Our best gingerbread cookie recipe! These festive treats are soft and warmly spiced, with a rich molasses flavor. Perfect for spreading holiday cheer!
What could be more festive than gingerbread cookies?! With Christmas just a few weeks away, I’m ready to turn up the holiday cheer around here, and making this gingerbread cookie recipe seems like a great place to start. For one, it makes the house smell amazing, filling it with the comforting aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. It’s also a blast to make–rolling out the dough, cutting out gingerbread people, baking them, and decorating them once they cool.
But more important than all of that, these gingerbread cookies are delicious! They’re soft, warmly spiced, and richly flavored with molasses and brown sugar. To me, they’re the perfect holiday treat, especially with a mug of hot chocolate to drink. I hope you love them too.
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this gingerbread cookie recipe:
- All-purpose flour – Spoon and level it to avoid packing too much into your measuring cup.
- Unsalted butter – Allow it to come to room temperature before you start to bake.
- Brown sugar and molasses – They sweeten the cookies and add rich molasses flavor. We’ve had success baking these cookies with Wholesome and Brer Rabbit blackstrap molasses.
- An egg yolk – It makes the cookies extra-soft and chewy.
- Baking soda – It helps the cookies rise.
- Ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves – They give these gingerbread cookies their signature spice.
- Vanilla extract – For warm depth of flavor.
- Almond milk – For moisture. Any other milk, such as cow’s milk or oat milk, would work here too.
- And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients (is your butter at room temperature?), this gingerbread cookie recipe is simple to make:
First, make the dough. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the molasses, egg yolk, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients–the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing after each addition. Finally, mix in the almond milk.
Then, chill the dough. Divide it into two equal disks, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. Chilling the dough allows it to firm up, making it easier to roll out.
Next, roll out the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll out the first disk on a lightly floured surface until it’s 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes (I always do gingerbread men and snowflakes!). Re-roll and cut out the dough scraps as necessary. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.
Finally, bake the cookies. Arrange the cut-outs on parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake in a 350°F oven until the edges are just set but the middles are still soft. I like to bake one sheet at time on the center oven rack so that the cookies bake evenly. Let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Decorate, or enjoy as they are!
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe Tips
- Don’t skimp on the chilling time. I’m usually all for not chilling cookie dough (you get to eat the cookies faster that way!), but in this recipe, it’s 100% necessary. The dough is soft and sticky when you first mix it together. Chilling it for at least 2 hours gives it a chance to firm up so that you can easily roll it out. The cut-outs also hold their shape better when baked.
- The timing will depend on your cookie cutters. Differently sized and shaped cookies bake at different rates! For a perfect soft texture, I typically bake a 3-inch gingerbread man for 8 minutes. If you have smaller cut-outs, you’ll likely need to bake your cookies less. If you have larger cut-outs, you might need to go a bit longer.
- Decorating is half the fun. As delicious as these soft gingerbread cookies are plain, they’re even tastier (and more festive!) with icing on top. For detailed lines and patterns like the ones in these pictures, use the royal icing recipe from this post. For a simpler glaze, stir together 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons almond milk, adding more milk as needed to reach your desired consistency. Sprinkles, gumdrops, and other candies are fun decorations too!
- Try not to eat them all right away. These gingerbread cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, and I actually like them best on day 2 or 3! They become even softer and chewier, and their spiced flavor deepens. These cookies also freeze well. Stored in a freezer bag or container, they keep for up to 3 months. They thaw perfectly at room temperature.
More Favorite Christmas Cookies
If you love these gingerbread cookies, try one of these festive cookie recipes next:
- Chewy Molasses Cookies
- Thumbprint Cookies
- Mexican Wedding Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Easy Sugar Cookies
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Or any of these 17 Easy Cookie Recipes!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup unsulphured blackstrap molasses, we like the Wholesome brand
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon almond milk, or any milk
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the molasses, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix again.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing after each addition. Mix in the almond milk.
- Form the dough into a ball, divide the ball in half, and flatten each half into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until about ¼-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes, then transfer the cut-outs to the prepared baking sheets, re-rolling the dough scraps as necessary.
- Bake, one sheet at a time, for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just set but the middles are still soft. The cookies might seem underdone, but taking them out at this point will ensure that they stay soft once they cool. I typically use a 3-inch cookie cutter and bake my cookies for 8 minutes. The exact timing will depend on your oven, the size of your cookie cutters, and how soft or crunchy you like your gingerbread cookies.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.