My Favorite Gingerbread Men Recipe

Here is my favorite gingerbread men recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced, molasses and brown sugar-sweetened holiday goodness. 

Here is my favorite gingerbread men recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced, molasses and brown sugar-sweetened holiday goodness!

So did you do any shopping on cyber monday yesterday?! I did a little Christmas shopping for Kevin but won’t go into too much detail in the off chance he is reading this. (He doesn’t read this.) Also got presents for my sisters and MAYBE another Christmas ornament for… my dog. What? It was on sale.

So anyway! Welcome to day 2 of my Christmas Cookie Palooza. A huge party filled with butter, sprinkles, melted chocolate on our sleeves, and flour all over our faces. Is that just me? Marathon cookie baking is soooo glamorous in my kitchen.


Yesterday I shared a classic holiday cookie and I decided to repeat the traditional trend today as well. Whenever I think of Christmas cookies, gingerbread men come to mind first. Well, after these of course! It’s something about them. Their spice. Their molasses flavor. Their smiles. Their charm! (Aren’t they charming looking?? Seriously look at them!) Gingerbread cookies, you have my heart. And stomach.

My favorite gingerbread cookie recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, and so much flavor!!

I’ve never shared a gingerbread men cookie recipe on my blog before. The truth is, I haven’t been able to find “the one” I’m proud of to post on my blog. I’ve tried them for the past few years and, while each batch is certainly tasty, I’m always left disappointed in the flavor and texture scene. So, I made it a point this year– well, this past month– to really work on a perfect gingerbread men cookie recipe. Or at least one that is perfect in my eyes and on my tastebuds! You’ll love these too.

Gingerbread men cookie recipes all start the same. There’s a lot of flour so the cookies can keep their shape. There’s molasses and spice for flavor, egg(s), butter, and sugar. The amounts and kinds all vary between recipes, but the recipe I absolutely adore is based off my mom’s recipe. To her recipe, I add a little more molasses and increase the amount of spice favors (like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I like a gingerbread cookies with A LOT of flavor, which shouldn’t surprise you. Because of the added sticky sweetener (molasses), I add a bit more flour to help soak it all up. I also use brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar in my gingerbread men recipe. This is for extra flavor. I always use brown sugar when its flavor is appropriate! Again, I’m sure you know this by now!

My favorite gingerbread cookie recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, and so much flavor!!

Let’s walk through the recipe real quick so you don’t get confused.

The dough is a little sticky once it’s all beaten together in your mixing bowl. It absolutely MUST be chilled. There is no way around this crucial step, so make sure you give yourself enough time in the kitchen. I chill my gingerbread men cookie dough overnight in the refrigerator but 3 hours is enough. It’s a long time, I know, but you want your cookie dough firm and manageable. You also want it to keep its shape when the cookies are baking– and you won’t get that unless you have chilled, solid dough.


It’s easiest to wrap the dough in plastic wrap before chilling. Scoop out 1/2 of the prepared cookie dough, plop it onto a long sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it up, and flatten it out into a disc. Repeat with the other 1/2 of dough. Then chill. See that photo above? That’s what you’re doing, but you’ll have 2 discs. Why are you doing this? It’s easier to roll out the chilled cookie dough when it is in a disc shape. Also, the cookie dough chills faster when there is less volume. And it’s just easier to work with smaller portions when rolling/shaping!

After chilling, roll out the chilled cookie dough discs until about 1/4-inch thick. Don’t be afraid to flour your hands, rolling pin, work surface, and everything in the world. By that, I mean: the cookie dough can become sticky as you work. So, don’t be scared to add more flour to the work surface.

More flour is ok.

The flour spots on top of your shaped cookie dough men will bake off.

My favorite gingerbread cookie recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, and so much flavor!!

Place the cut-out cookies onto a lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. The cookies won’t really spread, but you want to make sure they have enough room to breathe. They are gingerbread men, after all.

The cookies only take about 9-10 minutes in the oven, which produces a soft cookie with slightly crisp edges. If your cookie cutter is much smaller than 4 inches, your cookies will be done in about 8 minutes. If you’re baking XXL gingerbread men, your cookies might take closer to 12 minutes.

My favorite gingerbread cookie recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, and so much flavor!!

Now, decorate your little heart out. We’re talking smiles, eyes, bow-ties, buttons, squiggles, whatever your gingerbread men cookie loving heart desires. This is when it’s really fun to have a friend or little baker in the kitchen with you. I use my basic and simple decorating icing, but you can use your favorite royal icing.

Tint the icing with a couple drops of food coloring to spice things up, too!

My favorite gingerbread cookie recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, and so much flavor!!

It’s difficult not to love this recipe! That’s why it’s quickly become my favorite. The dough comes together easily, the flavor is spot on- lots of molasses, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice, and cloves- the edges are slightly crisp, the centers are soft and chewy, and they’re so easy to decorate. Happy cookie making!

PS: I encourage you to read through the recipe before beginning. And don’t be overwhelmed by all the steps, I’m just very thorough.

My Favorite Gingerbread Men Recipe

Here is my favorite gingerbread men recipe! Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced, molasses and brown sugar-sweetened holiday goodness. Make sure you chill the cookie dough discs for a minimum of 3 hours. This is crucial! I played around with the spices a lot and really loved the flavor of these cookies when using a full Tablespoon each of ground ginger and ground cinnamon.


  • 10 Tablespoons (145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) unsulphured molasses (I use Grandma's Molasses brand)
  • 1 large Eggland's Best egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (437g) all-purpose flour  (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger (yes, 1 full Tablespoon!)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Easy royal icing or your favorite icing recipe

Special Equipment


  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy-looking. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in egg and vanilla on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The butter may separate; that's ok.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky. Divide dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Please see photo and description above in my post. Chill discs for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Don't be afraid to continually flour the work surface as needed- this dough can be sticky. Roll out disc until 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is shaped. Repeat with remaining disc of dough.
  5. Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are smaller than 4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time.
  6. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired.
  7. Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked and decorated (or not decorated) cookies freeze well - up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough discs (just the dough prepared through step 2) freeze well - up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.

Recipe Notes:

NOTE: This cookie dough is not sturdy enough for gingerbread houses.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.



  1. Making these this weekend. I have to say I am a little worried about the amount of ginger in these, it seems like a lot. But I’ve tried a bunch of recipes from you before, so I’m going to trust you on this!

  2. Hi Sally,
    I made your gingerbread man cookies today! Wow they are yummy! It’s my first ever attempt at gingerbread men. 
    I put the correct amount of molasses in as per your recipe and the consistency of the dough was great, they baked great no problems at all but the dough was really dark and they had a very strong molasses taste to them. They still taste delish but the molasses does over power the lovely spices.
    I live in England so am wondering if the molasses over here might be different? I would like to try and make them again for my daughters pre school class but am wondering if I could use half the amount of molasses and half of something else? What would you suggest I try?
    Tina X

    • Tina, I’ve heard that molasses is a little different over in England. You can reduce the molasses to 1/3 cup and cut down to 3 and 1/4 cups of flour. I wouldn’t add anything. This should help! I’m so glad you like them.

      • Hi Sally, first try of ginger bread men ever for me and my 5yo (it’s winter over here in July!) and they turned out beautifully in terms of texture etc. However, same result as for Tina: the molasses flavours are really overpowering and the gingerbread men look dark like chocolate. I live in Australia and the molasses here must be a lot stronger than the US ones… ? will try your variation next time but wanted to check: would you keep everything else the same measurements even if you cut down on flour?

        Thanks a lot and kind regards from downunder 🙂

  3. I had never made gingerbread cookies before, so I wanted to try.  These were AMAZING!!!, and so easy.  Thanks so much.  I’m adding this recipe to my personal favorites.  Have a very Merry Christmas Sally!

  4. Great job explaining how to make these…lots of good detail and pictures which are always so helpful. Can’t wait to try these to go along with my gingerbread church, which is a holiday tradition. I was looking for a softer dough for cookies though.

    Unfortunately, I’m barely lucky enough to own a rolling pin and a few cookie sheets, never mind some kind of fancy mixer with attachments. I can only assume that a good old-fashioned wooden spoon will do the job.

  5. Great gingerbread’s, Sally! They were a huge hit at the office. The texture is perfect!

  6. These are truly charming!!  (alas!  the last one didn’t make it I see, haha)  I was hunting around for a good gingerbread recipe for a holiday party, and I’m glad to find yours has lots of spices — very important!  I am so down with that full tablespoon of ginger.  Seriously, these look fantastic, and I can’t wait to try them this weekend. 

    Cheers!  :]

    • Let me know how you like them!

      • They were absolutely amazing!!  Perfectly soft inside with slightly crispy edges, and the ginger? Soooo good.  Nerd alert: I actually made them into little Wookies for the party, since it was Star Wars themed; everyone loved them — thank you!  :]

        ((I’m about to make your sugar cookie recipe….your 50+ Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes is a dangerous list, but oh so sweet!!))  

        Have a Merry Christmas, Sally!

  7. Your recipe has crossed the ocean! I was looking for a soft recipe for my gingerbread men and I picked up yours, because they were so beautiful.Thanks for the quantities in metric system, because most of the time, it stops me from trying recipes from English or American blogs. Your blog is really great, it will now join the oher ones in my favorite list. My gingerbread men are definitely not as good looking as yours, but they did taste nice (my kids and colleagues appreciated) :

    Thanks for all your recipes !

  8. I followed your recipe to a tee. Tried rolling the first disc out and it just broke up all over the place. Worked at it – let it sit awhile – got a few little men, but mostly just crumbs. Help! When rolling I would roll the crumbs in and it would produce layers which did not meld into the rest of he dough. What did I do wrong?

  9. Hey Sally,
    I need to make 48 gingerbread cookies, is it better to make two separate batches or double the ingredients? 
    Which is better to use in this recipe, light or dark brown sugar?

    • Make two separate batches. It’s easier to work with less volume of dough at a time. I like both light and dark– though dark is fantastic in this recipe. Extra flavor!

  10. Sally, I’m a foot and ankle surgeon in Salt Lake City, I’m also an avid lover of cookies and baking, good thing I’m also a marathon runner:) I’ve been using your chewy chocolate chunk recipe for the past year and my friends and family have been begging for the recipe, you.. Sally… are my little secret:)
    I’ve been wanting to try a gingerbread recipe for years and am going to take on your recipe today, can’t wait. I’ve been hoping to find one with chewy cookies… we shall see. I just wanted to give you a shout out, I’ll be trying many of your recipes and keep running the marathons to burn off those calories! Thanks!!!

  11. Hi Sally-

    These really are the best gingerbread men ever! They are so rich and spicy without being overpowering- had to bring them into work so I’d stop eating them. Now all my coworkers are hooked too. I’d never made gingerbread before and was nervous about them turning out, but they were so easy. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    • I love their spice flavor too! Thanks so much Ingrid. Glad you and your coworkers love them! Smart bringing them into work haha!

  12. I’ll be making two batches this morning, and letting the kids decorate them tonight.

  13. Hi Sally! Happy Tuesday! Do you think I could make a gingerbread house out of this dough? if you’ve ever made a gingerbread house from scratch will give me some tips? I’ve only made them from a kit. Thanks Sally!! 

    • Hey Marina! This cookie dough is not suitable for making gingerbread houses. Not sturdy enough. I’ve never made one from scratch before. Sorry!

  14. Hi Sally!

    I made these cookies recently and followed the recipe word for word (I even read the entire post). I feel like my dough was dry from the beginning, even before chilling. Then when I went to roll it out it was a chore! I didn’t have to fight any stickiness which I thought was strange.  The dough was crumbly and my baked cookies even had a crackle appearance. Do you know what might have caused this?


    • Jessica, it sounds like the flour was overmeasured. That’s what would prevent your dough form being sticky– too much flour to soak it all up. Did you spoon and level or weigh the flour? Be sure not to scoop the flour. It’s easy to overmeasure it that way. If anything, you can reduce the flour by 1/4 cup.

  15. Hi Sally, I love your recipes. You are my go to when I need to bake. Recently I made your gingerbread men. I found that they turned out salty. Have you had that feedback before?
    Thank you,

    • No, I haven’t! 1/2 teaspoon to over 3 cups of flour shouldn’t result in a salty cookie. Especially with molasses AND brown sugar. Did you add 1 teaspoon instead of 1/2? Did you use salted butter instead of unsalted?

  16. These are amazing. I have never been a big fan of gingerbread and I have the be honest all of the spices looked a little intimidating! I followed the recipe exactly, I used light brown sugar, and they are my favorite cookie ever!!! I am not too great at finding the proper measurement for cutting but will be better next time!!! I do have one question. I am making cookie tins with different types of cookies for Christmas gifts and I am wondering if you think a little over a week would be too long for the cookies to be at room temp or if I should keep them refrigerated or frozen. Any advice would be great!! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    • So happy you love these gingerbread men cookies!

      A week or a week plus a couple days is completely fine for cookies in a tin. I do that all the time.

  17. Hi Sally! I was wondering if you can use blackstrap molasses for this recipe, and if so are the measurements the same?

    • Use the same amount– as using less will affect the texture. Yours will have a stronger, deeper molasses flavor. (Which will be delicious.)

  18. What can replace molacess? I couldn’t find it in the place I live. Can you sugesst me an alternative to it?

    • Sally! Hi! ,
      Shani in Mexico here, this being our 3rd Christmas here I really am wanting to make gingerbread men for my kids, but there is no molasses here, not even maple syrup. I make due with piloncillo, but was wondering if you knew of a dIY molasses???
      Thanks ! Feliz Navidad! 

  19. Made these for my son’s Christmas class party and they were a hit! We let them decorate them so they had a blast. I do want to make a gingerbread house this week with him but I saw the note saying the recipe wasn’t good for that, any suggestions? Thanks so much Sally!! Merry Christmas

  20. Hello Sally, i live in the UK. I noticed you use ‘cups’ as measurements. Would it be possible for you to convert your cup for me please. I was initially looking for some peanut butter g/bread men. How much peanut butter would i add to this recipe? Crunchy or smooth?
    Thank you very much.

    • Lorna, I’m unsure how to add peanut butter to these cookies without testing it myself. I don’t think I’d be a fan of the flavor combination, but let me know if you try anything! Sounds very unique! This recipe includes gram and ml measurements where cups are listed.

  21. Just made your gingerbread man recipe and love, love, love them! I have never attempted to make these little cute guys, but you inspired me and I am so excited that I am planning to add them to my annual cookie repertoire now! Thumbs up on the royal icing recipe too!
    Thank you:)

  22. Hi Sally, I am making this as I type, followed instructions to the letter, leveled my flour and my dough is dry, not sticky…how do I fix it?

  23. Made these as gifts for neighbours and colleagues and decorated with your royal icing recipe. As is always the case with your recipes, these turned out awesome!  Big thumbs up from everyone I gave these to.  Your instructions are the best.  Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016 🙂

  24. Dear Sally
    , I am from Hong Kong. I have always looked a gingerbread men as a kind of American thing… I was curious to try but never got around to it. Finally, a friend asked me to make some for her. I was looking online and my eye caught your recipe – the fact that it is soft inside really got me. I always had the impression that gingerbread men were hard, tough cookies. I JUST finished making a batch. WOW!!! I had to control myself from eating it right off the oven. They smelled so good – and as promised, it was soft in the middle. I will decorate them tonight and give them to my friend tomorrow. Thanks for a great recipe. I will be checking out your other recipes soon!

  25. Hi Sally! I’m planning on making these for Christmas,and I don’t have any allspice or ground cloves. I was wondering if I could substitute them for other spices, as I do have nutmeg,cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and pumpkin pie spice. Thanks!

  26. These are delicious cookies! I just baked mine for a little less time. Warning – it’s very hard to quit eating these! 🙂

  27. I can’t wait to try these cookies – they’ve got amazing reviews! I was going to ask if the recipe was suitable for making gingerbread houses, but already saw your answer! You should start working on your own Homemade Gingerbread House recipe for Christmas 2016!! 

  28. The soft gingersnaps are a hit with friends and family, so this one I would love to try out as a gift for a friend’s birthday party. How long can they keep with or without refrigeration (if possible) after decorating? I’m family and I will be away a week before event and won’t be attending := so I’d be making these beforehand. 

    • A week is perfectly fine! Truly, they last about 2 weeks if you want them to. 🙂

      • Thank you for your reply, Sally! I hope she likes them, each recipe I’ve tried has been wonderful. You’re my go to whenever I crave something! 

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