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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:

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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.


Ingredients

Scale

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.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Classic Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

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Recipe rating

204 comments on “Gingerbread Cookies”

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  1. Made them today and I must say: I love them!!

  2. Making these for high school product fair, hope they turn out okay!!

  3. We made these today and they came out great! The cookies held their shape really well during baking and were the perfect texture…plus super yummy! Keeping this recipe for sure!

  4. Can I substitute the molasses with another ingredient or skip it? or it’s a must ?

    • Unfortunately the molasses is definitely what makes these cookies, so there isn’t really a substitute for this recipe – they wouldn’t really be gingerbread cookies without it. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy these if you make them! :)

  5. What if I don’t have the paddle attachment? Can I use the beaters?

  6. How long is the dough good for in the fridge

    • Hi Brandy, we would say 3-4 days in the fridge, but you can always freeze for a lot longer. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy these!

  7. Is light brown sugar ok for this recipe?

    • It will work fine Dana, but dark brown sugar is preferable, as it lends these cookies that classic dark, molassessy flavor. We hope you enjoy!

  8. Hi Ali,
    my name is Elise. I love your recipes! So far I have made your carrot cake and pumpkin cupcakes/muffins. My mom is gluten free and I’ve found your recipes work great with the gluten free flour we use called Pamela’s. Now my friend and I are going to bake your ginger bread cookies!
    Bye Ali thank you so much!

    • Hi Elise, thanks for your sweet words! We’re happy you and your mom are enjoying the gluten-free recipes, and we hope you and your friends enjoy the gingerbread cookies! :)

  9. Hi, I like to make gingerbread house. Have you tried to make it with this recipe?

    • Hi Lina, we haven’t, but we’re sure these would be great for a gingerbread house! We hope you enjoy! :)

  10. Hi! These look awesome and I’d love to make them this year. I’m loving all the spices in the recipe, but I’ve never bought molasses before.  This may be a dumb question but is all molasses unsulfured? Is Grandma’s Original Molasses unsulfured? Thanks! 

    • Thanks Anna, we hope you like them! And that’s not a dumb question at all! Okay, so not all molasses is unsulphured. Blackstrap is the deepest, most caramelized type of molasses that you can get, but it tends to also be pretty intense, and bitter. It can come in sulphured or unsulphured. Unsulphured molasses is lighter and mild, and usually more common. The original Grandma’s brand is unsulphured, so it’s lighter and milder, though they do make one that is “robust.” We hope this makes sense! :)

  11. I have just made them and want to make 2 more batches ASAP! Unfortunately, I ran out of molasses and referred to the comments section to check how substantial it is to use it, if it was only for the colour. It seems I have to wait for tomorrow and get some more. :) Anyway, the cookies are wonderful! Thank you so much for the recipe! Happy holidays!

    • Thanks Mireille, we’re so happy to hear you enjoyed these! Happy holidays to you as well! :)

  12. This recipe looks (and is sure to smell) delicious! Do you know if the dough freezes well?

  13. In regards to not using molasses, a friend of mine uses either maple syrup or honey when making gingerbread and it tastes more like gingersnaps as opposed to gingerbread. I sometimes use half honey and half molasses.

    • We like the idea of using half honey and half molasses, Ginger — we’ll have to try that sometime! :)

  14. I forgot to add that I love the way you decorated the gingerbread. I’ll have to “steal” some of your decorating ideas this year. :)

  15. When I think of types of cookies to make, I always forget the typical gingerbread cookie! This post just reminded me of the charming little gingerbread men I could make this holiday season! Thanks for sharing! 

  16. Hi thank you for this recipe! We’re excited to try it but we’re wondering if we roll it out a little thinner Or cook them a minute longer would we get more of a crispy cookie? I use a similar recipe but it doesn’t allow for cookie cutters, just a frozen brick to yield small rectangles which were thin and crispy and good but just not fun without the shapes. Thanks in advance!

  17. These are adorable! Something about gingerbread just takes me back to childhood. Can’t wait to make these!

  18. What a perfect gingerbread recipe! My kids can’t stop eating them. Saving this one forever. Happy Holidays!

  19. I selected this recipe for my Sunday afternoon holiday baking after reading everyone’s rave reviews! The dough was very dry & crumbly when rolling out (turned into a chore versus a fun afternoon.) I read and re-read the recipe to see where I might have gone wrong- but I followed the directions to a “T” and yes, I chilled the dough for 2 hours and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rolling out. After baking, the cookies are very dry.

    • We’re so sorry these came out dry and crumbly for you, Pam! Unfortunately we’re not sure what could have gone wrong here either. It’s definitely a thick dough, but it shouldn’t be dry or crumbly or give you trouble. :(

    • I made the dough yesterday and am having the same issue. I’m not even going to bother rolling it out because I can already tell it’s going to just fall apart. Really wonder what we could have done wrong!

  20. Hi. Just  wanted to let you know that we baked the biscuits yesterday and they were a great win in my house. even my husband joined in the baking and this wouldn’t be normally like him!the biscuits are just delicious, thank you very much for sharing the recipe. When I  get the chance to post on my blog I will definitely  link to your website.
    Happy holidays and thanks again.
    Dee  

  21. Baking these cookies now, and they are delicious! Best gingerbread cookies I ever made.

  22. The flavor of these are quite nice… i also upped the ginger a 1/2 teaspoon and added white pepper. However, I am not sure how anyone could get 45 cookies out of this recipe. My cookie cutters are a bit large, snowflakes 3 1/2″ across, but on the first pass I was able only to cut 16 cookies. On the second roll of the remaining dough, I was able to get 10 more. The rest of the dough pieces i  just laid out and baked for use as crumb in crust, parfaits or yogurt.

    • Hi Bobby — we appreciate your feedback and we’re glad you enjoyed them! It does sound like your cookie cutters were larger than ours, so that’s why you didn’t get as many.

  23. oOMygosh. Soo good. THis is the best gingerbread cookie recipe I found so far!!! Thanks for sharing them! You made my Christmas!

  24. I made these cookies for a cookie exchange at work. They were delicious!!! I’m at my sister’s house for the holiday and I want to make them for her too, but she only has spread instead of butter. Will this work in the recipe? 

    • We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Sherry! We haven’t tried using anything other than butter in these though, so we can’t say for sure. You’re welcome to give it a try, but we’d strongly recommend using butter if you can.

  25. These look so good! Are the results soft or crunchy?

  26. We make these every year. This recipe is the best!!

  27. I’ve been making these for the past 3 years. My nieces and mom love them! There is just one thing… the recipe ingredient list calls for 1 egg. The instruction says to add the eggs. I know it’s just my anxiety, but I always have a slight freak-out that I’ve missed something.

  28. The best gingerbread cookies, easy to make and delicious to eat!

  29. Ummm these were amazing. I literally ate 4 as soon as they came out of the oven. Thank you!! I also added some vanilla bean paste but your recipe is flawless :)

  30. Love this recipe, the chappe of the cookies hold perfectly and it tastes delicious. Thanks for posting it

  31. These cookies have become an annual Christmas tradition in our home! Thank you so much for sharing!

  32. Hi Ali,
    It was the first time that I tried to make gingerbread cookies and everyone loved them. Even though the recipe is for about 45 cookies, with the same recipe we baked 72 cookies.

  33. Hi Ali,
    It was the first time that I tried to make gingerbread cookies and everyone loved them. Even though the recipe is for about 45 cookies, with the same recipe we baked 72 cookies.

  34. This recipe is our favorite! We make it every year. ??

  35. Great recipe! Cookies tastes great! Will the icing harden? I want to decorate them and give them to my mailman and my son’s teacher.

  36. Ok I am a Granny and have never made gingerbread anything!! Honest. My grandkids were so excited about making Christmas cookies and wanted gingerbread cookies too. We made this recipe together and it turned out great. They had so much fun decorating and eating them. And they were delicious. Thank you

  37. Hi, I tried your recipe and made it for a Christmas party. The taste is nice and its not too sweet :D … I actually substitute the molasses with honey & dark brown sugar with light brown sugar (can’t find it), although the color is not as dark but the taste is delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

  38. These are soo cute! And always great to add a little orange zest :-)

  39. I’ve honestly never made gingerbread cookies before…but this may be my year to try!! :)

  40. Can’t wait to try this! Question: Will the icing dry, so it’s the typical hard white royal icing? Thanks!

  41. These look yummy. Are they a soft cookie?

  42. I have been using an old gingerbread recipe for years and felt I wanted to update to a newer version. I could not be more happy! It was a pleasure to work with the dough. I used almost every last bit of dough by reworking the leftovers. The taste was flavourful and not too sweet. Perfect!

  43. Cookies came out soft and spicy, perfect. I had a bit of a problem with the texture, too sticky initially to roll out so I had to add another 1/2 c flour to be able to roll, cut, pick up and put on the cookie sheet. That didn’t affect the flavor at all, they were really tasty.

  44. this is my new favorite gingerbread recipe! the flavor is perfect, the texture is soft and chewy (i stopped at 7 min) – they’re the BEST! im going to make another batch this year, and this will be my go-to recipe going forward. thank you!

  45. These cookies were absolutely fantastic! Sooo much better than store bought dough. They had just the right amount of spice and sweetness, and cooked perfectly in 8 minutes.

  46. These cookies are fail proof and so delicious! I’ll be making another two batches before Christmas!

  47. This was my first time making gingerbread and they taste great. Having trouble decorating with the icing though. It doesn’t want to stay out and is blending/melting together. ?

  48. Fantastic recipe. My cookies came out delicious. Unfortunately, my piping/decorating skills are not up to scratch. If you eat them with your eyes closed, they are phenomenal.

  49. I made these for our holiday pot luck this week. I enjoy cooking and always use the potluck platform to ‘show off’, if you will. Every once in a while I’ll make something that I’ve never made before. Baking is not really my thing, but I saw on the sign up list that no one was brining desert. (FOR SHAME!!)I thought, what says holiday more than gingerbread men. Well…they were a hit! My decorating left some to be desired, but many commented on how chewy and not too crispy they were. So I can say that GIMME SOME OVEN – GOT ME SOME LOVIN!! This is a great site that I will be resourcing more in the future.

    @swbeeradventures

  50. Dear Ali,
    As a former chef … trained in Europe and being half German….I have to say this was the easiest gingerbread recipe I have ever made. It is delicious… not too sweet…. more like a ginger snap… absolutely perfect. As others mentioned… this recipe makes many cookies… especially if you are using small and larger cookie cutters. The only variation I made was the chilling time. With strong and mild spiced cookies I have found that if you chill overnight…. take them out the next day… let the dough get back up to room temperature for about 4 hours and then re-chill over night and then roll…. it allows the spices to intensify… and the wait is so well worth it! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!