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Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

This classic Gingerbread Cookies Recipe is a must-make for the holidays. Decorated with colorful sprinkles and delicious icing, they’re like edible art ready to share with family and friends.


Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

I suppose, it doesn’t get more classic than gingerbread men and sugar cookies at the holidays. Rightly so, I have fond memories of baking holiday cookies as a girl and love sharing those same holiday projects with my own family. Now that they’re grown, I can still tell they love this lifelong tradition and that means the world to me.


How to Make Homemade Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make Gingerbread Cookies: All purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove or allspice, salt, baking soda, large egg, molasses (not blackstrap) butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and orange citrus zest.
  • For the Royal Icing you’ll need: Powdered sugar, meringue powder, clean vanilla extract plus sprinkles and decorations for the gingerbread men, trees, stars, angels etc.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A stand mixer or a hand mixer, mixing bowls, a whisk to sift the dry ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, cookie cutters, sheep pans for baking plus decorating supplies.
  • What’s the texture like of these gingerbread cookies? In the instance of these cookies, softened butter is better to use instead of melted butter. Creaming the butter together with sugar lends a soft and slightly, chewy fluffy texture to the gingerbread cookies. Melted butter will result in a more dense crunchy cookie.
  • Why soften the butter? If you forget to set the butter out to soften, you can utilize  the soften feature on your microwave. Likewise, you could cube the butter to maximize the surface area to speed up the process on the counter. I would caution you from using the cook feature on the microwave, or it could melt unevenly resulting in partially softened and partially melted butter.
  • What molasses is the best for making gingerbread? The type of molasses you use for the cookie dough can make a difference. Grandma’s brand unsulphured molasses is what’s used in this recipe. Please note, different brands of molasses can vary in color once combined with the remaining ingredients.
  • What spices are in gingerbread cookies? These cookies contain ground cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg. You can change the amount of spices, if that’s your preference. If you loathe the flavor of  cloves, you could omit them or replace them with the same amount of allspice.

More Pro Tips and How to Store Gingerbread Cookies

  • Do I have to chill the dough? Don’t skip the chill time. Even if the dough seems rollable after combining, the fats need time to firm so the gingerbread cookies will keep their shape while baking.
  • You can make the dough up to 2 days in advance and form into a disc like you would pie crust, then wrap in plastic wrap to chill. Allow a few minutes on the counter to soften just a tad so it will be easier to roll.
  • How do you store gingerbread cookies? You can store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
  • After decorating, place into an airtight container in a single layer to prevent smudging the decorations. If you choose to stack, place wax paper between layers.
  • The most traditional way to make gingerbread cookies is to decorate them with royal icing. If you prefer less fuss, they can be frosted completely with icing, instead of piping designs, and sprinkled with edible glitter or seasonal sprinkles.

More Southern Christmas Cookie Recipes to Make

All Christmas cookies don’t have to be frosted and decorated. Some come ready to eat straight out of the oven. A few others you may like to add to your baking plans:


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Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Chill time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gingerbread-cookie-recipe, gingerbread-cookies
Servings: 25 cookies (may vary)
Calories: 205kcal


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses (unsulphured)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Royal Icing:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp meringue powder
  • 1 tsp clear vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4-6 Tbsp water
  • sprinkles, edible glitter, red hots, candy for decorating


  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, and molasses until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla beating until fully combined. Add zest, mixing until evenly distributed.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl use a whisk to sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, clove, salt and nutmeg. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients just until the dough comes together. (Don't overmix)
  • Divide dough in half and create two flattened discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours preferably 4 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place one disc of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll to around until 1/4-1/3" thick rectangle. Cut into 3 inch wide cookies using a gingerbread cookie cutter, Christmas trees, stars, candy canes. Transfer to baking sheets. Keep second disc chilled until ready to repeat the process.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly puffed, adjusting the time depending on the size of the cookies.
  • Cool on pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make royal icing: Combine powdered sugar and meringue powder in a medium bowl adding 3 tablespoons of water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Turn to medium high speed beating until white and fluff. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Likewise, if you need to thicken, add additional powdered sugar. Divide icing into 3 or 4 portions, and tint each with white, red or green gel food coloring. Decorate cookies as desired with icing, sprinkles and candy. Let dry.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not stack.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 183IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. 5 stars
    I just baked these today with my daughter. They are delicious and will be part of our holiday baking every year, now. Thanks Melissa!

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