With molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, these gingerbread whoopie pies are rich with robust flavor. Tangy and cool cream cheese filling adds the perfect contrast to these soft-baked holiday cookie sandwiches.
Whoopie pies… the cookie that’s not really a cookie at all. Are you familiar with this treat? Whoopie pies are actually little cake mounds sandwiched with a sweet filling. We love them and I’ve published a bunch of variations including red velvet whoopie pies and apple cinnamon spice whoopie pies, pumpkin whoopie pies in Sally’s Cookie Addiction, and traditional whoopie pies in the paperback version of Sally’s Baking Addiction. Did you know that in western PA, where my MIL is from, whoopie pies are called gobs? Whatever their name, they’re fantastic with the holiday season’s favorite baking spices and a fun addition to any platter of Christmas cookies.
Tell Me About these Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
- Texture: The cookies aren’t as cakey as traditional whoopie pies—they taste more like an actual cookie. Soft and moist in the centers with slightly chewy edges. Overbaking will dry them out, so keep a close eye on the bake time.
- Flavor: If you enjoy gingerbread cookies, you’ll love these gingerbread whoopie pies. (Plus, no cookie cutters needed!) Spiced with generous amounts of ginger and cinnamon, plus nutmeg, cloves, and molasses, there’s no arguing these are flavorful. What’s more, the creamy tangy cream cheese filling adds the perfect contrast to the cookie’s robust flavor. What a combo!
- Ease: We have a pretty straightforward recipe on our hands here. The cookie dough comes together with 2 bowls, a whisk, and spatula. No complicated shaping required, but a cookie scoop is helpful. Though you don’t *need* an electric mixer for the cookie dough, you can certainly use one. You need one for the filling anyway.
- Yield: This recipe yields 24 cookies which make 12 large whoopie pies—2 cookies in 1 sandwich. You could also simply pipe or spread the filling on top of each cookie for a batch of 2 dozen frosted cookies.
Recipe Testing These Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
The starting point for these seasonal whoopie pies was my gingerbread snack cake. Determined (and with a gingerbread craving), I spent several days perfecting them. 5 batches, 6 batches, 7, or more? I lost count. What began with creamed butter and sugar transitioned into an oil-based cookie dough/cake batter of sorts. Creamed butter and sugar are ideal for cakey baked goods, but dried out the texture of the whoopie pies. Oil is a key ingredient in some cakes, so I made that swap. Brown sugar weighed down the cookie sandwiches, so stick with regular granulated sugar. There’s molasses in this cookie dough/batter anyway. A little baking powder, in addition to the baking soda, adds extra lift.
By the way, if you’re ever looking for a dairy free cookie recipe, make these gingerbread cookies without the filling/frosting. It’s an oil based cookie dough with no dairy needed. They’re tasty on their own!
3 Helpful Notes:
- Add some hot water. It’s an odd ingredient in cookies, but there’s a reason for its addition. Molasses is very thick and sticky. A consistency like this is pretty difficult to evenly mix into cake batters and cookie doughs. When mixed with hot water, its viscous consistency loosens. We do the same thing when we make gingerbread loaf. Hot water ends up being a useful addition because we usually add liquid (like milk) to whoopie pies anyway.
- Chill the dough. The dough may seem a little loose and oily. That’s completely normal and expected. (See left photo below.) I tested the recipe without chilling the dough and the cookies spread quite thin. The edges were unfavorably crispy, too. This recipe definitely benefits from 2 hours in the refrigerator before baking. In the right photo below, you can see how the dough thickened up after chilling.
- Use a cookie scoop. Since the cookies are sandwiched together, it’s important they’re all the same size. A cookie scoop makes that easy. Each cookie should be 1.5 Tablespoons of dough, so I recommend using a medium cookie scoop. It’s the same size scoop I recommend for equally flavorful iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies and chocolate ginger cookies. If desired, you can make smaller whoopie pies to yield more sandwiches. See recipe note.
Spiced Cream Cheese Filling
I swear by the combination of tangy and cool cream cheese frosting with deeply spiced gingerbread. If you’ve ever tried these gingerbread cupcakes, you understand the hype of this delicious duo. I used the same cream cheese filling from these red velvet whoopie pies and added the spices used in the cookie dough—just a smidge of each is plenty. You can spread the filling onto the flat side of the cookie with a knife or you can use a piping tip. I used Wilton 1A.
Does the Filling Squish Out?
Yes, when you take a bite of the whoopie pies, the filling squishes out the sides. Not the neatest cookie to eat, so have a napkin handy. Hey, aren’t all the best foods messy?!
However! If you chill the assembled whoopie pies in the refrigerator and serve them cold, the filling thickens and stays more intact. Might seep out a little, but not nearly as much. The cookies are best stored in the refrigerator anyway.
If you’re looking for a thicker filling that doesn’t squish out the sides quite as much, try the buttercream I use for these apple cinnamon spice whoopie pies or the marshmallow buttercream filling I use for these s’mores cupcakes. For more holiday flavor, you could also use the eggnog buttercream from these spiced eggnog oatmeal cream pies.
Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
- Prep Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (includes chilling)
- Cook Time: 14 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes (includes cooling)
- Yield: 12 sandwiches
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These gingerbread whoopie pies combine soft ginger molasses cookies with cool and creamy cream cheese filling. Chilling the cookie dough is an important step because the cookies will spread out and crisp up otherwise– don’t skip it.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons (90ml) unsulphured or dark molasses (do not use blackstrap; I prefer Grandma’s brand)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) hot water
- 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
Spiced Cream Cheese Filling
- 6 ounces (170g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick; 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- small pinch of each: ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves (see note)
- Whisk the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
- Whisk the molasses and hot water together. Give it a minute to slightly cool down, then whisk in the sugar and oil. Finally, whisk in the egg. Pour these wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until combined– or use a mixer on medium speed. (It’s a bit too heavy for a whisk.) Dough/batter is heavy and looks a bit oily.
- Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Spoon or scoop mounds of batter, a scant 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes or until the edges appear set. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Make the filling as they cool.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and beat until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and spices, then beat on medium speed until combined. Taste. Add a pinch more of the spices if desired.
- Pair the cookies up based on their size. Spread or pipe (I used Wilton 1A piping tip) the frosting onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with the other. Repeat with remaining cookies.
- Cover leftover whoopie pies and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Filling can be made 2 days in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can prepare the whoopie pie cookie batter, cover it tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. No need to bring to room temperature before scooping and baking. You can freeze the baked and filled whoopie pies for up to 3 months. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap and place in a large freezer container. Thaw wrapped whoopie pies overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
- Doubling This Recipe: This recipe yields 24 cookies, which is 12 whoopie pies since there’s 2 cookies in 1 sandwich. If you’d like to double the recipe, double each ingredient except for the oil. Instead of 1 cup of oil, use 3/4 cup (180ml). The dough will be too greasy otherwise.
- Smaller Whoopie Pies: Measure 1 scant Tablespoon of batter for each cookie to yield about 18 smaller pies. Bake time is about 1 minute less
- Molasses: 6 Tablespoons is an easy measurement—measure 1/3 cup, then add 1 more Tablespoon. I found 1/3 cup wasn’t enough and 1/2 cup was too much. I use and recommend unsulphured or dark molasses. (I like Grandma’s brand. The kind I use is labeled “original” molasses.) Blackstrap molasses is extremely bitter and not ideal in this recipe.
- Spices in Filling: You only want a small pinch of each spice in the filling. I recommend half of 1/8 teaspoon, which is 1/16 teaspoon. Feel free to add only a little of each, taste after beating the filling ingredients together, then beat in more of any spice if desired. I usually go a little heavier on the cinnamon.
Keywords: gingerbread whoopie pies, christmas cookies
Reader Comments & Reviews
I followed the recipe and always “spoon & level” my dry ingredients but they turned out too thick to make bitable sandwich’s. They were not flat at all so I ended up frosting them with the filling. Tasted pretty good but too sweet for my taste.
First off, they cookies taste amazing! I loved the flavor so much. However I do have some questions. They baked beautifully but once I put them in a container and into the fridge, they got super soft and wet looking. I ended up throwing them away because of how they looked and how much the texture changed. Did I not wait long enough before putting them into the fridge? (I thought they had completely cooled!) Why does that happen sometimes? The only thing I did differently was use original molasses instead of dark. Would that cause it to happen? I hope this makes sense. I really want to make them again! Thanks so much.
Hi Kasey, We are happy you enjoyed the taste of these! It sounds like they were still a little warm when you covered them and condensation formed inside the container. But it’s an easy fix for next time!
I appreciate all the work you put into this recipe! I’m just curious, was one of the test you did with vegetable shortening instead of oil? I’m looking for a cakey texture more than a cookie one. I see you said creaming butter and sugar created a drier cookie. Do you think butter flavored crisco might help create a moist, more cake type cookie? Can’t wait to make these for xmas day!
Hi Nicole! We found the recipe above to be the best for texture and taste. We would love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!
Omg, I just made these today and THEY ARE DELISH!!! I followed the recipe completely and they are fantastic and are very “Holiday” in my opinion. ❤️
I have to bake a bunch of these for a cookie exchange and already have 5 dozen made. I put just the cookie part in the freezer, 4 layers separated by parchment. How many days in advance should I pull them out of the freezer to thaw and fill? I have limited storage space and that’s why I wanted to wait to fill, I hope that doesn’t make too much of a difference.
You can take them out the night before you plan to fill them and let them thaw in the refrigerator. Hope they’re a hit!
I made these gluten free. I followed the recipe almost exactly but subbed the flour for a cup for cup gluten free version and baked for only 10 minutes. They turned out perfect. You could also make them dairy free pretty easily by subbing earth balance and tofutti for the butter/cream cheese in the filling….just in case anyone with diet restrictions is interested in making these delicious bad boys.
I have one question about these things that get all my friends hitting me up every October with, “Hey are you gonna make those whoopee pie things this year??”
The pies always end up really thick/high. They end up being a very tall whoopee pie. The flavor and texture is perfect and exceptional, so I really have no complaint, but I kinda feel like a snake when I eat them.
Is it as simple as maybe smooshing them a whee bit when I put them on the tray, or perhaps something I’m doing wrong with the dough once I pull them out of the fridge?
I’m already planning on batch 2, my first batch has been devoured by coworkers.
So glad these are a hit! I wonder if there may be too many flour in your whoopie pies, making them thick. How do you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.
Great recipe and my house smells heavenly! I did a little hack and used a whoopie pie baking tray. I put each ball into one part and they all baked perfectly uniform!
I literally just posted a question about using thaws pans. Can’t wait to try them!!!!
My sister made these and WOW! These are probably the best whoopie pies I’ve ever had. Delicious!
Made a batch last week and froze so I can make them fresh for Christmas.
I’m having trouble with the dough , it’s pretty runny . Can I just add some more flour ?
Hi Jodi, Did you freeze the unbaked batter? For the best results for this recipe, you can refrigerate the unbaked dough for up to 2 days or freeze the baked cookies. See recipe notes for details.
These were so beautifully delicious! Perfectly spiced and a great texture. Had a little extra filling and used it as a fruit dip for my kiddos!
When I made these, they spread and came out a lot flatter than I expected. But they were still amazing! So soft and delicious! I made these for a Christmas party and they were gone in a minute.
Hi Marisa, for next time, you can try chilling the dough for even longer to prevent excess spreading. Also, make sure your baking soda and baking powder are fresh (even if not expired, we find they lose their strength after about three months). So glad they were a hit at your party!
Can you bake the cookies and freeze without adding the frosting? Defrost and then add frosting?
Hi Kirsten, absolutely. See recipe notes for more freezing details.
These are so delicious! My toddler helped me make up a batch and it was easy enough for us to handle. This spiced cream cheese filling would be so good on cinnamon rolls too! I want to eat it on everything! Thanks for the freezing directions because these will disappear way too fast if we don’t set some aside.
YUM!! Can I freeze the cookies ( I know I can’t freeze the frosting) ? I’d like to make them all in one day since I have a lot of people to make them for.
Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Jeannette, yes! See recipe notes for freezing details.
Made these for Thanksgiving and were amazing! Flavor and texture were great! My only issue was that they turned out pretty big (high) and weren’t as flat as pictured above which kind of made them hard to eat. Thought I followed the directions pretty well so I am not sure what could have made them rise so high? Will def make these again and look forward to this years cookies!
This recipe didn’t work for me. Followed all the instructions, used my kitchen scale to measure all the ingredients, and the cookies were dry and the filling too runny, even after a night in the fridge. Will not make again.
Hi, if I don’t have cream cheese, would the filling you have for the oatmeal cream pie cookies work as well, just adding in the spices?
Hi Gabe, You could try the Spiced Buttercream Filling from our Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies.
THESE ARE THE BOMB. I want to make them year round. I don’t care if gingerbread is an autumnal/winter thing.
These look like some great whoopie pies, quick question, is there anything I can use instead of the molasses? Thanks!
Hi Haley, molasses is a key ingredient for getting that gingerbread flavor, so unfortunately there aren’t any suitable substitutes. We have a few whoopie pie recipes on our site, if you’d like to give one of those a try!
Made these this weekend and they are delicious! I preferred the larger sized cookie and liked them so much better after a night in the fridge. After baking they were more like a chewy gingerbread cookie and it was very messy to eat. Overnight on a plate covered in plastic wrap, they softened into more of the cookie-cake texture I was looking for! I would recommend making them a day in advance!! Thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂
These came out so good! The whole family loved it. I used a buttercream frosting due to allergies. Thank you
I made these for Christmas, and they were so good! My 2 year old loved them to. The only bummer is that I purchased the cookie scoop advertised in the recipe, and I followed the directions exactly, but I came out with 9 whoopie pies instead of 12. They were pretty large, but I used the scoop! Ah well. I’m making the chocolate and caramel next!
These were delicious!!! I used a small cookie scoop, to make smaller balls. I was able to make a little over two dozen cookies. I added some chopped crystallized ginger to the filling.
I will be making these again!!!
P.S. I have made several of your other recipes. Happy to have found your website!
I made these for Christmas and now these are my favorite I love the flavor and texture It’s like having your own personal layer cake,I will be making more this week and probably next week.
Oh nooooo I doubled and used a full cup of oil. Have not baked yet. Can they be saved???
Hi Emilie, Oh no! Can you double the rest of the ingredients so that the entire recipe is doubled?
So easy and so good!!! This was SUCH a tasty recipe that I will definitely make again during the holidays. The spiced cream cheese is heaven. My cookies were a little big, but I like them that way. Doubled the recipe and it worked well!
Loved these! But I noticed the grams and cups were not the same amount. What should I follow?
Hi sally! These were awesome and so simple! I did, however, run into one issue — after letting the batch cool for 5 min, I had a little bit of trouble removing some of them onto the cooling rack. Any reason why my whoopie pie would be sticking to the baking mat? Did it need more time to cook?? Thank you!
Hi Marie, Was the outside still a bit sticky? If so, an extra minute in the oven or even simply allowing them to cool on the baking sheet for a bit longer will help next time!
These were so easy and yummy! I added a little orange zest to my filling to brighten it up in lieu of adding the spices. Already got a request for the recipe!