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.
it was hard i am a 10 year old baker
Well good for you for trying these cookies. We’re they good? I hope everyone loved them.
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.
This recipe was so delicious. i followed it exactly and didn’t try to change it and it came out great! will defs use this again everyone in my fam loved them.
Looks yummy! Do you recommend like or dark brown sugar with the molasses in these cookies?
We made our gingerbread houses with this recipe this year and they were amazing! Thank you for the great recipe.
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.
I’m sorry about that…
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 :)
What can I use instead of molasses? I don’t have it handy and we’re quarantining 😕
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.
So you basically changed 3/4 if the recipe…
Well since you changed so many of the ingredients it isn’t what was posted so it is your recipe now. Next time post your recipe.
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?
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.
My recipe is to dry how do I moisten it
Best gingerbread cookies ever! As spicy as ginger snaps. Strong enough to put icing on but still soft inside if you do 1/8 inch. Crispy if you do 1/4 roll. Thank you.
Best gingerbread cookies ever. Soft and delicious
So, so, so good! Our family couldn’t wait til December to make your recipe so we jumped the gun and cut these out as turkeys for Thanksgiving instead. :)
So delicious! Thank yoi
This was very easy to follow and very yummy!!! Frosting was on point, cookie was crunchy and soft at the same time, cookies are bursting with flavor and there just adorable!!! I’m only 13 btw!
I forgot to rate it sorry!!!
Hello! do you happen to have the Nutrition Facts of this recipe?
I followed the recipe exactly to its directions. They came out dry and flavorless.
Why was it so hard coming out of the fridge? Do I leave it out for some time before rolling it thin?
Can you freeze the dough and then later thaw and roll out to bake?
I would also like to know if I can freeze this dough and roll and cook later. Will it change the texture? How long will it keep in the freezer? Do you think rolling out and then freeze is better?
The dough is quick to bring together before chilling (4 hr fridge or 30 min freezer). I was out of eggs so I took a risk and used 1 tbs chia with 3 tbs water and let that sit for ~10 min before beating it into the liquid mixture. Worked perfectly!
The dough is easy to work with. Mild spice flavors but when I gobbled a bunch it ended up being perfectly balanced. I accidentally left the cookies out the whole night and they were still soft and yummy the next day. Roll dough out to 1/4” for soft cookies, 1/8” for crispy. I halved the icing recipe which was the perfect amount.
WOW -SO GOOD
Crisp but not hard , flavourful, but not too overpowering.
I used the orange zest in my batch.
Best gingerbread cookie recipe ever-hands down.
Tastes like Christmas.
This is my go-to gingerbread recipe every year and it never lets me down!
Hello do you have any idea how many carbs are in a serving? My daughter is type 1 diabetic & we have to dose her insulin depending on how many carbs her eats. Thank you
How do you store them one they are iced? I’m concerned the incing with drip or run…
I’ve made these for the last couple of years for Christmas, and I always get compliments on the flavor and texture. Thank you for sharing!
I followed the recipe exactly…so disappointed…molasses taste too strong and not sweet enough. Can’t get anyone in the fam to eat them! Texture very nice though.
I won’t to ask you can i leave the dough in refrigerator for 1 week before i beak it
hi! i was wanting to know the measurements for this recipe if i were to make about 23 cookies
Very good recipe. Will keep and make again
Favorite gingerbread cookies!! Every time I’ve made them they turn out perfect!
I was so crumbly I had to throw it out. I thought I might use a new recipe, I’m sorry I did.
you probably measured some ingredients incorrectly
Perfect gingerbread cookies!! So happy!!
Great recipe, follow the instructions but just added 1/2 cup of brown sugar for personal preference!
Also made it gluten free substituted with Red Mills gluten free flour and increased flour by 1/2 cup, turned out delicious!Thanks!
Made exactly as stated. Dough was easy to work with. Cookies were bland in comparison to the two other gingerbread recipes I was trying out. I wouldn’t make these again, but they weren’t horrible.
Been making these cookies the past two years. Family loves them!
Question, can you freeze the dough?
My family and I love this recipe! I get request for it from my granddaughter.
These were perfect!
Followed the recipe and biscuits turned out beautifully. Will definitely use this recipe for our gingerbread houses. Thank you 😊
Just tried this recipe. Taste amazing!!!! So glad I came across this recipe. My kid is devouring the cookies before it can even completely cool down. Thanks for the recipe!
I followed the recipe and now that they are done, the only thing I would change would be to have slightly less clove, but that’s just me. I’m in Ireland and had my oven set to 170c w/ fan and baked for 9 minutes. Everything worked out perfectly. I’d like to know how to do a half batch as I used mini gingerbread cookie cutters and have tiny little men all over my kitchen!
I am disappointed in how mine turned out. Could not detect much spice, basically tasted slightly like a ginger bread, not gingerbread.
Followed recipe as stated, they turned out well.
Backed for 10minutes @ 180degrees Celsius, took them out even though they were crisp around the corner. They are still moist inside and like a cookie in the outside.
For me, there’s prob just a little too much spice, I’d likely reduce the cloves quantity down just a little next time. But not by much.
For those who use the metric system….. its 100grams of butter.
Definitely recommend the recipe, perhaps may have batch first if unsure. This does make a lot of cookies!
Awesome recipe!! Perfect texture and tasted really good. Thanks!!
Needed more sugar. Very hard texture.
Followed the recipe exactly, the dough was very dry and hard to roll out. Cookies were dry, bland, and very pale in color. Will look for another recipe next time.
I use this recipe every time I want to make gingerbread cookies. I’ve never had any issues with my dough and they taste amazing. I opt for the orange zest, and I get compliments from everyone, every time, never fails! Since I’m gluten free and dairy free, I swap the flour out for a 1 to 1 ratio gluten free blend, and the butter for ghee. Seems to work just fine with those adjustments.
I love this recipe as it is. I have used it about 3 Christmas seasons in a row and always receive compliments. I actually made Easter cookies with it this year for a friend who kept talking about my “ginger cookies”. Since they are her favorite I cut out butterflies, bees and flowers as a gift for her last week. She was so excited. Ginger in April. Why not? 😉
Can you freeze the cookies and ice them later?
Dear Ali, could you tell me which kind of cup you use in this recipe? British or American? How much is it in metric units?
Thanks so much!
I make this recipe every year and if followed, the dough turns out so amazing!!! I love the dark richness of the flavour and colour!! We make our gingerbread house and cookies with this recipe and every year someone new asks for it or gives a high compliment.