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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Recipe

Homemade gingerbread men laying on a marble counter.
Prep 25 mins
Cook 10 mins
refrigerate 2 hrs
Total 35 mins
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar , packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons butter , room temperature, cut into 12 pieces
  • 3/4 cup molasses (dark molasses)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

For the frosting:

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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.
 

Nutrition

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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Lauren, if I could leave 10 stars, I would! I made these gingerbread men with my grandson during our stay with them. They came out so beautifully & delicious and were gone by the end of the next day! We used your recipe for the decorating, my Grandson is autistic, and he did it so neatly! Thank you for making this recipe so easy to make!

  2. Has anyone tried with a gluten-free flour? I use the King Arthur brand that contains xanthan gum and it works fine with other recipes 1:1. Recommendations?

  3. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe!

    The only line of this recipe that raised my eyebrow was the part about rolling the dough 1/2” thick. That seemed excessive to me, so I rolled it down to about 1/4” like I have done with other recipes, and the cookies turned out great.

    Is the 1/2” thickness legit? Has anyone tried that and had success at that thickness?

  4. I made this recipe for Christmas, gave some to a friend and she ordered 2 more dozen. They are the absolute best! Am about to make another batch. Thank You!

  5. 1 star
    It is too wet. I rolled out on pan and baked with no cut out. Dough was in fridge overnight. You have to be able to work it very fast.

    1. 5 stars
      Has anyone tried making a gingerbread house with this recipe, or would it be best to stick to a hard gingerbread recipe for that?

    1. I’m sorry Amanda, but but it sounds like something definitely went wrong in the preparation. The dough should not be wet at all. Were you able to watch the video of me walking through the recipe step by step?

        1. You should see it on either device…Click the “jump to video” button on the top of the post, and it will take you there. On mobile the video will show at the top of your phone as you scroll down.

  6. 5 stars
    This is the best recipe ever! My 5 year old twins and I made these today in the shapes of sea creatures. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside and wonderfully perfectly chewy on the inside. Thank you for posting your recipe!

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