Soft and chewy Gingerbread Cookies recipe made with a simple gingerbread recipe and decorated however you like! Everyone loves this classic recipe and they taste delicious!

Looking for more holiday treats? Don’t miss our Ginger Molasses Cookies, Caramel Popcorn, or Chocolate Fudge!

A child's hand holding a chewy gingerbread man cookie.

When I was young, we often decorated the “kids” Christmas tree with gingerbread cookies and it made the house smell amazing. This is the BEST recipe for soft, chewy gingerbread cookies.

What I LOVE about them:

  • Soft and Chewy: Gingerbread cookies have a reputation for being hard and crispy, but not this recipe! Follow my baking tips and they will turn out perfectly soft and chewy.
  • Make Ahead or Freeze: You can prepare the chewy gingerbread cookies or dough in advance.  See tips below in the post.
  • Fun to Decorate: Kids of all ages love decorating Christmas gingerbread man cookies so plan it for your next Christmas party! You can make the soft gingerbread cookies and frosting ahead of time so that the kids can just enjoy decorating.
Nine gingerbread cookies decorated with faces and gumdrops, lined up in three rows.

How to make Gingerbread Cookies:

Gingerbread is made with the following simple ingredients: brown sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, butter, milk, and molasses!

Make the Gingerbread: Mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add chunks of butter and incorporate them with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Mix in the molasses and milk until combined.

Six process photos for mixing the gingerbread dough to make gingerbread men cookies.

Refrigerate: Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours or overnight.

Roll the Dough: When ready to bake, roll out the dough to ½ inch thickness, use cookie cutters to cut gingerbread men, and place them on your cookie sheet.  Bake them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once cool, frost and decorate, if desired! You can use any kind of frosting or icing, and candy. It really is the best gingerbread cookies recipe!

Gingerbread men cookies cut and placed on a baking sheet, then baked.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: Make the gingerbread and store it, well covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Roll out and cut into cookies when ready to bake.  You can also bake the cookies and freeze them.

To Freeze: wrap the dough really well in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag. Freeze for 2-3 months. Allow the dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before attempting to roll. Baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

For more holiday magic, try roasting chestnuts!

Homemade gingerbread men laying on a counter, ready to enjoy.

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Homemade gingerbread men laying on a marble counter.
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
refrigerate 2 hours
Total 35 minutes
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For the frosting:

  • 2 Tbs butter , room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk


  • Add flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt to a mixing bowl and mix.
  • Add the butter pieces and use a pastry blender to cut the butter in until the mixture resembles fine meal.
  • With a mixer running on low speed gradually add the molasses and milk and mix until combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Divide the dough in half, forming each into a ball. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, or place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, until firm, if you’re in a hurry.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove one dough sheet from the fridge/freezer and place on the counter. Roll out the dough (use a little flour on your rolling pin if needed), until it’s about ½ inch thick. Cut gingerbread men and place them on prepared baking sheets.
  • Refrigerate the gingerbread men for 5 minutes (meanwhile you can roll out the other dough ball).
  • Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains and imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie cutter). Do not overbake!!
  • Remove the cookies to a wire rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.
  • Store gingerbread cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers. Freeze for up to 3 months.

For the frosting:

  • Add butter, milk, and 1 cup of powdered sugar to a bowl. Mix until smooth. Add additional cup of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add frosting to piping bag if desired.


Make Ahead Instructions: Make the gingerbread cookie dough and store it, well covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Roll out and cut into cookies when ready to bake. You can also bake the cookies and freeze them. 
Freezing Instructions: Wrap dough really well in plastic wrap and freeze in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months. Allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator before attempting to roll. Baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months.


Calories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 143mgPotassium: 190mgFiber: 1gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 210IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg

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I originally shared this recipe December 2018. Updated December 2020 and November 2022.

Process photos by Nikole from The Travel Palate

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Delicious and simple. Fun to make and decorate with my toddler. Didn’t have any issues decorating.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVED these! My adult kids would not stop eating them. I made some 1/4″ thick and then a really large one (8″ cookie cutter) about 1/2″ thick. My kids like the thicker one better than the thinner ones. It was a different way to make cookie dough, but following all the directions made it work. It is most important for the butter to be room temperature! Thanks for all the “notes”. It was helpful!

  3. 1 star
    I tried this recipe about a month ago hoping to make gingerbread men for my family. I hate making bad comments on baking vlogs but these cookies were not good. They were not soft and they were very gumy if thats how you say it. Overall do not recommend.

  4. 4 stars
    The cookies were absolutely delicious! Best gingerbread cookies I have ever had! Yes soft and chewy and the flavor is really great! HOWEVER, I did not like these to decorate 🙁 the dough is on the more crumbly side which makes the cookies crack (as seen on the picture for this recipe, so I should have known better). I like a recipe where the tops of the cookies come out smooth so they’re “pretty” when you decorate. Will still use this recipe for eating with a nice cup of coffee! Again, flavor wise 5/5. To decorate, 3/5. Thank you for the tasty recipe!!

  5. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe. I chilled the dough overnight. This was the easiest gingerbread dough I have ever worked with. Normally, I have issues with the cut outs being so dry, that they fall apart or crack before I get them in the oven. Not this time. The cookies were so moist. I froze them before decorating, and couldn’t believe that they were soft and chewy once thawed. This is definitely a go-to recipe. Thank you!!!

  6. 5 stars
    At first I was not too sure about this recipe, never made cookies that didn’t have eggs. But these are addicting! And probably one of my favorite cookies now. I baked them at 350° for 6 min and removed them from the pan immediately because I prefer really soft cookies, which did make it a little hard to decorate (the heads kept breaking off lol) but seriously, these cookies are so good. Would def recommend this recipe, just play around with the baking time for preference

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