The Sunday Recipe: Great-Grandma’s Soft Buttermilk Molasses Cookies

This is an old recipe handed down from my great-great grandmother and adjusted many times over the years. The version I was originally given by my mother had the cloves and allspice crossed out and the baking soda reduced. I stick to ginger and cinnamon, but I did try using the full amount of baking soda recently and regretted it. I think it tastes better with a little less. It’s a very friendly dough that can be scooped and dropped or add a little more flour, roll out, and cut beautiful cookies for decorating.

I highly recommend letting a stand mixer do the work for these cookies, but don’t double the batch. Your mixer can’t handle it, trust me. 😉 My daughter likes to use a basting brush to sweep away any excess flour before baking to make the cookies picture perfect.

Great-Grandma’s Soft Buttermilk Molasses Cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (full fat preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ginger
  • 5 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Mix in the molasses.
  3. Blend in the buttermilk.
  4. Mix together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  5. Stir into the liquid ingredients.
  6. Chill for a half hour or longer.
  7. Preheat oven to 350.
  8. Prepare a pan with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.
  9. Scoop out with a cookie scoop and drop onto a dish of granulated sugar then pick up with the back of a spoon.
  10. Drop off onto the tin then flip over so the sugar is right side up.
  11. Alternatively – roll out on a floured surface and cut out with floured cookie cutters.
  12. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
  13. Cool and enjoy or decorate with icing.