The Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

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Sharing all the details on how to make gingerbread cookies! This is the perfect gingerbread man cookies recipe and the only recipe you’ll ever need. These cut-out cookies are full of flavor and spices with a gingerbread man shape. Decorate them with royal icing for a perfectly, sweetened Christmas cookie!

Our gingerbread cookies genuinely have the most delicious gingerbread flavor. I enjoyed eating them with my morning coffee or a cup of peppermint hot chocolate. You will love them too!

If you love gingerbread as much as we do check out our gingerbread house recipe our Gingerbread Christmas tree, mini gingerbread houses, the best gingerbread frosting, and the most fantastic gingerbread latte

Decorated gingerbread cookies

Yes, gingerbread cookies are meant to be eaten, too — not just used to build adorable gingerbread houses. Baked the right way, they’re a delicious holiday favorite. 

The texture of gingerbread cutout cookies is not the same as a ginger cookie. A chewy ginger cookie is more like a traditional, chewy buttery cookie. However, gingerbread cookies are more of a “bread” cookie.

Think of a biscuit cookie or even something like a biscotti. They have a drier texture and are flavorful, lightly sweetened bread cookies. They have a spicy flavor to them and smell incredible! 

Before we dive into making these delicious cookies, here’s a little bit of history about them.

Gingerbread cookies on a plate

History of Gingerbread Cookies

The first known gingerbread cookie recipe originated in Greece in 2400 BC. The Chinese developed recipes in the 10th century, and Europeans had their own version of gingerbread by the late Middle Ages.

Queen Elizabeth, I adorned the cookies, sometimes with gilded leaves and shaped like kings, queens, and animals. Gingerbread shapes changed with the seasons, metamorphosing from birds in the fall to flowers in the spring.

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies 

This is a great recipe; the cookies are easy and fun. They are classic gingerbread cookies decorated in a charming way! My kids go crazy for them and they are perfect for the holiday season. Continue reading for everything you need to know to make the best gingerbread man cookies.

Baking Tools

Parchment Paper

Rolling Pin

Large Bowl

Electric Mixer – Either a hand mixer or a stand mixer will work.

Cookie Sheet

Piping Bag and Tips

Wire Rack

Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter

Ingredients to make gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Ingredients Notes

The full recipe and measurements are in the recipe card below.

  • Dark Brown Sugar – This gives the cookies an even more molasses flavor. 
  • Warm Spices – We use ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves to add flavor to these gingerbread men cookies.
  • Baking Soda – This will help the cookies to puff up just a bit.
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds flavor depth and enhances the flavors in the cookies. Use pure vanilla extract.
  • Eggs – Used to stabilize the cookie. Use large, organic eggs when possible.

You’ll also need ingredients for royal icing and any decorative treats you want to add, like gumdrop buttons!

Pro Tip – If you need a substitution for molasses, you can try dark corn syrup. However, it will change the taste and look of these cookies.

Gingerbread cookie

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. 
  • Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the flour. Continue mixing until all of the ingredients are blended together. 
  • Chill the dough for 1 to 2 hours or overnight. The dough will be sticky and soft, so chilling the dough gingerbread cookie dough is imperative when using cookie cutters.
  • Once the dough is chilled, roll it on a lightly floured surface, and add flour to the top of the dough so it won’t stick. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/8″ – 1/4″ inch thickness. 
  • Then, use cookie cutters to make shapes. Continue rolling the dough and making shapes until the dough is gone.
  • Place the cookie on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 375-degree oven for 5-6 minutes.
  • Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. 
  • While the cookies are cooling, make the Royal icing to decorate them.
  • Decorate how you please! For these, we made pink and white royal icing, then used a small hole piping tip and created designs. 
  • You can also add sprinkles or gumdrops to your cookies as well.
gingerbread cookies on a cooling rack

Expert Tips for Making The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Chill the dough: This step is important! If you do not chill the dough, it won’t be easy to work with and the cookies will spread.

Roll the dough: Rolling the dough to an even thickness is essential for consistent cookies.

Bake the cookies: Do not overbake the gingerbread cookies! They will continue to cook a bit when you take them out of the oven.

Decorate the cookies: Have fun with this! Be creative and use whatever you have on hand to decorate the cookies.

Quality Ingredients and Freshness – Always check the dates on all of your ingredients before using them. It’s also important that you use quality ingredients for the best flavor.

Cookie Cutters – You can make different shapes using the fun cookie cutters that you want! From starts to trees to reindeer or Santas! This gingerbread cookie recipe is great for any festive shape!

Gingerbread snowflake cookie decorated with royal icing

How to Store Gingerbread Cookies

Store gingerbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

You can also freeze them for up to three months.

To freeze, place the cookies in a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat them, let them thaw at room temperature.

decorated Christmas cookies

How to Decorate Gingerbread Man Cookies

Decorating gingerbread cookies is a fun, rewarding activity. You have many ways to go about it.

You could, for instance, decorate them with royal icing, which is what prefer! Or you can use buttercream frosting. You can also just dust powdered sugar over the top and call it a day! 

When to Serve Gingerbread Cookies

This gingerbread cookie recipe is perfect for any holiday party cookie and cocktails party served with our gingerbread martini, a cookie swap, a gingerbread house-making party, or Christmas brunch!

They also make great gifts. Simply place them in a cellophane bag and tie them with a bow.

Decorating gingerbread cookies with royal icing

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Keep Gingerbread Cookies Fresh?

Unless you’re building a gingerbread house, no one wants stale, rock-hard cookies. 
Store the cookies in a covered tin or jar. Or, wrap them in foil or plastic and store them in a dry, cool place. If you have gingerbread people, you’ll need more space, and you’ll have to wrap them carefully. Make an aluminum foil tent if your tin or jar isn’t big enough. Just don’t let it touch the tops.

What Kind of Molasses Do You Use for Gingerbread Cookies?

Use cooking or fancy molasses for these cookies. Cooking molasses are the most popular choice because it’s flavorful, dark, and delicious.
Cooking molasses combine blackstrap and fancy molasses. The result is sweeter and more palatable than blackstrap.

How Do You Know When Gingerbread Cookies Are Done?

The cookies are done when they have crisp edges and soft centers. Those are signs that they’ve been evenly cooked. The bottoms should be dark or golden brown as well.
If you can’t tell because the dough was pretty dark initially, try a touch test. Gently press the edges to ensure they’re firm. Or, use a spatula to softly nudge them.

How Long Will Gingerbread Man Cookies Keep?

Gingerbread cookies usually last for a long four to six weeks. The custom-decorated cookies sold at gourmet stores have a shelf life of around a month. That’s because they’re made from scratch, without preservatives.

Gingerbread cookies on a baking sheet

More Ideas for Gingerbread Cookies

Of course, they are super tasty but there are other things you can do with gingerbread cookies that will make your house smell amazing!

Gingerbread Ornaments 

Make gingerbread cookie ornaments by poking a straw-size hole in the top of the cookie before baking. Then, add string through each one once cooled to hang on the tree.

Gingerbread Garland

A garland is another beautiful way to display homemade gingerbread cookies. Do the same things as if you were making an ornament, but tie them all to one long string, spaced out. Then hang it on a mantle or over a window.

Gingerbread Gift Tags

Add a homemade gingerbread cookie to a present! Such a beautiful accent to any gift.

Gingerbread Cookie Place Cards

If you’re hosting a party, write the name of each guest on a gingerbread cookie and place them on each plate, where you want the guest to sit. 

Gingerbread man cookie tree and candy cane

More Holiday Cookie Recipes You’ll Love

If you love this gingerbread cookie recipe, then you have to try more of our favorite Christmas cookies!

Biscotti Recipe with Cranberries and Pistachios 

The Best Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Festive Spritz Cookies

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

The Best Gingersnap Cookies 

A Fluffy Gingerbread Trifle

gingerbread man cookies with royal icing

Make Delicious Gingerbread Cookies This Season!

Gingerbread is a culinary delight. It is the foundation of houses and the delectable sweet of choice for the holidays and other special occasions.  They are traditional cookies that have a lot of flavors!

If you make these gingerbread man cookies, let us know what you think! I know you’ll be presently surprised!!

Leave a comment and review below!

You can also FOLLOW US on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious recipes, cocktails, desserts, and parties!

Decorated gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies

Perfect gingerbread cookies that are full of flavor and spices. Decorate them with royal icing for a perfectly, sweetened cookie.
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 18 minutes
Servings: 24 Cookies
Calories: 94kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth.
    Ingredients to make gingerbread cookies
  • Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. 
  • Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour. Continue mixing until all of the ingredients are blended together. 
    Gingerbread cookie dough
  • Chill the dough for 1 to 2 hours or overnight. The dough will be sticky and soft, so chilling the dough is imperative when using cookie cutters.
    Gingerbread cookie dough wrapped in plastic
  • Once the dough is chilled, roll it on a floured surface, and add flour to the top of the dough so it won’t stick. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. 
    Gingerbread cookie
  • Then, use cookie cutters to make shapes. Continue rolling the dough and making shapes until the dough is gone.
    gingerbread man before baked
  • Place the cookie on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 375-degree oven for 5-6 minutes.
  • Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. 
    gingerbread men
  • While the cookies are cooling, make the Royal icing to decorate them.
    gingerbread cookies on a cooling rack
  • Decorate how you please! For these, we made pink and white royal icing, then used a small hole piping tip and created designs. 
    Decorating a gingerbread cookie with royal icing.

Notes

Make sure to chill the dough. 
Do not overbake the cookies. Oven temperatures will vary, so set a timer for less time and check the cookies.
Use any frosting you like to decorate. 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 24g | Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
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Gingerbread Cookies

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3 thoughts on “The Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    Munching on gingerbread cookies while drinking eggnog topped with nutmeg, listening to Christmas music, and wrapping presents…I love it. LOVE it! Good and wonderful cookies!

    Reply

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