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Sourdough Ginger Molasses Cookies (Soft and Chewy)

Soft and chewy on the inside, a tad crispy on the outside, with plenty of warm gingerbread spices and a sugary crackled top… Hellooo yum! Sourdough ginger molasses cookies are everything you’re hoping for, and more. They fit right in around the winter holidays, but are fantastic and welcome any time of year.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that these sourdough ginger molasses cookies are not only the most delicious cookies I’ve personally made, but perhaps among the best I’ve eaten, ever. I realize that is a bold statement to make, so I guess you’ll have to give the recipe a try and let me know what you think! Even if they don’t end up to be your all-time favorite, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Should I use active sourdough starter or discard to make sourdough ginger molasses cookies?

You can use either active sourdough starter or sourdough starter discard for this sourdough ginger molasses cookies recipe. We’ve made them both ways and didn’t notice a huge difference between the two. Either way, use 100% hydration sourdough starter – or one that has been fed equal parts water and flour by weight (or about twice the flour as water by volume).

Tips: When using active sourdough starter (recently fed), add the starter to the recipe once it has reached peak activity (bubbly and fully risen) – just like you would when baking sourdough bread. As for discard, feel free to use discarded starter that hasn’t been fed in the last couple of weeks, but avoid using realllly neglected starter (that has gone 3+ weeks without care).

Need sourdough starter? Learn how to make your own starter from scratch here. Or, pick up an organic sourdough starter from our shop here – an easy and virtually foolproof way to get going! If you’re looking for other ways to use discarded starter, see our list of the 15 Best Sourdough Discard Recipes here.

A glass swing top container full of active sourdough starter is shown, a blue silicon spoon is inserted into the fluffy starter. Next to the starter lies a metal bowl with the wet ingredients of the sourdough cookies.
Adding sourdough starter to the other “wet” dough ingredients.

Are sourdough ginger molasses cookies good for you?

Well, as a cookie with plenty of butter and sugar, I wouldn’t necessarily call them “healthy” per se. (Everything in moderation, right?) Yet this recipe has several added health benefits over other classic cookies!

First of all, molasses is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that are otherwise missing in refined sugar, including calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and vitamin B6. Even more, ginger is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, known for its numerous health benefits. In fact, ginger can help regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, ease upset stomaches and aid in digestion.

Last but not least, any baked good that includes sourdough starter is better for you than its equivalent without starter. Sourdough starter culture, when allowed to ferment the ingredients around it (e.g. flour and sugar) has been proven to reduce the glycemic index and gluten content and in turn increase nutrient bioavailability and digestibility of the resulting baked good. Learn more about that in this article.

A close up image of sourdough ginger molasses cookies on a cooling rack with a small plate beyond with a few cookies on it, one of them having been torn in half, revealing the soft inside.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg (optional but recommended)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white cane sugar (plus extra for rolling the cookie dough balls in later)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 12 Tbsp butter, softened or room temperature (not melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup molasses, unsulphured
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 100% hydration, active or discard (see notes above)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (or ginger chips) – for an extra ginger kick! 

This recipe makes about 30-32 sourdough ginger molasses cookies.  

DeannaCat is holding a bottle of organic molasses over a metal bowl of some mixed ingredients for cookies.
This is our favorite organic unsulphured molasses. Buy it online here


Mixing the Dough

  • First, combine all dry ingredients in a bowl: the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well.

  • In a separate bowl, mix together the softened butter and both sugars. I like to cut the butter into about 1 Tbsp tabs before adding it to the sugar, which seems to help everything mix more smoothly.

  • Once the sugars and butter are combined, beat in the egg followed by the called-for molasses and vanilla

  • Finally, add the sourdough starter to the “wet” bowl. Mix thoroughly.

  • Next, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet bowl, stirring to combine as you go. Fold and stir until everything is just incorporated, but do not over mix.

  • If you’re adding the optional chopped crystallized ginger bits, mix those in now. Tip: After cutting up larger cubes of crystallized ginger, I like to toss the pieces around together on the cutting board so the loose sugar from the “crust” can coat each smaller piece, helping them to not all stick together.

  • Cover and refrigerate the dough to chill for at least 2 hours, or up to a couple days. Use saran wrap, or better yet, a reusable beeswax wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. We typically make our cookie dough one afternoon, let it chill overnight, and then bake the cookies the following day. Remember, the longer that sourdough is allowed to sit and ferment, the healthier it is for you too.

  • You can also freeze the raw cookie dough for up to 3 months, and bake sourdough ginger molasses cookies later!

A mixture of egg, sugar, a butter has been throughly mixed into a thick oatmeal like texture. Molasses is being poured over the top, accentuating the light color of the mixture and the dark color of the molasses.
Adding molasses and vanilla to the already-mixed sugar, butter and egg.
Mixed together sugar, butter, and molasses with sourdough starter poured over the top in a slight swirl fashion. A metal utensil is in the mixture, ready to combine all the ingredients together.
Mixing in the sourdough starter.
A stainless steel 1/4 cup measuring cup is poised over the metal bowl of cookie dough.
Adding optional chopped crystalized ginger (the ginger cubes were much larger to begin with, before cutting into smaller pieces).
A metal bowl containing the dough for sourdough molasses ginger cookies. It is dark brown in color with just a bit of the dough stuck to the side of the bowl along with specks of flour.
The final mixed sourdough ginger molasses cookie dough, before chilling.
A blue, green, and pink plaid colored homemade beeswax wrap is covering a bowl.
I covered the bowl of dough with a homemade beeswax wrap before putting it in the fridge, which will help prevent the dough from drying out.

Baking the Cookies

  • Keep the sourdough ginger molasses cookie dough in the refrigerator up until you’re ready to form and bake the cookies.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 

  • Add about half a cup of white sugar to a small separate bowl.

  • Pinch and roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and then roll the balls in sugar until they’re lightly but evenly coated. 

  • Place the cookie dough balls in your baking sheet, spaced at least 3” apart (or 12 cookies per sheet). 

  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies start to spread and the tops start to crack. Note that they’ll continue to flatten and crackle as they cool too. Bake for a shorter time (9-10 minutes) if you didn’t add crystalized ginger and/or prefer an extra gooey cookie, and slightly longer (11-12 minutes) if you did add crystallized ginger and/or for a more set cookie – though still plenty soft!

  • Remove from the oven, but allow the cookies to stay and rest on the hot baking sheet for 4 or 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack thereafter. 

  • Enjoy your chewy sourdough ginger molasses cookies fresh within 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Store the cookies in a sealed container.

An up close image of a dough ball that is going to be rolled in a bowl of sugar. Part of the dough ball already has a sugar coating but it will soon be rolled around in the sugar to fully cover it.
A baking sheet lined with parchment paper has dough balls spaced a couple inches apart so there will be twelve on a tray. They have been rolled in sugar before placing on the sheet. A white ceramic bowl sits off to the side, halfway full of sugar and a dough ball sitting in the middle.
A sourdough ginger molasses cookie is being suspended by a metal spatula in the center of the image. Below, out of focus, lies a cooling rack with many cookies cooling off, there are crystalized ginger chunks, cinnamon sticks, and a partially visible plate of cookies.
A tray of cookies resting on a cooling rack, their tops have some irregular cracks and sugar crystals throughout.
Three sourdough ginger molasses cookies stacked on a white ceramic plate. One of them has been torn in half, one half propped up on the other two. There are crystalized ginger chunks and a cinnamon stick in the background behind the cookies.

Oh my ginger goodness gracious.

I hope you love these sourdough ginger molasses cookies just as much as we do. Please stop back by for a review after you try them! Also please share or pin this article to help spread the sourdough love. We appreciate you tuning in today. Happy baking!

Don’t miss our other delicious sourdough recipes:

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4.78 from 48 votes

Sourdough Ginger Molasses Cookies (Soft and Chewy)

Soft and chewy on the inside, a tad crispy on the outside, with plenty of warm gingerbread spices and a sugary crackled top… These sourdough ginger molasses cookies are quite possibly the most delicious cookies we've ever made. Enjoy!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time11 minutes
Chill Time2 hours
Course: Dessert, Sourdough
Keyword: Sourdough cookies, sourdough ginger cookies, sourdough ginger molasses cookies, sourdough molasses cookies
Servings: 30 cookies (approximately)


  • Mixing bowls
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper or silicone cookie sheet liner


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional but recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (soft at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup molasses (unsulphured)
  • 1/2 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter, discard or active
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
  • extra white sugar, for rolling cookie dough balls in


  • First combine all of the dry ingredients: the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
  • In a separate bowl, combine both sugars and the slightly softened butter. Mix well.
  • In another small bowl, whisk the egg. Then add the egg, vanilla, and molasses to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the sourdough starter to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl. Fold and stir until everything is just incorporated, but do not over mix.
  • Stir in the optional crystallized ginger pieces.
  • Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to a couple days. Cover the bowl to prevent the dough from drying out.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Add about half a cup of sugar to small separate bowl.
  • Pinch and roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll the balls in sugar until they’re lightly but evenly coated.
  • Place the cookie dough balls about 3 inches apart (12 per sheet) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes*. Note that they will continue to flatten and crackle on top as they cool. (See notes below)
  • Allow the cookies to cool for several minutes on the baking pan, and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
  • Store leftovers at room temperature in an air-tight container for several days (up to a week), or freeze extras for up to three months.


Bake for a shorter time (9-10 minutes) if you didn’t include crystallized ginger, and/or for a more gooey cookie. Bake for 11-12 minutes if you did add crystallized ginger, and/or for a more set cookie. 

DeannaCat signature, keep on growing


  • Dessa Bailey

    Hi, is there something I can substitute for the egg? Has anyone tried the flax egg version? I am highly allergic to eggs and gluten and was hoping to find a good recipe.

    Thanks for the great website and information by the way!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Dessa, I think someone further down in the comments/reviews did use a flax or chia egg. Good luck on the recipe and let us know how it turns out.

  • Trisha S

    5 stars
    Hands down these are the best ginger cookies i’ve ever made. Soft, chewy and so, so, so good. I love how they use sour dough starter so I can use up discard from my sourdough (purchased my starter from Homestead & chill! So easy to rehydrate and use). Everyone that eats these cookies comments on how amazing they are.

    Thank you for offering such amazing recipes and gardening resources! You are my #1 favorite blog.

  • Kayte

    5 stars
    I attempted to make a gluten free version of this recipe and it came out GREAT!!! The initial batter seemed a little dry so I ended up using 3/4 cup gf starter instead of 1/2 cup. I made sure my starter was at peak activity. For the all purpose flour, I used Better Batter’s original cup for cup replacement. I couldn’t find candied ginger anywhere and ended up making my own. I used Alton Brown’s recipe and it was so easy!!! It only took an hour and was so much more cost effective than buying it already made. I’ll definitely be making these cookies again!

  • Emmy

    4 stars
    Just made these and they taste amazing but the texture is clearly wrong… They didn’t crack just melted into really flat thin discs. They’re also pretty oily feeling. Any ideas where I went wrong? I tried re-chilling the dough balls after I rolled them in the sugar but that didn’t make any difference… The flavor is so good I really want to get them right!

    • DeannaCat

      Hi Emmy! Sourdough cookies can be a bit more tricky than standard ones since everyone’s sourdough starter culture is different too. I’ve seen these come out quite flat, while other folks turn out fluffy and tall! Ours even vary from batch to batch sometimes. If yours were on the wet/flat side, you could try to add more flour (a couple tablespoons or up to a 1/4 cup more), and/or reduce the molasses to 1/4 cup instead of a 1/3, and also bake them on the longer side of the suggested spectrum. I hope that helps, and I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor!

      • Emmy

        Thank you! Just pulled the recipe out to make again this year (it was so tasty we didn’t care that they were flat!), and I’ll try some some more flour this time!

  • James

    5 stars
    Ginger molasses cookies are my favorite, and these are the best I’ve ever made! Followed the recipe exactly (except added an additional teaspoon of ginger) and they came out perfectly. Definitely don’t skip chilling the dough, it made a huge impact on the ease of rolling the cookies.

  • Nancy DePas Reinertsen

    5 stars
    These cookies were absolutely fabulous! It’s very hard for me to follow a recipe but, follow I did. I added candy changer which I love and made this a very adult spice cookie – a tad too spicy for my husband but perfect for me. And 12 minutes in the oven was just right for slightly chewy cookies that improved as they cooled. Is someone who struggles with IBS issues, adding sourdough starter in as many baked goods as I can helps with digestion, as does the ginger and cinnamon. Thanks for a yummy and tummy-healthy treat.

  • Ashley

    5 stars
    This recipe was my first journey into molasses cookies and I could not have found a more perfect recipe to start with!! While I didn’t add candied ginger, I asbolutely loved the addition of my sourdough starter, and the end result was a perfectly tasty and textured cookie. I already have another batch ready to mix up today and can’t wait to share with family and friends over the holiday. Thank you, Deanna, for sharing!!

  • Alyssa

    5 stars
    Had never made a ginger molasses cookie before & these are sooooo delicious! Like mix of a gingerbread and a sugar cookie all in one. Love that it incorporates sourdought too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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