This classic cut-out gingerbread cookie recipe is easy to make, perfect for decorating, and always so delicious.
‘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
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.
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:
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 Cookies:
So how do you make gingerbread cookies? It’s simple!
Whisk together your dry ingredients. Flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
More Favorite Cookie Recipes:
Looking for more cookie baking inspiration? Here are few more of my classic faves:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.