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Gingerbread Cookies

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A big batch of classic Gingerbread Cookies is the epitome of the holiday season. This homemade recipe is easy, rich and decorated with a 3-ingredient royal icing. With traditional gingerbread spices of cinnamon, ginger and clove. Added maple syrup and molasses makes these cookies flavoursome and morish. 

Overhead shot of decorated gingerbread cookies

Homemade Gingerbread Cookies Has Never Been So Simple!

Making your very own gingerbread cookies at home has never looked so simple. This is my favourite and go-to recipe each year. In my humble opinion, these are so much better than the store-bought gingerbread cookies. This recipe doesn’t taste much like those, these are even better. Their flavour is subtle enough to enjoy quite a few in one sitting 😉 yet not overpowering. 

Decorated gingerbread cookies

Add your gingerbread cookies to such things as a Gingerbread Latte, Chocolate Ripple Wreath Cake with Brandy Cream or these Chocolate, Peppermint and Meringue Cupcakes. The white royal icing which you use to decorate, is quick to create using only 3 ingredients. You can of course choose not to decorate your gingerbreads and instead leave them plain, they’re absolutely delicious either way. I’m no pro when it comes to decorating cookies but just have fun with it! Get the kids involved over the holiday season and I’m sure you’ll have loads of fun Christmas themed cookies to enjoy. 

christmas gingerbread

Key Ingredients

Cookies

Plain all purpose flour or Plain all purpose gluten free flour. You can use either of these depending on if these need to be gluten free or not for you 

Ginger as one of the spices to create that classic gingerbread flavour. 

Cinnamon of course!! 

Cloves is the final spice in traditional gingerbread. 

Baking powder to give these a little rise in the oven. 

Unsalted butter as the basis of your cookies and to cream with the sugar. 

Light brown sugar or Coconut sugar which you can use wither for this recipe. Both provide a rich flavour and structure for these cookies.  

Egg to help bind ingredients together. 

Blackstrap molasses as the primary flavour of gingerbread. If you don’t use molasses, are you even making gingerbread? 😉

Maple syrup adds moisture, sweetness and provides another layer of rich flavour. 

Plain white vinegar helps keeps these cookies tender and soft. 

Royal Icing

Icing/confectioners sugar as the foundation to your royal icing. 

Egg white is what helps dry and harden this type of icing. It’s sticky which also helps when piping and decorating. 

Lemon juice as additional moisture and adds a light tangy flavour. 

ginger cookies with royal icing

How To Make These Gingerbread Cookies

Cookies

  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder, mix well and set aside. 
  • Using the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached or a large mixing bowl with a hand beater add the softened cubed butter and beat on low speed for a few seconds to break down the butter, making it creamy. 
  • Add sugar and beat on medium speed until well combined and creamy, approx. 1 minute.  Add egg and beat until light and fluffy. 
process shot combing dry ingredients
creaming the butter and sugar together then adding the egg
  • Pour in molasses, maple syrup and white vinegar. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined, approx. 30 seconds, scraping down the sides when needed.  
adding the wet ingredients to the creamed batter
  • Add half the dry flour mixture, beat until just combined. Add remaining flour and continue beating on low speed until a soft dough begins to form, not a complete dough ball. 
  • Turn off mixer and use your hands to incorporate into a dough disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. NOTE: Dough can also be refrigerated overnight. 
Adding the dry flour mixture to the batter
  • Preheat oven to 190ºC (374ºF). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator. If it’s too hard to roll out, sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. If dough is too soft, return to refrigerator for 30 minute intervals until firm. 
Forming the gingerbread cookie dough
  • Prepare a lightly floured surface/board. Lightly flour your rolling pin. Roll out dough to approx. 3mm-4mm in thickness. Take choice of Christmas cookie cutter and cut out shapes. Place on lined tray. Re-roll excess dough until all used up. Place tray with cookies back into the refrigerator and cool for 15 minutes. See recipe notes for further instruction. 
Cutting out the cookie shapes
  • Remove from fridge and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges of the cookies. Remove and cool on tray for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Cookies on baking sheet ready to go into the oven

Royal Icing

  • Whilst cookies are cooling, make icing. 
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, add icing sugar, egg white and lemon juice. Using a hand beater or whisk, beat together until well combined and smooth. 
Making the royal icing

Decorate

  • Prepare a piping bag fitted with a small round piping nozzle, a size 1 or 2 nozzle will work. Fill bag with icing. 
  • Pipe icing onto cooled cookies and decorate how you desire. You can outline the cookies or outline and flood the middle with icing. NOTE: If you choose to outline and fill, pipe the outline of the cookie first, let it dry and then fill it in with the icing. This will ensure the icing stays in the lines and doesn’t pour over. 
  • Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry. Serve and enjoy!
Finished gingerbread cookies

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • If you would like to make your gingerbread cookies gluten free, use your favourite gluten free plain all purpose flour blend. I’ve loved using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour for these. 
  • If you’re making these cookies on a warm humid day, the dough will soften faster when rolling/cutting out cookies. If so, handle dough with care and once shapes are on the tray, refrigerate cookies for longer than the 15 minutes as indicated in the recipe method. Cool them for 15 minutes – 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. 
  • The royal icing is a fun way to decorate your cookies however, you can also these them plain and they’re just as delicious. 
  • If you’re going to decorate your cookies with this royal icing, be sure to work promptly when piping. Doesn’t have to be fast, just continue on piping as the icing will firm up fast in the piping bag and on the cookies themselves. 
Decorated gingerbread cookies

Looking for more holiday cookie recipes? Here are some favourites:

Soft Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Linzer Cookies

Peppermint Patties

If you make this recipe please be sure to let me know how you go in the comments below and tag me on Instagram with your delicious photos & video! 

Overhead shot of decorated gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Samantha Pickthall
A big batch of classic Gingerbread Cookies is the epitome of the holiday season. This homemade recipe is easy, rich and decorated with a 3-ingredient royal icing. With traditional gingerbread spices of cinnamon, ginger and clove. Added maple syrup and molasses makes these cookies flavoursome and morish.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 118 kcal

Equipment

  • Choice of Christmas cookie cutters
  • Piping bag and small round piping nozzle

Ingredients
 
 

Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups plain all purpose flour or plain all purpose gluten free flour*
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 115 g unsalted butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed or coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature (egg weighing approx. 55g-60g in shell)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp plain white vinegar

Royal Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing/confectioners sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions
 

Cookies

  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder, mix well and set aside.
  • Use the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached or use a large mixing bowl with a hand beater.
  • To the mixer bowl, add softened cubed butter, beat on low speed for a few seconds to break down the butter, making it creamy.
  • Add sugar and beat on medium speed until well combined and creamy, approx. 1 minute.
  • Add egg and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Pour in molasses, maple syrup and white vinegar. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined, approx. 30 seconds, scraping down the sides when needed. 
  • Add half the dry flour mixture, beat until just combined. Add remaining flour and continue beating on low speed until a soft dough begins to form, not a complete dough ball.
  • Turn off mixer and use your hands to incorporate into a dough disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. NOTE: Dough can also be refrigerated overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 190ºC (374ºF). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, set aside.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator. If it’s too hard to roll out, sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. If dough is too soft, return to refrigerator for 30 minute intervals until firm.
  • Prepare a lightly floured surface/board. Lightly flour your rolling pin.
  • Roll out dough to approx. 3mm-4mm in thickness.
  • Take choice of Christmas cookie cutter and cut out shapes. Place on lined tray. Re-roll excess dough until all used up.
  • Place tray with cookies back into the refrigerator and cool for 15 minutes **see recipe notes for further instruction.
  • Remove from fridge and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges of the cookies.
  • Remove and cool on tray for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing

  • Whilst cookies are cooling, make icing.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, add icing sugar, egg white and lemon juice.
  • Using a hand beater or whisk, beat together until well combined and smooth.

Decorate

  • Prepare a piping bag fitted with a small round piping nozzle, a size 1 or 2 nozzle will work.
  • Fill bag with icing.
  • Pipe icing onto cooled cookies and decorate how you desire. You can outline the cookies or outline and flood the middle with icing. NOTE: If you choose to outline and fill, pipe the outline of the cookie first, let it dry and then fill it in with the icing. This will ensure the icing stays in the lines and doesn’t pour over.
  • Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Store in an airtight container, in the pantry or refrigerated, for 1-2 weeks. *I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour. **If you’re making these cookies on a warm humid day, the dough will soften faster when rolling/cutting out cookies. If so, handle dough with care and once shapes are on the tray, refrigerate cookies for longer than the 15 minutes as indicated in the recipe method. Cool them for 15 minutes – 30 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Nutrition

Calories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 34mgPotassium: 73mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 104IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Let us know how it was!

4 Comments

    1. Hi Carlotta! Thank you so much for your kind words :). If you head to the recipe, below the ingredient list and before the method, you will see there is an option for ‘US Customary & Metric’, if you select the ‘metric’ this will convert the ingredient quantities into grams. Hope that helps! x

    1. Hi Menna, I haven’t made this recipe with coconut oil myself but I have in the past replaced butter in recipes with coconut oil. I don’t think you should have an issue with these cookies if you replaced the butter with coconut oil. Just be sure to have your coconut oil at room temperature, soft in texture, not melted and not completely rock hard. I think they will turn out great! Good luck! 🙂

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