These healthy molasses oatmeal cookies are lusciously soft and made with chewy whole grains. They are high in fiber and rich in flavor from the warm, wintry spices. Baked with reduced amounts of butter and sugar, these cookies are lower in calories, but are still absolutely delicious!
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Do you remember those Archway Cookies? I feel like these were very popular in the ’90s, and boy, do I remember really pounding these down. During last winter’s holiday season, I was craving them out of nostalgia, but I wasn’t craving one in particular, rather I was craving elements from several of them.
I really wanted the soft and cakey texture from their Raspberry-filled cookies, but I wanted the spices from the Windmill Cookies. I also wanted the icing from their Iced Oatmeal Cookies. It would be great to get all of those things mixed into one!
Holiday baking is something that I love and look forward to all year. It can be difficult to balance my love for baking with the desire not to pack on 10 pounds at the holidays. I decided to play around with the ingredients to see what I could get away with regarding reducing the sugar and fat without sacrificing flavor.
These cookies are just one recipe among many I bake every year. While making traditional Christmas cookies is something I still love to do, since I do an incredible amount of baking, I love to balance it out with healthier recipes like this one. I also feel better about feeding my family cookies with less sugar, and the festive flavors in this cookie are perfect for celebrating Christmas. They are soft, chewy, and absolutely delicious!
This molasses oatmeal cookie recipe is made with simple ingredients that are easy to whip together, and I dare say–they really rival the tastes and textures from the Archway cookies…but much better. Because homemade is always better. 🙂
To make these healthy molasses oatmeal cookies, you need:
- Whole Wheat Flour – I use whole grain pastry flour, which is soft white wheat. You can also use white whole wheat if you don’t have pastry flour.
- Old-Fashioned Oats – We will blend the oats for a few seconds to make a cross between oat flour and standard oats.
- Butter – I use one stick of salted butter. This is a reduction from other recipes that make a similar quantity.
- Applesauce – Choose unsweetened applesauce. The addition of applesauce allows us to pull back on the butter.
- Egg – A regular, large egg is all you need.
- Molasses – One of the key ingredients! Choose unsulphered molasses if you can.
- Sugars – I use both dark brown sugar and white sugar in the cookies and a little powdered sugar in the icing. Dark brown sugar has a higher molasses content, and it is always my choice for cookies over light brown. It gives a soft, chewy texture.
- Vanilla Extract & Spices – Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Salt, & Baking Soda
Making these healthy molasses oatmeal cookies is easy!
1. Measure Flour
Add 1 3/4 cup (about 230 grams) whole wheat pastry flour to a large bowl.
2. Blend Oats
Add your oats to your blender, and blend them for about 8-10 seconds to get a texture that is half oat flour, half oats. Add your blended oats to the bowl of flour.
3. Add Spices
Into your mixing bowl of flour and oats, add your baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
4. Cream Butter & Sugar
Into a separate bowl from your dry ingredients, such as the bowl of a stand mixer, add a stick of softened butter along with the dark brown sugar and white sugar. Use your paddle attachment or hand mixer to beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
5. Add the Rest of the Wet Ingredients
After creaming the butter and sugar, add the molasses, applesauce, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Mix in Dry Ingredients and Refrigerate
Add your bowl of dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until the dough is evenly mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and do a few stirs and folds from the bottom to ensure the dough is well mixed. Refrigerate the dough for 3-4 hours.
7. Roll out Balls
After the cookie dough has been refrigerated, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out dough balls with a standard-size cookie scoop onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Bake cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes, or until set with slight cracking on top. Allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes before glazing.
9. Whisk Glaze
While the cookies cool, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar to a small bowl with 1 tbsp milk, 1/8 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of cinnamon. Whisk together until smooth.
10. Glaze Cookies
Dip a pastry brush into the glaze and brush a light layer on top of each cookie. If you do not have a pastry brush, you can carefully drizzle the icing.
After glazing, move the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Tips & Variations
I have tested this recipe multiple times to see how far I could push reducing the sugar and butter, and the quantities listed in this recipe have given me the best results. I don’t recommend reducing them any further, otherwise, they will be too crumbly.
The refrigeration step is essential! Be sure not to skip it, otherwise, you risk the cookies running all over the place in the oven. I recommend giving the dough 3-4 hours of chill time for best results.
If you only have quick oats on hand, those should work fine, too. I would not use instant oats as they usually have added flavors.
If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, use coconut oil instead of butter, and a tablespoon of nut milk in the glaze.
If you’d like to try another healthy and low-calorie baking recipe, give my Banana Pumpkin Muffins a try!
This recipe makes 32 cookies. For one cookie, the nutritional information is as follows:
- Calories: 113
- Protein: 2.6 grams
- Fat: 3.7 grams (1.9 grams saturated)
- Carbs: 17.8 grams carbs
- Fiber: 1.8 grams
Store these chewy molasses cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They are best eaten within 3-4 days.
At the end of the day, a cookie is a cookie. Even healthier cookies, like this recipe, should be eaten in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. That said, oatmeal offers a chewy, nutty texture while being whole grain! Oats are a great source of fiber, which helps these oatmeal molasses cookies be more satiating.
If you are using blackstrap molasses, it is more bitter than other grades of molasses so you want to be careful not to overdo it. 1/4 cup of molasses is more than enough for this recipe.
Did You Make This Recipe?
I hope you absolutely loved these healthy molasses oatmeal cookies! I can’t get enough of these warm spices, and they make great breakfast cookies before a hard workout. Please leave a comment and review! It means the world!
Healthy Molasses Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 Cookie Scoop Optional, but recommended
- 1-2 Cookie Sheets
- 1 Pastry Brush Optional, but recommended
- 1 Mixer Optional, but recommended
- 2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats about 220 grams
- 1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 230 grams – See Notes for substitution
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Butter 8 tbsp
- 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup White Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Unsulphered Molasses
- 1/2 cup Applesauce unsweetened
- 1 + 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract divided
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 tbsp Milk
- Measure out your flour into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Add your oats to a blender and blend for 8-10 seconds to get a mix of oat flour and oat flakes. Add your blended oats to the bowl of flour.
- Add your baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to the bowl. Whisk together to thoroughly combine.
- Into your stand mixer bowl, or a new mixing bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat on medium speed until nicely creamed, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add your egg, molasses, vanilla extract, and applesauce. Beat your dough briefly after each addition. Scrape down the sides of your bowl as necessary to get the cookie dough evenly mixed.
- Add your dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients, and beat them together until a nice dough forms. Cover the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Scoop out the cookies using a standard-size cookie scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until set. The cookies will look very soft, but there should be light cracking on top and the sides should be firm. Let cookies cool for 15-20 minutes.
- While the cookies cool, prepare the glaze. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk, 1/8 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon (if desired) to a small mixing bowl. Hand whisk the mixture quickly until completely smooth.
- Use a pastry brush to paint a light layer of the glaze on top of each cookie. Move the cookies to a cooling rack to set.