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
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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 love this recipe! These gingerbread cookies stay soft for days and the flavor is perfect. They did spread a bit more than I would’ve liked but I was able to solve that for the other badges by chilling the cut out dough before baking.

  2. Made these gingerbread cookies tonight with my 4 year old. They were very tasty! Thank you.

  3. Tiffany Clark says:

    Made this over the holidays twice because it was so good and the cookies didn’t last. Whole family raved! Excellent with or without icing.

  4. Shelley Bailey says:

    Perfect gingerbread cookies, love them more than the ones I had growing up!

  5. I’ve been looking for a gingerbread cookie that had lots of ginger flavor. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I also used your easy cookie icing which was so easy to make and perfect for these cookies. Thanks for the recipe

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my Gingerbread Cookies recipe, Andrea!

  6. Delicious cookies. My faves as well!!

  7. lanie buskin says:

    Easy to roll out and cut out. Great flavor not too sweet!

  8. Sharon Boughner says:

    These are fabulous!! I made for Christmas plates and everyone loved them. They are better the day after baking. Thank you so much!!!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Sharon!

  9. These are delicious! The recipe caught my eye because it uses a lot of ground ginger. I like a really strong ginger taste. I do have one question though. I plan on trying to decorate them with royal icing tomorrow. I’ve worked with royal icing before, but with sugar cookies. These are soft-ish and I’m wondering if they will be able to hold up to totally flooding the tops with the icing, as opposed to just adding some eyes and a mouth etc.?

    1. Absolutely! I cover them completely with royal icing most of the times I prepare/decorate them. So glad you enjoy these cookies too!

  10. I’m making cookies for the first time please let me know whether Chilling the dough in the freezer or refrigerator

    1. Alyssa and Azaz says:

      Chill the dough in the refrigerator- In then freezer it would freeze

  11. I’m have a cookie cutter in the shape of Winnie the Pooh’s face and am looking for a recipe to use with them. (It’s my daughter’s birthday and we’re throwing a Pooh-themed birthday party.) Does this recipe work well with all sorts of shapes? Thanks!

    1. Sure does! I’ve used this dough for a variety of shaped cookies.

      1. Awesome, thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

  12. Great combination of flavors! The molasses and ginger flavors were perfect and not overpowering.

    The dough worked great for slice-and bake cookies, too. I didn’t have any cookie cutters, so I just rolled the dough into a log before chilling (according to the recipe) and then sliced them before baking.

    My dad who isn’t a fan of gingerbread cookies loved them especially when we topped them with homemade whipped cream!

  13. Hi Sally,
    I love this recipe and have used it twice now, its definitely a crowd favorite. I was just wondering how it compares to the Gingerbread cookie recipe in your Cookie Addiction cookbook. It seems to have similar ingredients but different amounts, is one an updated version of the other?

    1. Hi Farrah! The recipes are exactly the same. 🙂 The gram measurements are very slightly different, but nothing that would make or break the recipe.

  14. Hello Sally!
    I love this recipe, made it twice with my four year old.
    Is it okay to decorate these with chocolate chips before baking?
    Thank you!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoy this recipe, Haniya! Yes, you can press chocolate chips into the dough before baking. Have fun 🙂

  15. Will it wrork with gluten free flour instead of normal one? Thank you .

    1. Hi Tanya, I haven’t tested these cookies with gluten free flour but let me know if you try.

  16. Kevin Murray says:

    Does anyone know how many calories there are roughly per cookie?

    1. Hi Kevin, I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  17. Would bread flour work in lieu of AP flour?

    1. It is the one with the best proportion so far among the recipes I’ve tried. Thanks a lot.

  18. It may be Easter, not usually the season for gingerbread 😉 but we tried this recipe during the quarantine for something to try! We like it very much, and I do like that the cookies are soft. I probably would add a bit more sugar to mine next time but I’ll hold on to this recipe. Thank you 🙂

  19. Lisa Alford says:

    You are the lady whom I go to when I need a cookie recipe.

    How about a guinness gingerbread cookie recipe? We could use cookie cutters of tankards of ales with that.

    1. That sounds delicious! Thanks so much for baking and trusting my cookie recipes.

  20. Hi Sally, this is such a coincidence! Last Christmas I was searching for a photo online to make into an ecard, and when I was reading this recipe I noticed that the picture is the picture from your website!!! So cute~ I have a question, the place where I live molasses is not common, can I use other things to substitute? Maybe honey?

    1. Hi Flora, Unfortunately, molasses is what gives gingerbread its signature flavor and color (along with the ginger/spices). Honey will not taste right.

  21. Judi Ellis says:

    Since it’s been snowing in Ohio my 3 year old Grandson reverted to watching Christmas videos so we had to make Gingerbread cookies .
    I didn’t check my spices before starting and had No Ginger! I substituted Pumpkin pie spice and I think I like them better then regular ginger.
    Great recipie, never even got to frost them.

  22. Reliable and tasty gingerbread cookie recipe! I have been using this recipe for xmas cookies for the past few years. You won’t be disappointed!

  23. These are so good, I’ve just made my third batch since finding this recipe. I use golden syrup instead of molasses and my 1yo, 3yo and husband love them! I made double dough this time, to keep in the fridge.

  24. Robyn and Grace says:

    We made these gingerbread cookies as a fun treat for a family tea. So delicious. We did butterflies, chicks and lambs.

  25. Hi Sally. What were the measurements for the molasses, flour and spice favors (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice) in the original, unaltered recipe? I like gingerbread cookies where the flavor isn’t overwhelming.

    1. Hi Janie, I used an old recipe from my mom as a starting point for these cookies. You can certainly decrease the amount of spices to your liking if you wish.

  26. Hi Sally, can i apply your sugar cookies tricks in this recipe i.e roll it our before chilling? Or this dough is supposed to be not that hard to work with once chilled? I had previous experience with really sticky dough. Thanks for replying!

    1. Hi MaryJane, This dough is too sticky to roll out before it’s chilled. It’s really best to chill first, then roll it out and if it becomes sticky as you work don’t be scared to add more flour to the work surface, hands, and rolling pin.

  27. I’d like to point out that if you don’t have any dark brown sugar on hand to use for this recipe, you can use 3/4 white granulated and just up the molasses from 2/3 up to 3/4 cup for the same outcome. Sugar producers start with refined sugar when they make their brown sugars and just add molasses to keep everything consistant.
    1 cup refined sugar + 2 tablespoons molasses = 1 cup dark brown sugar
    for light brown sugar
    1 cup refined sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses

    Also, I found out the hard way last year that blackstrap molasses is not interchangeable with molasses. Grandma’s Molasses was my go-to growing up, so I never had to think about it, but they don’t sell that brand where I’m living now.

  28. Hello Sally!
    Could I use self raising flour instead of the ap flour and soda in this recipe? I’m having a tough time finding ap in the aisles these days and have plenty of self raising on hand. Can’t wait to try these, my kids love gingerbread! Thanks!

    1. Hi Roopali, I don’t recommend self-rising flour in these cookies. You’d likely have to adjust the baking soda (not leave it out completely). But let me know if you test anything.

  29. I’m an avid baker, but weirdly, have never made gingerbread. This is the perfect recipe! When looking for one, my daughters and I recognized you from your show and knew these would be a winner. We have made many of your recipes and they always turn out just right (your lemon cake is a total fav around here). Keep up the awesome work!

  30. Kimberly Mastro says:

    Hello! I’m excited to try this recipe! If I make these today (Thursday evening) will they still be good on Saturday?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kimberly- Yes, these cookies will still be fresh on Saturday (and stay fresh for up to a week at room temperature). Keep in an air-tight container until you need them. Happy baking!

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