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Gingerbread Cookies

If you think of Gingerbread Cookies when you think of the holidays, then this is the recipe for you! These traditional cookies are flavored with plenty of ginger, a hint of orange, and are delightful when decorated with your favorite icing.

White platter piled high with cutout gingerbread cookies

I’m one of those moms that packs cute lunches for my girl. Whether it’s ghost shaped sandwiches and cucumbers cut out to look like tiny spiders during Halloween, or adorable little Christmas tree shaped pepperoni and cheese pieces served with gingerbread cookies for a sweet treat – I am that mom and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Now that Elle is a bit older, I am super excited about getting her into the kitchen during winter break to create some new holiday baking traditions and of course, pass down some from my childhood.

First on our list are homemade gingerbread cookies. They’re not only adorable, but also perfectly festive and so fun to make with kids.

Of course we’ll also be whipping up some of our other family favorites like peanut butter blossoms, snowball cookies, rum balls and Christmas cracker toffee.

Ingredients for gingerbread cookies arranged on a blue countertop

THE BEST GINGERBREAD CUTOUT RECIPE

I don’t know about you, but there are a few flavors that just scream Christmas to me.

Peppermint is always a classic (Peppermint Oreo Balls are a must), cranberry is a surprising favorite (you’ve gotta try these Cranberry Gooey Butter Bars), and then there’s gingerbread.

I don’t know what it is about the combo of ginger and molasses that makes the holidays complete for me, but it’s not really Christmas until I’ve had a batch of gingerbread.

Whisk combining the dry ingredients for gingerbread cookies in a glass mixing bowl

In the past I’ve shared Gingerbread Cake, and have even made soft and chewy Frosted Ginger Cookies and Crispy Ginger Cookies, but I realized that I have never shared a classic gingerbread cookie recipe until now! 

If you’re looking to make some classic gingerbread cutout cookies, this is the recipe for you. 

I made sure to add plenty of ginger, along with a bit of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, and tossed in a bit of orange zest for extra flavor.

These cookies hold their shape well after baking and are adorable decorated however you like.

Gingerbread cookie wet ingredients combined in a white mixing bowl

WHICH MOLASSES SHOULD YOU USE?

If you aren’t familiar with baking with molasses, don’t get intimidated at the store.

You’ll want to get regular unsulfured molasses for these Gingerbread Cookies. Sometimes it’ll be called “original” or “light” on the bottle, but you can also grab “full flavor.”

Just make sure you do NOT use blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is bitter and will not be good in this recipe.

Dough for gingerbread cookies in a white mixing bowl

HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Start by getting your ingredients measured out and ready to go:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gingerbread cookie dough rolled out on a marble slab and cut into shapes

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set these dry ingredients aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, orange zest, molasses, and dark brown sugar until the mixture has lightened in color and is well combined. 

Add in the egg and the vanilla and mix until well combined.

Cutout gingerbread man shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet

Slowly add in the dry ingredients while mixing on low speed. Mix until the dough just comes together and no pockets of dry ingredients remain. You don’t want to overmix the dough or it could become tough!

Wrap the dough in plastic and form it into a disk, then refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.l

After the dough has chilled, you get to do the fun part: Cut out the cookies! 

Gingerbread man cutouts cooling on a wire rack

On a floured surface, roll out half the dough at a time to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters and place them on lined baking sheets about ½-inch apart. The cookies will puff slightly but won’t spread, so you can place them pretty close together.

Bake the Gingerbread Cookies for 9-11 minutes or until they are slightly puffed and the tops of the cookies are dry to the touch. Let them cool on the baking sheets for 1-2 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Gingerbread cookies on a blue countertop next to a platter of cookies

ICING FOR GINGERBREAD COOKIES

If you aren’t the most artistic person in the world, don’t worry. There are lots of different, fun ways you can decorate your Gingerbread Cookies!

You can use a buttercream frosting and the method I used for my Snowflake Sugar Cookies to make pretty gingerbread snowflakes that look impressive but are super easy to do.

For an icing that will harden but isn’t as finicky as royal icing, try using sugar cookie icing to decorate your cutouts. 

If cookie decorating really is your thing, you can always go for the gold and use royal icing

And when in doubt, melt some white chocolate and use it to do an artistic drizzle over your cookies. Add some festive colored sugar and no one will think twice about how pretty they look.

Cutout and iced gingerbread man cookie propped up against a mug of hot chocolate

STORAGE AND FREEZING TIPS

If you’re planning a big party, don’t stress yourself out by making all of your Gingerbread Cookies the day before.

A great thing about these cookies is that they will store well in airtight containers for a few days.

But if you want to make them even earlier, make as many batches of cutouts as you like ahead of time and pop them into the freezer. Store them in airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags and freeze them for up to a month.

When you’re ready to decorate your cookies, simply let them come to room temperature and decorate as you like! No one will guess that you baked them weeks in advance.

Stack of gingerbread man cutout cookies next to a gift tag
White platter piled high with cutout gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen 3-inch cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

If you think of Gingerbread Cookies when you think of the holidays, then this is the recipe for you! These traditional cookies are flavored with plenty of ginger, a hint of orange, and are delightful when decorated with your favorite icing.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, orange zest, molasses, and brown sugar on medium speed until lightened in color and well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined, scraping down the the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Slowly add in the flour mixture while mixing on low speed. Mix until just combined. 
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, form into a disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out half the dough at a time to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart (cookies will puff slightly but will not spread).
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly puffed and the tops of the cookies are dry to the touch. Let cool on baking sheets for 1-2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Decorate as desired with powdered sugar, royal icing, sugar cookie icing, or buttercream.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 24 Serving Size 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving Calories 131Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 18mgSodium 82mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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Lucinda

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

These cookies are fantastic! I confess to adding a little over a tsp of dark rum to the recipe so they are perhaps slightly inebriated ginger men...but if anything it accentuates the brown sugar and molasses and spices.

Jamie

Monday 17th of January 2022

So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for stopping back and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

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