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: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 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

52 Comments
  1. kat

    I made these cookies for Christmas this year and gave them out to family.
    They were fantastic. Followed the recipe almost exactly using the weights given.
    The only change I made was instead of nutmeg, I used allspice.
    Dough was easy to work with and kept its shape well when baking.
    I’ll be making these again next year!

  2. Brenda

    I found the gingerbread man recipe and was delighted to find out wonderful they turned out! this will become a tradition for my granddaughter and I to do . thank you so much!

  3. Alicia

    This recipe is PERFECTION!! It was my first time ever making gingerbread with my girls and they came out amazing. My kids must think I am some sort of baking genius but I just followed your recipe to a T! I even measured the ingredients with a scale. We are going to make this recipe one of our Christmas time traditions! Thank you so much!!! The flavor of this cookie is so amazing and everything is just right!

  4. Kara Richardson

    Hi! I was wondering, how long did it take for your icing to dry? I know humidity and such can have an affect on this but I would like a ballpark of how long I’ll have to leave these out for lol. Thanks in advance!

  5. Sarah

    Hello Lindsey, I would like to make these tomorrow I was wondering if I could substitute the molasses with black treacle, thank you

  6. Jo Jefferds

    I made these cookies today and they are truly 5-star.  They are a beautiful color, well balanced ginger/spice flavor, and soft and chewy just as the described.  I have never made gingerbread cookies before and was worried about choosing the right recipe.  I chose 3 different recipes from Pinterest and analyzed the ingredients and instructions from each one.  The other 2 recipes called for more flour and less ginger, one recipe said to chill the dough 3 hours before rolling out.  One recipe cited many times in the comments that the dough was crumbly and the taste had a very strong molasses and clove flavor and neither of the other 2 recipes called for both baking powder and baking soda.  I’m so glad I chose this recipe by Lindsey, I followed the recipe exactly and made a few instructional changes that I will write into the recipe as I plan to make it my go-to Gingerbread recipe, it’s that good.  The cookies held their shape beautifully and they were a little crisp on the very edge but super soft and chewy throughout.  Can’t wait to decorate them.  The dough was soft and easy to roll, I did refrigerate it for about an hour only because I had to run a quick errand, but I let it come up to room temp and after 15-minutes it was easily ready to roll out.  I rolled the dough out on a Silpat silicone mat with parchment on top and used a rolling pin with 1/4” guides, it was the perfect thickness, and the key to transferring them to a cookie sheet is definitely place the silpat on a cookie sheet with the cutout dough in the freezer for 5-6 minutes before removing the cutouts from the excess dough.  I used an offset spatula to run under the cookies and they lifted off the silicone mat very easily, I was able to place them on parchment paper and bake them.  I baked them in a convection oven at 350 for exactly 8 minutes for the gingerbread men and 7 minutes for some of the smaller cutouts, snowflake, tree, star.  My family loves these cookies.  This recipe made 36 cookies, (12 gingerbread men, 24 slightly smaller shapes).  They are safely packed in an airtight tin can, wrapped in Saran and foil in the freezer to be decorated next Sunday.  I highly recommend this perfect Gingerbread Cookie recipe.  

  7. Kristy S

    I made these cookies last year for a Christmas cookie package that I sent last year and they were delicious! I’m making them again this year but I’m wondering if I can make dough ahead of time and chill overnight? I’m making your white chocolate cranberry pecan cookies as well (first time) so I’m trying to plan ahead so I’m not baking 100s of cookies in one night! 🙂

  8. Jennifer Berry

    Oh I forgot to ask. Can you add a little fresh ginger to this recipe? I was going to try adding a little grated fresh ginger in the wet ingredients. 

  9. Jennifer Berry

    I am going to make these tomorrow as part of my cookie gifting this year. They look super yummy. Also I really enjoyed your video. I could watch you all day. Your voice is very calming and that was great after a hectic day! Thank you!

  10. Nellie MEDINA

    Made these cookies for the first time and they came out great! My daughters had a great time decorating them. This is a great way to spend with family together, and they taste great. Will make them again closer to Christmas for gift giving.

  11. Michelle

    Hi Lindsay!
    I tried this cookie recipe very early this morning and they turned out really good! However, when I decorated the cookies, the mouth was lopsided and the eyes weren’t even. Could you tell me how to decorate them? I see in the pictures of this blog post your cookies look so well-shaped and the eyes and mouth and buttons were perfect.
    Thank you!
    Michelle

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you enjoyed the cookies! As for decorating, it may just take a little practice. You could try using a piping bag or a squeeze bottle to give you a little more control as well.

  12. Leslie

    Followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect! I weighed my flour and brown sugar to be exact. Other recipes I have used are never flavorful enough. These are wonderful. So happy to find this recipe. Merry Christmas!

  13. Annie

    Hello! I just tried this recipe but the dough became dry and crumbly when I mixed in the dry ingredients 🙁 I don’t know what I did wrong. Also would you recommend using your gram ingredients over measuring through a measuring cup? 

    1. Lindsay

      It could very well be that the flour was over measured. I always use my scale for dry ingredients to be sure it’s accurate, so that is what I’d recommend.

  14. Tina

    I’m an amateur baker. This is my second time baking gingerbread cookies, but my first time using this recipe. They came out perfect! The spice isn’t overwhelming, and the cookie is soft and chewy just how I wanted! Both the recipe and video were very informative. To be honest, I forgot to freeze the dough before using my cookie cutter, but I didn’t have any issues handling the dough at all, and they still turned out great. Thank you Lindsay for sharing this recipe!

  15. Tina

    Hello! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to try it out soon. I also looked through your favorite baking tools page but I couldn’t find anything about the Cookie Cutter you use. Can you please recommend or link? Thank you. 😊

    1. Lindsay

      I believe I used A Wilton brand cutter that I found at Michael’s craft store. I’d share a link, but I’m not seeing it online at the moment.

  16. Claudia

    Hello Lindsay, thanks for sharing 🙂 this cookies look delicious. Quick question, I cannot find molasses here, do you have any suggestion for something to replace it? Thanks

  17. Lisa Santoro

    This recipe made delicious soft gingerbread cookies. This will be my go to recipe every Christmas. I added some orange zest for an extra hint of freshness. Now to decorate!

  18. Lynn Meadows

    This is truly the best gingerbread cookie recipe! I love baking during the holiday season. I’m going to make these again for my work Christmas party =) Thank you Lindsay

  19. Deborah Behney

    Thank you Lindsay for this wonderful recipe and for a year full of wonderful
    recipes. I received your cookbook last year for Christmas and I LOVE IT.
    I look forward to your emails and can’t wait to open them to see what you
    are baking! Wishes to you and your family for a beautiful Christmas and a
    new year full of blessings.

    1. Lindsay

      Thank you so much, Deborah! That’s so nice of you! I’m so glad you enjoy the book and the site! Have a wonderful Christmas as well!

  20. Sarah

    Hello Lindsay

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and love reading your posts. I made your Best Sugar Cutout Cookies For Decorating last Christmas and all my family loved them. I would love to make this gingerbread recipe this year. I live in Australia and we don’t have corn syrup, what would you suggest as a good substitute?

    Thanks Sarah

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the blog and those cutout cookies! As for the corn syrup, you could try using honey. That’s usually a pretty good substitute. It will add some flavor to the icing, but if you’re just using a little bit of icing on each cookie, it should be fine. Thanks Sarah!

      1. Andrew Herzog

        How would this dough go through a cookie press? I made it last year as a cutout and absolutely loved it. 

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