Soft molasses-raisin cookies: A refreshing summer combo

Nothing beats the simple pleasure of a soft, nicely spicy molasses cookie with a glass of cold milk.

Or a cup of hot coffee.

Or a tall, icy pitcher of fresh-made lemonade.

Lemonade? Get outta town!

Ah, ’tis true, oh disbelieving reader. Molasses cookies and lemonade go together like a horse and carriage – to cite an obsolete pairing

Or like tea and crumpets – if you’re in Merrie Olde.

How about like chocolate cake and milk? Now there’s something we can all relate to (excuse me, to which we can all relate; apologies to Mrs. McGuirk, my 8th grade English teacher, without WHOM I wouldn’t be the grammarian I am today).

This particular molasses cookie recipe happens to be one of my favorites. It’s definitely in the soft/moist camp; if you’re looking for a crunchy ginger/molasses cookie, this ain’t it. (But this is: Gingersnaps.)

Bake up a batch of these cookies and, while they’re in the oven, squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon into a glass. Add sugar to taste; ice cubes, and enough water to make perfect lemonade: not too weak, not too strong.

Grab a warm molasses cookie off its cookie sheet, take a bite, and follow with a refreshing sip of ice-cold lemonade.

Do you hear the angels singing?

Quick, preheat your oven to 350°F; we’re going to make Soft Molasses-Raisin Cookies.

Place the following in the work bowl of a food processor:

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup raisins, golden or regular
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Vietnamese preferred)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Process until the raisins are chopped, though not finely ground.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor and don’t mind your raisins remaining whole, skip this step.

What’s that – you don’t like raisins?

Not unusual; according to informal polls I’ve taken over the years, upwards of 50% of people just don’t care for raisins: no way, no how.

If you’re one of them, this might be a good recipe to test if you REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like raisins. Here, they practically disappear into the cookie, lending it moist texture and caramel-y sweetness without the usual “sticky/lumpy” raisin texture.

But if you’re absolutely convinced you don’t like raisins – cut to the chase and make these Cape Cod Soft Molasses Cookies, instead.

OK, if you’re still with us – let’s continue.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until they’re well-combined.

Add 1/4 cup molasses…

…and 1 large egg.

Beat until well combined.

Add the flour/raisin mixture to the wet ingredients…

…beating just until thoroughly combined.

Scoop the sticky dough into 1″ balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.

Roll the balls in coarse white sugar, if desired. The sugar will provide pleasingly complementary crunch to the soft cookies; you’ll need about 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup sugar.

What’s an easy way to do this? Sprinkle the sugar into an 8″ cake pan, and drop the sticky dough into the pan.

Shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar.

Space the cookies on a couple of large, parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheets, leaving about 2″ between them.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes (if you’re baking on a dark cookie sheet without parchment), or 9 to 11 minutes (on a parchment-lined sheet).

The centers will look soft and puffy; that’s OK. Cookies baked for the shorter amount of time will be VERY soft; bake them longer for a firmer (though still “bendy”) cookie.

Remove the cookies from the oven; their centers will settle.

Cool the cookies right on the pan; or, if you need the pan, wait several minutes for them to firm up, then transfer them to a rack to cool.

Can’t you just taste these spicy gems?

Don’t forget the lemonade!

Oh, and BTW – I put the following creation in the running for BEST TREAT EVER: a pair of soft molasses cookies sandwiched around Häagen-Dazs rum-raisin ice cream.

Raisins in the cookies, raisins in the ice cream… and heck, rum and molasses are an historical couple. In fact, many classic molasses cookie recipes include a hit of rum, a throwback to the days when molasses from the Caribbean was distilled into rum in villages all over New England.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Soft Molasses-Raisin Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. ebenezer94

    Yuuuummmm. I’ve been looking for the perfect soft molasses cookie for awhile now. This one looks promising (as I like raisins). Looking forward to trying it soon.

  2. mikest

    Yum PJ! I love molasses cookies, and I LOVE raisins in my baked good, tho I know serveral people that don’t do fruit baked into A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! 🙂

    I’ll whip up a batch at lunch, got all the stuff in my kitchen!

    Oh, and I’m right there with you on 8th grade grammar teachers…

  3. mikest

    Okay, I made them… Mmmm, just as good as the other molasses cookie recipe, but here I get raisins in it!!! Can you tell which raisin camp I stand in??? 🙂

    Mine were baked til they were puffy and looked dry on the outside and they didn’t fall all that much.

    Thanks for the recipe PJ!

    Enjoy, Mike! Be sure to mix up some fresh lemonade… PJH

  4. Bridgid

    PJ – you had me at soft molasses cookies, you add in the raisins and I am thrilled. But when you wrap the cookies around rum raisin ice cream, well, I simply said “Oh my goodness.” I am so there! And if you think HD’s rum raisin is good, I promise this week to post on this blog entry my recipe for rum raisin ice cream.

    I’ll be on tenterhooks, Bridgid – I never thought I’d like rum raisin ice cream – until I tried it, and was hooked! Thanks for connecting – PJH

  5. Geographee

    I am very eager to try out this recipe, because it sounds divine. Would it be possible to substitute some or all of the flour called for with white whole wheat?

    Absolutely, I think that would be an easy substitution. You might want to start with half www, see how you like them, then increase from there. Enjoy! PJH

  6. ssuch535558

    Sounds yummy to me. I like golden raisins, but I don’t know if my daughter would (she loves soft molasses cookies) care for them.

    I think I will make them next week then mail them to her and her family. I am thinking, though, of switching the coating sugar from white to demerra (more molasses). What do ya’ll think?

    I was very careful with my prepositions, but could not resist a ya’ll. Actually, when speaking I usually say you all. LOL (-:

    I think demerara sounds delicious – and a nice match. And I’ll go with y’all – I always prefer the informal! PJH

  7. Bridgid

    Rum Raisin Ice Cream – adapted from Bruce Weinstein
    Makes about 1 quart

    1 ½ cups soft plump raisins – I use dark & sultanas
    1/3 cup gold rum – or enough to cover the raisins
    1 cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 tablespoon KAF flour all purpose
    1 ½ cups half & half
    1 cup heavy cream

    Cover the raisins with the rum and let macerate for 1 hour minimum. (I tend to do this for an overnight.)
    Beat the sugar into the eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in flour and set aside.

    In heavy saucepan over medium heat bring half & half to boil. Lower heat to low and slowly beat some half & half into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the half & half & egg mixture back into pan and continuously stir over the low heat. Stir until custard thickens slightly, and be careful to not let it boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from heat and pour the hot custard through a sieve into a large clean bowl. (I use a 4 cup measuring glass with a spout.) Allow to cool slightly, and add in raisins, rum and cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until very cold.

    Freeze in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer instructions. The ice cream will be soft, for firmer ice cream put in container and freeze for a few hours.


    Bridgid, Bridgid… you’re killin’ me! Oh, my, does this look good. Next time I get my hands on an ice cream maker, watch out! 🙂 PJH

  8. Aaron Frank

    PJ you’re a genius! Using cake pans for rolling the cookies in sugar is fantastic! And I bet they work equally as well for dredging in flour. You’ve changed my life!

    I’ll have to try this recipe. The cookies look blonder than most molasses cookies. And we love raisins.


    Aaron, these are rather light for molasses cookies,you’re right. They’re just plain tasty – not too molasses-y, not too spicy, but spicy enough. I REALLY like these; they’re my go-=to soft molasses cookie. Enjoy! PJH

  9. aoifeofcheminnoir

    I love soft molasses cookies! I also would use Demarra sugar. I think using golden raisins and “forgetting” to mention them
    would slide right under the anti-raisin people since you really wouldn’t notice them ’cause the colors would blend in…right?
    You bet! Elisabeth

  10. ginnysoucybeck

    I want these cookies so bad I can almost taste them…..but I’m allergic to wheat. I used to purchase a cookie similar to this from a gluten free bakery, but they have stopped selling them. They were very expensive to purchase from the bakery. I think I will experiment with the recipe using a gluten free all purpose baking mix.
    That would be a good start. Also, you may need to cut down on the sugar and fat by 1/8 – 1/4 X. Let us know how it goes! Elisabeth

  11. pdzielinski

    Can these be made to the stage where they are rolled in the sugar, and then frozen to bake later? If so, what do I do different at the baking stage?

    Sure – I’d let them thaw for 30 minutes or so on the pan, then bake – you may need to add a minute or so to the baking time. Bake ONE first, to make sure you get it right – then continue with the others. PJH

  12. KAF_MaryJane

    I remember reading in my Trixie Belden books that her neighbor would give them Dutch Windmill cookies and lemonade. I love having ginger cookies and lemonade, so these are on my list now. 🙂 ~ MJ

    HA – I remember both Trixie Belden and Dutch Windmill cookies. You must be older than I thought, kiddo – 🙂 PJH

  13. ebenezer94

    Wow, yummy. I made these today (Happy Canada Day everyone) and they came out great, slightly dehydrated raisins and all. Thanks for highlighting this recipe in the blog. It’s a keeper! Chopping the raisins in the food processor is genius because although I love the flavor of raisins in cookies, sometimes they end up sticking way up out of the cookies and burn, which I find less delightful. I’ll have to try that with oatmeal cookies.

    So glad we were able to add something to your “favorites” list – and I’m sure chopping the raisins will work just as well in your oatmeal cookies. Enjoy – PJH

  14. Taves

    Made these and they were really good. Loved them! I didn’t have the chunky sugar so I just used regular sugar. That part didn’t turn out as well, but who cares. So tasty!

    Definitely a keeper recipe, isn’t it? Glad you agree! PJH

  15. Stacy

    This recipe sounds like it will satisfy my craving, but can I leave out the raisins? I know you recommended the other recipe for those who don’t care for raisins, but this one is more appealing to me. Also, I don’t have crystallized ginger on hand and the black pepper… well just not willing to cross that bridge yet. Lastly, how can I get these thicker? Thanks!

    Sure, leave out the raisins, crystallized ginger, and black pepper; you’ll get fewer cookies by leaving out the raisins and ginger, and they won’t be as moist. How to make them thicker? You’ll change the texture and flavor quite significantly, but you could try swapping 1/3 cup vegetable shortening for the butter, and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; no guarantees, but that’s where I’d start. Good luck – PJH

  16. Laura

    For recipes with raisins, I wusually soak the raisins in water for 15 min then drain, so they don’t pull moisture out of the other ingredients. Do you think this would be better for this recipe? I am using whole raisins. Thank you.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I don’t think it’s necessary, but also don’t think it would hurt – go for it! PJH

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