Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

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.

close up photo of gingerbread whoopie pies

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.


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.

3 stacked gingerbread whoopie pies

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. If desired, you can make smaller whoopie pies to yield more sandwiches. See recipe note.

gingerbread whoopie pie cookie dough in glass bowl

gingerbread cookie dough on Silpat lined baking sheet

gingerbread cookies on cooling rack

spiced cream cheese filling

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.

gingerbread whoopie pie cookies with cream cheese frosting filling

gingerbread whoopie pie with a bite taken out

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close up photo of gingerbread whoopie pies

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

  • Author: Sally
  • 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

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280gall-purpose flour (spoon & 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
  • 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; 60gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180gconfectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • small pinch of each: ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves (see note)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Spoon or scoop mounds of batter, a scant 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Cover leftover whoopie pies and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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 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.
  5. 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

74 Comments

  1. These are… INSANELY GOOD. Really easy to make and just… wildly tasty. The cookies by the selves are great, but with the icing they’re stellar. I made them as Christmas cookies to give as gifts and I’m not sure we’ll have any left to give away!

  2. I just finished cleaning up my kitchen from making these. Oh MY MY MY. Total Yummish!! Lol. I made a double batch. Read and reread the directions but somehow missed the reduce oil part. Anywho, they came out bomb! Believe it or not I always always use California Ranch EVERYDAY Extra Virgin Olive Oil Destination Series (or CA) for all my baking. For everything oil is required. No issue everrrr. I never use vegetable oil for anything. I bake a lot and bake for many. Trust me when I tell you this oil does it all. And it’s good for you to boot. Dont let the extra virgin part scare you lol. I made filling but used some marshmallow fluff too. It was just a delicious recipe Sally. The cookie part was so flavorful. My hubby and I have been delivering cookies etc for a few weeks now to friends and family. Most recipes from you! All have been so well received. Most ask for the recipes. So cudos to you and thank you for inspiring me to enjoy the Holiday Season each and every day. Instead of waiting til the end. It’s a blessing to be able to bake and share and spread the love. Just the love (lol). Merry Christmas Sally.

  3. Brigitte De Kruyf says:

    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!

  4. 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!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  5. Loved these! But I noticed the grams and cups were not the same amount. What should I follow?

  6. 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!

  7. Oh nooooo I doubled and used a full cup of oil. Have not baked yet. Can they be saved???

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emilie, Oh no! Can you double the rest of the ingredients so that the entire recipe is doubled?

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. These came out so good! The whole family loved it. I used a buttercream frosting due to allergies. Thank you

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