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

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 (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 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

350 Comments

      1. Sally, thanks so much for this delicious sounding recipe. My 9 year old granddaughter and I are baking many batches for Christmas and gifting.

    1. I did not have allspice in my cupboard and just left it out. This recipe is so good. I’m still licking the paddles and haven’t Even baked yet. Chilling dough.

  1. This is my first time making gingerbread cookies and I must say they turned out perfect! I was hesitant at first thinking the cookies would spread and be a mess, but no they held their shapes perfect! I froze quite a few to decorate on the week my kids are off from school. They taste amazing and my whole house smells so good! Thank you Sally for this recipe!!

  2. Thanks for your reply. I also don’t have a flat attachment. My mixer has the standard beater attachments like the hand held, a whisk attachment or a dough hook. Which would you recommend for this receipe. Thanks

  3. Hey, I’m going to try out your recipe, but I’m planning to freeze the dough for about a week and a half before I bake them. Do you think they will turn out just as tasty and soft?

  4. Love this recipe! The spice ratio, the texture of the cookie and the flavor are great! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made gingerbread men and angels today. Having the grand and others to help decorate tomorrow.
    This will be my go to recipe for gingerbread men from now on!

    1. If you are ever blessed to have a boy, decorating gingerbread was an annual thing.
      Id buy lots of gel decorators (heavy on the clear red)
      I would invite all 5 of his guy friends to come over and decorate them anyway the want.
      We had a gory tree one year. You never saw so many gun shot and knife wounds, missing limbs and black eyes.
      Its what happens when young boys decorate. It was awesome! Lol!
      Every year it can be a different theme. Sports, video characters..for girls sports, videos characters, flowers, pocketbooks, jewelry.
      To this day, my son’s friends still call me mom.

  5. I’m traveling for Christmas and wanted to make everything ahead of the trip. This recipe said you can freeze the cookies after they have been decorated, but the icing recipe said it doesn’t freeze well. I don’t want to ruin the cookies, so should I wait to decorate them until I reach my destination? Thanks!

    1. Let me update that because the past several times that I’ve frozen decorated sugar cookies with the easy icing, it’s thawed fairly well! Obviously not as wonderful as fresh, so do whichever you prefer. For the best results, I would wait to decorate.

  6. i was very surprised by how much ground ginger you needed well i guess they are called ginger bread men oh and i have a question can we leave then to chill for an hour instead of 3

  7. This a fabulous recipe! The explosion of flavor the ginger and other spices is extraordinary! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  8. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I have made this recipe twice and the first time, the cookies were nice and soft but the second time, they were quite hard and crunchy. I followed the recipe and baking instructions both times so wonder if you could comment on the reason for the difference.

    1. Hi Janie! Did you follow the recipe the 2nd time? Strange that the 2nd batch didn’t come out like the first! My only guess would be that they over-baked. Hand, crunchy, crispy cookies are usually the result of over-baking.

  9. Hi Sally, amazing recipe a total hit with kids and adults. I still have one dough disc left over which implant I use within the week. How long can it keep in fridge before I need to freeze it?

    1. The notes at the end of Sally’s recipe say that they keep well at room temperature for up to a week if they’re covered or kept n a container 🙂

  10. This recipe is excellent. I didn’t have all spice and they were great.
    I used vegan margerine instead of butter and they were just as soft and delicious.

  11. Thank you for such a great gingerbread recipe!
    I just baked these tonight, after making the dough this afternoon.
    They taste wonderful & the dough was a breeze to roll/work with.
    This will be my new go to recipe for gingerbread!

  12. I’m going to try this recipe for Christmas – turning the gingerbread men into reindeer. I love your recipes and your page is one of my “go-to” pages when I am looking for inspiration!

  13. These are amazing! It’s really hit or miss for me on any type of ginger/molasses cookies, but these were perfect! The texture is perfect and the flavor is extraordinary. Thanks for the great recipe Sally!

  14. Hi Sally,

    I love your gingerbread cookie recipe! But what can I use instead of butter for someone who is allergic to lactose?

  15. Hi Sally,
    Thank You for all Your wonderful recipes, I finally was able to get Your Cookie Addiction Book 🙂 but I cant see this recipe in it, cause I would love to make it, I hope You can help? Many Thanks and Merry Christmas.x

  16. I’ve tried many gingerbread cookie recipes over the years and yours were the best! I rarely find a recipe that I don’t change. This one was sheer perfection! No changes necessary. Thank you for sharing it!

  17. Hi Sally
    Just made these – I think I over baked them a bit…they are pretty crunchy. Made small ones and ‘regular’ sized ones. Mind you, I only tried the small ones(baked as you directed). Maybe the larger ones will be chewier ? And plan on using royal icing, which might help too?

    The taste though is SO yummy! Great, spicy cookie. Because the flavor is wonderful, I think I may serve them anyways…

    Thanks Sally

  18. I made these today. Wonderful recipe! The dough was way easier to work than my daughter’s sugar cookies we also did today! Delicious!

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