cookies dessert Featured gluten-free

Ginger Molasses Cookies [Lightened-Up]

December 17, 2019

A recipe for ginger molasses cookies, made with unrefined coconut sugar, light on the butter and a zesty spice mix. Sub gluten-free flour for a gluten-free alternative or keep regular for an equally delicious cookie recipe, lightened-up!

Healthier Ginger Molasses Cookies lightened-up with better for you ingredients!

I am full on obsessed with these ginger molasses cookies. They might be my favorite Christmas cookie. They’re soft and chewy and perfectly cracked along the top. Love when that happens! Fun fact: one of my favorite cookies in the world is the Starbucks Ginger Molasses Cookies. Holy cow those are good. From time to time I might by one but it’s actually not that hard to make them at home – and even better you get to decide what goes into them! 

Cookie Troubleshooting

Are your cookies spreading like crazy during baking?

There are a few reasons this could be happening. If you melted your butter in the microwave instead of just allowing it to come to room temperature, your cookies could spread. You also could have too much liquid in your cookie dough. Your ratio of fat and flour might be off – make sure you have enough flour in your dough to absorb the melted fat. Lucky for you, I’ve tested and perfected all of the ratios in this recipe to ensure no spreading! I know it’s tempting to adjust the recipe…but don’t 😉

Are your cookies cracking too much? Or not cracking? 

I’m always aiming for the perfectly cracked ginger molasses cookie. Again, I’ve perfected the ratios, baking temperatures and baking times for this recipe but those are all things to look into if you’re having trouble with other recipes! Your oven might not be hot enough, you may have added too much flour or you may have mixed the dough too much. 

Ingredients in Ginger Molasses Cookies

    • butter – pick up unsalted butter and make sure it’s softened (aka left at room temperature). 
    • coconut sugar 
    • molasses – make sure you choose unsulphured molasses. Some molasses is processed with sulphur dioxide to help preserve it but leaves a chemical flavor so stick to unsulphured! 
    • egg
    • flour – I used gluten-free but you can use traditional all-purpose flour if you’d like. 
    • baking soda – necessary for the cookies to rise. 
    • seasonings and spices – sea salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cracked black pepper. 

Lightened-Up Ginger Molasses Cookies

Like I said, the Starbucks Ginger Molasses Cookies are so insanely addictive! That’s why I decided to make some adjustments to the recipe to lighten it up. Here are some changes I made:

  • I cut the butter in half – you can 100% get away with using a 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 a cup of butter. If you’re not eating dairy you can sub room-temp coconut oil
  • I cut the sugar in half – instead of a cup of sugar, I used 1/2 cup. Reserve a 1/4 cup for rolling the cookies but to be honest you won’t use a a full 1/4 cup for this
  • I substituted coconut sugar for refined sugar – coconut sugar, while still sugar is unrefined so our bodies have less of a glycemic load while consuming it i.e. no sugar crash
  • Try gluten-free– I’ve tested this recipe with a gluten-free flour blend and they still turn out great. Just make sure your blend doesn’t have coconut flour in it otherwise your mixture will be too dry


Ginger Molasses Cookies [Lightened-Up]

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 dozen cookies 1x


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (reserve 1/4 cup for rolling)
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups regular white flour*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • pinch of cracked black pepper

*feel free to sub gluten-free flour – they’ve been tested and work


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  3. Combine butter and 1/2 cup coconut sugar.
  4. Add in molasses and egg and stir until well combined.
  5. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and spices.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry until well combined.
  7. Add remaining 1/4 cup coconut sugar to a bowl.
  8. Roll dough into 12 balls and roll each one in coconut sugar.
  9. Place on baking sheet and flatten firmly with palm.
  10. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until done to liking (14 for softer cookies and 16 for crispier)
  11. Let cool on sheet for 5 mins before removing to cool on a wire rack.
  12. Will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Like this recipe? Here are others you might enjoy:


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  • Reply
    October 10, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Hi! Would it be possible to use whole wheat flour/almond flour/oat flour instead of white flour?
    And can I use maple syrup instead of molasses?
    And baking powder instead of baking soda?

  • Reply
    Christmas cookie
    March 28, 2020 at 6:23 am

    I’m officially now doing 3 cookie bake-offs! Time to start baking!!! I looooove Marzipan!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Is a serving just 1 cookie?

    • Reply
      Davida Lederle
      December 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      It’s as many cookies as you would like it to be 😉

  • Reply
    September 30, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Aaaaand you’re already a trim Healthy Mama! Time for me to go to bed. ?

  • Reply
    September 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Oh wait! I know what I’m missing. I used Trim Healthy Mama’s Baking Blend for the flour, and I just realized that that baking blend has coconut flour in it. You know, coconut flour, which requires far more liquid in order to play nice in recipes than most other flours. Haha! Case solved! ?

  • Reply
    September 30, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Hello Davida,

    While putting these together, I’ve been sneaktasting the dough (sneak? But I’m the cook!), and the taste is very good.

    I thought I followed your recipe to a “T’, but the dough is awfully dry. I find that I need to add another quarter cup of butter in order to make these stick together when I roll them. Looking over the recipe, it seems there is not enough liquid content for the dry content.

    Am I missing something?


  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Hi. You stated to use gluten free flour. Does this mean I can use any type, coconut, almond, tapioca etc or should it be an all purpose gluten free flower mix. Thank you.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Yum I can’t wait to make these!!! When shit hits the fan — do exactly what you did! Take care of yo self then you can take care of others (aka provide us with amazing recipes) xx

  • Reply
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs
    December 2, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Ginger molasses cookies are BY FAR my favourite cookie EVER.

    I’m pretty sure totaling your car = at least a bottle of wine.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Whittemore
    December 2, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Cannot wait to try these! I always LOVED those candy cane twist cookies! I also love just plain ol sugar cookies at christmas

  • Reply
    Matina @ A Dancer's Live-It
    December 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

    These look so delicious Davida!! No need to apologize for being MIA, you just went on a road trip and life happens! I could never forget about your blog <3 My favorite holiday cookie is probably a peanut butter blossom. 🙂

  • Reply
    Julia @ Peanut Butter & Julia
    December 2, 2016 at 8:48 am

    These look AMAZING! I’m going to a Cookie Exchange Christmas party next weekend, and I’m totally bringing these! Thank for the recipe :). When life gets the best of me I like to take a step back and do something for myself, like get a facial!

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