Gingerbread Cookies

These Gingerbread Cookies are everything a Christmas cookie should be! Perfectly spiced and flavored with molasses and brown sugar, this easy gingerbread cookie recipe is perfect for cutout cookies and decorating! Love Christmas cookies? Make sure to try my Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies and perfect Sugar Cookies!

decorated gingerbread cookies with red garland and title and color block overlay at top of image

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorites, especially around the Christmas season. They have such amazing flavor and are easily one of the most nostalgic cookies for the holiday season. PLUS, they make your house smell absolutely amazing when they bake!

We have so many favorite Christmas cookies and these Gingerbread Cookies rank right up there with the best of the best:

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies stay fresh for up to two weeks, so they are a great choice for a busy season too! This dough can be rolled thin to make crisp cookies, or a bit thicker for a soft cookie. 

Roll the cookies thicker for a softer cookie with more chew.

gingerbread cookies decorated with red hots and white frosting sitting on white surface with red and white bead garland

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Ingredients

These cookies are super easy to make and have all the flavors and spices you would expect in a perfect gingerbread cookie recipe. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

  • all-purpose flour – gives our cookies structure and keeps them from spreading out of control
  • baking powder – the leavener in this cookie recipe
  • ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves – can’t have a gingerbread cookie without ginger and this recipe calls for just the right amount. The other spices add additional flavor and complexity to these cookies. Cloves are one of those distinct flavors that make gingerbread cookies so easily recognizable.
  • ground black pepper – this is an optional ingredient but definitely adds a little kick to the recipe. Use finely ground black pepper.
  • butter – for flavor and 
  • molasses – acts as both sweetener and flavor in this recipe
  • brown sugar – works well with the molasses
  • eggs – for structure
  • vanilla extract – really helps blend the flavors together and add additional depth of flavor

gingerbread cookies ready to be baked on baking sheet

How To Make Gingerbread Cookies

  1. In a large bowl, gently stir together flour, baking powder, and all spices. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or other large bowl), beat butter until smooth.  Add brown sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, and flatten into rounded disk (about 1 1/2 inches thick).  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  5. When dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350*F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness (1/4- 1/2 inch thick).  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat type liner.  

    If the dough is too sticky or soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

  6. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on the size of cookies).  Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Frost with royal icing, if desire.  HERE is the royal icing recipe I use, as well as some decorating tips to get you started.

FAQs

Can these cookies be made in advance? Yes! These gingerbread cookies keep very well so you can make them up to 1 week in advance. Just keep them stored in an airtight container with parchment between layers. You can also make the dough ahead of time and store in the fridge tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. 

What kind of icing should I use to these decorate gingerbread cookies? I recommend royal icing for frosting but you can use you favorite icing or frosting.

Can gingerbread cookies be frozen? Yes. After baking, place in airtight freezer safe container with parchment between layers for up to 3 months.

gingerbread cookies decorated on white tray

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Ideas

You may be wondering what else you can make with this gingerbread cookie recipe and I’ve got great news – SO. MUCH. Let’s take a look at these fun ideas:

Tips for the Best Gingerbread Cookies

  1. It’s annoying but this dough has to be chilled or else the cookies will spread during baking. Chilling also makes the dough easier to handle. Keep the dough you are not using chilled and and add a bit more flour as needed to work with the dough if necessary.
  2. If you are making gingerbread houses or very large cookies that need to be extra sturdy, I would recommend 5 1/2 cups flour. If making smaller cookies that you want to be soft, use 5 cups flour.  Certainly the dough will be softer and more sticky the less flour you use. 
  3. If the dough is too sticky or soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
  4. The dough can be rolled out and handled just as I described in my post HERE.

Favorite Cookie Cutters

More Christmas Cookies

  1. Cranberry Orange Cookies
  2. Snickerdoodle Cookies
  3. Watercolor Snowflake Cookies
  4. Winter Wonderland Cookies
  5. Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

decorated gingerbread cookies with red garland

Gingerbread Cookies

These Gingerbread Cookies are everything a Christmas cookie should be! Perfectly spiced and flavored with molasses and brown sugar, this easy gingerbread cookie recipe is perfect for cutout cookies and decorating!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 184 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg slightly less if using freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper optional
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, gently stir together flour, baking powder, and all spices. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer (or other large bowl), beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla.
  • Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated.
  • Divide the dough into 3 pieces, and flatten into rounded disk (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • When dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350*F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness (1/4- 1/2 inch thick). (The dough can be rolled out and handled just as I described in my post HERE). Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat type liner. If the dough is too sticky or soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
  • Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on the size of cookies). Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Frost with royal icing, if desire. HERE is the royal icing recipe I use, as well as some decorating tips to get you started.

Notes

  • If making gingerbread houses or very large cookies I would recommend 5 1/2 cups flour, if making smaller cookies that you want to be soft, use 5 cups flour.
  • Certainly the dough will be softer and more sticky the less flour you use. Keep the dough chilled, and/or add a bit more flour as needed to work with the dough.

Tools Needed:

Cookie Cutters
Baking Equipment
Sheet Pans | Silicone Baking Mat | Rolling Pin

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 58mgPotassium: 218mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 36IUCalcium: 69mgIron: 2mg
Keyword gingerbread cookie recipe, gingerbread cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published November 22, 2010.

75 comments

  1. I’ve been making your gingerbread cookie recipe with a few tweaks of my own for a few years now and everyone loves them. I however just whipped up a batch of dough and put it in the fridge to chill when I suddenly realized i forgot to put in the vanilla extract! Do you think this will make a huge difference? I don’t want to scrap an entire batch but I also don’t want to waste my time rolling, cutting and baking all those cookies for nothing. Help!

    • Hi Sheena, I’m sure it will be fine! Because these cookies have so many other yummy flavors working together, I don’t think the vanilla will be missed. Happy baking!

  2. How long does the dough last for in the refrigerator? Can it be frozen? Thanks! 

    • I chill, roll, cut then freeze my cookies ahead of time. I have had them in the freezer for up to 3 weeks with great results.

  3. I used crude molasses for this recipe and it turned out soo strong and nothing like a gingerbread cookies taste. 🙁 I tried adding more spices but the molasses is tough to beat. 

    • Hi Gizem, I have never heard of crude molasses… so I’m guessing that may be the issue? Are you in the U.S.? You might want to try another brand of more mild molasses. As an alternative, you can substitute a portion of the molasses with honey. Happy baking!

    • I think it’s from the U.K as we get lots of British products here in Cyprus. 🙂 Thank you for replying! 
      I might try putting just a Tablespoon of molasses ( as I can’t find any other brands).
      Happy Holidays <3 

  4. I made these following the recipe to a ‘T’ and the came out way more spicey/molasses-y tastey than true gingerbread. I couldn’t find the delicious recipe I used last year so I tried this and I was disappointed with the flavor except Ithey did come out nice and soft/great texture. I used 5 cups flour. Maybe id use a little less of the cloves/nutmeg and molasses and in the dried ginger by a couple pinches?

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