Soft and chewy and bursting with spice, these gluten-free molasses cookies boast a pillowy, tender texture. I've also shared a double chocolate version of this cookie here!
Let's just get one thing straight: these are not gingersnaps. Not that there's anything wrong with gingersnaps. They're light, crispy, crunchy; just the thing for dunking in a mug of tea, or grinding with butter to make into a crust for pumpkin cheesecake squares, say. In fact, I have a recipe for GF gingersnaps in my book Alternative Baker.
These soft gluten-free molasses cookies just aren't them.
Soft & Chewy Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies
These gluten-free ginger molasses cookies are incredibly moist, chewy, and tender in a way that glutenous cookies can only wish for. A generous pour of dark molasses keeps them soft for days, while adding deep, rich coffee notes that play off cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. They are little pillows of spicy love.
I adapted this recipe from three different sources: Alice Medrich's wheat-free Ginger Cookies from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, my own tests with gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and the aforementioned favorite Baking Illustrated version, which I played with three years ago. You can certainly make any variation posted there too: dredged in orange sugar, flecked with gooey chocolate chunks, or gingered up with candied and freshly grated ginger.
Ingredients for the Best GF Molasses Cookies
- Butter makes these cookies moist and soft. I make these with melted (rather than softened) butter, meaning you just whisk everything together. For a dairy-free variation, use a plant-based butter instead. Miyoko's vegan butter is my favorite!
- An egg adds moisture and structure.
- Granulated and brown sugars (light or dark) make these cookies just sweet enough. I prefer organic sugar which has larger crystals and extra molasses flavor.
- Molasses gives these cookies their signature rich taste and chewy texture. I've used unsulphured and blackstrap and both work great. Lighter molasses will make the cookies sweeter and lighter in color but will likely work too.
- Vanilla adds flavor along with the classic spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and a little black pepper. A hit of salt sharpens the flavors.
- A trio of gluten-free flours stands in for all-purpose. Sweet rice flour helps the dough hold together, oat flour adds whole-grain goodness and a fluffy crumb, and tapioca flour makes them extra chewy.
- Baking soda helps the cookies lift and spread, forming pretty cracks on top.
How to make Soft & Chewy GF Molasses Cookies
Cookies are particularly sensitive to small variations in ingredient amounts, as well as dough and oven temperature. When this dough is first mixed, it is gooey and soft, more like a quick bread batter. If you can wrestle it into a ball, roll it in sugar, and get it onto a baking sheet, it will spread generously in the heat of the oven; not quite flat as a pancake, but close. The texture will also have a vaguely gluten-free quality.
If you can bear it, cover the dough and chill it for at least an hour or two, or, even better, for one to two days. The starches in the flours will absorb moisture from the dough and swell, making for a smoother, sturdier dough. Now when you form the firm dough into balls, they will spread and puff into thick and chewy, crinkled pillows. Their mouthfeel will be smooth, almost creamy on the inside.
I love that this recipe uses melted butter that gets simply stirred together with the other ingredients rather than creamed in a stand mixer. It takes about 5 minutes to mix up. You can weigh your ingredients right into one bowl and have minimal washing up to do afterwards.
The key to the pretty cracked tops is to bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the top rack. Bake them until the edges start to set but the centers are soft, puffed, and cracked.
These gluten-free molasses cookies keep beautifully when properly under-baked; I like them even better on days 2 and 3 when the flavors have melded even more. And they make tasty, if messy, impromptu ice cream sandwiches, too.
Looking for more gluten-free cookie recipes? Try these:
- Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Crunchy Gluten Free Biscotti with Hazelnuts & Chocolate
- GF Lemon Bars
- Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan & Gluten Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten Free Blondies with Cranberries and Chestnut Flour
- Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Cookies
- Flourless Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
- Gluten Free Rugelach
- Find more gluten-free cookie recipes in my cookbook Alternative Baker!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free ginger molasses cookie recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses CookiesPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 cup GF oat flour (such as Bob's Red Mill) (4 1/2 ounces)
- 3/4 cup sweet rice flour (such as Koda Farms Mochiko) (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (such as Bob's Red Mill) (1 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and kept warm (4 ounces)
- 1/3 cup molasses (I use dark unsulphured) (3 1/2 ounces)
- 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar (2 1/4 ounces)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (preferably organic cane sugar), plus another 1/3 cup for rolling the cookies (2 1/4 ounces)
- 1 large egg (2 ounces out of shell)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, sift together the oat, sweet rice, and tapioca flours with the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, and salt.
- In a large bowl, stir together the butter, molasses, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture with a sturdy wooden spoon. Once the flour is incorporated, stir vigorously for 40 strokes - this activates the stickiness of the flours and makes for chewy cookies.
- Cover the dough and chill until firm, 1-2 hours or preferably 1-2 days.
- When you're ready to bake, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line 2 rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Scoop the cookies into 1" balls (a spring-loaded #40 ice cream scoop works wonders) and roll each ball in the sugar. Place the balls at least 2" apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are puffed and cracked, and the dough between the cracks looks underbaked, 7-10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes to ensure even baking. Repeat with the second sheet.
- Let the cookies cool slightly on the sheet (or if they've been overcooked, whisk the parchment and cookies straight off the sheet and onto a cooling rack), then use a thin, metal spatula to remove the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely (the cookies will still be baking from residual heat), then store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.