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.
I am trying to test different gingerbread recipes without ending up with hundreds of cookies. Is it possible to make a quarter or a half batch of these?
Sure thing, just halve the recipe. :)
Hi , could I omit the egg in the ginger bread cookies recipe due to dietary needs
You can’t omit the egg, but you can substitute it for a “flax egg”. For each egg needed, place 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and tree tablespoons of water. Mix and let sit 5 minutes before adding it to your batter. In cakes an egg can also be substitute with 1/4 cup of sour milk, but not sure this would work for cookies.
Hi, This recipe looks great and I plan to try this it soon, but wanted to say that I have a similar recipe from Betty Crocker that does not use eggs. I’ve made it for years and it turns out great. I think you could find it online. The title of the recipe in my rather old cookbook is “gingerbread boys” although they have renamed it by now. Good luck.
I substituted a flax egg, per Cloe’s suggestion. It works perfectly and made it easier to divide this recipe in half. Even though I halved the recipe, I only reduced the spices by 1/4, to keep a stronger flavor, based on others’ suggestions.
Hi, could someone tell me how long these will keep ?
The cookies do not seem as flavourful as I expected. The kids enjoyed them which is all that matters.
Hi! I’d like to make these during this weekend, my question is, can I use plant milk for the icing? ?
What is the reason for dividing the dough
It’s easier to roll when divided
Well no one would roll out the whole thing! I chilled the whole thing and broke of sections to roll out.
Made this recipe as directed, once removing from fridge. Everything broke apart and unable to roll or make cookies… how? Why?
Did you take it out and start rolling? In that case it would crumble and fall apart. You should start with some flour, put a handful on wherever you will roll. Ball up the dough, and smash it down a few times, it will help make sure it won’t crumble and fall apart. THEN you roll it, make sure it’s not too thick or too thin, and start cutting.
I bet your dough was too cold. Let it sit out for a bit and it should be fine to roll out.
Perfect recipe! Just made these yesterday and we loved them❤️ Thank u
Love this recipe. Always delicious
Hello, is it possible to remove the egg from the recipe? The taste to the egg came too strong although I used a medium sized egg. Could it be the fact that I didn’t use the orange zest?
Great and simple recipe, will make again for sure!
Great hit with the kiddos also :)
Awesome recipe. Just finished making a batch with my 3 and 6 yr old. I made them 1/4” thick and baked 12 minutes. Turned out perfect.
Great and easy recipe! I subbed pumpkin pie spice for the spices so they were a wee bit less “gingery”, but it worked great and tasted yum!
Hi, When do I add the orange zest?
This recipe is a keeper, my daughter and I just tested it out and both agreed that it’s perfect in every way! just the right amount of sweetness and spice and oh was it so easy to make:)
My family and I thought these were very bland. Don’t waste your ingredients on these.
yes, give me some oven
I changed the recipe a bit and its a lot better
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2-3 large egg
1 cup honey
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bake. At 350°F for about 8 to 10 minutes
Hi just wondering how many calories are per cookie? Making them and counting calories so it would be helpful! Thanks
My mum will find this really helpful
Hey will this recipe really work (im only 12 i wanna know)
The cookies were so good
Made them last week , they are perfect! Thanks a lot
The cookies turned out Amazingly delicious.
This recipe is a keeper.
thanks for sharing! one question how long do these keep if i place them in a cookie tin? And is treacle the same as ulsulphured molasses ? Thanks!
Recipe makes a nice fluffy soft cookie which is really nice. Sadly, I wish they were more flavorful. Not a lot of spice or traditional molasses flavor you would expect. While I would make them again I would likely double the spices.
Great recipe; not too sweet. The dough was too stiff to unroll after sitting overnight in the fridge, but after 20 minutes it was quite malleable. Easy to re-roll the scraps. I was able to get 40 good sized gingerbread men out of the batch.
Can these cookies be made ahead and frozen?
Are these crispy or chewy? (I’m hoping for crispy.)
If you use the simple icing to decorate the cookies, how long does that take to dry? I’m hoping to package these up so I just want to make sure they don’t make a mess. Also, should you leave them on a rack to dry or stored in a container?
Excellent. The orange zest takes them to a whole different level — adds a sense of refinement and a gourmet element. It’s impotant to get your dough cold enough — or the dough will be sticky and lose it’s shape too easily when you transfer the dough to the baking sheets. Also it’s easier to keep them slightly thicker than thinner for the same reason (easier transferring and holding of shape.)
I love these. This recipe is a keeper.
hi! is cake flour okay with this recipe? can i substitute it? would that be okay?
How much gingerbread cookies does 3½ flour make??
How much cookies does it be
Can someone please tell me how much does 3½ cups of flour, how much cookies does it make??
I had big cookie cutters and I think I got 25-30 cookies.
Can you freeze these cookies to keep them longer than 4 days?
I froze them for a week. Turned out fine.
These were okay. Really simple to put together, so love that, but they were super dry when I went to roll them out and kept cracking to the point that I almost had to quit because it was so frustrating. Then after I finally managed to cut them out into shapes, bake, and ice them, they were incredibly dry. At least they look okay. Happy holidays!
I am do not bake much. This year my boys 8&4, wanted to try gingerbread cookies. I followed this recipe and voila I have perfect cookies. Now I will try making the icing too so my little ones can decorate. I think I will keep this as out Christmas tradition❤️?✨thank you
Can you freeze half the dough ? Or how long would it last in fridge ? Thanks.
Made these yesterday and they were a big hit! I baked mine for 8 minutes, because I like my cookies soft. Just the perfect amount of spice. Got lots of compliments. Perfect with hot coffee.
Excellent and easy. I did use my traditional Masa spice (from chai tea recipe), with fresh ginger and grated nutmeg. These were wonderful! Texture and body were perfect! The little bit of frosting added just the right amount of sweetness! Thank you for sharing! ❤️
I doubled the spices since everyone commented on how bland these were. Flavor is ok but the texture is more fluffy/cake like. Definitely not a chewy gingerbread which is what I had in mind.
Love this recipe and have been using it for years to make individual cookies but I was wondering if anyone has tried it for gingerbread houses? Or any insight into whether or not this would be a suitable recipe for that?
Truly delicious! Initially I had so much trouble cutting the cookies, but then I read somewhere to use plastic wrap under the cookie dough, so it doesn’t stick to the counter. Worked amazing and I had no more issues cutting my cookies :)
Nice recipe, but I personally like a more spiced ginger bread cookies and found these to be on the bland side. If your like me and like your cookies more spiced i would definitely recommend uping the the amount of all the spices used in the recipe. However if you like more reserved flavors this would still be good:))
So, I want to make the dough on Sunday, but bring them in for Wednesday. Is it okay to leave the dough in the fridge until Tuesday night to bake? And can I leave them chilling in the fridge already shaped, or is it better to leave it in the dough discs?
Great recipe! The only thing I would change is add more spices next time. I already used extra but felt the molasses overpowered the taste. Very easy to make.
I love these cookies! I added the optional orange zest and it really makes it! Probably the best gingerbread cookies I’ve ever had. My oven is a little different and I left mine in for 6 minutes and they were perfectly cooked.
Solid base gingerbread recipe. I used the doubled version (kudos!) Because of the reviews I added “heaping” amounts of spice, and an additional amount of allspice to match nutmeg-in my case 1 teaspoon. The flour mix smelled on-point. If you like them snappier omit or reduce baking soda. I creamed the butter longer to get fluffy air. I sprayed the measuring glass (pam) to release the molasses, and I was liberal with my 1 cup pour. The chilled dough (half a day) was difficult to work with. But given a few minutes of room temp it was fine-I re-refridgerated between sets. They lofted a bit, but for the most part stayed in their own lane. I rolled to 1/4 inch and in some cases (house shape) 1/2 inch. Baked for 8 minutes for a soft cookie. The cookies were still easy to move and decorate. The recipe is adaptable which is its strongest point. So far, they are well liked as a soft bake, not too spiced, gingerbread cookie. I agree with others that the spice amount needs increasing with its ratio to flour–IF you are looking for intense flavor. I intended 4 stars (because I made adjustments.) But for those with finicky eaters, this recipe plays nicely with frosting, is generously adaptable to suit a variety of wants, is extremely user-friendly, and is not overbearing. From start to finish I had no problems. I turned out a soft but handle able, low crusting, uniform and slightly moist crumb cookie. Thank you to those in the comments section. Like others this helped me decide based on my spice preferences (strong) that I would want a little more (where my family would not.)
We waited a couple hours to eat and what a difference the flavors seemed to enhance. When I first baked and tasted I could not taste the spices BUT but letting them sit a bit made such a huge difference. Great gingerbread cookie. Thank you will definitely make again and wait a few hours to sneak a cookie❗️❗️❗️
This was my first time making gingerbread cookies. I love to cook but baking is not my strength. I followed the recipe and the instructions exactly. I did freeze the cookie dough and bake it a week later. The cookies turned out perfect. I even got cookie cutters and I decorated the cookies as well. I made the cookies and gave them as gifts to the neighbors. Thank you for an easy to follow recipe. Perfection. I even baking another batch today. Merry Christmas!