Gingerbread Cookies

3.80 from 5 votes

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This Gingerbread Cookie recipe is a lightly spicy and buttery cookie that isn’t too bitter, isn’t too sweet and is soft all the way through. Perfection. Decorate these cuties with Royal Icing or plain buttercream frosting and you’ll be all set for Santa!

pile of frosted gingerbread cookie shapes

Gingerbread Cookies are typically nobody’s favorite Christmas cookie. Candy Cane Cookies, yes! Sugar Cookies, give me more! Gingerdoodles, absolutely! But plain gingerbread cookies? Hard pass.

When I set out to test this recipe at the beginning of December, it was my goal to create a lightly spicy and buttery gingerbread cookie that wasn’t too bitter, wasn’t too sweet and was soft all the way through. Well, this is exactly the kind of cookie I created and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you today. These Gingerbread Cookies ACTUALLY TASTE GOOD!!

What’s the difference between sulfured and unsulfured molasses?

Sulfured molasses is made from immature green sugarcane that is treated with sulfur fumes during the sugar extracting process. Unsulfured molasses is made from the pure, unsulfured juice of sun-ripened sugarcane. For this recipe, you’ll want unsulfured molasses.

frosted gingerbread candy cane shaped cookie

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

For full recipe details, including ingredients needed, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what you can expect when making these cookies:

Cream Butter + Brown Sugar Together

Cream the butter and brown sugar together until well mixed.

Add in Egg, Vanilla + Molasses

Stir in the egg, vanilla, and molasses. Might look a little funky at first but keep stirring! And don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Add in Dry Ingredients

Incorporate all the dry ingredients in until *just* combined. Again, don’t forget to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl.

Refrigerate Dough

Form dough into large disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.

If you are short on time, or just impatient, like me…see my note below about fast freezing the cut out cookies.

Roll dough out to be 1/3 of an inch thick and use cookie cutters to get the desired shapes you’d like.

uncooked gingerbread dough cut with cookie cutter shapes

Bake for 7-8 minutes at 350° F until lightly puffed without the edges getting dark. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.

Decorate Your Gingerbread Cookies!

Decorate with royal icing or anything else you desire. 

It’s a little time consuming for sure, but man oh man do they end up being super tasty!

Storing + Make Ahead Directions

Store Gingerbread Cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days. There is no need to refrigerate baked gingerbread cookies.

Freezing Directions – If you want to make and store the dough, you can do that! Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place into an airtight ziploc bag. Dough will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, allow dough to thaw out overnight, roll dough out, cut with cookie cutters and bake as usual.

Usually for any kind of cut-out cookie, if you want them to retain their shape, chilling time is definitely recommended.

If you are in a rush or just impatient (that’s me!) there is a way to do this! After your gingerbread dough is made, immediately roll it out. It will be soft, but as long as you’re careful, it should be fine. Cut out your shapes, place them on their baking sheets and freeze for 3-4 minutes. After that, transfer to the hot oven and bake.

The fast freeze helps the cookies retain their sharper edges instead of getting a rounder, puffier looking cookie.

How thick should I roll out the Gingerbread Cookies?

I suggest rolling your cookie dough out to be about 1/3 inch thick. I find this is a happy medium between cookies that are too thin that will crisp (and burn) easily and cookies that are so thick that they won’t bake entirely.

How do I ensure my cookies stay soft?

Well, I added extra butter and brown sugar to the dough to help with softness, but it really comes down to the baking process. I bake my cookies for about 8 minutes until the cookies look slightly puffed but are not yet crunchy. Then once they have cooled completely, store them in an airtight plastic container or Ziploc bag with a plain piece of bread. That should keep them soft until you’re ready to eat or decorate.

What if I want crunchy Gingerbread cookies?

Easy fix! Just bake them an extra 2-3 minutes longer! The longer you bake them, the crunchier they get. But be careful: too much time in the oven results in dark, bitter-tasting cookies.

coffee in a cup with decorated gingerbread cookies on a plate

Can I use this recipe to make a homemade gingerbread house?

Absolutely! You’ll just have to bake the pieces until crispy to ensure your house is sturdy. Once it’s built, you don’t want it crumbling, so be sure to bake those pieces well.

What can I use to decorate my Gingerbread Cookies?

The classic gingerbread cookie icing is royal icing. It hardens quickly and is simple to make. It’s sweet but not very flavorful. For a more delicious option, try plain buttercream. Also, you can use gel food coloring and disposable icing bags to really get those creative juices flowing. Regardless of how they look, just know they will taste delicious!


More Christmas Cookies to Try:

christmas cookie recipes

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have fun decorating these perfect gingerbread cookies! Have a fabulous day, friends! 🙂

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3.80 from 5 votes

Gingerbread Cookies

A lightly spicy and buttery Gingerbread Cookie that isn't too bitter, isn't too sweet and is soft all the way through. Perfection.
servings 24
Prep Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 28 minutes



  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, vanilla and molasses. Scrape the sides and mix again until mixture is uniform.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk remaining dry ingredients together. Slowly incorporate to the butter sugar mixture and stir on low until just combined. Scrape the sides, especially the bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure an even dough.
  • Form dough into large disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll chilled dough out onto floured board to be 1/3rd of an inch thick. Cut different shapes using cookie cutters and place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  • Bake 7-8 minutes or until lightly puffed without the edges getting dark. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.
  • Decorate with royal icing or anything else you desire. Store in air tight containers for up to four days.


Serving: 3g | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Cookies, gingerbread, spicy gingerbread cookies
3.80 from 5 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating

12 Responses
  1. Cassie

    Question – I like spicy ginger cookies. Would increasing spices affect your recipe? If not, any recommendations on how much to increase? Thanks!

  2. Steve Nordquist

    2 stars
    Revenge of the baking powder! They taste like I forgot sugar (nope) and the spices and vanilla have nearly disappeared. Impossible to roll out it was so wet and loamy, but I guess that’s what I get for not refrigerating it 2-60 hours first.

  3. Lori Cadmus

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren-
    I made this Gingerbread Recipe for Christmas this year. Oh my goodness! It is the best ever!! I cut tall triangles and piped green frosting on to make adorable trees. Looked adorable and tasted incredible!

  4. Melissa Whittaker

    5 stars
    Tried out this gingerbread recipe the other day and it works perfectly! I love the amount of spice and the overall texture of the cookies. Thanks!

    1. Lauren

      Yes, 2-3 days is fine! Just wrap it well and give it 20 minutes at room temperature before trying to roll out. It can get pretty hard with all that butter in there!

    1. Lauren

      No, my recipe is a little wonky. Should be about 150 calories per undecorated cookie. Obviously this can vary significantly, based on how large the cookies you are cutting out.