Gingerbread Cookies are a fun Christmas and Holiday tradition, especially when everyone gets to decorate their own gingerbread people. Plus, they are so easy to make! In this recipe, the flavor is lovely—buttery and loaded with all of the cozy fall spices, and the texture is perfect – crisp on the edges and soft in the center.
These classic gingerbread man cookies look so joyful alongside our Cranberry Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Baklava, and Christmas Coconut Balls on the dessert table served with Hot Chocolate and coffee. Can’t you just picture it!
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Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
Similar to our Christmas Sugar Cookies, these gingerbread cookies are simple to make and easy to decorate, while still chewy and truly delightful to eat. This recipe was inspired by the delicious Gingerbread Cookie recipe in the Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild.
They are so simple to decorate with our easy gingerbread cookie icing recipe (included below) using only three pantry staples (no meringue powder!), but you can easily use store-bought icing to save a minute or two.
Gingerbread Cookies Video
See Natasha make this chewy, buttery, delicious gingerbread cookie recipe using simple ingredients. You’ll love to make this your family’s holiday tradition!
Here’s why you’ll adore this recipe
- EASY – Simple, fool-proof directions and made with pantry staples
- Delicious – Perfectly spiced and buttery cookies
- Great texture – A soft, chewy texture that gets softer over time
- A fun tradition to share with kids and adults alike
- The best homemade icing – it hardens perfectly, so the finished cookies are easy to store
Ingredients for Gingerbread Cookies
The best gingerbread cookies are made with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry.
- Flour – we recommend unbleached all-purpose flour for a deeper color and stronger texture
- Ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves – the perfect combination of spices for classic gingerbread
- Baking soda – helps the cookie rise slightly for that chewy texture
- Sea salt – brings out the flavors of the gingerbread spices
- Butter – room temperature and unsalted so it easily mixes in
- Brown sugar – light brown sugar gives a nice balance since we’ll be adding more molasses
- Molasses – gives a caramel-like depth of flavor and that gingerbread chewy texture
- Egg – room temperature to help with getting a light dough
As with most baking projects, starting with room-temperature butter and eggs is the key to a great cookie dough. It really makes a difference!
For Gingerbread Cookie Icing
- Powdered Sugar – Sweetens and thickens the icing
- Milk – makes the icing creamy
- Vanilla extract – flavors the icing perfectly
- Sprinkles in a variety of holiday colors and shapes to decorate
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
Make these classic gingerbread men cookies in just these few easy-to-follow steps:
- Sift dry ingredients (flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, and salt) into a medium bowl. Using a fine mesh sieve to sift helps eliminate clumps.
- Beat wet ingredients (butter, sugar, and molasses) in the bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer on medium/high speed for about 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the egg to the wet ingredients and beat for 1 minute until incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then, beat on medium speed until combined and the dough is soft.
- Transfer the dough from the bowl to a well-floured surface. If it’s too sticky, dust the top with flour, and then divide it into three pieces. Pat each piece into a disk shape, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until the dough is firm for about an hour, or up to 24 hours before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees when ready to cut the cookies and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface until it is 1/4” thick, working one disk at a time (keep the rest refrigerated). Be sure to rotate the dough as you roll to prevent sticking, and then cut out shapes using 4-5-inch cookie cutters. Gather the scraps to re-roll.
- Place cut-out cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1” apart, and bake for 9-10 minutes or until the edges start to brown, then move cookies to cooling racks. Repeat rolling and baking the remaining dough.
If the dough or gathered scraps gets too soft to handle, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate, because chilling the dough will harden it slightly and make it easier to roll out.
I usually bake one sheet of cookies while I roll out the dough for the second batch. If you want to bake 2 sheets at once, put the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
How to make Gingerbread Man Cookie Icing:
Stir the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl. Thicken by adding more powdered sugar, or thin by adding more milk. Then pour it into a piping bag. If you prefer, you can use store-bought pre-made cookie icing.
How to Decorate Gingerbread Man Cookies
It’s easy to decorate this gingerbread cookie recipe using the icing recipe for the holidays. You could even host a gingerbread cookie decorating party. Here are a few ideas:
- Rimmed paper plates – place a cookie on each plate to catch all the mess
- Icing – After mixing the icing, fill small zip-top bags or piping bags with icing. You can even add a few drops of food coloring.
- Powdered Sugar – As a quick alternative, dust the top of the cookie with confectioner sugar
- Decorations – sprinkle and place red hot candies, sprinkles, colored sugar, or nonpareils to the icing. Don’t forget the gumdrop buttons!
- Let them Set – Allow the decorated cookies to dry completely before stacking.
After mixing, the dough is very sticky and hard to roll out. A quick refrigeration will make it easier to roll the dough out without sticking.
If it’s hard to roll out the dough or move the pieces after cutting, put the dough back in the fridge to chill a bit. Then dust the rolling surface, rolling pin, and disk with flour, then be sure to rotate the dough as you roll it out to make sure it isn’t sticking. Roll the dough out to 1/4” thick—too thin and it will be harder to transfer to the baking tray.
You can double the recipe, but you’ll need to refrigerate it in 6 disks so the dough doesn’t get too warm while you’re cutting out the gingerbread man cookies.
For a chewy cookie, be sure not to overcook. They should be slightly puffy and barely browned at the edges, and matte (not wet-looking). Bigger cookie dough cutters will need more time than smaller cutters.
This recipe is perfect for eating because it makes a chewy, soft cookie that holds the gingerbread man shape. Harder cookies are needed for building gingerbread houses, so you’ll want to bake an extra 1-2 minutes to firm up.
You’ll be happy to know you can make the dough or bake the cookies in advance. The dough is butter-based and sturdy, so it keeps well and freezes well.
To store the dough:
- To Refrigerate: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap for up to 24 hours
- Freezing: Place wrapped dough in freezer zip-top bag for 3 months
- Defrost: in the refrigerator overnight
To store baked cookies:
- To Store: stack between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for a week
- Freezing: put the container in the freezer for 3 months.
- To Defrost: thaw on the counter
Our classic gingerbread cookie recipe is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays. In fact, we’re positive these buttery, spiced cookies will quickly become your favorite family tradition.
More Holiday Dessert Recipes
If you love this gingerbread man cookie recipe, then check out these other delicious holiday dessert favorites.
These Gingerbread Cookies are the perfect holiday tradition, especially because everyone can decorate their own gingerbread man. The cookies are perfectly spiced, buttery, chewy, and so delicious. You can use store-bought icing, but it’s easy to make your own. The icing pipes beautifully and hardens perfectly when it dries so you can store the cookies easily.
Servings: 40 cookies
For the Gingerbread Cookies:
How to make the Gingerbread Cookies
Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda, cloves, and salt into a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, and molasses until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes on medium/high speed. Add egg and beat until well incorporated, 1 minute.
Add flour mixture and beat on medium/low speed to combine. The dough will be soft and moist.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. If the dough is too sticky to handle, dust the top of it with flour so you can pat it into a disk. Divide into 3 pieces, flatten each one into a disk, and wrap the dough pieces individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner.
On a well-floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Turn the dough while rolling out to ensure it isn’t sticking to your surface. Using a 4 to 5-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many gingerbread people as you can get. Gather scraps and chill to re-roll.
Set the cookies on a baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake until they are barely turning brown at the edges, about 9-10 minutes then transfer to cooling racks. Avoid over-baking if you prefer softer cookies. Repeat with rolling, cutting, and baking the remaining cookie dough. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookie Icing:
In a medium bowl, stir together the icing ingredients until smooth. To thicken the icing more add powdered sugar, to thin it out, add more milk. Transfer to a piping bag with a small hole, zip bag, or squeeze bottle to decorate the cooled cookies with icing. Let the icing set and harden before storing.
106kcal Calories18g Carbs1g Protein4g Fat