This will be your go-to classic Christmas cookie! Gingerbread Cookies that are crispy on the outside, a soft middle, perfectly spiced with the best flavor from molasses and brown sugar. We included a hack for using store-bought frosting to decorate them with! Your kids are gonna love ’em!
If you’re looking to start the tradition of decorating gingerbread cookies, you’re going to love this super simple and chewy gingerbread cookies recipe. This easy recipe makes perfectly soft gingerbread cookies that are far better than anything you could buy at the store.
Those gingerbread kits? Yeah, they’re really just for decoration because I don’t think I’ve ever had one that tastes good.
Your kids will love to decorate their own gingerbread men! Decorating cookies is a Christmas tradition for a reason and these are the perfect cookie for that. It’s just so much fun to watch kids decorate cookies and see how excited they get. We love to make fun treats like these cookies and Christmas brownie pops every year. The more fun the dessert, the better!
Why You’ll Love this Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
- Gingerbread cookies and cookie dough store well, so this is a great make ahead recipe. Make the cookies and store unfrosted until you are ready to decorate, or make the dough and include your kids in the baking process later!
- These are the best gingerbread cookies and one recipe makes 32 cookies. Perfect for parties or classroom use.
- Decorating the cookies will include activities that help refine fine motor skills.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Cookies
- Flour – Use all purpose flour as the base that will provide structure to these chewy gingerbread cookies.
- Ground ginger – You can have gingerbread cookies without the ground ginger tossed in the mix!
- Ground cinnamon – Pair some ground cinnamon with the ginger to add a slightly sweet and very warming spice into these cookies.
- Molasses – Molasses helps to keep these classic cookies soft and chewy!
- Vanilla extract – A little vanilla extract will add depth of flavor to the cookies.
- Baking powder – Baking powder is a rising agent that helps keep cookies from becoming dense.
- Baking soda – Using two rising agents helps make the cookies very light and chewy. Since there is a lot of ingredients in this dough, it could be easy for the cookie to become dense.
- Butter – Unsalted butter helps create structure in these cookies and helps to combine the dry and wet ingredients together. Butter is key in having chewy cookies!
- Large egg – For best results, let the egg come to room temperature before adding it to the cookie dough.
- Brown sugar – The rich flavor of brown sugar sweetens these spiced cookies so well.
- White frosting – Grab a can of your favorite white frosting from the grocery store to use for decorating the cookies!
- Mini M&Ms – Mini M&Ms are the easiest decoration to use on gingerbread man cookies!
- Kosher salt – A little dash of salt helps to balance out the sweetness of these cookies.
- Sugar – Use both brown sugar and white sugar to sweeten the cookies.
- Powdered sugar – When you add powdered sugar to store-bought white frosting it will thicken it up so that it’s easier to decorate with.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Stand mixer and electric hand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Gingerbread man cookie cutter
- Piping bag
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper
How to Make this Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
- Mix together all purpose flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt in a medium bowl with electric mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Once combined, set flour mixture aside.
- Then, cream together butter, light brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, egg, and pure vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in.
- Mix the dough together until just combined and has a sand-like appearance. Then use your hands to form the gingerbread dough into a giant ball.
- Wrap the gingerbread dough ball in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
- Once chilled, remove the dough ball from the fridge. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Then prepare a clean, flat, work surface by dusting it lightly with flour.
- Unwrap the dough and divide it in half. Then use a rolling pin to carefully roll it out the gingerbread cookie dough to about a ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
- Use a gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter to cut the dough, collect dough scraps, roll into a ball, roll out and repeat this process until you have used all of your dough.
- Bake gingerbread man cookies for 8-11 minutes, until edges are set. Then carefully remove the cookies from the oven and place baked cookies on a wire rack to cool.
- While the cookies cool, prep the frosting! Mix a tub of white frosting and one cup of powdered sugar together with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Once combined, spoon the frosting into a piping bag and snip the tip off.
- Frost fully cooled gingerbread cookies, then add some M&M buttons!
- Serve and enjoy the holiday season!
How to Store Leftover Gingerbread Men Cookies
Gingerbread cookies store best when kept in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers to keep the decorations from sticking. Store the cookies at room temperature for up to a week.
FREEZER: You can freeze leftover cookies for up to 3 months if you store them in an airtight container. Or, you could freeze the cookie dough! Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Decoration Ideas for Gingerbread Men
The best thing about decorating these easy gingerbread cookies is watching kids imaginations come up with the cutest decor. I just used icing and M&Ms, but there are so many things you could use! Here are a few decoration ideas for gingerbread cookies:
- red hots
- colored icing
- licorice strings
- crushed peppermint candies
- food coloring pen
What other shapes of gingerbread cookies can I make?
While a gingerbread man is the classic cookie shape, this recipe is great for other shapes. You can make ornaments, snowflakes, Christmas tree, stockings and so much more. Just use your favorite cookie cutters!
A simple square shape or circle can make fun and festive cookies too. Make sure to cut the gingerbread into evenly sized shapes so that they all bake at the same time.
Can I use Royal Icing?
Yes! If you’d like to get fancy by making homemade royal icing feel free to use that instead of store bought frosting.
- Make sure you do not roll the dough out too thin or your cookies will bake very crisp and could break easily.
- If you are decorating with multiple people, split the icing into 3 or 4 piping bags so that no one is waiting on icing to decorate!
- Though the cookie may not seem done after 8-11 minutes in the oven, they are. Let the cookies cool and they will set completely, be careful not to overbake.
Gingerbread men cookies are a Christmas tradition that will put a smile on anyones face. Bake this simple recipe and make the most fun memories togethter!
More Christmas Recipes You’ll Love
- Grinch Cookies are a fun treat to make for themed parties or Grinch movie night!
- Make Brownie Mix Reindeer Cookies if you need a super easy recipe that turns out adorably cute.
- A lump of coal may seem like a bad thing, but Lump of Coal Cookies sure aren’t!
- Grinch Rice Krispie Treats are so festive, super tasty, and so much fun to make.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- M&M mini’s red and green
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 16-ounce tub store-bought white frosting
- In a medium mixing bowl, place flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and Kosher salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together unsalted butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, molasses, egg, and pure vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the contents of the dry ingredient bowl to the wet mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will appear sandy. Use your hands to form a ball. Wrap the dough ball tightly with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results.
- Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a flat surface with a light dusting of flour.
- Unwrap the dough and divide it in half. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to ¼ inch thick. Use your cookie cutter to make the gingerbread man shapes. Repeat until all of your dough is gone. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place into oven and bake cookies for 8 – 11 minutes or until the edges are set and crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating (about 10 minutes).
- While the cookies are cooling, white frosting and powdered sugar using a hand or stand mixer.
- Once the cookies have thoroughly cooled, place the white frosting mixture in a piping bag and cut a small hole in the tip. Give your gingerbread man some eyes, a smile, and some buttons.