Gingerbread Cookies

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.

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It’s one that I have used for years and years now, based originally off of a gingerbread recipe from Elise Bauer (who 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 peel 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.

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 typically just opt for the “original” unsulphured molasses.
  • Brown sugar: For extra molasses-y flavor.
  • Butter: Softened completely to room temperature.
  • (Optional) Orange Zest: The subtle citrus pairs really nicely with the cinnamon.

Plus, any kind of icing or sprinkles or candies 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.

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 chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.  The disc shape will make it easier to roll the cookies out later.
  4. Roll and cut the dough.  Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, unwrap one of the disc and place is 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 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.
  • Sprinkles: Any kind of sprinkles would be great paired with icing.
  • Red hots: We grew up poking red hots into our gingerbread, which I still find delicious.

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

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

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • (optional) zest of one small orange
  • optional toppings: simple icing (see below), red hots, sprinkles, etc.

Simple Icing Recipe:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

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 mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, 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 chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled and you’re 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) and serve.  Or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

To Make The Simple Icing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a 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.

Slightly adapted from Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com.

All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Classic Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

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91 comments on “Gingerbread Cookies”

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

    Rating: 5
  2. 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.

    Rating: 4
  3. 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.

    Rating: 5
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  6. This recipe is our favorite! We make it every year. 🙌🏻

    Rating: 5
  7. 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.

    Rating: 5
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  11. 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

    Rating: 5
  12. Pingback: Gingerbread Cookie Recipe – lxiv

  13. 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 :)

    Rating: 5
  14. These are soo cute! And always great to add a little orange zest :-)

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

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

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

  18. 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!

    Rating: 5
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  20. 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.

    Rating: 4