These soft and warmly spiced chewy ginger cookies are a bit different than the usual. Aside from sugar, they’re sweetened with both molasses and honey. Cutting back on the molasses allows for more of the spice flavor to shine through.

Spiced with ginger, pumpkin spice, cardamom, and black pepper and accented with minced crystallized ginger, these cookies have a lovely, old-fashioned crackled top and big flavor that begs for a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. If you’re a fan of ginger-spiced baked goods, you may also want to take a look at my ginger lime wedding cookies.

For ease of browsing, you can find all my cookie and bar cookie recipes in the same place. Thanks for being here. Now, let’s get on with these ginger cookies, shall we?

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A copper pan lined with an orange-striped napkin with crackled-topped chewy ginger cookies in it. There are 3 cookies stacked in front of the pan on a white riser and a packet of pumpkin spice in the background.

See my best ginger cookies recipe web story here.

Best Ginger Cookies Ever!
I made the small batch recipe last night and they are SO good! My go-to recipe has always been a crunchy gingersnap, and I will still use it for crumb crusts, but these beat my recipe hands down for flavour. I like the softer texture too.

Reader and Ginger Cookie Lover Beth

Why You Need to Make These Cookies

These cookies are for fans of chewy spice cookies that aren’t too molasses-y.

Since they have a mixture of molasses and honey in them, they are a bit more approachable, and the cardamom is really lovely with the honey.

If you love a chewy cookie, you’ll really enjoy these. They’re soft and bendy and have a satisfying chew thanks to the addition of some bread flour, not to mention the molasses and honey.

Also, these cookies are super easy to make, and you don’t even need a mixer. You can put this ginger cookie dough together with just a bowl, a whisk, and a spatula or wooden spoon. Yay!

Sound like your cup of tea? You can go ahead and jump straight to the recipe if you’re ready to bake. If not, keep reading for some tips and tricks and a step-by-step guide on how to make them.

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Tasting Notes

A close up of a stack of gingersnaps with the top one broken in two. The two halves rest on top of each other to show the dense, moist, chewy interior.
  • Deeply gingery
  • Wee pops of extra ginger flavor thanks to minced candied (crystallized) ginger
  • Floral, thanks to honey and cardamom
  • Not too bitter or assertively molassesy, thanks to a restrained amount of molasses
  • Nicely chewy
  • Three-dimensional flavor thanks to salt in the dough and the salted sugar for rolling
  • When you bite into a cookie, your teeth sort of slowly slide together like when you bite into a dense, chewy brownie

Ready? Let’s go!

How to Make Chewy Ginger Cookies

As I said above, these guys are super easy to make. If you don’t need the step-by-step directions or the ingredients with substitutions, you can skip on down to the recipe.

Otherwise, here’s what you’ll need to make these chewy ginger cookies. I’ll provide substitutions when it makes sense, and I’ll even let you know what ingredients are optional should you want a shorter ingredient list.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Full-color images of the ingredients needed to make ginger cookies, arranged on a white background and labeled in black, sans serif font. Title text reads, "Chewy ginger cookie ingredients," and the labeled ingredients are melted butter, sugar, kosher salt, crystallized ginger, ground ginger, pumpkin spice, ground cardamom, black pepper, molasses, honey, eggs (2), all-purpose flour, bread flour, and baking soda.
  • melted butter: The flavors of the spices bloom nicely in warm, melted butter, so melted is definitely the way to go here
  • sugar: No need to use brown sugar since you’ll be adding molasses anyway. The main sweetness comes from the sugar and is boosted a bit by the molasses and honey
  • kosher salt: This recipe requires a pretty hefty amount of salt to bring out the flavor of all the spices. If using Diamond Crystal, you’ll need 1 1/2 teaspoons. Morton’s kosher? About a teaspoon. If using table salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon but know you may need to add up to 1/4 teaspoon more
  • crystallized ginger: Adds lovely little, chewy, zingy pops of ginger. This ingredient isn’t strictly necessary, but it definitely increases the textural interest
  • ground ginger: The majority of the spice comes from hot ginger. If you have roasted ginger, you can substitute that
  • pumpkin spice: I use a pumpkin spice blend containing ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. If you have Baking Spice, which is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, use that. If you don’t have either, use more-or-less equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
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03/10/2024 05:37 pm GMT
  • ground cardamom: There’s not a ton of ground cardamom in the recipe, but I think it makes a difference. Cardamom is a natural pairing with ginger, and its sweet, warming, pungent flavor gives the cookies a nice lift. If you’d like, you could add some orange zest as well, since orange and cardamom are lovely together
  • black pepper: I took a nod both from The Beloved’s fruitcake recipe as well as from traditional pfeffernusse cookies and added finely ground black pepper here. It works really well with the other spices and gives a bit of a zing on the back end. You may omit it if you’re not a fan of black pepper in sweet recipes. But if you’re intrigued, give it a go. I think you’ll like it
  • molasses: Adds sweetness as well as a little bitter backbone. Molasses helps to keep the cookies soft and chewy as well
  • honey: Adds sweetness, is hygroscopic, so it helps to draw moisture to the cookies, and adds a nice floral quality that is subtle but I think would be missed were it not there
  • eggs: Adds structure and helps to bind the cookie ingredients
  • all-purpose flour: Adds bulk and structure and gives the cookies their “crumb”
  • bread flour: The addition of bread flour, with its higher protein content, definitely increases the chew of these cookies. You may use all all-purpose flour if you don’t have any bread flour
  • baking soda: Provides the leavening, helps to neutralize the acidic molasses and honey, and aids in creating the lovely, crackled appearance of a traditional ginger cookie

Procedure

These tasty guys are really easy to make.

In short:

1. Mince up the crystallized ginger as finely as you can. It’s sticky, so just keep at it, scraping any bits that stick to your knife blade back into the pile

2. Combine sugar, crystallized ginger, and spices and rub the ginger into the sugar, helping to separate it so you don’t have big chunks of ginger that have stuck together (See photo collage below)

A collage with four blocks, three of which are images illustrating the steps that are written out in the 4th block. Text reads, 1) Put sugar, salt, spices, and the minced, crystallized ginger in a bowl. 2) Rub all together to mix everything and separate the sticky ginger. 3) Mix sugar, salt, and ginger for rolling the dough in.

3. Melt butter and whisk in sugar/spice mixture, molasses, honey, and eggs.

4. Blend the two flours with baking soda and stir into the batter.

5. Chill for an hour, portion, roll in salted ginger sugar, and bake.

A collage of 5 images showing how to make the dough for ginger cookies. 1)Metled butter in a glass bowl with a whisk in it. 2)The same bowl with spiced sugar, molasses, and honey added. 3)Whisking the egg into the batter. 4)Stirring flour into the batter with a blue spatula. 5)The finished, soft cookie dough ready to be refrigerated.

Jenni Says: To ensure the cookies spread evenly and develop cozy little cracks, bang the pan on the counter a few times when you rotate the pan and again when they’ve just finished baking.

What Is Up with Salted Sugar?

A close-up of a stack of 5 ginger cookies on a white plate with blue dotted lines around the outside.
You can see little specks of sugar and salt dispersed evenly across the cookies. Delicious!

Many cookie recipes call for the balls of dough to be rolled in sugar before baking.

I always season my “rolling sugar” with salt (hence salted sugar) and in this case, I added ginger as well so that the outsides of the cookies are as complex as the insides.

Rolling in just sugar alone provides a one-note sweetness which is fine, but it’s also missing an opportunity to add more flavor.

I generally season my sugar with a very heavy pinch (almost 1/2 teaspoon) of salt per 2.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) of sugar.

This lets the salt disperse throughout the sugar, leaving little pops of salt crystals that are more evenly spaced than if you just sprinkle salt on the cookies before baking.

Besides, using salted sugar saves time over sprinkling each individual cookie.

Equipment You May Need

You can certainly make ginger cookies with a stand mixer or a hand mixer, but you don’t really need to.

Mix the dough in a large bowl, using a whisk for most of it, and switch to a spatula to stir in the flour mixture.

You may want to use a cookie scoop rather than weighing out 1 oz portions of dough (but I really like to use my scale).

Bake on half-sheet pans lined with parchment, and allow the cookies to cool on cooling racks.

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03/06/2024 07:47 pm GMT

Tips and Tricks for Success

Cookies on a jade tile surface surrounded by some pieces of crystallized ginger, a honey dripper, the lid from a jar of molasses, and ground spices.

Although these are pretty straightforward little cookies to make, here are a few tips that will hopefully ensure success and yield beautiful, almost perfectly round, crackly-topped ginger cookies.

Chilling the dough for an hour or so makes it easier to work with. Don’t skip the fridge unless you enjoy frustration and sticky fingers.

Don’t skip seasoning the sugar you roll the dough in. This gives you another chance to add spice and keep the flavor balanced. Sugar + salt + ginger = Salted Ginger Sugar. Don’t forget!

Banging the cookie sheet on the counter or oven rack a few times when you rotate the cookies and again when you take them out of the oven ensures that they spread into (almost) perfect circles and develop those cozy little cracks on top that are one of the hallmarks of gingersnaps.

Spiced Ginger Cookies Q & A

Ginger cookies cooling on a round, wire rack with an aluminum container or more cookies in the background along with a jar of honey and one of molasses.
Can I make these crunchy?

No, these cookies are meant to be both soft and chewy. The molasses and honey continue to pull in moisture to keep them soft for days. I will be working on a thin rolled ginger cookie that is crispy and will link to that once it’s ready.

How long will ginger cookies keep?

Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, your cookies will be good for a good 5-6 days. For longer storage, freeze them on trays then, once they are hard, put them in freezer bags to store for a couple of months. Thaw at room temperature as needed, or heat for just a few seconds in a microwave.

Can I make these gluten-free?

You can substitute the all-purpose and bread flour for an equal amount of your favorite cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend. My friend Sandi from Fearless Dining also has a gluten-free gingersnap cookie on her site.

Serving Suggestions

Two ginger cookies sandwiched together with pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting.

These cookies more than hold their own just by themselves, but for true Lily Gilding, sandwich them together with some cream cheese frosting.

I flavored mine with some pumpkin spice. Using orange and/or lemon zest would also be an excellent choice.

Friends, you’ll be so happy you did!

Other options for filling include dulce de leche, thick caramel sauce or butterscotch sauce, or even lemon curd.

If you love an old-fashioned, round, drop cookie, I think you’ll like these other cookie recipes on the site.

The sugar cookies can be rolled in salted sugar or salted colored sugar, or you can skip the sugar and frost them for decoration once baked.

My snickerdoodles are cinnamony inside and out. They’re very good! If you prefer the insides of your snickerdoodles to be more plain, reduce the amount of cinnamon in the dough or omit it altogether.

My peanut butter cookie recipe is packed with peanut butter and can be baked either soft and chewy or for a few minutes more for a nice, crunchy cookie with just a bit of chew in the center.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this post or recipe, I am happy to help.

Simply leave a comment here and I will get back to you soon. I also invite you to ask question in my Facebook group, Fearless Kitchen Fun.

If your question is more pressing, please feel free to email me. I should be back in touch ASAP, as long as I’m not asleep.

A Note About Measurements

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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT

Love This? Please Share It and Review It!

5 golden stars for rating recipes
A close-up of a stack of 5 ginger cookies on a white plate with blue dotted lines around the outside.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Jennifer Field
These spiced ginger cookies are sweetened with sugar, honey, and molasses, ensuring they stay soft and that the flavors of the spices aren't overpowered by molasses. A light, mild-flavored honey works best here. These cookies bake up chewy with a bit of crispiness right around the edges. I think you'll really love them.
5 from 4 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Course Cookies and Bars
Cuisine American
Servings 34 -36
Calories 108 kcal

Ingredients

  • 142 grams melted butter 5 oz or 5 Tablespoons
  • 227 grams all-purpose flour 8 oz or about 1 3/4 cups
  • 113 grams bread flour 4 oz or 1 scant cup
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 156 grams granulated sugar 5.5 oz or a generous 3/4 cup
  • 43 grams finely minced crystallized ginger 1.5 oz or 2 tightly packed tablespoons
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal salt 1 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt or about 1/2-3/4 teaspoons fine salt or table salt
  • 85 grams molasses 3 oz or 1/4 cup
  • 85 grams light honey 3 oz or 1/4 cup
  • 2 eggs

For the Salted Ginger Sugar

  • 70 grams granulated sugar 2.5 oz or about 1/3 cup
  • very heavy pinch of salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions
 

Making the Dough

  • In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until it's mostly melted and then whisk to melt completely. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sugar, minced crystallized ginger, ground ginger, pumpkin spice, ground cardamom, black pepper, and salt. Mix well with your fingertips, rubbing the sugar into the crystallized ginger so it separates rather than clumping together.
  • Whisk the sugar mixture into the melted butter.
  • In the bowl that had the sugar in it, whisk the two flours together with the baking soda. Set aside.
  • Add the molasses and honey to the sugar mixture and whisk well.
  • Drop in the eggs and whisk until completely combined and somewhat paler in color, about 30 seconds or so.
  • Slowly stir in the flour mixture until no loose flour remains.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

While the Dough Chills

  • While the dough is chilling, whisk together the ingredients for the salted ginger sugar.
  • Line two (or four) baking sheets with parchment, place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350F.

Portioning and Baking

  • When ready to bake, portion the dough into 1-oz pieces. Note: dough will still be soft and a little sticky but not frustratingly so.
  • Drop each portion into the salted ginger sugar and roll to coat completely. Round each portion between your palms to form balls. Roll again in the ginger sugar and set on baking sheets, 10-11 to a sheet. Leave about 2" between the balls of dough.
  • Bake 1 pan at a time in the center of the oven for 6 minutes.
  • Bang the pan on the oven rack a few times to deflate the cookies and help them spread and crinkle on top.
  • Rote the pan 180 degrees and bake 6 additional minutes.
  • Remove cookies from the oven, banging the pan a few more times for good measure. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Repeat with the remaining three trays.

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

Tips for Success

  • Chill the dough for an hour before shaping the cookies
  • Don't skip seasoning the sugar for rolling the dough balls in. Sugar + salt + ginger = salted ginger sugar
  • Bang the baking sheet on the counter a few times when you rotate it halfway during baking and again when you remove it from the oven

Small-Batch Recipe

Yielding about 17 cookies
  • 2.5 oz melted butter
  • 2.75 oz sugar
  • 1.5 oz molasses
  • 1.5 oz honey
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 0.75 oz finely minced crystallized ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • several grindings of black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon Morton's kosher salt

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 108kcalCarbohydrates: 17.6gProtein: 1.5gFat: 3.8gSaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 296mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 9.6g
Keyword Christmas cookies, cookies, ginger cookies
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

Thanks so much for spending some time with me today.

I hope you enjoy the spicy and chewy ginger cookies. The occasional sparkle of crystallized ginger and the zing of black pepper really set these apart. Enjoy!

Take care, and have a lovely day.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am SO glad I waited this many years to start trying your cookie recipes. If I had started at a younger age, I’d pry have 50 spare pounds I’d have to lose by now……that said, THESE ARE THE BEST! Er, well….just like your oatmeal cookies are The Best, too!
    Your recipes are perfectly written, accurate for multiple measurements, make exactly the amounts written, and taste Out Of This World!
    So, I may be a wee bit biased, but I tell the Truth.
    Make These Now!
    Thanks, Jenni…for all of the hours you put into making the recipes on your blog so foolproof, a joy to read and make, and for the taste explosion guaranteed every time!

  2. 5 stars
    I made the small batch recipe last night and they are SO good! My go-to recipe has always been a crunchy gingersnap, and I will still use it for crumb crusts, but these beat my recipe hands down for flavour. I like the softer texture too.

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