Molasses Cookies (gluten-free, vegan, whole grain options)

Soft and chewy molasses cookies made a little healthier! With gluten-free, vegan, 100% whole grain and dairy-free options. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a how-to recipe video.

Up until last night when I posted this picture on Instagram, I thought I was pretty much alone in my molasses cookie love. It’s like… you tell some people that you’re bringing chocolate chip cookies / peanut butter cookies / anything other than molasses cookies to a party and this is their reaction.

“Aaaah! Thank you! I can’t wait!”

But when I say I’m bringing molasses cookies, I get:

“That would be great. Thank you.”

I don’t get it. Molasses cookies are amazing! When I was in school, sometimes I’d find some Archway molasses cookies in my lunchbox. The kind that came (come?) in a cardboard package with cellophane.

I absolutely loved them! I haven’t had one in ages, but I’m positive that these healthy molasses cookies are just as good or even better and they definitely don’t have any of that funky stuff that pre-packaged cookies tend to have.

If molasses cookies aren’t your thing, check out these other gluten-free cookies recipes!

Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies {gluten-free, vegan, 100% whole grain and dairy-free options} With a how-to recipe video.

This was one of the first recipes I posted on my blog and I’m posting an updated version today with more ingredients options (different types of flours, sugars, and a gluten-free version!) Please read the notes section of the recipe for instructions on how to make the gluten-free recipe.

And if you prefer a grain-free version, these soft and chewy ginger cookies taste similar, although their texture is totally different.

You can make these gluten-free molasses cookies with cookie cutters, too! If you want to do that, you definitely need to chill the dough first for a few hours to make it easier to roll out and handle.

I wish I could say that this recipe is my own original creation but I’ve been making it since I was about 10 years old and have no idea where it came from. I looked for the source but I think I’ve made too many changes over the years to recognize the original. If anyone recognizes it, please let me know!

Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies {gluten-free, vegan, 100% whole grain, dairy-free options} With a how-to recipe video.

Sometimes I like to add a little orange zest but I usually prefer my molasses cookies plain. You can also rub some orange zest in the sugar you use to roll the cookie dough in for an outer orangey sugary coating.

In the cookies pictured, I used blackstrap molasses and brown sugar. If you use coconut sugar or regular molasses, your cookies may be darker or lighter. And if you don’t roll them in sugar, then they likely won’t crackle.

I had to make these molasses cookies six times over the past two months to get the pictures. The cookies keep well for several days and so I figured I’d just make them when I had time and take pictures when a sunny day (or more realistically, a few sunny hours) rolled around.

But sunny days are hard to come by and I love my molasses cookies so I just had to keep re-making them. It wasn’t the worst task. :D

Click below to view the how-to video for these vegan and gluten-free molasses cookies! Or click here to view the video on Facebook. Thanks! :)

Molasses Cookies (gluten-free, 100% whole wheat, dairy-free options)

Rated 4.9 by 23 readers
Molasses Cookies (gluten-free, vegan, whole grain options)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 16 cookies


  • 2 cups (240 grams) whole spelt flour, whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour for the gluten-free version1
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) raw sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar2
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) coconut oil3 or 6 tablespoons (89 milliliters) olive oil (other mild-tasting oils would work, too)
  • 6 tablespoons (132 grams) molasses (I used blackstrap molasses)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams, out of shell) or 1 chia egg for the vegan version
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange zest, optional
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar, for rolling


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients except for the 3 tablespoons raw sugar.
  3. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir just until combined.
  4. Depending on the combination of ingredients used, you may need to refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours or until the dough is firm enough to easily roll into balls. If you used coconut sugar, you must refrigerate the dough (regardless of whether or not it's firm) for at least an hour. The ones pictured were made from non-refrigerated dough. If you refrigerate the dough, the cookies will be a little thicker.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough into 40 gram balls (about 1 1/2"), roll them in the sugar, flatten them a little with the palm of your hand, and bake for 6-9 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


  1. You can use your favorite gluten-free flour mixture that's a 1:1 substitute for regular all-purpose flour. I made my own, which was:
    • 188 grams white rice flour
    • 68 grams potato starch
    • 26 grams tapioca flour / starch
    • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
    Additional notes for the gluten-free version:
    • The dough will be quite wet. You'll need to refrigerate it for 1-2 hours or until firm enough to easily roll into balls.
    • The cookies won't crackle as much as the ones pictured (and may not crackle at all).
    • You do not need to press the cookies down with your palm. They appear to spread quite thin but then puff up.
    • My cookies were perfectly done at 7 1/2 minutes. Earlier than that and they were uncooked in the middles and any longer than that and they became cakey. All ovens are different so I recommend doing one test cookie to make sure 7 1/2 minutes is correct for your oven. The middle should no longer appear wet when they're ready.
    • When you take the cookies out of the oven, slide the piece of parchment paper (along with the cookies) onto the countertop so that they don't continue to bake. If they're firm enough to remove with a spatula, you could also just do that.
    • These don't taste 100% like the ones made with wheat. They have a slightly grainy texture that you sometimes get when you use rice flour. It's really noticeable when you eat them straight from the oven and much less noticeable once they've cooled.
  2. If you use coconut sugar, please weigh it instead of using a 1/2 cup measurement. If you don't have a scale, then pack the 1/2 cup really tightly.
  3. I used refined coconut oil, which doesn't have any coconut taste. If you use unrefined coconut oil, these may have some coconut taste to them.

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118 comments on “Molasses Cookies (gluten-free, vegan, whole grain options)” — Add one!

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  • Jennifer says
    February 8, 2019 @ 9:11 pm

    These cookies are delicious!! They are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I followed the recipe exactly (using all purpose flour and a flax egg) and everyone in my family loved them!!

    • Erin replies to Jennifer
      February 20, 2019 @ 8:19 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! I’m really glad that everyone enjoyed them. :) Thanks for your feedback and sorry again for my slow reply!

  • Katherine says
    December 13, 2018 @ 12:09 am

    What are your thoughts on using this recipe with avocado oil and almond flour? Or are there any other flour substitutes that would work well with this recipe?

    • Erin replies to Katherine
      December 16, 2018 @ 11:16 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! I’ve only tried this recipe with the 5 flour options listed but I’m pretty sure almond flour wouldn’t work. It’s not a sub for wheat flour. Avocado oil should work, though! These paleo gingerbread cookies might work for you. :)

  • Katie says
    December 11, 2018 @ 2:37 am

    These are so ridiculously delicious! They are, without a doubt, my favorite Christmas cookie recipe. I replaced the egg with a flax egg and the flour with King Arthur’s all-purpose flour (and added the 3/4 tsp xanthan gum). It is such a great feeling to have a GF cookie recipe that turns out well reliably. Thank you!

  • Emily K.
    October 1, 2018 @ 5:15 am

    I made these GF using King Arthur Alll Purpose cup for cup blend. It worked so well, my mom loves them too! Soooo good!

    • Erin replies to Emily K.
      October 2, 2018 @ 8:23 pm

      Awesome! I’m so happy that you and your mom enjoyed them! Thanks for the tip on the flour and for your feedback. :)

  • Rebecca
    May 16, 2018 @ 11:03 pm

    These were great! I made the gf/vegan one (my own gf flour) and then tried a 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour one. I was afraid the blackstrap molasses would be bitter but it is surprisingly perfect. 5 stars! Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Rebecca
      May 18, 2018 @ 11:15 am

      You’re welcome! I’m happy that you enjoyed them. :) It’s great to know that the recipe works with other GF flour blends, too. Thanks for your comment!

  • Kerri
    December 24, 2017 @ 12:26 am

    I’ve made these twice now. I used all-purpose flour and an egg. Not too sweet, good taste from the spices, and a bit of salt comes out. So good! My dad doesn’t like cookies, but these he will eat 3 at a time. Thank you for sharing.

    • Erin replies to Kerri
      December 29, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

      Aww, yay! So happy you and your dad enjoyed them. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment and sorry for my slow reply (Christmas chaos got in the way!).

  • Jenna
    December 18, 2017 @ 7:36 pm

    Just made these and I am in love! I used whole wheat flour and egg. They were nice and chewy and I had them in for about 9 minutes. Thank you for the recipe, I’ll definitely be making these again!

    • Erin replies to Jenna
      December 18, 2017 @ 9:09 pm

      So happy to hear that! Thanks a bunch for your comment. :)

  • Jessica says
    December 18, 2017 @ 5:14 pm

    I’m making these for my in-laws who have major dietary restrictions due to medical reasons. I’ve never had to bake anything gluten-free and vegan before, so I’m a little lost. Would Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour work for this? The flour doesn’t contain xanthate gum, so I’m assuming I’ll have to purchase some to add, right? Any help is appreciated! Thanks :)

    • Jessica replies to Jessica
      December 18, 2017 @ 5:17 pm

      *Xanthan gum, sorry!

    • Erin replies to Jessica
      December 18, 2017 @ 9:09 pm

      You usually don’t need to add xanthan gum when using that 1 to 1 flour. I’ve had great results with it in place of wheat flour (which you’d be doing here) so I’m thinking it would work but since I haven’t tried it, I can’t guarantee it. My only worry is that the result may be a little grainy or gritty. The dough is super thick and sometimes that happens with that flour and thick doughs. If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes. :)

  • Nick says
    December 17, 2017 @ 10:02 pm

    Hi, my mixture has been in the fridge for over 1 hour and it’s flaky. There’s no way balls will hold together. What do I do??

    • Erin replies to Nick
      December 17, 2017 @ 10:18 pm

      Flaky? None of the commenters have ever mentioned that. I also just made them tonight and while the dough is quite thick, it shouldn’t be flaky! Did you make any subs or changes to the recipe at all? You could try mixing in a little liquid (water or milk), a bit at a time, until it holds together.

  • MichelleW
    November 22, 2017 @ 3:47 am

    These cookies are the perfect mix of spicy, sweet, and salty. I love the flavor! I made them tonight, and have eaten too many, LOL. I am going to make these again. Oh, and they look so pretty. That extra step of rolling them in sugar is worth the pretty result. I used whole wheat pastry flour, and you wouldn’t know it. Thanks :)

    • Erin replies to MichelleW
      November 24, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

      I’m so happy that they worked out well! I also love the look when rolled in sugar. :) Thanks a bunch for your feedback!

  • Ren says
    October 2, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

    Sounds delish! How would I adjust this recipe for high altitude baking? Did you melt the coconut oil first before measuring? Or scoop it as a dry ingredient?

    • Erin replies to Ren
      October 2, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

      Thanks! You can measure the coconut oil before or after melting – it’s the same. :) And I unfortunately have zero experience with high altitude baking but I think this guide might be helpful! Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.

  • Olga
    September 14, 2017 @ 10:37 am

    Thank you so much!!! They came out delicious and perfectly crackled. I used your GF flour mix, put in some dry mandarin zest and maple sugar for coating. They were still soft and chewy after 11 minutes in the oven. I could hardly stop eating them after the 4th one:)

    • Erin replies to Olga
      September 17, 2017 @ 7:33 pm

      Oooh! That sounds delicious. I’m so happy you liked them! Thanks for your comment. :)


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