My Favorite Gingerbread Cookies

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

Whenever I think of Christmas cookies, gingerbread cookies come to mind first. Well, after Christmas sugar cookies of course! Their spice, their molasses flavor, their SMILES, and their charm are obviously irresistible. Gingerbread cookies, you have my heart.

Gingerbread Cookies Video Tutorial

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 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. You can use the easy glaze icing recipe I posted with my Christmas sugar cookies or my traditional royal icing recipe, whichever you prefer.

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

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon

My Favorite Gingerbread Men Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 four-inch cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: German

Description

This is my favorite gingerbread cookies recipe and it’s also loved by millions. Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, and perfectly spiced. 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. Make sure you chill the cookie dough discs for a minimum of 3 hours.


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
  • 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 ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • optional: easy cookie icing or royal icing

Instructions

  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. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Gingerbread House: This cookie dough is not sturdy enough for gingerbread houses. Here is my gingerbread house recipe.
  3. Special Tools: Cookie cutters, rolling pin, large baking sheets (these are what I use for baking, baking mats

Keywords: gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men

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

573 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. I switched to strictly going by the given weight when I saw the cup quantity of flour was 50+ grams too much. The dough wasn’t bad to mix by hand. Chilled overnight, then brought to room temperature. This dough was nice to work ! Not sticky at all. I suspect going by the given weights and ignoring cup measurement is the way to go (I think it always is.) I rolled to almost 1/4 inch and got 18 five inch tall gingerbread folk – 9 men and 9 ladies and a big cookie for me with the dough bits ! First time making gingerbread people and I am super pleased with this recipe !

  2. Elaine M Lalonde says:

    I make these cookies to day excellent flavour. Would make them again.

  3. How long do you cook them if you are not rolling them out to make gingerbread people? I’m going to use a 2 tbsp scoop instead. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sandra, For more of a drop style cookie you can follow my recipe for soft molasses cookies. Same great flavor profile and no cookie cutters required!

      1. Thank you, Sally!

  4. This recipe worked out better than I one we used last year which I think was more for gingerbread houses. It was easy to mix, roll out and cut the cookies without too much stickiness (used enough flour on the countertop I guess). We are not very experienced or good with using icing bags and tips so our decorating does not look great. Didn’t seem to matter what tip we used, all looked the same. Made the royal icing but had to add a lot more sugar to it to make it less drippy. Ended up applying some of it with a toothpick and going out and getting some ready made cookie icing in squeeze packets.

  5. Delicious gingerbread cookie recipe. Thank you very much. I did a shortcut and used canned frosting and it was still yummy.

  6. Veronica Tripp says:

    I was so nervous to put in a tbsp of ginger, but like all of your recipes that I’ve tried, these cookies turned out perfect. Thank you!!

  7. Is there anything I can use instead of molasses? Would honey work?

    1. No, molasses is what gives gingerbread its signature flavor and color (along with the ginger/spices). Honey will not taste right.

  8. Just made this dough/cookies today. Everything from the bake time to the chilling instructions were spot on. I love that the cookies are soft, and are not overly sweet. Perfect!

  9. Elizabeth ( Mommy ) Benavides says:

    Hi,
    I’m using 2 inch and 4 inch, baking as directed, is the cookie to be crisp or soft?

  10. In question 1 it says to beat the batter but not how to make the batter lol. How do you make the batter/cookie dough?

  11. These are delicious and the perfect softness. I will definitely make this recipe again, and double it!

  12. I made this recipe last Christmas, and it was a huge hit. Even people that don’t usually like gingerbread cookies loved them. I had 2 different recipes saved to my recipe book (from when I was looking around for a recipe originally), and I accidentally made the other ones first, and was disappointed and really confused. The taste was okay, but just… off. They were pretty dry and NOT AT ALL what I had remembered. Then I realized I saved this recipe too, and made a second attempt, and there it was! The magic I had craved! Promptly deleted the other one and wrote this one down. Incredible isn’t a strong enough word. Thank you so much for this!

  13. Ik never had gingerbread cookies, baked them or worked with molasses. Since I got a large bucket of Wilton cookie cutters with a gingerbread men and women I wanted to make these cookies. Since I live in the Netherlands In needed a recipe without cups so I was really happy to find your website. Finding molasses on the other hand… Ik had two choices in two stores and chose the biggest jar. Lucky me it was the right one and not blackstrap. The cookies are really different from what I usually bake and if I’ll make Them again I don’t know I’m still deciding. On the other end decorating the cookies with my 5 year old was a lot of fun!

    1/4 inch = ±6 mm

  14. Just made these with my kids, lovely recipe and they loved making them! Really spot on spice hit!
    What a beautiful site you have, I literally want to eat everything lol!
    I also made the chocolate pannetone yesterday, I took out 1/2 cup milk and added 2 eggs though.

    1. I’m so happy you and your kids enjoyed these cookies, Ben!

  15. The BEST gingerbread cookies! Such a rich, deep, and spicy gingerbread. Nothing compares to these-everyone loves them, they always get gobbled up every time I make them. And no need to adjust anything in the recipe-it’s perfect as is.

  16. I made these for my coworkers and got requests to make more.

  17. Hi. Would the cookie dough be fine to eat if I left it in the fridge for 4 days?

    1. Hi, Monica – It should be okay, although it may be a bit hard / dry.

  18. I just made these and they are delicious and easy to make. My cookies did come out with cracks in them. Did I do something wrong? Not a big deal as we used your royal icing to cover them but next year I may decorate like you did and I don’t want the cracks to show. Thanks for being my favorite baking source!!!

    1. Completely normal to have some cracks! If they are extremely cracked, they are likely over-baked.

  19. Love the flavor, but mine are crisp! I have them in a container with bread, hoping it softens them up. If they last that long! I only had blackstrap molasses. Is that why they are so dark?

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Linda! A slice of bread with the cookies should do the trick for softening them up. And yes, blackstrap molasses will definitely give it a darker color and stronger taste. Thank you so much for making my recipe!

  20. Second year making this recipe, and it is a favorite. I am asked to make them all winter long. I tell people that once spring has sprung the recipe goes into hibernation til next Christmas. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe, Laureen!

  21. This is by far the best gingerbread recipe out there. My family and gingerbread lovers truly love these cookies they are a huge hit. Thanks so much!

  22. Brandy L Davenport says:

    So maybe you can tell me what happened with my cookies here. I had a lot of kids to feed so I double this recipe. I mixed all the spices in with the flour (which was supposed to be equal to 7 cups doubled) I couldn’t even get 5.5 cups of the flour mixture mixed in before it came dry as the dessert and all crumbly. I panicked and didn’t know what to do, so I added an extra egg that I worked into the dough by hand. The dough seemed ok…but it was missing a bunch of spice that was still in the left over flour. I chilled them, rolled them out, and have to say they are pretty gross. Taste like spiced flour! What happened, why didn’t they turn out. Super bummed because I ended up having to throw them all away. 🙁

    1. Hi Brandy! Did you add all of the wet ingredients, doubling each appropriately? I can’t imagine how this dough would be crumbly with 20 Tbsp of butter (1.25 cups), 1 and 1/3 cups molasses, and 2+ eggs with 5.5 cups of flour. Are you spooning and leveling the flour? That’s my first guess!

      1. These gingerbread cookies are SO GOOD! We made a batch before Christmas but gave away so many that we ended up making another batch today!! I did substitute nutmeg for the allspice because we didn’t have it. They are so yummy! The kids loved decorating with your easy icing recipe! Thank you so much Sally! This is a keeper recipe for sure!

  23. This recipe was amazing! The supermarket I go to did not have ground clove and so I substituted 1/2 teaspoon of allspice instead and they still turned out great. I already passed on this recipe to a few friends! It was my first time making gingerbread men (specifically, gingerbread hospital staff — I included an Instagram link to the picture of cookies) and happy it was a success. Thank you!

  24. Angie Phillips says:

    Hi Sally! I made your gingerbread cookies for the first time for Christmas this year, and they were a HIT! Everyone in my family loves them and are wanting more! I have a feeling they’ll be expecting these for Christmas from now on!

    1. I’m so happy that they were such a hit, Angie!

  25. Diana Seebode says:

    If I use salted butter and omit the salt will the recipe still work?

    1. You can try using salted butter and just using half of the salt that’s called for. Just keep in mind that every brand of butter contains a different amount of salt so we never really know how much we are adding!

  26. Thank you!!! These were easy and I had great results. The cookies impressed my daughter who is a talented baker. I took the suggestion to refrigerate the dough overnight. It seemed very stiff so I set it out on the counter for an hour before working with it. I used the plastic wrap that I had refrigerated the dough in when I rolled it out. Top and bottom. No sticking, no need to add flour to my hands. My cookie cutters were four inches in size. I came out with about a dozen gingerbread men and a half dozen smaller heart shaped cookies to decorate the plate. I’ve never had such success with a gingerbread man recipe. Use quality ingredients, follow the recipe and that’s it.

  27. Hiromi Y. Somawang says:

    I tried this recipe over the weekend! Easy to work with and the combination of spices is just right!
    Only thing is…checking to see if they’re done. Some were crispy and some were soft. I did use a timer but because they’re dark, it’s hard to tell when they’re done—didn’t want to overbake them. :0

    Thank you for sharing your recipe and tips!

  28. Hello, I love gingerbread cookies and definitely will try your recipe today. Quick question, I will use smaller size cookie cutters, should I bake shorter because of this? And how long can this cookies wait in a tight closed jar without going bad?
    Thank you.

    1. If using smaller size cookie cutters, reduce the baking time and bake until those edges appear set. 1 week covered tightly at room temperature is just fine.

  29. These should be renamed “Best Gingerbread Cookies”! As a new baker, your instructions are so helpful and I appreciate all the tips. I have made at least 7 batches of these gingerbread cookies and every one has turned out wonderful. The spice is just the right amount and the texture is soft, but not crumbly. I also made the cream cheese frosting from your “Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies” and iced these cookies for added richness. Thank you for helping to make my Christmas extra delicious!

    1. Hi Sally..what if I want to double the amount of the dough ? Should I double the amount of the ingredients ??

  30. Can I skip molasses if it’s not available?

1 9 10 11 12 13

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×