Gingerbread Men

Tested & Perfected Recipes

gingerbread men

Before I started this blog, I baked and decorated special occasion desserts for a living so it’s no surprise that I love to decorate holiday 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 ornate snowflakes. But while it’s easy to make lovely-looking holiday cookies, it’s a challenge to make them taste good too. Usually, the prettier a cookie is, the worse it tastes. And gingerbread cookies are the worst offenders — more often than not, they taste like cardboard. But that’s not the case with these adorable gingerbread men (and gals). Crisp outside and soft inside, they taste as good as they look.

ingredients

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

dry-ingredients

Whisk to combine.

dry-ingredients-1

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

butter-and-sugar

Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

creaming-butter-and-sugars

Beat in the egg and molasses.

mixing-in-egg-and-molasses

Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

adding-flour

The dough will be quite sticky.

sticky-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-dough

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place 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 1/8-inch thick.

cutting-gingerbread-men

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

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.

cooling-gingerbread-men

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

decorating

Let the icing set, then enjoy!

gingerbread-men-1

 

My Recipe Videos

Gingerbread Men

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

Ingredients

  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • Royal icing or store-bought icing, for decorating

Instructions

  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 1/8-inch thick (or for softer cookies, roll to 1/4-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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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, Edamam.com. 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • My family has a tradition of baking gingerbread cookies every year. This year we tried your recipe and it is amazing!! No more Betty Crocker for this crew! Its the only gingerbread recipe I’ve tried that actually tastes GREAT! Can’t wait to bake them again next year.

    I did find that the refrigerated dough was a little sticky, even with added flour. I didn’t want to over-flour, so I decided to try rolling a few sheets between parchment paper to the ~1/8 to 1/4 thickness, and then stuck them in the freezer until I was ready to cut them out. The frozen dough was much easier to work than the refrigerated dough!

    • — Jennifer A Monson on December 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • I love the look of this recipe and cant wait to try it! Quick question, how long will they keep and can the dough be frozen? Thanks Nikki

    • — NIKKI QUINN on September 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Nikki, The cookies will keep nicely for 3 – 4 days and both the dough and the baked cookies can be frozen. For freezing the dough, shape it 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 them 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.

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2018
      • Reply
  • Does the size of the gingerbread men determine length of baking time? My cutters are large – 51/2” x 4 1/2”.

    • — Doreen on December 26, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Doreen, They may take a minute or so longer at that size but I’d still start checking at the suggested baking time. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2017
      • Reply
  • WOW.

    I thought I didn’t like gingerbread cookies…
    until this.

    My family loves them, baking, decorating and eating, so I have made it every year for as long as I can remember. Only I didn’t use to eat them.

    This recipe is so easy and the dough comes together beautifully and it is just the right consistency for cookie cutting. I ice them with royal icing and decorations and it is still not overly sweet.

    Amazing. Grateful!

  • I followed the instructions exactly. The cookies came out flat and some looked like a big blob and not a ginger bread man shape. The whole batch was a waste. I will try a different recipe this time.

    • So sorry you had trouble! These cookies always hold their shape for me.

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2017
      • Reply
  • What temperature do you bake them?

    • — Molly on December 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Molly, these get baked at 350°F. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2017
      • Reply
  • Best gingerbread men we ever made! Delicious! Eaten before we could get them decorated. Thank you for sharing your recipe. It’s a keeper.

    • — Dorothy on December 11, 2017
    • Reply
  • How do I adjust this recipe to accommodate high altitude locale?

    • — K. Hughes on December 10, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi K, I don’t have any experience baking at high altitudes, but these tips may help. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2017
      • Reply
  • problem… what temperature do
    i cook the gingerbread men,
    i have an airfryer, a convection oven a microwave and a fanforced oven

    • Hi Wendy, I would bake these at 350 degrees in an oven on the regular (not convection/fan) setting. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2017
      • Reply
  • Oven temperature? Failed to mention for Gingerbread cookies.

    • — Gloria M. on December 9, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Gloria, the cookies should be baked at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2017
      • Reply
  • Will this recipe work in the 24 cavity silicone gingerbread mold? I’m not sure what to make there.

    • — Nancy Price on December 9, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Nancy, I don’t think that would work here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2017
      • Reply
  • Made these last night with my girls while we decorated our tree. These were so easy to put together! The dough was great to work with! Had a great time decorating with the girls! We will have to make them again soon. The cookies were DELICIOUS!

    • — C Dean on December 4, 2017
    • Reply
  • Made these last weekend with the grandkids. Did add a couple of my own twists to the recipe. Doubled amount of spices and added a few grates of fresh nutmeg. Also, substituted half the butter with lard. I know this sounds odd, but the lard adds a “sparkle in your mouth” when you bite into the cookie and the flavor does not change.

    • — David English on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • Could this dough be used for a gingerbread house?

    • — Lucie Loiselle on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
    • Sure – Yes but roll the dough on the thicker side (about 1/4-inch) and bake a bit longer (until the cookies are completely firm).

      • — Jenn on November 30, 2017
      • Reply
  • Can you freeze the cookie dough? How would you go about thawing it?

    • — D on February 4, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi D, Yes, it can be frozen. I’d divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls, and then flatten them into disks (like pie crust). Before taking, thaw the dough until pliable and then proceed with recipe.

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2017
      • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! Just finished making and decorating with my friend’s 8 year old. Made and chilled the dough last night and it was easy to work with and delicious! Thanks

    • — Kathy on December 23, 2016
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this recipe! Instead of cookies, I would like to bake the batter in a square tin. Do you have an idea of how long the cooking time should be if the oven is at 350? [or should I experiment?]

    • — Samantha on December 22, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Samantha, It’s hard to say since I’m not sure how large the tin is, but I’d start checking around 15-20 minutes. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2016
      • Reply
  • Hi – what will the black pepper add to the cookie? Will I taste it? Thanks for your reply.

    • — Jennifer on December 22, 2016
    • Reply
    • You won’t taste it at all, Jennifer — it just adds a delightful little kick. Feel free to leave it out or reduce it if you’re nervous about it but I always use black pepper in ginger cookie recipes.

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2016
      • Reply
  • I don’t remember the last time I baked, but decided to make these cookies with my daughter. Excitedly we bought all the ingredients and cookie cutters and followed your recipe. Cookies came out perfect and delicious! Not too spicy or over powering, soft and perfect with tea. Thank you!

    • — Anna Sanab on December 22, 2016
    • Reply
    • So glad, Anna!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2016
      • Reply
  • Tried them out this weekend and came out just as described. Soft on the inside but a nice crisp edge. However, my baking time was extremely short, about half the time that was specified. What might be the reason for this because they were completely cooked?

    • — Kayley on December 18, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Kayley, Could you have rolled them very thin? Or could your oven be running hot?

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2016
      • Reply
  • Made these little guys this weekend with my children, they were a hit. Exactly as you described, crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle.

    • — Nicole on December 11, 2016
    • Reply
  • Thank you for the recipe. you didn’t mention what oven temperature they need to be baked at. I asssume 350?!

    • — Dina on December 11, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Dina, Yes, 350°F (it’s about halfway through the recipe since the oven doesn’t get preheated in the beginning). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2016
      • Reply
  • Can you use this recipe to make a ginger bread house?

    • — Jeanette on December 8, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeanette, Yes but definitely roll the dough on the thicker side (about 1/4-inch) and bake longer until the cookies are completely firm.

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2016
      • Reply
  • Can you just drop scoops of the dough and make round cookies rather than cutouts? I find it rather cumbersome to do

    • — Priya on December 8, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Priya, If you’d like to make drop cookies, I’d reduce the flour to 2-1/3 cup, and roll them in sugar (preferably turbinado or raw sugar) before baking.

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2016
      • Reply
  • I can’t WAIT to make these! I’m still searching for that perfect gingerbread wo/man – as you said, crispy but chewy.

    I just saw Dorie Greenspan speak, and she recommended rolling out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, and THEN chilling b/c it’s so much easier to roll when it’s warm… I’m going to try it. THANKS!

    • — Sally on December 8, 2016
    • Reply
  • Is this suitable for a gingerbread house? Or is it too tender to be sturdy. I would be using one of the gingerbread house cutter sets.

    • — Liz on December 8, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, I don’t think I’d use it for a gingerbread house as is. However, if you roll it a little thicker (about 1/4-inch) and cook it longer (until firm), it should work.

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2016
      • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.