My Favorite Gingerbread Cookies

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Here is my favorite gingerbread cookies recipe and one of the most popular Christmas cookie recipes on this website. Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced, molasses and brown sugar-sweetened holiday goodness. 

This is the best recipe for gingerbread men! Easy to mix together, taste unbelievable, and fun to decorate! Gingerbread cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome to day 2 of Sally’s 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 so glamorous around here.

Yesterday I shared chocolate crinkle cookies and I’m repeating the classic Christmas cookies trend today. Whenever I think of Christmas cookies, gingerbread cookies come to mind first. Well, after sugar cookies of course! It’s their spice, their molasses flavor, their SMILES, their charm! (Aren’t they charming looking??) Gingerbread cookies, you have my heart.

 

I’ve never shared a gingerbread 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 department. So, I made it a point this year 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.

Ingredients in Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookie recipes all start the same and mine comes from my mom. To her recipe, I add a little more molasses and increase the amount of spice favors (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I like a gingerbread cookies with A LOT of flavor and I know you will too. Because of the added sticky sweetener (molasses), I add a little more flour to help soak it all up.

  1. Flour so the cookies can keep their shape.
  2. Molasses + spices for flavor
  3. Egg so the gingerbread cookies have structure and richness
  4. Brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar. I always use brown sugar when its flavor is appropriate!

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

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

Let’s walk through the gingerbread cookie recipe so you feel confident when you begin baking.

Chill the dough: The dough is sticky once it’s all beaten together in your mixing bowl and therefore, it absolutely MUST be chilled for at least 3 hours. Give yourself enough time in the kitchen or make the cookie dough and chill it overnight. You want your cookie dough firm so the cookies hold their shape and you want your cookie dough manageable so you can work with it. You won’t have either unless you have chilled cookie dough!

Wrap up the 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!

Roll it out: 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. The flour spots on top of your shaped cookie dough will bake off.

This is the best recipe for gingerbread men! Easy to mix together, taste unbelievable, and fun to decorate! Gingerbread cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This is the best recipe for gingerbread men! Easy to mix together, taste unbelievable, and fun to decorate! Gingerbread cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 people, after all!!

How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies

After they’ve baked and cooled, it’s time to decorate the cookies. 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 royal icing works just as well.

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

This is the best recipe for gingerbread men! Easy to mix together, taste unbelievable, and fun to decorate! Gingerbread cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s difficult not to love this recipe which is why they’re my favorite gingerbread cookies!

  • 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
  • They’re so easy to decorate.

Don’t forget the other Christmas classic: Peanut Butter Blossoms

My Favorite Gingerbread Men Recipe

Make sure you chill the cookie dough discs for a minimum of 3 hours. 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.

Ingredients:

  • 10 Tablespoons (2/3 cup; 145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (200g) unsulphured molasses (I use Grandma's Molasses brand)
  • 1 large 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

Special Equipment

Directions:

  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.

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. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

WHAT HAVE I DONE?

This is the best recipe for gingerbread men! Easy to mix together, taste unbelievable, and fun to decorate! Gingerbread cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

263 Comments

All Comments

  1. I made the dough yesterday,refrigerated over and when I tried to roll out and cut this morning the dough would not roll and cracked. Any ideas what I could have done wrong? Thank you!

    1. I found the same thing when I tried to roll mine this morning after sitting in the frig overnight….the dough just needed to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes then it rolled perfectly.  Very good cookie, nice ginger flavour.  It’s a keeper!

      1. Yes, it’s probably just too cold right out of the fridge! Let it sit like Joan suggested and it should be good to go 🙂

  2. These gingerbread cookies are sooooo good!  I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfectly.  I am adding gingerbread cookies to our Christmas cookie lineup!
    Thank you!

  3. Hello, Is it 200ml or 200g of Molasses? I used 200g of molasses as per your recipe and the dough is very dark. It looks like it will be too bitter when baked. Thanks!

  4. I made these cookies for a holiday party for my co-workers and when I finally got the dough out of the refrigerator, it appeared to be too dry. But once I got rolling out the dough all was as it should have been. The cookies were a hit and the flavor was spectacular

  5. Hi! Is there anyway to make this gluten free? I am not a celiac, but my Dad is and he has never had the pleasure of trying one of these classic christmas staples. 

  6. I’m planning to use stamped cookie cutters (they’re shaped like Star Wars characters and have lines for face and clothing details).  Will these cookies puff up and obscure the details from the stamp?  I can see that they hold the outside shape, but I’m not sure if they’ll stay flat enough for the details of the stamp to show through.  Thanks!  These sound so flavorful and I would love to make them!

  7. I made these yesterday, turned out great!!!! I have tried to make gingerbread in the past and failed, this recipe is fantastic, thank you for sharing.

  8. Sally, you’re always my trusted go-to and I recommend your blog to anyone seeking a recipe. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you putting the weight of your measurements as well. As a precise baker, it’s incredibly helpful and saves me a lot of sifting and measuring! I love just setting the scale and measuring out my ingredients quickly.

    I measured this out last night and whipped it up in 15 minutes this afternoon. Now it’s sitting in the fridge for some post-dinner fun.

  9. Fantastic! Made this dough yesterday afternoon. My oldest son cut out and baked one disc of dough for a late night snack. I cut out and baked up the second one early this morning with my preschooler and the dough was easy to work with and baked up wonderfully. The few we have left will be decorated with the rest of the kids after school probably won’t make until bedtime because they taste amazing. I’d better make up another batch of dough and hide it in the freezer for Christmas.

  10. Your recipe was my first attempt at gingerbread cookies. Most gingerbread cookies I ever had were too tough and tasted too much molasses. Yours turned out really good and now will be a standard on my Christmas cookie baking list. Thank you.

  11. I must say your gingerbread recipe was really a hit with me and my grandbaby the best things in life are made simply!!. My grandbaby is really picky but now this is onefood item I did not have any problem with him eating. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

  12. These are awesomd! My granddaughter and I made them this afternoon and they turned out perfectly!!
    They will also be part of our Christmas cookie line up!!

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Reviews

  1. I love, love these cookies. I made them for a neighbourhood event and the kids ate them all up quickly. The recipe is five-star and the instructions were excellent. I had no problem following everything and appreciate that she shares her baking methods. Thanks!

  2. This is a great gingerbread recipe! The directions were easy to follow and the dough was easy to roll and cut. The cookies baked just like the directions said.

  3. Just made these. Cooked most of them for 9 minutes but they tasted a bit raw in the middle so I baked the second batch for 10 minutes and they have a better color and structure. Very interesting cooking my first ever gingerbread cookies, I’ve never had them fresh. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Made these gingerbread cookies yesterday while my daughter-in-law was in labour. I needed something to keep my hands busy while waiting and thought I would make some gingerbread men!!!! I came across your recipe and whipped them up. They turned out sooo yummy and cute. I am going to decorate them tonight. Baby girl came safe and sound. I think these cookies will become a tradition and one day maybe we will make them together. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Omg Sally! i can’t even explain how great everything I have made of yours is. I hated to bake and cook. I would get so frustrated not having recipes turn out, having no real explanation as to why I should melt my butter or measure my flour a certain way. I certainly had no idea how much a pinch of this or that will help or ruin the recipe. But since I found you, I love to be in the kitchen. My daughter and I bake everything from scratch together and always from your recipes! I have your cook books but would love to just give you a hug in person and tell you how great you are and thank you for sharing your talents with the world! Keep on doing what you’re doing! It’s really appreciated!!!

    Oh and PS these gingerbread men are perfect too! Don’t differ from her genius recipe. It’s perfect as usual!

  6. I’ve been looking for a good gingerbread cookie recipe and this is the first one I tried. The texture of the cookie was perfect but it seems like the molasses was a lot as it had a very bitter after taste. I made a little royal icing for decorating which helped but overall the cookies itself is too bitter. A perfect cookie if you don’t mind the bitterness.

Questions

  1. Hi! So I literally bought those cookie cutters and I’ve been dying to make and try my first ever gingerbread cookies…and noticed I don’t have any molasses! What to do? Are there any substitutes I can use instead of molasses?

    1. Hi Rachel! Molasses is the main ingredient and one of the main flavors, so I don’t suggest making the gingerbread cookies without it.

    1. Whichever one I grab first! Dark gives them a darker color and deeper flavor, though with all that molasses and the spices in the cookie dough… light brown sugar is just as tasty.

  2. Hello Sally

    The dough must chill in the fridg for 3 hours or at room temperature? If it‘s in the fridg, does it have to chill for a few minutes at room temperature?

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Angela

    1. Hi Angela, You must chill discs in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days! You do not need to let it sit at room temperature before rolling it out. Enjoy!

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