Gingerbread Cupcakes

Spiced gingerbread cupcake recipe with tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting. Moist and flavorful, these homemade cupcakes are the perfect treat during the holidays!

gingerbread cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and a decorative gingerbread man candy

gingerbread cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and a decorative gingerbread man candy

What may look like your typical gingerbread cupcake is anything but average.

Deep inside each super-moist crumb you’ll taste cinnamon, ginger, and other warming winter spices. The taste of molasses is pungent, yet not overpowering in the slightest. Buttery and rich, these easy cupcakes are Christmas in a wrapper. There are no flavors I associate more with the holidays than cinnamon, ginger, and molasses.

gingerbread cupcakes in a cupcake pan after baking

It took me a few tries to perfect this gingerbread cupcake recipe. I used some trusty trial-and-error techniques to find the perfect ratio of ingredients. The cupcake batter starts with creamed butter. Batch #1 was made with oil instead of butter. Oh my gosh. The batter separated and the cupcakes were so oily, they were impossible to pick up and eat! Batch #2 was made with less oil. Dry. Dry as a bone! Batch #3 was made with melted butter and more flour. Again, oily.

(About to give up at this point, but my gingerbread perseverance pushed me through.)

Batch #4 won. Creamed butter! Brown sugar and molasses are the sweetening (and flavoring) agents in this cupcake recipe. Not only that, brown sugar brings moisture to the baked cupcake. Since you’re not using oil (which is more moisture-rich than butter), brown sugar is a simple way to not only sweeten the cupcake, but to leave a moist texture as well.

The rest of the cupcake ingredients are quite standard: flour, spices, milk, leaveners, egg. Use room temperature egg for this cupcake batter. Surely you saw what happened when I didn’t use room temperature egg in this cupcake post, right? Though not necessary for all cupcake and cake recipes, I prefer to use room temperature egg(s) when the rest of my ingredients are room temperature. This allows the egg to incorporate easier into the batter.

cream cheese frosting in a pink bowl with a hand mixer

I top the flavorful gingerbread cupcakes with my favorite cream cheese frosting. The frosting is quite similar to the cream cheese frosting I slather on my Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake. I simply increased the cream cheese for a thicker consistency. If you love cream cheese frosting, this is a recipe you need.

Frost the gingerbread cupcakes – I used my Wilton #12 tip for piping, though you could simply frost them with a knife or your favorite piping tip.

I know you’re wondering about the adorable little gingerbread men decor, right? They kind of steal the show. Found them for super cheap at Michael’s craft store. You can buy them here or even some adorable candy canes right here!

gingerbread man decorations

You could also decorate the cupcakes with festive holiday sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or even flavor the cream cheese frosting with maple extract or a sprinkle of cinnamon. You could even do a simple whipped cream topping as well. I’m pretty certain gingerbread goes with everything.

If you’re a gingerbread lover, you have to try these holiday cupcakes. Crowned with tangy cream cheese frosting, each bite is super moist and high in gingery flavor. Sugar and spice at its finest!

PS: See how to make them mini size in my recipe notes below!

gingerbread cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and a decorative gingerbread man candy

Ok, enough reading – start baking!

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gingerbread cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and a decorative gingerbread man candy

Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Spiced gingerbread cupcake recipe with tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting. Moist and flavorful, these homemade cupcakes are the perfect treat during the holidays!


  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (156g) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • cream cheese frosting for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the milk, molasses, and vanilla on medium speed. Mixture will be piecey and not fully combined. That’s ok.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice together until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full, no more. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Prepare cream cheese frosting. Frost cooled cupcakes immediately before serving. Unfrosted cupcakes remain fresh covered tightly at room temperature for 2 days. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and allow to come to room temperature before serving.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cupcakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and the frosting covered tightly in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer, 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl, Flex Edge Beater, KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Cupcake Pan, Wilton #12 Round Frosting Tip, Frosting Bags, and Decorations
  3. Mini Cupcakes: To make about 30 mini cupcakes, make the cupcake batter as directed and bake in mini muffin pans for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cake: Here is my gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting recipe.
  5. Room Temperature Ingredients: Egg and milk should be at room temperature. I used skim milk, though any milk would be fine. Buttermilk would be great!
  6. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: gingerbread cupcakes


  1. Hi sally if molasses arent available is there anything else than can be susbtituted instead?

  2. Samantha Klapp says:

    I made these cupcakes for a holiday party with my girlfriends.  What s huge hit! So delicious!! I sprinkled candied ginger around the edges of the frosting which just added to the gingery goodness! Thank you much for the recipe! Best cupcakes I’ve ever made! And the frosting was absolutely lucious!

  3. YES! I’m going to try your recipe and add dried cranberries on top of the frosting. Haven’t seen this cupcake but tried them on cafés in Sweden. So Christmassy:)

  4. I made these in small mason jars as part of a buffet. So delicious and festive! Thanks!

  5. Tested these out yesterday before making them next week for Christmas as a substitute for my standard gingerbread men/house. They were quite good, however a bit heavy on the molasses given that we’re not used to that taste in Australia. 

    When I make them next week, I’ll halve the amount of molasses to suit my family’s taste. Otherwise the recipe was easy to follow and worked out perfectly. 

  6. Merry almost Christmas Sally! You probably won’t see this until after the holiday, but just wanted to let you know I made these cupcakes as mini cupcakes for Christmas Eve and they were a big hit! Posted a picture on Instagram. Once again – great recipe 🙂 

    1. Merry Christmas Hayley! Thank you. I’m so glad you all loved these!

  7. Valerie and Beccy…do you both happen to live in Colorado or a high-altitude place like I do?  I googled overflowing/sunken cupcakes and it seems to be an altitude issue.  Sally, any idea on how to adjust for altitude?


    1. Hi, I’m high altitude as well and I reduce the amount of sugar in my baking. Reduce baking powder:for every 1tsp decrease 1/4tsp for example I need 1 tsp of Baking Powder for a recipe, so I’d reduce it to 3/4tsp because 1-1/4=3/4. You also slightly increase your liquid in a recipe and increase your baking temp by 25°F. So think “reduce, reduce increase, increase.”

      1. Thank you so much Aspen U!

  8. Just baked the gingerbread cupcakes. Oh my goodness these are fantastic!  Thank you for sharing

  9. This recipe is a total bust. I’ve made it twice now and both times the cupcakes refused to rise. Not cooking at high altitude, checked baking soda and powdered are not stale. Really frustrated. Was making these for my husband’s birthday tomorrow and now I have zilch and I wasted two nights baking. On top of that, in the latest version, the batter rose up only enough to run over the edges of the muffin tins and burn to the bottom of my oven. Not happy. 

    1. I’ve found it’s often an oven temperature issue. Most cupcakes are at least a little bit forgiving if your oven temp runs a bit cool, but gingerbread is not at all! My oven runs 20-25 degrees cool. Most cupcakes come out fine with a little extra time, but my gingerbread reliably collapses. So, get an oven thermometer and try checking that first.

      If that’s good, consider getting a digital food scale and baking by weight. It truly makes a huge difference. I made a miscalculation in one batch of these. 7/10 of an ounce of flour was enough to totally change the texture of the batter. Luckily I caught it in time! Best of luck!

      1. Try using whole buttermilk in place of regular milk. Also, try to bake as quickly as you can and don’t use a cold oven.

  10. Another great recipe! Cupcakes were perfect.

  11. Hi Sally.
    It has gotten cold here in Elkins, WV.
    I came acrossed these cupcakes the other day
    and pinned them. They look cute.
    Can I use a Wilton cupcake pan for
    instead of calphalon brand?

    1. Absolutely! I recommend the Calphalon brand because it’s my personal go-to!

  12. Mine turned out awesome. I made 9 cupcakes instead of 12. I did not open the oven until they were done. I did notice the amount of baking powder is less that normal. I might suggest increasing it slightly and make sure to whisk the dry ingredients so the baking soda, powder and salt are well blended. I also added a tablespoon of maple syrup to the icing and a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger to the batter. in the beginning they looked a little sunken but they did rise but only to the top of the muffin tin. Also I don’t use paper liners I just sprayed the pan.

  13. Sally,
    How do these gingerbread cupcakes differ from your cupcake muffins with the lemon glaze? I want to make something “gingerbread”flavor to add to my holiday baking gifting baskets

    Thanks much

    1. Hi Debbie! Great question. The gingerbread muffins are a little more dense than these cupcakes. I also have a gingerbread loaf if you are interested in that as well. Can’t go wrong with any of them. Let me know which you try!

  14. Hi Sally,

    I love your suggestion to flavor the frosting with maple extract. I was just wondering how much to add? I have never used maple extract before and don’t want it to be too overwhelming.


    1. Hi Misha, I would start with a half teaspoon and then taste it before deciding if you want to add more. Enjoy!

  15. These are amazing! I punched up the ginger with a little ginger paste, then used a star tip and vanilla buttercream (I forgot to buy cream cheese), and garnished with a big cube of crystallized ginger. So tender and delicious! They did come out very flat though, no dome at all. I just covered it with frosting, no big deal.

  16. I bake and deliver a few hundred cupcakes to people who have to work on Christmas Day. I used this base for one of my flavors, subbing in orange extract for the vanilla, and adding 1/2 C chopped dried cranberries and the zest of one orange, then topping it with a whipped orange zest vanilla frosting and a drizzle of orange glaze. They turned out beautifully!

  17. Can I double this recipe?

    1. Hi Lisa! You can, however, with cakes and cupcake recipes– and for best taste and texture– it’s best to make two separate batches instead of doubling.

  18. Oh. My. Gosh! These are so delicious! I made these for my class as I had a bit of molasses leftover from making gingerbread and the soft molasses cookies earlier this week, and I’m so pleased with how they turned out! I subbed in soya milk and made then smaller – got 23 medium sized cupcakes, which baked perfectly in 15 minutes. Thank you so much for these delicious cupcakes! Can’t wait to share them with my class and see what happens! They loved the gingerbread cookies and kept saying how good they were!

  19. I’ve tried three other gingerbread cupcake recipes in the last week. Your recipe is the best one by far!!!
    Thank you for sharing it!

  20. These cupcakes are divine! I made them for Christmas dessert and they were gobbled up immediately. My cupcakes came out of the oven with flat tops which was the perfect canvas for the delectable cream cheese frosting. The frosting was stiff enough to pipe with a large star tip and very easy to work with. Thanks for a moist and perfectly spiced gingerbread cupcake recipe!

  21. OH MY WORD! These are good and I almost finished the whole batch… the spices were evident and perfectly balanced but not too spicy like a lot of recipes. My family couldn’t get enough and neither could I! Thanks so much Sally!

    1. I’m so happy these cupcakes were a hit with your family!

  22. I found these to be a bit dry. How can I increase the moisture without changing the flavor profile?

  23. What kind of molasses do You use for this recipe?! Fancy or blackstrap or dark?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, We use unsulphured molasses – Grandma’s brand is what we have in the kitchen!

  24. Jamie Wyman says:

    Hello Sally im about to try this recipe, it looks delicious I was wondering Can i use fresh Ginger in these that happens to be all I have? Thank you so much

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jamie, You could but I’m unsure of the exact amount you would need. Let us know if you try it!

      1. Jamie Wyman says:

        Hi Sally, first off thank you again for all the beautiful recipes! I just did your Tuxedo Cake last Sunday, wow! a lot of work but so so worth it! As far as the cupcakes are concerned they were absolutely delicious! I went ahead and added 1/2 tsp of fresh grated ginger and the cupcakes were a 10 out of 10 for my family! thanks again everything I’ve tried of your recipes was successful and they were all stunning in their own way.

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