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 with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!

Today is our first snowfall! Only appropriate I make some wintery cupcakes to celebrate the snowflakes, right?

Kevin has lived in both Colorado and Utah. He loves the snow. And Jude was born in Colorado, so he’s a natural snow bunny. I, on the other hand, can brave the snow if there’s a steamy hot chocolate waiting for me afterward. Don’t get me wrong, I love a fresh blanket of snow. But I once tried snowboarding (Kevin’s a natural) and got the wind knocked out of me. Ouch.

I better stick to what I’m good at – cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!

Kevin described today’s spiced cupcakes as one of the best things I’ve ever made. Coming from the man who taste-tested all 75 recipes in my cookbook, as well as 95% of the recipes found on this blog – that says A LOT!

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 on

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 on

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. Seriously, look how thick and creamy!

↑ Yes, that is a pink hand mixer. Yes, that is a pink mixing bowl. I knowww.

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 Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - easy homemade recipe at

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 with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!

Ok, enough reading – start baking!


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 (167g) 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


Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!
Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!
Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe!


    1. Though I have never tried it before and cannot speak from experience, I’m sure you could cream solid coconut oil instead of butter. Let me know if you try it Tiffany!

  1. Hi Sally
    Those cupcakes look delicious! My friend and I are baking for a project at school and your festive cupcakes would be the perfect way to add some Christmas spirit to our project. Thanks for the delicious recipes, I can’t wait to start baking!

  2. I am soooo making these today…think I have everything without going to the store…except I have salted butter…will that work?

  3. Made these yesterday…they were delicious!! So light and fluffy! I think next time I’d like to try them with the cinnamon frosting 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe!

  4. Gingerbread cupcakes are the best! Love those little gingerbread men decorations! And I have a pink hand mixer too 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing – I made these for my co-workers and they loved them! I had to substitute some maple syrup for sugar (ran out!) but no biggie, just turned down the temp a bit and they turned out smelling lovely and delicious. I used your icing recipe but used eggnog instead of milk and upped the cinnamon and nutmeg for an ‘eggnog icing’. Yum!

    1. Brianna, your version of these gingerbread cupcakes sounds so good! I don’t even like eggnog that much, but I think I’d love it as icing on top of these 🙂

  6. Hi, i made these last night and they came out perfect! I think they taste even better the next day – still lovely and moist. I wondered if you’d ever tried the batter in a loaf tin and if so, how you would advise adjusting the baking temp/time.
    Thanks, Nanette.

    1. Hi Nanette – I love their flavor the next day too. Sort of how banana bread or carrot cake tastes better on day 2. The flavor intensifies! Anyway, you may certainly use this batter in a loaf pan. However, I am unsure of the exact bake time. At least 45+ minutes. Rotate it in the oven, cover loosely with foil halfway through to prevent browning. Same oven temp.

  7. I could almost smell wonderful spicy aroma of these yummy gingerbread cupcakes trough these pretty pictures.This is perfect Christmas dessert!

  8. Made these yesterday for a girls night out and they were a big hit!! So moist and yummy!! Cream cheese frosting isn’t my favorite, but it worked with the cupcake and balanced out the ginger/molasses taste well. I have a few friends who don’t eat eggs and these cupcakes worked great with the Ener-G Egg Replacer.

    Thanks so much for such DELICIOUS recipes and for always making the directions so easy to follow =)

    1. Hey ! Keyuri. Just wondering what was the process in using egg replacer. I have EnerG but it’s always a disaster when I try. Can you please share the process ? Thank you.

  9. Hi Sally, I made these cupcakes a couple of days ago to take to a Christmas party and they were loved by everyone! They are so moist and full of flavour. I made a vanilla buttercream to ice them as I didn’t have any cream cheese but I will definitely make that next time as it is my favourite icing! I used buttermilk to keep the cupcakes really moist. In England we have golden syrup as well as black treacle and I think I will add some of that next time instead of a little treacle to add a bit of extra sweetness but I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for another great recipe, Natasha

    1. Hey Natasha! So glad you made these. Buttermilk is fantastic in these. They truly are a favorite. And I love them with vanilla frosting!

  10. Just pulled these out of the oven! I have to admit, I did not like the way the batter looked before I added the flour and I almost tossed it! They came out darker than yours and not only flat, they sunk in the middle somewhat!! I used whole milk instead of skim, maybe that is what went wrong. They smell awesome and I am icing them anyway. I am using American buttercream flavored with a smidge of lemon zest and some Crown Royal – et voila! Whiskey and Ginger Cuptails! Yum! Thanks for the recipe and I hope you have a wonderful holiday with someone else cooking for you!

    1. Hey Liz! Yep, the batter will look piecey and the butter will be separated from the rest of the wet ingredients, as described in the recipe – that’s normal! If the cupcakes sank, it sounds like they may have been under baked. The lemon zest in the frosting will be delicious! Have a wonderful holiday as well.

  11. I have a pan that makes mini gingerbread men. I used a diff recipe in thos pan and the cakes were way too fluffy. Needed something about denser. This recipe came to the rescue!! Just tried this recipe and It worked out perfectly!! I now have cute little gingerbread men cakes for Christmas Eve and my house smells great. Thanks!!

  12. These were a huge hit at my family Christmas although the cream cheese frosting was a bit too thin. I tried to thicken up with a little more powdered sugar. I would suggest not putting any milk or cream in at first and then only add it if needed.

  13. Hi Sally, can molasses be replaced with anything else? I have everything except for molasses and i wanna bake these so badly now haha.. 🙂

    p/s: I’m in love with your lemon cupcakes, those are the first that Ive tried to make from your site (and the first few cupcakes that I ever tried baking; I’m new at this) and I received many compliments from family and friends and they repeatedly wanted me to make them again. Some even wanted to buy those from me heh. Thank you for your great recipes Sally. Much love 🙂

    1. Hey Farah! I’m so happy the lemon cupcakes were a hit for you! Aren’t they fantastic? Love them. Happy you want to make these gingerbread cupcakes next. However, you will lose a lot of the gingerbread flavor by leaving out the molasses. You may substitute with maple syrup I suppose, but the cupcakes won’t be as flavorful.

      1. yes they are the best! 😀 okay if thats the case, i’ll run by the store first thing tomorrow (its 2.11am here in Malaysia) haha. I’ve never eaten anything ginger-related but I wanted to try these babies! My mom’s birthday is in a few days’ time so I wanted to bake these for her (coz she’s crazy about anything with ginger in it). Sorry for the molasses question, I didnt know the flavour comes a lot from molasses (I’m new in baking and not quite familiar with gingerbread ingredients; sorry again!). Thanks again Sally, your recipes are one of my favourites now 🙂

  14. These were a delicious addition to my Christmas baking (and my first SBA recipe!). Although the flavor was amazeballs, mine turned out quite dense. Any ideas what I was doing wrong?

    1. Hey Sarah! These cupcakes are supposed to be a little dense. But try to avoid overmixing the batter. That lends to a denser baked good.

  15. I made these cupcakes with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and they were amazing!!! Everyone loved them. I will definitely be making these again. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  16. Hi Sally,

    I just baked these and they came out really well. Also this is the first time I made frosting as well and it was really delicious! I have made lots of of cupcakes from your recipe list but never went for the frosting:| Too much sugar was my excuse 😉 Now that I have made frosting there is no going back from here 🙂 I guess now I have to get a Wilton piping tool as well as I don’t have any piping tools.
    Thanks for sharing all these amazing recipes!!


  17. Hello! I’m just in the process of making these cupcakes, the cupcakes turned out perfect, but the cream cheese frosting is too runny to pipe – any idea what I did wrong? Could it be the cream cheese I used? I’m in the UK and used a basic cream cheese from Sainsburys. Thanks! 🙂

  18. Loved these!!! I was feeling the holidays in the air (I know, it’s only August) and these were perfect! I didn’t add any milk to the frosting and accidentally used 1/2 a cup of butter and it was great and perfect for piping. Next time, I think I’ll make some candied ginger for the top as a decoration since I don’t have any adorable gingerbread men. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  19. Hi! I made these cupcakes for my sisters birthday a few days ago ago, and she (and my family) absolutely loved these! Thank you so much! The only thing is the cream cheese frosting was very thin….do you know why that could be? I used full fat cream cheese. It tasted great, it was just very thin.

  20. Hi!
    I’m making a batch of these right now – they’re in the oven, and when my sister came downstairs she thought the smell of the cupcakes was some kind of expensive air freshener! These smell like heaven! I added a bit of extra cinnamon to the batter, however, only because my friends whom I’m giving these to are obsessed with it ;-). I also had to use dark maple syrup in place of molasses because we were all out. I think I’ll make some of those adorable Thanksgiving turkeys as toppers! Thank you!
    Zoya Mir ♥

  21. Sally, thanks sooooo much for sharing another great receipe. I just finished frosting the cupcakes! They are so deliciuous, the taste of the spices are bold, yet not ovepowering. The taste brings the Christmas so much closer. I used the buttermilk, as it has proven results from your other receipes for moist and addictive cupcakes. I am planning on making two batches for my 3 grader’s winter party! You are so gifted and creative, and we are wishing you to continue in this journey.

  22. Hi Sally

    I made these recently for our team bake-off. I wasn’t sure what molasses was so looked it up and came to the conclusion it was black treacle here in the UK, so made them with that. They came out a lot darker than the above, so am thinking that I should have used golden syrup instead which is lighter. They still tasted nice, and so very light! I did a cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top and they won the bake-off, so thank you for a great recipe!!


    PS UK residents should probably use golden syrup where it says to use molasses.

  23. I’ve never made gingerbread cupcakes so I think it’s about time I did! I think I know what I am doing tomorrow afternoon. Hubby was just saying he hadn’t had anything gingerbread in a long time…boy, won’t he be surprised….and happy!

    1. Absolutely. I am unsure of the bake time and size, though. Maybe two 9×2 inch pans? A toothpick will help test for doneness.

  24. Thanks! It turned out really well. Everyone loved the depth of flavor! I doubled the recipe and baked it for about 32 minutes. I didn’t double the frosting because I planned to do the whole frosting only in between the layers and on top thing, but I feel like I could have used a little bit more. Everyone else loved it, though, so I guess it was enough. Thank you again for a wonderful recipe!

  25. Let me be clear… I don’t care for frosting of any kind. I find it generally lacks flavor and is just overly sweet gooey stuff in various colors. But I do love gingerbread! Spicy gingerbread is my favorite. So, when I saw this recipe, I had to try it and I have come to find that Sally’s tastes are very similar to mine. She describes things the way I do. Therefore, I decided to give the frosting a try as well. I gradually added the powdered sugar, tasting as I went so I didn’t end up with a bowl of “sweet stuff”. And guess what!? It was just right at two cups per recipe! The cupcakes are wonderful and my daughter declared them her new holiday favorite! Thank you for ANOTHER great recipe!

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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