These vegan molasses cookies are soft, chewy and can also be made a little healthier! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. If you don’t need them to be vegan, you can just use an egg.
I feel pretty much alone in my molasses cookies love. It’s like… you tell some people that you’re bringing peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or 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 in a cardboard package with cellophane.
I absolutely loved them! I haven’t had an Archway cookie 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 cookie recipes!
Different flour options
You’ve got lots of options with this recipe. I’ve made them with all-purpose flour, whole spelt flour, white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour and even gluten-free flour.
There’s so much spice and molasses in these cookies that any whole grain taste is covered up. And they certainly don’t taste like cardboard, the way some whole wheat treats do.
If you prefer a grain-free version, these Paleo Gingerbread Cookies are great. They are much spicier than these vegan molasses cookies and are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Can I use cookie cutters?
If you’re not making the gluten-free version, you can make these molasses cookies with cookie cutters. If you want to do that, you really need to chill the dough first for a few hours to make it easier to roll out and handle.
You’ll want to roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper. If it’s too sticky, then knead a bit of flour into the dough. But I’ve never had a problem with that!
They’ll definitely spread a bit, so I wouldn’t recommend any cutters that are too intricate.
In the cookies pictured, I used blackstrap molasses and brown sugar. If you use blackstrap molasses and coconut sugar, your cookies will be darker.
If you use brown sugar and regular molasses, your cookies will be lighter.
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.
Note that if you don’t roll them in sugar, then they likely won’t crackle while baking.
Can I use a regular egg?
Yes! If you’re not vegan, you can replace the chia egg with a regular large egg.
Other vegan egg subs would likely work, but I haven’t tried them. So I can’t guarantee it!
What’s up with blackstrap molasses?
I’ve always used blackstrap molasses in everything and have loved everything I’ve made with it. My paleo + vegan Gingerbread Brownies recipe originally called for blackstrap molasses.
And then I learned that WOW! Some people really hate it.
It appears to be an acquired taste. I shared those gingerbread brownies with a ton of people, and everyone claimed to have loved them and wanted more, so I don’t get it.
So what I’m going to say is this – if you regularly use blackstrap molasses and like the results, you can use it here. If you’ve never tried it before, I recommend going with regular light molasses.
By regular light molasses, I mean the molasses you find in every grocery store. Brands like Grandma’s or Crosby’s. It’s lighter in taste than blackstrap.
Blackstrap is thick, dark and concentrated with spicy overtones. It has an ultra-high mineral content and can be bitter.
Everything I’ve read says not to use it in a recipe unless it specifically calls for it, but I always do. Maybe there are big differences in brands of molasses? Perhaps some are very bitter and others aren’t?
I use the blackstrap molasses from Wholesome, a British brand named Meridien, and a German one from Rapunzel. That one doesn’t specifically say blackstrap (it seems like all brands here are blackstrap), but it looks and tastes just like the other two.
You can use your favorite gluten-free flour mixture that’s a 1:1 substitute for regular all-purpose flour.
I’ve made them with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour but thought the results were better with this homemade mix:
- 188 grams white rice flour
- 68 grams potato starch
- 26 grams tapioca flour/starch
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
There are a few differences when making the gluten-free version. First, 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 also won’t crackle during baking 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 spread quite thin but then puff up. That’s why I said no cutters for the gluten-free version.
My gluten-free molasses cookies were perfectly done at 7 1/2 minutes. Earlier than that and they were uncooked in the middle 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 a cooling rack 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.
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!
Other Vegan Christmas Desserts
With the holidays nearing, it’s always nice to plan ahead for holiday treats, and I have loads of vegan dessert recipes.
- Starting with this Vegan Hot Chocolate! It’s thick, rich and can be naturally sweetened. Paleo option.
- This Vegan Caramel Pecan Cheesecake is such a beauty! It’s also paleo, no-bake, yet rich, creamy and decadent. Plus, it freezes great, so it’s perfect for the holidays.
- This Vegan Chocolate Cake is super moist and fudgy with an easy chocolate ganache frosting. It can be made with gluten-free, whole wheat or all-purpose flour.
- Vegan Fudge is a must at my house! It’s super creamy and made in minutes. It stays solid at room temperature and tastes just like traditional fudge. If you like mint, this Mint Chocolate Fudge Recipe is for you! Both have paleo options.
- These Mini Apple Pies with Caramel have an oatmeal cookie crust are terrific mini Christmas desserts! They’re gluten-free and vegan.
- Speaking of easy recipes! Energy balls are a perfect addition to your holiday treats. They’re all vegan, easy with simple ingredients, and healthy. Find the ones you like here in these easy Sweet Snacks recipes.
- If it’s cookies you want, try these Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies or these Cassava Flour Cookies, which are perfect for the cookie cutters!
That’s it! I hope you enjoy these Vegan Molasses Cookies! If you try them, drop a comment below, I’d love to hear your feedback.
Note: photos updated 11/2021! Here’s an old one.
Vegan Molasses Cookies (gluten-free option)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 16 cookies
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or for gluten-free, see notes below1
- 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) brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) coconut oil2 or another neutral oil
- 6 tablespoons (132 grams) molasses3
- 1 chia egg4
- 1-2 tablespoons orange zest, optional
- 3 tablespoons raw sugar, optional, for rolling
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients except for the 3 tablespoons raw sugar.
- Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir just until combined.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- 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.
- Let the cookies cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- You can use your favorite gluten-free flour mixture that's a 1:1 substitute for regular all-purpose flour. I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-free Baking Flour but thought that the result was better with this homemade mix:
– 188 grams white rice flour
– 68 grams potato starch
– 26 grams tapioca flour/starch
– 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- I used refined coconut oil for no coconut taste. You can use unrefined if you don't mind some coconut taste.
- I used blackstrap molasses, but it seems to be an acquired taste. Unless you know that you like blackstrap molasses, it's safer to use Grandma's or another brand of molasses that's not blackstrap.
- Mix 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water to create the chia egg.
- 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 middle 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 cooling rack 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.