Chewy Sourdough Ginger Molasses Cookies

Sourdough ginger molasses cookies are one of my favorite holiday cookies this time of year because they are super flavorful and chewy. They have several different warming spices, which makes them perfect at Christmas time and the holiday season.

I absolutely love making sourdough cookies because who doesn’t love cookies? Plus, they are a great way to use your sourdough discard. I already have several other sourdough cookie recipes on my site (including sourdough pumpkin cookies, sourdough snickerdoodles, and vegan chocolate chip sourdough cookies), but I decided to make a sourdough discard version of these classic ginger cookies and the results are so good! I hope you enjoy this sourdough ginger cookie recipe as much as I do. 

Sourdough ginger molasses cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper which is on a table that is set for serving with tea and a plate with a partially eaten cookie.


Butter: You want your butter softened to room temperature so it is easy to cream with your mixer. I always use unsalted butter in my baking recipes because it allows me complete control over the salt content. That being said, I have never felt my baked goods were too salty when I did use salted butter. If that is all you have, feel free to use it. 

Molasses: I recommend unsulfured molasses over blackstrap molasses. 

Molasses types are based on how they are processed. Molasses comes from the extraction of sugar from either sugarcane or sugar beets. Unsulfured molasses comes from the early extractions, whereas blackstrap molasses comes from the later extractions. As a result, blackstrap molasses is more bitter than unsulfured molasses because it contains less sugar. 

Sourdough Starter: You can use either fed active sourdough starter or unfed sourdough starter, aka sourdough starter discard. The cookies do not need the yeast in the active starter to rise, therefore it does not matter whether or not it is active. I also recommend using 100% hydration starter which has equal parts flour and sugar. If you do not use this ratio, you might end up with cookies that are either too wet or too dry. 

Sugar: These sourdough ginger cookies rely mostly on brown sugar, but I did also add a small amount of white sugar to offset some of the extra moisture that comes from the sourdough starter. We also roll the cookies in cane sugar at the end to create that beautiful cracked appearance. 

Flour: Use regular all-purpose flour for this recipe. I do not recommend bread flour but you can substitute a half cup of whole wheat flour for the regular white flour. The best way to measure flour is to spoon it into a measuring cup and then level it. This prevents adding too much flour, which can make the cookies dry and dense. 

Salt: Fine sea salt or iodized salt will work fine for this recipe.  

Baking Soda: We use a generous amount of baking soda to help the cookies rise and spread. 

Spices: The spices are what really make this recipe stand out. I used a combination of several warming spices including cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper.

Sourdough ginger cookie ingredients.

How to Make

white bowl with a fork mixing the sourdough ginger cookie dry ingredients.

Step 1: To start, mix together your dry ingredients in a medium bowl. 

Creamed butter with sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the sugars and the softened butter on medium speed. The goal is for the mixture to become well incorporated and slightly light and fluffy. I recommend scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter gets thoroughly mixed. The first time I made these cookies I skipped this step and ended up with some plain butter at the bottom of the bowl. 

Wet ingredients in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Step 3: Next, add the rest of the wet ingredients and continue to mix. 

Sourdough ginger cookie dough in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Step 4: Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together and is just starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. 

Step 5: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the dough. While you don’t have to do this step I highly recommend it. It makes the dough easier to work with and helps prevent the dough from spreading too much. I recommend chilling the dough for at least an hour, although you can refrigerate it longer. I have tested it up to 48 hours and had great results. 

When You are Ready to Bake the Cookies:

Step 6: Preheat the oven and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Step 7: Roll the cookie dough into tablespoon size balls and roll in the reserved granulated sugar. This sugar coating helps give the cookies that beautiful cracked appearance ginger molasses cookies are known for. 

A hand rolling the cookie dough balls in sugar and placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The sugar is in a small bowl.
Prepared ginger molasses cookie dough balls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step 8: Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheet leaving at least 2.5 inches apart and bake for 12-14 minutes. 

Step 9: Let them cool a bit before serving and cool completely on a wire rack. 

baked ginger molasses sourdough cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.

How to Make Sourdough Ginger Snaps

If you like your cookies crispier, simply bake these cookies for longer (15-18 minutes depending on your oven). I really liked the flavor of these cookies when I baked them longer, but I prefer soft ginger cookies. 


These cookies are so delicious on their own but you can also spruce them up a bit if you desire:

How to Store

Store these sourdough ginger molasses cookies in an airtight container or on a plate covered with plastic wrap. These are meant to be chewy cookies, so they will dry out if not stored properly. 

Sourdough ginger cookies on parchment paper.

How to Freeze and Make Ahead

I recommend freezing the unbaked cookie dough balls rather than the baked cookies. This way, you will end up with fresh tasting cookies when you are ready to use them. Simply roll the cookie dough into individual tablespoon sized balls, then place in a plastic freezer bag. Make sure you freeze them in an even layer (not stacked on top of each other) to prevent them from sticking to each other. Once the cookie dough balls are completely frozen, you can stack them on top of each other. 

I hope you enjoyed these chewy sourdough molasses cookies. I am planning on making sourdough gingerbread cookies in the future which I will be sure to link from the recipe! 

If you are loving sourdough discard recipes, check out these other sourdough recipes:

New Mexican-Style Sourdough Tortillas

Super Rich Sourdough Brownies

Pumpkin Sourdough Scones

Sourdough Cranberry Orange Scones

I would also love for you to join our community of sourdough bakers. You can connect with me on instagram, tiktok and facebook. Or, join my mailing list! You will be ther first to hear about new recipes and special offerings. 

Sourdough ginger cookies on parchment paper.

Chewy Sourdough Ginger Molasses Cookies

These sourdough ginger molasses cookies are chewy, sweet, and delightfully spicy. They have a beautiful cracked appearance from the sugar coating and make a perfect cookie for any occasion.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 36 cookies


  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Rubber Spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 Stand Mixer (or large mixing bowl with hand mixer)
  • 1 Large Baking Sheet


Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sourdough discard
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Rolling the Cookie Dough Balls

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar


  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter with the brown sugar and ¼ cup of granulated sugar on medium speed. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer turned off, add the vanilla, egg, molasses and sourdough discard. Then, mix on medium speed until smooth.
  • On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated. (Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula once during the mixing process to ensure all the ingredients get well mixed.)
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to 48 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  • Pour the reserved ¼ cup of sugar into a small bowl.
  • Roll the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls.
  • Roll each cookie dough ball in the sugar until completely coated.
  • Place the cookies on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them 2½ inches apart.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Keyword Cookies, Sourdough, Sourdough Discard
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Your cookies look delicious and I want to give them a try. Have you experimented with using all or partial Almond or other non-grain flour?

    1. Hi LJ,

      Thank you! And no I actually have not tried any grain-free or gluten flours in my recipes.

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