Gingerbread Cookies


Gingerbread Cookies | Cooking Classy

“Not my gumdrop buttons!” Whenever I think of gingerbread men of course that line from Gingy (on Shrek) always comes to mind. Gingerbread cookies are such a Christmas classic and it’s about time I finally got around to sharing a recipe! I’ve always loved gingerbread cookies but I’m not so much of a fan of the cracker-like ones so I made these to be a slightly softer cookie (just be sure not to over-bake them). If you do prefer a crispier cookie just roll the dough a bit thinner than listed and even bake a little longer if needed.

These cookies were so fun to decorate, every holiday season you need to decorate at least one batch of cookies right? My kids got my first test batch to decorate and I gave them tons of sprinkles to decorate and they were in Heaven! It’s always one of my favorite crafty things to do with my kids – I mean duh, a craft that you can eat? It’s a no brainer. If you’d prefer not to make royal icing you could also use a buttercream icing or you could even use a store-bought icing (but keep in mind you won’t be able to stack them). This icing really is easy to make though, the key is just in getting the right consistency so be careful no to add too much or too little water and let it whip up for a fair amount of time until it has a nice sheen to it. Keep in mind it does make a lot of icing so you you are only doing the gingerbread men you would probably only need 1/2 to 2/3 of the recipe listed because they don’t need as much icing as the snowflakes or Christmas trees. Another fun idea is to turn the gingerbread men upside down and they become shapes for reindeer.

I made these cookies to be a little more mild on the molasses flavor so they’ll still be kid friendly (you can even cut back the ginger to 2 tsp for a slightly less spiced version for kids). These are so good and they are indeed a cookie that both young and old alike will love. I loved that the dough was easy to work with and doesn’t need a long time to chill. And of course I also love the scent in the kitchen when I was making them – real gingerbread scent is dreamy.

I hope these make it to your holiday cookie tray! The are such a delicious tradition and we all need a good, reliable Gingy recipe!

Gingerbread Cookies | Cooking ClassyGingerbread Cookies | Cooking ClassyGingerbread Cookies | Cooking ClassyGingerbread Cookies | Cooking ClassyGingerbread Cookies | Cooking Classy

For the reindeer version simply cut dough into circles using a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter then bake as direction. Then melt white chocolate and dark chocolate in small bowls separately (or chocolate chips or almond bark candy coating) then pour into piping bags fitted with tiny round tips (#1 – #3 will work) then pipe the white circles first as well as a tiny one for the nose (to stick the candy on) then pipe the darker portion of the eye (before the white sets) with the dark chocolate, and pipe the antlers with the dark chocolate as well. Then stick on either a red Sixlet or a mini red M&M for the nose. You shouldn’t need much chocolate, I used 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and had some left. Also I like to add 1 1/2 tsp shortening in with the chocolate for a better consistency. I used the candy coating for the white. You can rewarm the bags of chocolate under hot water as needed to  soften the chocolate as you are decorating. I posted a quick how-to video on Instagram here. The reindeer were inspired by Moje Wypieki.

Gingerbread Cookies | Cooking Classy

Gingerbread Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Gingerbread Cookies


  • 3 cups (425g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (165g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 10 Tbsp (142g) butter, softened about halfway (it should still hold it's shape pretty well and be cool)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (172g) molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp milk
  • Icing
  • 3 (420g) cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (15g) meringue powder
  • 4 - 6 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  • For the cookies:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar and butter until well combined, occasionally stopping and scraping down bowl. Mix egg yolk and vanilla. Mix in molasses and 1 Tbsp milk. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined, while adding additional milk as needed just to bring dough together. Divide dough into two equal portions then roll each portion out evenly to 1/4-inch thickness (into more of a oblong or rectangular shape so it will fit on a cookie sheet) between two sheets of parchment paper. Chill on a cookie sheet in freezer 10 minutes or until firm then cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Remove from paper using a thin metal spatula or pastry scraper if needed then transfer to a cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 1-inch apart, and bake in preheated oven 8 minutes or until slightly set (they should leave a slight indentation when touched). Repeat process with remaining cookies. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool pipe icing over cookies to decorate and add sprinkles if desired. Let icing set at room temperature and store in an airtight container (note that these cookies are even better and softer the second day).
  • For the icing:
  • Add powdered sugar and meringue powder to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit mixer with paddle attachment, add in 4 Tbsp water and the vanilla them mix on low speed until combined. Add more water to thin as needed and increase speed and whip mixture until it is glossy and thickens up. Tint with food coloring if desired. Transfer to piping bags fitted with tiny round tips.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy



  • Bella B: Yummy I love ginger bread its the best type of cookie!!
    November 28, 2015 at 10:43pm Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: These are the most beautiful cookies! You really took your time decorating them. Mine would not look that good. November 29, 2015 at 6:23am Reply

  • Lynn: I like having a thicker cookie. Can’t wait to try
    your ginger bread cookie. We made your sugar
    cookies for Thanksgiving, but they never made it to the holiday. We loved them. Thank you for the recipes. Lynn November 29, 2015 at 7:50am Reply

  • Medeja: I love everything gingerbread! And these cookies look very cute and festive! November 29, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

  • Kara D: These are adorable. Where did you find the button candy? November 29, 2015 at 1:28pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: They have them at Michaels, target and Walmart. They’re Wilton sprinkles. November 29, 2015 at 5:10pm Reply

  • Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness: These cookies are so cute!! I need to try making gingerbread cookies this year! November 29, 2015 at 5:59pm Reply

  • Shari Kelley: These are so cute and I don’t have a gingerbread cookie recipe so thank you very much! I like that you went easy on the molasses and made them soft. Such a fun idea to use holly leaves for their ties around the necks, too! November 29, 2015 at 7:07pm Reply

  • Chels: These are so so cute!!! Adorable decorated! November 29, 2015 at 10:06pm Reply

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction: I love your adorable gingerbread men, Jaclyn! I made gingerbread men this year too and I’m sharing them on my blog tomorrow. I need to make different shapes like yours– I love the Christmas trees! November 30, 2015 at 5:45am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Sally! I just saw your gingerbread men and they are adorable! December 1, 2015 at 11:11am Reply

  • Danielle: These cookies are adorable. I hope this is not a silly question, but what cookie cutters did you use? November 30, 2015 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Mine came in two packs with a candy cane and gingerbread man and then two others were a two pack of christmas trees – I found them at walmart but you can find the same shape at places like michaels and target. Oh and the snowflake was from michaels. Not a silly question by the way :). November 30, 2015 at 8:10pm Reply

  • Becky: Darling cookies! Are the yellow stars Wilton as well? December 1, 2015 at 9:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes the stars are Wilton sprinkles. December 1, 2015 at 5:32pm Reply

  • dee: A few questions, please?
    1) What did you do to make the cookies softer? Just roll them thicker and not cook too long?
    2) What will happen to the cookie if I add a little more molasses (I have people who like the flavor)?
    3) Does the icing stay soft and never harden? Is that why the cookies cannot be stacked…because the icing will smoosh?

    Your food photography is some of the best on the food websites. Really fine cooking and photos, Jaclyn. Kudos. December 4, 2015 at 3:20am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thank you so much for the compliment Dee!! To answer your questions:
      Yes for softer cookies I rolled them thicker and didn’t bake very long. Also keep in mind they should be even softer the second day (at least mine were).
      A few more tablespoons of molasses (2 – 3) should be just fine. The cookies may spread just a little more though. And you may not need the milk if adding more.
      The icing does harden so these cookies should be okay to stack – you may want to put wax or parchment paper between them though just so the bottoms of the cookies don’t stick to the icing on the others. December 7, 2015 at 12:23pm Reply

      • Bre: Do they need to go in the freezer just that one time? Because you will have to continue to bundle the dough and reflatten. December 14, 2016 at 8:36pm Reply

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci): These are the most perfect gingerbread, too cute! December 4, 2015 at 6:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura :)! December 7, 2015 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Gretchen: Can these cookies be frozen? Before or after frosting? December 7, 2015 at 11:47am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d freeze them before frosting. November 24, 2016 at 7:10pm Reply

  • selin: oh. my. god. these are seriously the softest gingerbread cookies ever!! first time i really wouldn’t change a thing about them! new favorite recipe i cannot wait to frost them ohhhhhwowowow December 8, 2015 at 8:24am Reply

  • Katie: can I ask why no blackstrap molass? I have some and wonder why you said not to use it. Thanks! Can’t wait to try these! December 15, 2015 at 10:12am Reply

  • Meg: I made these and couldn’t get them onto the baking sheet, even after freezing them. They were stuck to the parchment I rolled them on. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I got a bunch of blobs. No actual gingerbread men shapes. Any suggestions? December 21, 2015 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Carousel: You have to use spatula to scrap it off the parchment paper November 1, 2016 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Sarah: I’m having the same issue with the cutouts sticking to the parchment paper. Did I miss the part where we sprinkle flour on the dough before rolling it out between the parchment sheets? December 23, 2015 at 8:20am Reply

  • Joyce: Tried this recipe this year, and it was a hit! So soft and very tasty. I did modify the prep slightly. I refrigerated the dough for a day before rolling it out, and after cutting the cookies, put them straight to the oven. This worked out beautifully. I did use a lightly floured surface to roll out, but swept off any flour on the top before baking. Thanks for a recipe I will use again and again! January 9, 2016 at 11:30am Reply

  • Laurie: I tried this gingerbread recipe for Christmas and everyone LOVED them! It is the best gingerbread I’ve ever had because the cookies were so flavorful with a good punch of ginger. I rolled the dough quite thick and they turned out perfectly. This recipe is great for cutouts because it doesn’t spread. Thanks so much I will be making this one for years to come. XOXO January 13, 2016 at 7:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this recipe Laurie! Thanks for your review! January 13, 2016 at 9:40pm Reply

      • Veronica: Can I use golden brown sugar or does it have to be dark brown? November 30, 2016 at 11:56am Reply

  • Debbie Ness: Can not wait try the ginger bread cookle November 16, 2016 at 10:04pm Reply

  • Gina: Hi Jaclyn, is there any reason why you only use the egg yolk and not the whole egg? November 21, 2016 at 4:04am Reply

  • Allison N: Should I put flour on the cookie cutters or cookie sheet? I do that with my regular Christmas cookie but I’m not quite sure about gingerbread cookie! Love these by the way! Just made them :) November 21, 2016 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: If you wanted to add some flour when rolling them out on parchment that would be fine and it also would be fine with the cookie cutters. I’m so glad you loved them! November 24, 2016 at 7:14pm Reply

  • Emma: Is the dough supposed to be sticky? November 26, 2016 at 1:53am Reply

  • Erynn: Do you think I could make now In shapes and then freeze and bake right before Christmas? I made some already and they were so delicious they are all gone lol!! November 27, 2016 at 10:14am Reply

  • Mali Chiyoko: Mine turned out a really dark brown brownie color? November 29, 2016 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Mali Chiyoko: I just looked at the molases ingredients and it says blackstrap, but it’s not on the front of the bottle. I actually love this flavor November 29, 2016 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Candy: This recipe is perfect. The cookies were chewy and soft with very good flavor. I’m not a big fan of cloves so I used 1/2 of what it called for. So very good! December 5, 2016 at 5:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Candy! December 7, 2016 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Jeni Fister: Mine also turned out way to sticky. I just kept adding flour to get them the right consistency. Perhaps because of the flour they didn’t have a strong flavor, more of a dark sugar cookie, they taste good. Next year I’ll make a different recipe. December 9, 2016 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Dalalina: Hi there.. wish u a great Holiday a head
    I just need to know where to get those frames to do the shapping like recepi?
    Thanks A lot, December 10, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Jennifer Caggiano: These look so beautiful and delicious! I can’t wait to try your recipe. I had a quick question though; is there a substitute for molasses? Can I use syrup? December 10, 2016 at 1:29pm Reply

  • Chloe: How long would the ginger bread cookies last for as I am giving them as Christmas presents. Thanks December 11, 2016 at 12:12am Reply

  • Freda Sultana: Hi Jaclyn, just wondering what i need to do to make a double batch, thankyou. December 11, 2016 at 8:28pm Reply

  • Laura: Cookies tasted amazing but the dough was SO sticky. I couldn’t get them off the parchment paper and the shapes were ruined. Had to chill the dough in the fridge for hours. December 12, 2016 at 10:52am Reply

  • April: I would like to try making these cookies. This will be the first time I have ever made gingerbread cookies. I do not have and electric stand mixer. Can I use a hand held mixer for this recipe? Your cookies look amazing! December 12, 2016 at 11:31am Reply

  • Caity: I made the dough yesterday evening, exactly as directed and the dough was perfect! I refrigerated overnight and brought them in for my class to roll, cut out and decorate. They all had a great time working with the dough which wasn’t sticky or crumbly and they all said the cookies were delicious (so definitely a kid-approved recipe!!). I will definitely be using this recipe again! December 12, 2016 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Caity! December 13, 2016 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Lousinda: Instead of using meringue powder can I use cream of tartar for the icing? December 14, 2016 at 7:57pm Reply

  • Tosha: How long can these be stored? We made them Wednesday (they’re delicious!) and we’re hoping to use them at a party on Tuesday, so 6 days. Will they still taste okay? Cookies never last that long in our house! Haha. December 16, 2016 at 10:45am Reply

  • Holly: I made and froze the gingerbread cookies. They came out perfect! How far ahead can I decorate for Christmas Day? Thank you!! December 18, 2016 at 12:58pm Reply

  • Cherie: CAn you clarify the amount of molasses? The recipe stated 1/2 cup but in ( ) it stated 172g. A half cup doesn’t weigh that much. Thank you! December 19, 2016 at 8:42am Reply

  • Laura: These are amazing! My first attempt ever at making gingerbread cookies, and they were great – wonderful flavor and soft texture. I needed to do this in phases because I have little kids, so we made the dough yesterday afternoon and refrigerated it overnight. Perfection! December 23, 2016 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad they were enjoyed Laura! December 23, 2016 at 2:31pm Reply

  • Lisa: Yummy. I ultimately turned my dough out on parchment paper & covered in plastic to let chill in the fridge. Turned out great! Thanks for sharing! December 25, 2016 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you loved them Lisa! December 30, 2016 at 4:27pm Reply

  • Karen: Hi there,

    I’m excited to try this recipe. Your cookies are adorable.

    I saw this question posted a few times but no answer. Why not blackstrap molasses? That’s what I have at home so was hoping to use that. February 10, 2017 at 10:32pm Reply

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