Bacon Fat Gingersnap Cookies

5 from 15 votes

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My gingersnap cookies have a salty, smoky flavor, for a twist on classic gingersnaps. I substitute bacon fat for butter making these tender and addicting. A perfect memorable cookie recipe for the holidays!

stacks of gingersnap cookies


You’re probably asking yourself, “Did he just say bacon fat cookies?” Why yes I did! Bacon fat is an amazing substitute for butter. Its subtle, smokey undertones compliment the molasses and ginger flavors, creating irresistibly delicious gingersnaps.

Gingersnap cookies are a holiday favorite, especially on a Christmas cookie platter. Pair them with other favorite cookie recipes like rocky road cookies and chocolate cherry shortbread. If you’d like to make a different cookie with bacon fat, go for peanut butter bacon cookies– they’re amazing, too!

Smoky gingersnap cookies

This recipe is from former New York Times fashion critic, Cathy Horyn, as published on their website.

At first, I wondered the bacon flavor would overpower the other ingredients, but it really doesn’t! It adds a subtle smokiness, which I think pairs perfectly with the flavors of spicy ginger and rich molasses.

This is the perfect holiday cookie to serve to guests. Fair warning: you may have a lot of inquiries about what that special flavor is. You can decide whether or not to tell them what the secret ingredient is. I hope you’ll try this cookie recipe and love the gingersnap cookies as much as I do.

stacks of chewy molasses cookies

Ingredient notes and substitutions

  • Molasses

Light or dark molasses may be used, but I do not recommend using blackstrap molasses unless you’re unable to find anything else. The flavor of blackstrap is much more bitter than traditional molasses.

  • Bacon fat

I keep rendered bacon fat in a covered mason jar in my fridge, adding to it whenever I cook up bacon. It keeps in the fridge for several months. Rendering 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of bacon should yield enough fat for this recipe.

Bacon fat SUBSTITUTES: regular butter, lard, ghee, or plant based butter sticks.

Be sure to strain any bacon particles from the fat prior to chilling. It becomes solid when it’s cold, so it can be used as a fat replacement for nearly anything you would typically use butter for. I often render bacon to use the fat for Southern buttermilk biscuits.

  • Flour

All purpose flour what I use. If you need a gluten-free substitute, any brand of 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour should work.

  • Egg

Originally, ginger snaps were made without eggs, which is why the cookies were brittle. Eggs are a binding ingredient, but they also provide moisture. This is why so many gingersnap cookies these days are soft and chewy.

Eggless ginger snaps

If you’d like to make gingersnap cookies without any eggs, you can use a flax egg instead.

To make a flax egg, stir together 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then use it just like an egg.

NOTE:
Typically when you use flax eggs, you should reduce any liquid called for in the recipe by 3 tablespoons. In the case of this gingersnap cookie recipe, there really isn’t a liquid to reduce except for the molasses. You can reduce that by 3 tablespoons OR add 1 extra tablespoon of flour instead.

ginger snaps stacked on counter

Video: making gingersnap cookies

To see this recipe in action, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Recipe notes and tips

  1. Use a food processor, if possible. This recipe makes a very stiff cookie dough. If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend using your hands instead.

    Wearing kitchen gloves will help prevent the bacon fat from melting under the heat of your hands. It also helps you avoid overworking the dough, which can cause the gingersnap cookies to be hard and tough.
  1. Storing and freezing ginger snaps– Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, and serve or freeze them within a few days. For longer storage, you can freeze gingersnaps for up to 3 months.
  1. Softening hard cookies– After a few days, you may find that your cookies are dry and brittle. To soften the hard cookies, lightly moisten paper toweling with tap water and wrap the cookies inside (unstacked is best). Microwave on high power for 15 seconds and they should be soft, chewy and taste freshly baked from the oven!
overhead: bacon fat gingersnap cookies
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This post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Dec. 18, 2015, was last published with new content on Nov. 19, 2021.

stacks of gingersnap cookies

Bacon Fat Gingersnap Cookies + Video

5 from 15 votes
My gingersnap cookies have a salty, smoky flavor, for a twist on classic gingersnaps. Bacon fat substitutes for butter making these amazing. Make this bacon fat cookie recipe for the holidays!
Servings: 36
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Total: 26 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone Silpat liners.
  • In a mixer with a paddle, add bacon fat, molasses, sugar and egg, stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients until a smooth, stiff dough is formed.
  • Put 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoon (or two for larger cookies) of dough and roll into a ball with your hands. Drop into the sugar and roll to coat. Place on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough, Place 2 inches apart as they spread out as they bake.
  • Bake until flat and a dark brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Video

Notes

  1. Rendering 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of bacon should yield enough bacon fat for this recipe. Or, substitute with regular butter, lard, ghee, or plant based butter sticks.
Recipe adapted from Julia Moskin’s recipe for Bacon Fat Gingersnaps in the New York Times. 

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image of bacon fat molasses cookies

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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56 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Sorry forgot to give rating.. Really glad I stumbled on this site.. I love the old baking recipes written on the back of calendar pages, those tried and true Gems passed down from one Generation to the next or sadly lost. That is why sites such as yours is so important. I don’t think one truly realizes how a recipe can touch peoples lives. I have heard people say its just a simple recipe. Maybe it is to some, but to others, There is nothing simple about something that can envoke precious memories and a connection to loved ones long passed. What a marvelous gift. Thank You.

  2. 5 stars
    As a Child growing up on the South Shore of Nova Scotia these were a staple in every Kitchen Pantry. Huge cookies the size of saucers served with a glass of milk, or hot tea for dunking. Only difference is the egg and sugar on top, and ours were rolled. We had these as well but, the rolled version was the cookie of choice. My Nan always had a lard bucket on the back of the stove that served as a grease pot for collecting the Bacon fat. It was used in most of her spicy baking concoctions like Gingerbread, and War cake.

  3. 5 stars
    I found a recipe in a local historical society recipe book celebrating the founding anniversary of New Braunfels TX. My recipe actually calls for 2 cups of bacon fat. Made them and they were delicious. Your idea of using bacon fat as a substitute for butter has opened me up to a whole realm of possibilities.

  4. 5 stars
    I baked these on a whim to use up my leftover bacon grease. I did not strain the grease, leaving in any leftover bits and had to melt a little butter in it to get to 3/4 of a cup. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly as is. Wow. These are amazing. I highly recommend this recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I appreciate the recipe Kevin. Thanks for posting it.I made several batches of these for Christmas gifts. They have a complex smoky flavor, like something my Swedish grandma would make! I did tweak to suit my tastes…less salt (1/2 tsp)and bacon fat (1/2 cup). Pressing the dough down also makes a prettier ginger snap. Happy cooking!