Gingerbread Cookies

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This classic cut-out gingerbread cookie recipe is easy to make, perfect for decorating, and always so delicious. 

Gingerbread Cookies

‘Tis the season!

If you are planning to bake up a batch of gingerbread cookies over the holidays, I have the perfect recipe for you.

It’s one that I have used for years and years now, based originally off of a gingerbread recipe from Elise Bauer (whom many of you know and love from SimplyRecipes.com), and it is perfection.  You can bake it up to be as soft or as crispy as you’d like.  It’s perfect for cutting out all of your favorite gingerbread people.  It’s made with the tastiest warming spices, including lots of ginger and cinnamon.  And bonus — a batch of gingerbread baking in the oven is guaranteed to make your home smell amazing.

Over the years, I have tinkered around with various spices and add-ins for the recipe, and lately have been enjoying adding some orange zest to the dough, which plays beautifully with the warming spices.  But feel free to play around and spice the dough however you like.  And of course, the more frostings and sprinkles that you’d like to add, the merrier!

Let’s make a batch.

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Cut Out Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients:

To make this gingerbread cookie recipe, you will need:

  • Flour: I traditionally use all-purpose flour for this recipe, but white whole wheat flour will also work.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
  • Baking soda, salt, egg and vanilla extract: Because…cookies.
  • Molasses: I recommend using unsulphured molasses.
  • Brown sugar: To add some extra molasses-y flavor to the cookies.
  • Butter: Softened completely to room temperature.
  • (Optional) Orange Zest: The subtle citrus notes pair really nicely with the cinnamon.

Plus any kind of icing, powdered sugar, sprinkles or candies (such as red hots) that you would like to add on top of your cookies, either before or after baking.  For the batch shown here, I just made a simple icing out of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.

Gingerbread Cookie Equipment:

You will also need the following equipment to make these gingerbread cookies:

  • Cookie cutters: I’ve used this set of 101 cookie cutters for years and always love them!
  • Rolling pin: I love this marble rolling pin, but any type of standard rolling pin will do.
  • Mixer: Either a stand mixer or hand mixer will be great!
  • Pastry bag (optional): If you’d like to get extra detailed with your icing, I would recommend using a pastry bag with tips.  But I just used a simple ziplock for mine, and snipped off a tiny corner with some scissors.

How To Make Gingerbread Man

How To Make Gingerbread Cookies:

So how do you make gingerbread cookies?  It’s simple!

  1. Whisk together your dry ingredients.  Flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg.
  2. Beat the dough.  Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs and molasses, and beat on medium speed until combined. Then gradually add in the flour mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until just combined.
  3. Chill the dough.  Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball.  Then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerator for an hour or so until the dough is chilled but still slightly pliable.
  4. Roll and cut the dough.  Unwrap one of the discs and place it on a lightly-floured surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/8-inch thick.  Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more.  Transfer the dough shapes to to a parchment-covered baking sheet.
  5. Bake. At 350°F for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. Decorate: Once the cookies cool to room temperature, feel free to decorate them as desired with the icing (see below) and serve.  Then dive in, or transfer them to a sealed container and store (or freeze) for later.

Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Tree

Possible Gingerbread Cookie Variations:

Want to decorate your gingerbread cookies?  Feel free to top them with:

  • Icing: As I mentioned above, I typically just use a quick powdered sugar icing.  But royal icing, maple icing, or any other kind of frosting you like would work.
  • Powdered sugar: Feel free to dust your cookies lightly with powdered sugar.
  • Red hots: We grew up poking red hots into our gingerbread, which I still find delicious.
  • Sprinkles: There are so many fun sprinkles that you could add to these cookies!  Lately I’ve been loving all of the fun sprinkle mixes from Sprinkle Pop.  Or if you happen to be looking for some naturally-colored sprinkles, check out the cute sprinkles from Supernatural.  (Both are available on Amazon.)

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

More Favorite Cookie Recipes:

Looking for more cookie baking inspiration?  Here are few more of my classic faves:

Print
Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 45 cookies 1x

Description

This classic cut-out gingerbread cookie recipe is easy to make, perfect for decorating, and always so delicious.


Scale

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe:

Simple Icing Recipe:


Instructions

To Make The Gingerbread Cookies:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or alternately, you can use a hand mixer and a separate large mixing bowl), beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in egg, molasses and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball.  Then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or so, or until the dough is chilled yet still somewhat pliable.  (Or you can refrigerate the dough for a longer period of time, and then later let soften on the countertop for 15-20 minutes before rolling it out.)
  4. Once you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  5. Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured hard surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/8-inch thick.  Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more.  Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. Once the cookies are room temperature, feel free to decorate them as desired with the icing (see below) plus any extra sprinkles or candies.  Serve and enjoy immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

To Make The Simple Icing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until smooth.  If your icing is too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar.  If your icing is too thick, add in a tiny bit of milk.
  2. Use a piping bag, or a ziplock bag (with the corner snipped off), or a plastic squeeze bottle to pipe the icing onto the cookies.


Notes

Source: Recipe slightly adapted from Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com.  The instructions were also edited in December 2020 to encourage rolling out the dough when it is chilled yet still slightly soft, instead of completely chilled and hard.

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Classic Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

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252 comments on “Gingerbread Cookies”

1 3 4 5
  1. it was hard i am a 10 year old baker

  2. Tried the recipe and loved the texture. Might increase the sugar next time. And I would definitely put it in freezer than refrigerate it next time. Even though it’s peak of winters, the refrigerated dough didn’t last much once rolled out and became sticky.
    Nonetheless beautiful texture.

  3. We made our gingerbread houses with this recipe this year and they were amazing! Thank you for the great recipe.

  4. I was disappointed in how mine turned out. Could not detect much spice (and do not have COVID). They burned slightly on the minimum time and were dry, dense and kinda lifeless. Will not use this recipe again.

  5. These were absolutely delicious and I got so many compliments and asks for the recipes! I was a bit low on ginger, so I added pumpkin pie spice to the mix, as well as a bit of allspice because I like extra spicy! They baked up beautifully and were so easy and fun to decorate. This is definitely a recipe I plan to repeat each year :)

  6. Awesome! Not too sweet. I made it thin and they came out perfectly crispy. The only thing I changed was I used heapingful of the spices required. I kept the baking soda as instructed but added 3/4 tsp of baking powder on top. used 1 cup of butter instead of 3/4 cup. Used 2 small orange peel zest with the batter, skip the icing for less sugar consumption. Baked as required for 8 mins in a convection oven. Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe I ever made. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  7. Delicious recipe! I am thinking of freezing already baked cookies to enjoy later. Have you tried this? If so, how long do you recommend freezing for?

  8. WOW! These cookies were so delicious and addictingly Tasty!! The recipe for these cookies was very clear and simple. I did however after trying three different ways of baking these that baking these close to 11minutes was the prime temp for Crispy and CHEWY cookies.. Now I am sure that individual ovens may have different characteristics about them with regard to baking. I did find that my first batch baked at 9 minutes produced a very soft and grainy texture, almost like they were not done and they weren’t. Tasted mostly the sugars. So, what I did was rebake them immediately for another 2 minutes and the Twice-baked cookies were actually more chewy than the others. Thank you for your recipes and sharing the love.