy Christmas cookie recipe made even better with brown butter #easy #christmas #cookie #recipe #ginger #molasses #gingersnap
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Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies

This easy recipe for Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies is a delicious twist on a classic gingersnap. These cookies are chewy in the middle, crispy on the outside, have a mild spice and an intense buttery flavor. These are my ultimate holiday cookies! 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 149kcal


  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons or 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cup coarse sugar such as Demerara or Sugar in the Raw or granulated sugar


  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl it around and keep a close eye on it as it sizzles, foams, and eventually begins smelling nutty and turning golden brown. Remove it from the heat, then use a rubber spatula to scrape it into the bowl of a stand mixer (or any medium - large bowl if using a hand mixer). Be sure to scrape out every last bit of browned solids that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan - that's where all the flavor is!
  2. Allow the butter to sit at room temperature until it becomes solid, about an hour or so. You can speed this up in the refrigerator, but you will need the butter to be at room temperature before continuing with the recipe.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Once the butter is solid, beat it over medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating for another 2 minutes. Add the egg, molasses and vanilla, then mix for another minute until combined. 
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients, then mix to just combine, then add the rest and mix until all of the flour is absorbed and the dough is uniform. Don't over-mix or it will make the cookies tough. 
  6. Pour coarse sugar into a small bowl. Scoop out ~2 tablespoon sized balls of dough, then roll them in the sugar to coat. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches between each. For a more flattened cookie, like the ones in my photos, press down on the cookies to flatten just a bit. Otherwise, leave them as is (they will still spread but will be slightly more rounded).
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven and how you like them. Cookies baked for less time will have a softer, chewier texture and those baked longer will be crispier. 


Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Vitamin C: 0.005mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
5 from 4 votes

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  1. 5 stars
    I accidentally wasn't paying attention and added an extra cup of sugar (totally my fault!) but this recipe is AMAZING. Brought them to a movie night with friends and served them at a wine night too and everyone loved them! The brown butter really adds a lovely flavour and I can't wait to try this recipe again with the correct amount of sugar haha