Gingerbread Cookies

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These festive gingerbread cookies are easy to make, and they taste as wonderful as they look.

decorated gingerbread cookies on parchment paper.

I love to decorate holiday and Christmas cookies. Once I get started, I can get into the zone for hours, happily wielding colorful icing bags and sparkly candies to create everything from dapper gingerbread men to cut-out sugar cookies in the shape of adorable snowmen. The challenge with iced holiday cookies is that, usually, the prettier they are, the worse they taste—and gingerbread is often the worst offender! But that’s not the case with these adorable gingerbread cookies. Flavored with molasses, ginger, and warm spices, with a crisp-outside and soft-inside texture, they taste as wonderful as they look. If you love the flavor of these cookies, but want a quicker turnaround, these old-fashioned molasses cookies will deliciously scratch that itch.

“Literally flawless… They are amazing. Better than any gingerbread I have ever had.”


What You’ll Need To Make Gingerbread Cookies

gingerbread men ingredients
  • Flour: Forms the base of the dough, providing structure and stability to the cookies.
  • Baking Soda: Helps the cookies rise.
  • Ginger, Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves, Black Pepper: Infuse the cookies with warm, aromatic spices, giving them that classic gingerbread flavor.
  • Butter: Adds richness and flavor to the cookies, ensuring they are tender yet crispy.
  • Granulated and Dark Brown Sugar: Sweeten the dough and contribute to its moisture.
  • Egg: Binds the ingredients together, adding structure and helping the cookies hold their shape.
  • Molasses: Imparts hints of caramel and toffee flavors and adds moisture to the cookies.
  • Royal Icing or Store-bought Icing: Used for decorating, adding festive flair to the
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

To begin, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper in a medium bowl.

Whisk in a bowl of unmixed dry ingredients.

Whisk to combine.

whisked dry ingredients

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer.

butter and sugars in bowl

Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

creaming butter and sugars

Beat in the egg and molasses.

beating in egg and molasses

Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

adding the flour mixture

The dough will be quite sticky.

sticky gingerbread cookie dough

Divide the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to a few days.

discs of gingerbread cookie dough

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Dust more flour over the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick, turning and adding more flour under and over the dough as necessary.

cutting gingerbread men

Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets.

gingerbread men ready to bake

Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until set, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

gingerbread men cooling on rack

Use royal icing or store-bought icing to decorate the cookies.

gingerbread cookies on parchment

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Gingerbread Cookies

These festive gingerbread cookies are easy to make, and they taste as wonderful as they look.

Servings: About 45 cookies
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes, plus at least 1 hour to chill the dough and time to ice the cookies


  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons unsulphured molasses, such as Grandma's Original
  • Royal icing or store-bought icing, for decorating


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Divide the dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour or up to three days.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F ; set two racks near the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (If the dough has been in the fridge for longer than an hour, you'll need to let it sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes and knead it briefly until it is supple enough to roll.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Dust more flour over the dough. Roll, turning and adding more flour under and over the dough as necessary, to about ⅛-inch thick (or for softer cookies, roll to ¼-inch thick). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, using a spatula if necessary. Gather the dough scraps and knead into a ball, then roll out and cut again, adding more flour as necessary. Repeat until scraps are used up.
  6. Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes until set, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. When the cookies are completely cool, decorate with icing. Let the icing set completely, a few hours, then store in an airtight container.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and place them in a sealable bag. When ready to bake, remove the disks from the freezer, thaw the dough until pliable, and then proceed with recipe. To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 cookie without icing
  • Calories: 78
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 73 mg
  • Cholesterol: 12 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • I made these for the first time and the dough was SO DELICIOUS I could literally eat the whole thing raw…but when they baked, they lost all flavor 🙁 My toddlers even felt the same, and they eat EVERYTHING. Then I made another batch and doubled the spices, and they were GREAT! The whole family loves the baked ones now 🙂 We are going to use this recipe for gingerbread houses this weekend!

    • — Rhapsody on December 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I double this recipe?

    • — Meinda on December 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • Literally flawless. I made these and a traditional sugar cookie and my kids 2 and 4 chose these over sugar cookies. They are amazing. Better than any gingerbread I have ever had.

    • — Madison P on December 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Do these have to be rolled and cut out or can you use a scoop? I really loved them, but wonder if they could be made the other way for when I don’t have the time to roll and cut

    • — Kerry on November 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kerry, You could try rolling the dough into balls and pressing flat with the bottom of a glass (flour it or dust with confectioners’ sugar so it doesn’t stick).

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I am in Canada and we don’t have unsulphured molasses here – just Fancy, Cooking and Blackstrap. I have used Fancy in the past for recipes but I’m wondering whether our Cooking molasses might be better? Which one would you use if you had to choose from just these three?

    • — Jill on February 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jill, I’d go with the cooking molasses. Hope you enjoy the cookies!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2023
      • Reply
    • For future reference, use fancy molasses. If you read the back of the container, it says unsulphured molasses.

      • — Tasoula on December 21, 2023
      • Reply
      • Agreed, the fancy molasses is unsulphered. Cooking molasses would be way too overpowering for baked goods. (From Canada and do alot of baking.)

        • — Sherry on December 23, 2023
        • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic! The dough is so easy to work with and it tastes fantastic!

    • — Darlene on December 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hey Jenn so I’m confused. I was hoping to make some of these cookies today only to compare your old-fashioned molasses cookie recipe to this recipe and they seem very very similar. What am I missing? The reason I ask is I wanted to make spice cookies which is something my husband grew up with with his mom but I don’t sadly have her recipe. Needless to say, she was an excellent cook, God rest her soul. So I was looking for something and everything keeps coming up with these molasses cookies. So I thought I’ll look at gingerbread in the meantime and because I love your recipes, I looked up both of these recipes, spice cookies and gingerbread, and got molasses cookies recipe for spice cookies, and like I said the recipes for both look the same. I’m not a big “fancy“ cookie maker at Christmas and this was my first kick at it. So is molasses cookies the same as spice cookies? And am I wrong in saying that the gingerbread recipe seems the same as your Old fashioned molasses cookies recipe? Last but not least, in both recipes you have to chill the dough? Completely unprepared for that, so I’m wondering, is that a necessity for highly recommend it? TIA.

    • — Judy Dempsey on December 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, The flavors are pretty similar but the crispy ginger cookies are more buttery and crisp, and a tiny bit richer.

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2022
      • Reply
  • Love this recipe. I make it every year . However, I don’t put black pepper in. And I substitute 2Tbls molasses with honey.

    • — Jeanne Stamba on December 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    I just made a double batch of these fabulous gingerbread cookies!
    Thank-you for another great recipe!
    Happy Holidays. Robin

    • — Robin on December 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • What temperature do these cook at??

    • Hi Susan, they bake at 350°F/175°C. Hope you enjoy!

  • The recipe says, we can roll them thick or thin. The first round of cookies had both and I asked my guinea pigs which they preferred. Their response was, it was the best gingerbread cookie ever tasted. The thinner men held their shape, the thicker men look like sumo wrestlers.
    Thanks Jen for perfecting another recipe.

  • Just made these. The recipe worked great. The house smells like Christmas. I made Christmas stars. They held their shape nicely and came out firm, lightly crisp and perfectly spiced.

  • The absolute best gingerbread recipe. I make them year after year.
    Love them

  • Hello Jenn, May I ask if this recipe could be used to make a stackable tree of stars? I am not sure if the recipe is crisp enough. Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Sam, I think these are probably sturdy enough to work for that. Please LMK how it turns out!

    • Texture is amazing for this recipe, I think I messed up on measuring the molasses, it’s so thick and difficult to measure in tablespoons. Mine came out really good, it’s just that they have too much molasses flavor and I don’t taste the ginger at all. They taste really good.

    • These sound amazing.

      Would I be able to use this recipe for a gingerbread house?

      Cheers from Vancouver,

      • — Anita on November 20, 2022
      • Reply
      • I don’t recommend it, Anita – they are too soft. Sorry!

        • — Jenn on November 21, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hard to find temperature setting

    • Hi Pam, Sorry you had a hard time finding the temperature setting. The oven should be heated to 350°F/175°C. Hope that helps!

  • I consider myself a seasoned baker and have been baking for 60 years. I started baking gingerbread at the age of 8 and have had a love hate relationship ever since … until Now. Jenn this is the best recipe I ever made or tasted. Usually the dough has been hard to handle being too dry but this just perfect. I love the taste of the extra salt and the ground pepper. I made it at work and everyone said exactly the same. I shared your website with the staff. I just made another batch at home today but have eaten too many lol Thank you so much Barb

  • This dough was very easy to mix up and even easier to roll out and cut out shapes with. I heard on a podcast recently about a baker saying she always doubled the spices in any gingerbread cookie dough recipe she tries and I think I will try that next time. This was ginerbread-y but I wanted it even more intense! I used Jen’s royal icing recipe to decorate these cookies with my nieces and I think some more spice would compete with the icing a little better.

  • I made these at Christmas. Except I made gingerbread lobsters. They were cute! The dough is a good consistency for rolling out and working with.

  • Our family made these cookies for the first time during our quarantined holidays this last year, and they were SO good, I immediately wanted to make another batch. Super moist even a few days in. We used ninja cookie cutters for extra fun.

  • Made these ones yesterday, my first ever Gingerbread cookies!
    Our kids are grown up so a round cookie cutter made the trick and I made them pretty thick, half inch tall… Can’t event tell you how amazingly delicious and soft these came out the oven…
    Love them and love the recipe, so clear and precise!

  • I tried this recipe this past Christmas. It is delicious – but very tender. I normally make a hole in my gingerbread men and thread them to hang up on the tree (then the kids and I eat them all the way through to Christmas – if they last that long!) But this recipe is so tender that the threads just cut through once I hung them up. Oh well, still tasty!

  • These came out so great. Perfectly cooked, moist, and just the right amount of spice. Love these!

    • — Christine Allen
    • Reply
  • I haven’t made this cookie since I was a teen. Love gingerbread and wanted to get back to childhood feelings of warmth and memories this year in particular…
    The recipe was great, easy to follow and most importantly delicious. My home, oh the smell… wonderful!

  • I made these gingerbread cookies in December and they were amazing. I have made many gingerbread cookies over the years and have not found a recipe as good as these. They are crisp which is how I prefer them and have a wonderful ginger taste. My grandkids also agreed that they were delicious. This recipe is a keeper!

  • I made these for Christmas and my kids loved them so much that the oldest asked for gingerbread men for his birthday. I love all of the recipes I have made of yours and can’t wait to try even more.

  • Made gingerbread men for my grandchildren at xmas. Triplets! All three loved them which is unusual to have all agree! I am planning on using same recipe for valentines in heart shape. Also i got your recipe book as a gift and love it!

    • — Corinne Severn
    • Reply
  • This is my absolute favorite cookie to make during the holidays! It always gets rave reviews from my coworkers during our cookie exchange. It’s the perfect gingerbread recipe, and the cookies turn out incredibly soft with just the right amount of ginger and molasses. I usually decorate a handful of these cookies upside down, using icing to create a cute Rudolph with a red M&M nose. Highly recommend! 🙂

    • — Rachel Rudolph
    • Reply
  • Love all of your recipes but especially the baked goods recipes. These gingerbread men were easy to make and had the right balance of chewy and crispy – texture is so important! The flavour was great, too. Spicy yet smooth…everyone loved them!

  • This was a delicious recipe with just the right amount of spice and tenderness, and dough easy to work with. My new favorite!

  • My new go-to! I made this recipe during Christmas this year, and it was a huge hit. My family kept talking about how great these cookies turned out. Soft and spicy and held their basic shape during baking. Will definitely be making again!

  • Muy buena receta !!! Las galletas quedaron exquisitas, lo único que hice distinto fue estirar la masa entre dos trozos de plástico para que no se pegaran y no tener que agregar harina. También la estiré entre dos piezas de madera (sticks)para que tuviesen el mismo grosor. Muy ricas las galletas, RECOMENDADA!

  • Made these gingerbread cookies tonight with my child… They turned out PERFECTLY – slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside (not rock hard like some gingerbread cookie recipes). Make sure you roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness for perfect texture cookies. We had fun decorating them too. 🙂

  • Thanks Jen! Once again, you provided a delicious, easy to follow recipe! I followed your advice to knead the dough after taking it out of the refrigerator and had no issues with cracking or dryness. These rolled out beautifully and kept their crisp cutout shape when baked. Perfect flavor and texture (crisp on edge, soft in the middle).

  • Hi Jenn,
    I have never found a good way to decorate gingerbread cookies. Will you give any tips? Especially the scarves on the gingerbread men! Merry Christmas and thank you for such great recipes all year long!


    • Hi Dot, That’s a great suggestion. I’ll try to do a tutorial in time for the holidays next year. 🙂

  • Is there any substitute for molasses? I can’t find it where I live in Europe. By the way, if you are interested I have a recipe from a Swedish girl friend also for this type of cookie (also with molasses) that I’d be glad to email you if you want. Thank you, Susie

    • Hi Susie, unfortunately, there’s no perfect substitute for molasses. You could use maple syrup or honey instead but the cookies won’t have that traditional gingerbread taste. And sure, I’d love to take a look at the recipe! Feel free to email me with it – thanks! 🙂

  • I made these with my daughter last night and they were fabulous! Ours were soft with a little bit of crunch and very tasty. This is a keeper!

  • My first crack at gingerbread peeps; they are delicious! (As are all the recipes here.) They were a little more spread-y than I expected when baked though… maybe a smidge too much molasses or baking soda? Either way, yum!

    • Maybe you didn’t chill it long enough? I think chilling the dough prevents it from spreading too much

  • Try adding a lemon or orange zest to half the recipe before baking, then compare the results.
    I think you’ll find it interesting.
    I have yet to try this recipe, but I like the ingredients and will use it on my next ginger bake.

  • Hello!
    I’m very excited to try out these cookies! I was just wondering, instead of using molasses, could I use honey?

    • You can, but they won’t have that traditional gingerbread taste.

  • I made this recipe with my small grandchildren and was delighted that it was so easy for them to work with. The gingerbread men came out perfectly and even my grandkids found them delicious. This will be a holiday tradition!

  • Best Gingerbread cookie ever! I have been making them with my grandchildren for several years now. They love decorating them at Christmas, but eat many of them before decorating! They even asked for them at Halloween this year, we decorated as skeletons and vampires! Love the memories we are making with your yummy cookies!

    • — Belinda Hunter
    • Reply
  • I read all the reviews and just baked tons of cookies. Great recipe!! I also just recently became allergic to wheat/gluten BUT I made 2nd batch with Cup4Cup Gluten Free flour. This batch also came out great for all of you who wondered about gluten free. This flour has been successful for anything I bake.

    • Thank you for sharing Diane. My daughter is celiac and so I was wondering if I could make this gluten free. I hope I can get Cup4Cup in Canada!

      • — Jennifer Patzer
      • Reply
      • Hi Jennifer, I haven’t made a GF version of these but another reader commented that she did and was happy with the results. Hope you enjoy!

    • Diane-I totally agree about the Cup4Cup. I have been using it for several years. Five of my grandchildren have celiac. It is the best and I’ve tried several. And of course recipes from Once Upon A Chef are the best too!

  • I’m from Brasil and traditionally we don’t make this kind of cookie here. But boy what a loss for us. This is the best gingerbread cookie EVER. My wife asked me if i could make it and, lucky me, i bumped into this treasure yesterday 12/14/2020. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I will put it in my “recipe safe box” and guard it forever. Perhaps will even cook it every year as our newest Christmas tradition. Thank you again!

  • I will never use another gingerbread recipe. Your gingerbread cookies are melt-in-your-mouth good. No longer the filler cookie, now a star in its own right. My husband was even sneaking them, and he didn’t used to eat gingerbread cookies! Thanks, Jenn!

  • Hi Jenn,
    I would like to make these (they look delicious!), but I don’t have molasses… Any ideas for a substitute?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Grace, I would advise getting the molasses for this recipe, as it’s what gives the cookies their distinctive flavor.

  • These cookies are divine ! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • I chose to make this recipe because it had lots of spice and even black pepper. They were excellent! I will make them again and I might even add a bit more black pepper just for fun. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Wonderful recipe (as usual)!!!! Really delicious with a chewy center and cripy sides.

  • Hello from Greece
    This year I will try your recipe but let me know please if molasses controls the colour of cookies..
    For Ex if I put less it’s gonna be less brown?

    • Hi Tania, Yes, the molasses does make the cookies brown.

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