Homemade Gingerbread Cookies are perfect for decorating and better than store bought variety. These Gingerbread Cookies are soft with slightly crispy edges and a delicious ginger molasses flavor. Perfect for Christmas!
easy gingerbread cookies
Every Christmas there’s a few quintessential recipes that I always make; soft Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Fudge and Gingerbread Men. No matter how busy I get with holiday preparations, I always squeeze in the time for these 3 recipes. They’re my favorite – and Santa loves them too!
Oh yeah, and now I have my Christmas Cookies recipe that you should try!
So today we’re making gingerbread men. These cookies are perfect for decorating and way softer than the store bought variety.
ingredients for gingerbread cookies
Here are the gingerbread cookie ingredients we used to make these soft cookies:
- ground ginger
- ground cloves
- baking soda
- brown sugar
- un-sulphured molasses
How To Make Gingerbread Cookies
DRY INGREDIENTS. To get started we first whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking soda and salt. The spice combo gives the perfect warm and cozy flavor for Christmas.
WET INGREDIENTS. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars – followed by the egg, molasses and vanilla extract. You’ll then add brown sugar to give the cookies a delicious caramel undertone, and molasses for a perfect gingerbread flavor.
NOTE: In these gingerbread men cookies, make sure you don’t use blackstrap molasses. It has too strong of a flavor and can make your cookies taste bitter. I recommend using un-sulphured molasses for the best flavor.
COMBINE & CHILL. Carefully mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Divide the dough into 2 balls, wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Chilling is absolutely mandatory because otherwise it’ll be too sticky to roll out and cut into shapes.
BAKE. After it’s done chilling, it’s time to bake. Work with one ball of dough at a time, roll each out on a well floured surface and cut into shapes.
The number of cookies you can make will depend on the size of your cookie cutters – I’ve made anywhere from 30-40 cookies.
Decorating Your Gingerbread Cookies
For the gingerbread cookie icing – I’ve included a recipe for royal icing and for a buttercream frosting. Royal icing works better for detailed decorations, but the confectioner’s (buttercream) icing has a creamier flavor.
Lots of years I end up buying frosting tubes and using those instead when I’m in a pinch for time. Plus – it’s less messy. For the photos I made royal icing and used gel food coloring.
There are also several candies that work well in decorating your gingerbread cookies:
- red hots
- M&Ms (and mini M&Ms)
- candy eyes
how to store gingerbread cookies?
It’s very common to make these little guys AHEAD OF TIME to use for a party or get together. Just cover or place in an air-tight jar and keep in cool, dry place for up to 3 days before using.
If you want to FREEZE them, we recommend doing it before decorating them. Just place in a freezer-safe bag and if done in layers be sure to separate with parchment paper and freeze for up to 1 month in advance. Let thaw overnight on the counter before decorating. You can also freeze the dough and then let it thaw to bake.
These gingerbread men cookies are soft with crispy edges and a delicious flavor thanks to molasses, brown sugar, warm spices and vanilla. They’re one of my favorite Christmas cookies, and I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do!
for More Great Holiday Recipes, try:
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour , plus more for rolling out the cookies
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger , or use 2 tsp for a stronger flavor
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsulphered molasses , spray the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray first to avoid sticking
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar , sifted
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp clear corn syrup
- food coloring
- 2 cups powdered sugar , sifted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 - 2 tbsp milk or cream
- food coloring
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Then beat in the egg, vanilla and molasses.
- Carefully beat in the flour mixture until it's all incorporated.
- Divide the dough in 2, form each half into a round disc, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Work with one ball of dough at a time. If the dough was in the fridge over night, you may need to let it warm up for 10-15 minutes first.
- On a well floured countertop using a well floured rolling pin, roll out one disc of the dough until it's about ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes and place 1-2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until the tops are set. (This will depend on the size of your cookie cutters and the thickness of the dough).
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk. Mix in a little more milk or powdered sugar as necessary.
- Divide into small bowls and mix with food coloring.
- Decorate the cookies using piping bags, or a knife. I like to use disposable piping bags and a 4M tip.
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, then beat in the milk or cream. Add in a little extra powdered sugar or milk/cream as necessary.
- Divide the icing into small bowls and mix with food coloring.
- Frost the cookies using piping bags or a knife.