The Best Gingerbread Cookies

These easy Gingerbread Cookies are soft, chewy and full of holiday goodness! A classic Christmas cookie recipe that’s perfect for decorating.

Decorated Gingerbread Men cookies

Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

When it comes to Christmas, Gingerbread Cookies are the best and one of my favorites. Cutout cookies in general are just so perfect for the holidays, whether it be these gingerbread ones or my Cutout Sugar Cookies. They are all easy to decorate and so festive. Not to mention that the decorating process is so fun with kiddos. It just makes things feel like Christmas.

I’m a little picky though when it comes to the texture of my gingerbread cookies. They MUST be soft and chewy! You don’t want them to spread. And the texture needs to be right. Not to mention, the right amount of molasses and spices for great flavor.

I have to say that these gingerbread cookies turned out perfectly! I’m SO in love with them! A big new favorite recipe and so easy, simple to make and great for decorating.

Gingerbread Man Cookies decorated with icing

Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients

  • Flour – I use all purpose flour in these cookies.
  • Baking soda and baking powder
  • Spices and Molasses – For all the best flavor!
  • Dark Brown Sugar – For even more flavor!
  • Egg – Adds structure and chewiness to the cookies.
  • Butter – An important base for a cookie that gets creamed together with the brown sugar.

What kind of molasses do you use for gingerbread cookies?

I use unsulphured molasses in these cookies. This kind of molasses is made from mature sugarcane, which is clarified and concentrated. By contrast, sulphured molasses is made from sugarcane that isn’t quite mature. As a result manufacturers need to add sulfur dioxide to the mixture when processing the immature sugarcane.

 

cutout gingerbread cookies in rows

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

One of the best things about these simple Christmas cookies is how easy they are to make. Here’s how to make gingerbread cookies:

  • Combine your dry ingredients. Flour, spices and some salt. Whisk ’em all together and set them aside.
  • Add the wet ingredients. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Next up is adding the molasses and combining everything well. Add the dry ingredients and mix everything together just until combined. You don’t want to over mix it.
  • Roll out the cookie dough. Divide the cookie dough into two halves and roll them out to about 1/4 inch thickness between two pieces of parchment paper (no flour-covered messes! yay!). It can help to mold the cookie dough into a little bit of a thick log before rolling it out so that it covers the parchment paper well. You’ll leave the cookies on the parchment paper to bake.
  • Chill the cookie dough. Once your dough is rolled out, pop it in the freezer for about 7-8 minutes. The amount of time can vary a little based on your freezer’s settings, but you want it to be nice and firm.
  • Cut out your cookies and bake them. With the cookie dough nice and firm, it should be quick to cut out the cookies using your favorite cookie cutters. Move the parchment paper with the cut cookies over to a cookie sheet and bake them.
  • Decorate. Once your cookies are baked and cooling, make the simple icing and decorate your cookies as you like.

gingerbread cookies on a plate

How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies

There are endless options for decorating gingerbread cookies. I’ve included a simple cookie icing below, but you could also use my royal icing recipe and see my tips for decorating using royal icing.

Beyond the icing, you can use sprinkles, color your icing or use little candies for adding eyes, buttons or other decorations. I used the red, white and green sequins from a pack like this one. You could even just dust them with powdered sugar for something super simple.

stack of gingerbread cookies on plate

Tips for the Best Gingerbread Cookies

  • Measure accurately: I say this all the time and will say it again – the best way to measure this is with a food scale. A HUGE influence on how your cookies turn out is having the right amount of flour. Too much and the cookies will turn out dry. Too little and they’ll spread too much. Even a difference of a couple tablespoons can make a big difference, especially if another ingredient is measured a little inaccurately (like the sugar – which adds more moisture and would make a cookie spread more as well).
  • Use both baking soda and baking powder: After testing these cookies with just baking soda and just baking powder, I can say that I much preferred the resulting texture of using both. Just baking powder made a cookie that was a little firmer, more cakey and dried out more quickly. Just baking soda made the cookies feel a little flimsy and just not the right texture I wanted. So I used mostly baking soda (which lends a more tender cookie that stays softer for longer), with a little baking powder (to be sure they had the best chewy texture).
  • Don’t over bake: Your cookies are done when the edges are slightly crisp. It’s tempting to bake them until the middles are also crisp, but this results in a hard, crunchy cookie. If you pull your gingerbread cookies just when the edges are done, then allow them to cool completely, you will end up with that ideal combination of soft and chewy.
  • Cool completely before decorating: Wait until your cookies have come to room temperature before decorating them. It’s tempting to rush the decorating, but if you try and put icing on warm cookies it will just melt and slide off the sides of your cookie. Best to wait until they are cool and then go to town with the icing!

How Long do Gingerbread Cookies Last?

If the cookies are kept in a well sealed container, they should be good for 5-7 days. If you were to cover them in royal icing, it seals in the moisture and they’d probably be good for a few more days. You could also freeze them for up to 6 months, but it’d probably be best to freeze them in a single layer.

soft and chewy Gingerbread Cookies

More Christmas Cookie Recipes:

Gingerbread Cookies with Eggnog Icing
Gingerbread Cheesecake Cookie Cups
Best Cutout Sugar Cookies for Decorating
Candy Cane Cookies
Classic Spritz Cookies
Classic Chewy Snickerdoodles
Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe
Reindeer Cookie Balls
Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
Christmas Tree Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Gingerbread Cookies Tutorial Video


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gingerbread cookies recipe
Recipe

Best Gingerbread Cookies

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 6 minutes
  • Yield: 30-32 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These easy Gingerbread Cookies are soft, chewy and full of holiday goodness! A classic Christmas cookie recipe that’s perfect for decorating.


Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3 3/4 cups (488g) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 tbsp (140g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (172g) unsulfured molasses

Easy Cookie Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups (173g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/22 tbsp water or milk
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. You should be able to see the change in color happen and know it’s ready.
4. Add the egg and vanilla extract mix until well combined.
5. Add the molasses and mix until well combined.
6. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the dough is well combined. Dough will be thick.
7. Divide the cookie dough into two equal parts, then roll each out to about 1/4 an inch thickness between two pieces of parchment paper. It helps to shape the cookie dough into a bit of a log and then roll it out.
8. Transfer the parchment lined cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and into the freezer for about 6-8 minutes.
9. Remove cookie dough from freezer and immediately cut into shapes. You’ll leave the cutouts on the parchment paper to bake them, so try to space them as they should be for baking with about an inch between each cookie.
10. While cookie dough is still cold, transfer the parchment paper/cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.
11. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes, or until you can transfer them. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
12. Repeat process with remaining cookie dough.
13. When cookies are baked and you’re ready to decorate them, making the icing. Add the powdered sugar to a small-medium sized bowl, then add 1 tablespoon of water, the corn syrup and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. It will be thick to start, just keep whisking together. Add additional water as needed, for it to come together. You want to be careful not to thin it out too much. You can always add more liquid, but you can’t remove it once you add it. You want the icing to just be drip-able (and therefore pipeable), but not so thin it won’t stay in place.
14. Add the icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip (I used Wilton tip 3) and decorate your cookies. Add sprinkles or other decorations, if you’d like.
15. Allow cookies to dry, then store in an airtight container. If well sealed, cookies should be good for 5-7 days.

Keywords: gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men cookies, gingerbread cookie recipe, how to make gingerbread cookies, soft gingerbread cookies, christmas cookies, best gingerbread cookies

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Recipe rating

105 Comments
  1. Jennie

    Perfect recipe! This was our first time baking gingerbread cookies and they came out just the way we’d hoped. They kept their shape, perfect texture, and so tasty!! Thanks so much for sharing ❤️

  2. Kathy

    Excellent flavor! I struggled with the cutting out the shapes after rolling between parchment paper. Shapes stuck to the paper. So I returned to the more standard method of freezing dough discs, then rolling and cutting shapes on floured surface. Using this method the dough worked beautifully and tasted delicious!

  3. Erin Hindman

    I saw the too of the recipe said 45 minutes for cook time and burnt my cookies up! Then I scoured the page and saw 6-8 minutes. Sad day in my house…..have to try again.

  4. Linda

    These gingerbread cookies are so flavorful and easy to make. The suggestion to freeze the dough for 6-8 minutes before cutting them out was very helpful!

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, but you might have a little trouble cutting one egg in half. If you have a food scale, you could try dividing it in half by weight.

    1. Lindsay

      You can use salted butter, just leave out the additional salt. As for the brown sugar, dark brown sugar has more molasses and therefore more moisture. If you use light brown sugar, it may affect the softness of the cookies a little bit.

  5. Lyndall

    I just made this recipe! OMG! Complete no fail ! Perfection all the way! I’ve tried other recipes in the past and they have failed or not kept there shape. This recipe is a keeper for me! And whole family love them

    1. Lindsay

      Most likely an ingredient was mismeasured. Often is the flour. If it is sticky, you may need to add a touch more flour or the cookies may not hold their shape when baked.

    2. Lyndall

      I found rolling the to correct thickness between both baking papers & then popping in the freezer for a few minutes . Take out then press your cutter in & straight into the Oven. That worked for me anyway. The dough is much easier to work with the colder it is . Hope this helps

  6. Priya

    Hands down my new fav gingerbread recipe! I’m not sure is weighing some of those ingredients instead of measuring with a spoon/cup is what did the trick, but the dough was beautiful to handle and the cookies were soft and just the right amount of sweetness.

  7. Shirley

    Can this recipe be used for a gingerbread house? Since the cookies are chewy, I am wanting to build a gingerbread house

  8. Jenny

    I am making these cookies today and wondered how long the dough stays good in the fridge? Can I make the dough ahead of time and fridge until I need to roll it out and bake?

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12