Soft and chewy Gingerbread Cookies 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, homemade turtles, and chocolate truffles!

Two small hands holding up a Gingerbread cookie with more cookies on a white board in the background.

When I was young, we often decorated the “kids” Christmas tree with gingerbread cookies.  We had so much fun making and frosting the cookies into little gingerbread men and I remember that the gingerbread baking made the house smell amazing.  This year I had so much fun decorating these gingerbread cookies with my kids.  Each of them got to decorate a gingerbread man with frosting and candy and you can bet they enjoyed eating them afterwards!

What I LOVE about these Gingerbread Cookies:

  • 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 gingerbread dough or cookies in advance.  See tips below in the post.
  • Fun to decorate: If you are looking for a preschool of kindergarten activity, decorating Christmas gingerbread man cookies would be a huge hit!  You can make the cookies and frosting ahead of time so that the kids can just enjoy decorating.

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 ice, and candies.

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: form the dough into a ball (step 4 of the recipe) and wrap it really well in plastic wrap.  Place it in a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer 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!

Gingerbread cookies decorated as gingerbread men with white frosting and colored gumdrops.

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Recipe

Gingerbread cookies decorated as gingerbread men with white frosting and colored gumdrops.
Prep 25 mins
Cook 10 mins
refrigerate 2 hrs
Total 35 mins
Add to Meal Plan

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.
    Flour and gingerbread spices in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter pieces and use a pastry blender to cut the butter in until the mixture resembles fine meal.
    Butter being cut into flour in a mixing bowl.
  • 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.
    Two balls of gingerbread dough wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • 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.
    Dough for gingerbread men on a baking sheet.
  • 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!!
    Baked gingerbread men cookies on a wire cooling rack.
  • 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 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: form the dough into a ball (step 4 of the recipe) and wrap it really well in plastic wrap.  Place it in a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer 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.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 139mgPotassium: 186mgSugar: 14gVitamin A: 175IUCalcium: 36mgIron: 1.3mg

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I originally shared this recipe December 2018. Updated December 2020.

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
    The recipe was easy to follow and the dough was easy to work with. My 2&4 year olds were able to roll the dough with ease. We baked the cookies for 9.5 minutes. They had a slight crunch on the outside with the perfect tender softness throughout. The portions were perfect, as some recipes make several dozen. We did not frost them as they were so good right out of the oven. I imagine they’d be even better. This recipe converted me to a gingerbread cookie lover!

  2. 5 stars
    I scoured for a good gingerbread cookie recipe and decided on this one. We love it! It wasn’t until I was making my sugar cookie batch that I realized that THIS recipe doesn’t contain egg. I’m not a connoisseur of gingerbread cookies but a quick scan of some other recipes told me it’s pretty common to include egg. Is there a reason no egg is included?

  3. 5 stars
    These are the best gingerbread cookies I’ve ever eaten. I love gingerbread and the soft and chewy texture was on spot. The decorating was more fun knowing they tasted great too. I was skeptical of no eggs and was pleasantly surprised the dough was so easy to work with.

  4. 5 stars
    These are so delicious! I thought my two toddlers wouldn’t approve because of the distinct flavors of both molasses and ginger, but I was wrong! I could hardly get a chance to frost these cute gingerbread men. I did notice that the thinner cookies were crunchy and the thicker cookies were chewy. So if looking for a chewier cookie, do not roll dough out too thin. Yum!

  5. 5 stars
    I made these with my 12 year old this weekend and they were absolutely delicious and soft, as promised! Will be a recipe we come back to year after year.

  6. Will try this one. Last gingerbread cookie recipe I tried was disappointing. This one sounds better. Do you have a recipe for butter cream frosting to go with? Something with little to no icing sugar.

  7. I made these exactly as written and they are delicious, soft and chewy- they way they should be! Also I was reading the comments and I always struggle with making royal icing (too sweet) but I used butter cream icing as you suggested and added some peppermint extract to the icing to keep the Christmas flavours and it was a delicious combo! Thanks for sharing!

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