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 with a bite taken out

Print
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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 (281gall-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

78 Comments

  1. I bought 2 whoopie pie pans at a garage sale for $1. I haven’t used them yet and wonder how they will work with this recipe. I’m excited to try this flavor! Thank you for doing all the experimenting so we don’t have to!

    1. Jennifer Burmesch says:

      Im going to double this recipe and do half buttercream filling and half cream cheese. I love buttercream, my dad loves cream cheese.
      For the buttercream, would i make that full recipe? I think it calls for 1.5 sticks of butter . Will that be a lot of filling or follow the recipe?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Jennifer, For the buttercream filling you can use the amounts listed for these Apple Cinnamon Spice Whoopie Pies. It uses 3/4 cup of butter. Happy baking!

      2. I made a full recipe of the cookies and made them a bit smaller so I got 22 sandwiches. I did half the buttercream recipe from the Apple whoopie pie recipe and it was plenty.

  2. Carolyn Walden says:

    Good morning! Would it be okay to use KA gingerbread spice for the cookies (5 tsp) and the filling (1/4 tsp)? Thank you…these look super fun to make!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carolyn, That should be fine. Happy baking!

  3. Hi, sally I was wondering we have to put ground nutmeg because I am allergic or will I not feel the taste in it?

    1. Hi Lila, you can certainly leave it out if you are allergic. You can increase the cinnamon by 1/2 teaspoon to account for the lost 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg in the cookie, as well as another pinch in the filling. I hope you enjoy these!

  4. Hi, sally I was wondering how long will this last is I refrigerate them

    1. These will last for up to a week covered in the refrigerator. The filling and batter can also be made in advance and refrigerated…see recipe notes for details!

  5. Hi Sally!! I live in Mexico City and they don’t sell molasses, can I substitute?
    Very best!

    1. Hi Ariadna! Unfortunately, molasses is what gives gingerbread its signature flavor and color (along with the ginger/spices). Some recipes use golden syrup instead, but there’s really a lot of flavor lost. For best results, I recommend sticking to molasses.

      1. Sally and Ariadna,
        You can do two things: buy Melaza (this might be a bit bitter), or using Piloncillo you can dissolve it in hot water and make your own. I looked it up on youtube 🙂 Here’s the video (it’s in Spanish) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qWyKCFeGx4

      2. You are so right. I tried a recipe with golden syrup recently and I was sooo disappointed!

  6. Good afternoon! I was wondering if this recipe and regular gingerbread cookies can be made okay with gluten free flour. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ava, I haven’t tested either of those recipes with gluten free flour, but let me know if you give it a try!

  7. Terri McBride says:

    Made these today and they were so good and not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be. I got 14 pies and put some out for my delivery drivers hoping they liked it. I packaged the rest for my gift baskets and put in the freezer for a couple weeks hope that works out okay. Thank you for all your recipes my family is having so much fun with them during this COVID situation.

    1. That is so kind and thoughtful of you, Terri – I bet your delivery drivers loved their surprise treats! Thanks to your family for making and trusting my recipes. I truly appreciate it.

  8. Hi Sally, I’m thinking of making these to use up some leftover cream cheese, but I only have about 4 oz. should I get more, is there something I could do to make up for missing some of it, or would it be ok?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shari, Feel free to use an extra 2 oz of butter instead if you aren’t going to the store!

  9. Would it be possible to make a vanilla version of these? If so, how would you do that?

    1. Hi Caroline! You can use my apple spice whoopie pies recipe instead. I’ve never made them the following way before, but this is how I would first test them– feel free to leave out the spices. Skip the apple cider reduction step and replace with 1/2 cup of milk (for step 4 in that recipe). I would add 2 Tablespoons of oil (to yield 1/4 cup total) and reduce applesauce to 1/2 cup. Maybe use 1 cup of granulated sugar instead of 1/4 cup of brown sugar, too. Feel free to add some more vanilla extract, use vanilla sugar, or even add some vanilla bean. Let me know what you try.

  10. I am wondering if I can use melted butter instead of oil. I really do t like using oil or vegetable shortening in anything .

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sue, When we tested this recipe with butter we found that it dried out the texture of the whoopie pies. Oil is really best for this recipe.

  11. Made these within hours of you publishing them 🙂 Had one for breakfast this morning after a night in the fridge and they are so amazing. Even better from the fridge!

    1. What a delicious way to start the day! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed these, Nicolette.

  12. Has anyone tried with a soft marshmallow filling? I’m allergic to cream cheese. (I know. It’s very sad.)

    1. Nancy, I think these whoopie pies would be wonderful with the marshmallow filling from these s’mores cupcakes.

    2. I would love it if you came back to tell us how they were if you try it! I want to make these as part of my cookie tins, but I’m worried about the cream cheese frosting. Marshmallow filling sounds amazing!

  13. Sally- I made these last night and they turned out AMAZING. Everyone is crazy about them! I followed the recipe to the tee and they look just like your pictures. So excited to add these to my holiday cookie list 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for giving these a try, Natalie – I’m thrilled they were such a hit!

  14. Sharon Licari says:

    Well, I must have mis-measured one of the ingredients. Batter was not very loose. I refrigerated it for 2 hours and portioned out the dough.
    Even with my miscalculation these are fantastic. Thank you Sally for sharing your delicious recipes. You have made a baker out of me…..Sharon

    1. I’m glad they were a hit for you, Sharon! Did you spoon and level your flour? That might be the culprit here. An easy fix for next time!

  15. I was so excited to try this recipe! It came together easily, and the results were just as pictured. So happy with how they look and taste! Thank you so much!

    1. You’re very welcome, Veronica – I’m thrilled you enjoyed these!

  16. Just wondering if I could use your gingerbread man cookie recipe for these? I have half of the dough left from my gingerbread man session with my kids and would love to try making these.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelly, You can certainly use that dough to make round cookie sandwiches, but it is not the same texture as these whoopie pies.

  17. MAKE THESE!!!! They are amazing, so fun, festive and a crowd pleaser. My boys just love them. Used the buttercream filling recipe from the Apple Cinn Spice Whoopie pie recipe.

    1. Yum! Such a delicious choice 🙂 Happy to hear you and your boys enjoyed them, Terri!

  18. Sally, these whoopie pies were delicious! I plan on making these again as Christmas treats to my coworkers. Thank you for the amazing recipe.

    1. Such a sweet idea, Nicole! Thank you for making and sharing my recipes.

  19. Yum! I made these this evening and absentmindedly added 7 tbsp of molasses instead of 6 but I think they came out perfect this way- the gingerbread flavor was nice and pronounced but it didn’t negatively affect texture. If you like frosting I would make 1.5x the filling because the last few of mine had a thinner layer than I wanted because I ran out.

  20. These are just extra special and so so so amazing. I baked for 9 minutes…I prefer a chewier cookie. These are a new holiday favorite in our house!

    1. So glad to hear they’re a new favorite, Stephanie!

  21. How long are you able to refrigerate the filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mona, Filling can be made 2 days in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. See the recipe notes for detailed make ahead directions.

  22. Made a test batch of these last week. Huge hit across the board. I only had mild flavor molasses so I made due, but I’m excited to make them again with a punchier bottle.

    1. Thanks for giving these a try, Matt – I’m happy to hear they were a hit!

  23. Jessica D Normington says:

    Curious as I wanted to make this entire thing dairy free. Could I substitute marshmallow fluff for the cream cheese?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, Definitely! And if you want to make your own I suggest this Homemade Marshmallow Creme. Enjoy!

  24. These are absolutely fantastic! SO tasty and wonderful soft texture, the cream cheese goes so well with the spices My first time making whoopie pies and I was a little worried about the loose-ness of the batter, but Sally always knows best! They baked up perfectly, thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Thrilled that you enjoyed these, Robyn!

  25. I baked these last evening and my entire house smelled fabulous. I followed the recipe exactly as printed and made small whoopie pies. I piped the frosting between cookies with a large swirl tip. They look and taste amazing! Thanks Sally!

  26. Made this tonight, delicious beautiful. My only issue is my cookies were much more flat than those in the picture – more cookie like than whoopie pie. I know my rising agents (soda and powder) are fresh – any idea why they weren’t as rounded?

    1. Hi Jackie, I wonder if the flour measurement was off. I recommend spooning and leveling. Careful measuring your liquids too– the molasses and oil. I’m glad these were delicious and you enjoyed them, but if you make them again I recommend chilling the dough for an extra hour. That should help keep them thicker.

  27. Okay, so I won’t lie… I single handedly ate about 2/3rds of the whoopie pies this recipe made. That’s how good they were!!! This recipe was straight forward and very easy to make. My niece and nephew enjoyed them as well. 10/10! Thank you, Sally!

  28. Hi Sally,

    Do you have any advice for high altitude? I live in CO at around 5300ft. Things tend to come out very flat and cooking time is a little different. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! I plan on making these tomorrow or Thursday.

    Thanks!!
    Beth

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth! I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  29. Have you tried this with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar?

    1. Hi Winnie! I have. They hardly spread, making it tough to eat as a cookie sandwich.

  30. These are fantastic! SO good! I’m bringing them to a get together tonight and I’m sure they’ll be a hit.

    Trina thank you for the high altitude website! Looking on that one and a few more I figured out the perfect combo… which never happens! Baking at altitude is a challenge but they were even a little puffier than the pics! I have only put the frosting on 2 and fear there might not be enough but I’ll come back and update.

    Changes made for 5300 ft altitude:
    +25 degrees
    Cook for 6 minutes
    +2 Tbs flour
    +4 Tbs liquid (I used 2 Tbs oil and 2 Tbs water)
    -1/4 tsp baking soda
    -1/8 tsp baking powder
    -just under 1 Tbs sugar

    *please note the soda and powder measurement I followed was for 5000-6500 ft altitude. It’s a little different outside of that range. See link: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking. Every other change will be the same for 3000+ ft. Hope this helps someone else! 🙂

    Hope that helps!!

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