The Difference in Gingerbread vs Molasses Cookies


Both gingerbread cookies and molasses cookies are some of the most popular and widely recognized Christmas cookie recipes. And although there are similarities, there are also differences in gingerbread vs molasses cookies.

Both can be chewy cookies and are made with molasses, but gingerbread contains a gingerbread spice, which is the main differentiating factor between the two recipes. 

Both gingerbread cookies and molasses cookies are popular items that appear at a winter cookie exchange. Let’s take a look at both recipes as well as their similarities and differences. 

What are gingerbread cookies?

Gingerbread cookies are made using ground ginger, which is one of the cozy spices that gives the cookies a distinct flavor. Ginger is one of the best warm spices and a favorite flavor of the holiday season. 

Chewy gingerbread cookies are often cut into shapes, using cookie cutters. But they can also be made into a circular shape using cookie dough balls too. Gingerbread cookies can be made into gingerbread man cookies or gingerbread houses for the ultimate holiday cookie.

Likely at some time or another you’ve enjoyed the sweet flavor of gingerbread, its chewy texture, and the great recipe flavor. And chances are some of the best ginger cookies made an impression on you that you won’t forget. 

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe without Molasses cookies in a circle

What are molasses cookies?

Chewy molasses cookies are known for their delicious and warm flavor. They too are baked cookies that can be made with crispy edges and a chewy interior. Many people list molasses cookies along with the best gingerbread cookies as their favorite Christmas cookie.

Molasses cookies are traditionally made by shaping small balls of dough and baking them on a cookie sheet. After the cookies cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack, they’re ready to be enjoyed. 

chilled gingerbread cookie dough


There are many similarities and differences between gingerbread cookies and molasses cookies. The main similarity is that both types of cookies are made using molasses to create a great cookie. Whether you use light molasses, dark molasses, or blackstrap molasses can alter the depth of the flavor slightly, but chances are these will be some of your all time favorite cookies.

Other similarities include similar ingredients, similar color, and similar flavor profile. 


The main difference between gingerbread and molasses cookies is the use of ground ginger in gingerbread cookies, which isn’t used in molasses cookies. This creates a more intense flavor in the gingerbread. 

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
¾ cup molasses
2 tbsp milk

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe without Molasses cookies in rows


In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined.

Add butter and mix until there are pea-sized pieces. Add milk and molasses. Continue to mix until just moistened.

Remove the dough from the mixer and form it into a ball. Flatten between two sheets of plastic wrap until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap dough and cut with cookie cutters. Place on prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring together any scraps and roll and cut.

Bake cookies on the center rack for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are slightly crispy. Allow gingerbread men to cool on the baking sheet before transferring.

Molasses Cookie Recipe

3/4 cup soft shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

cookie dough with parchment paper


Prepare the wet ingredients first, then slowly add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

​Chill the dough and roll into balls the size of large walnuts. Dip in sugar and bake at 375F for 10 to 12 minutes.

​Makes about 4 dozen, 2 1/2 ” soft molasses cookies. 

​Let cool, then serve and enjoy. 

Cookie Storage

The best way to store fresh cookies for 3-4 days is at room temperature. Once the cookies have fully cooled, place them in an airtight container to help maintain freshness. 

To store either type of cookie for a longer length of time, the freezer is a good solution. Simply transfer your cooled cookies to a freezer bag and transfer them to the freezer to maintain freshness for up to 2 months. 

Other Perfect Christmas Cookies:

Christmastime is a time of year when many celebrations, gatherings and cookie exchanges take place. You can’t go wrong with either of these traditional recipes that we’ve shared above for gingersnap cookies or chewy ginger molasses cookies. 

​However, if you’re looking for more ideas, we have other similar recipes that you might like to try, listed below. Maybe you don’t care for the flavor of molasses, but you can still make gingerbread cookies without the use of molasses. Just follow our delicious recipe below for great results. 

Gingerbread Coffee Creamer Recipe

Pop Tart Gingerbread House

Gingerbread Man Cookie Kit

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Without Molasses

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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