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Gingerbread Cookies |

Gingerbread Cookies

  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Classic gingerbread cookies with royal icing are soft and chewy in the centre but crisp on the edges. Add these festive cookies to your holiday baking list. 


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted buttersoftened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the royal icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, all spice, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another large mixing bowl with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs, molasses, and vanilla, and beat until just combined. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. The dough should easily form into a ball. If it is too dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon of water.
  3. Divide the dough in half, and form each into a ball. Gently flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disc and wrap tightly with plastic cling wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 half sheet baking pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  5. Take one dough disc out of the refrigerator at a time, and place on a lightly floured surface (If the dough was chilled overnight, let it sit on the kitchen counter for about 15-20 minutes to soften up before rolling). Lightly flour a rolling pin, and roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Use a 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter and/or other Christmas cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheet. You will have to use two sheet pans or do this in batches. Refrigerate the dough or cut out cookies if you are not working with them or are waiting for them to go into the oven. 
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are crisp on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then, transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Make the Royal Icing:

  1. Whisking together confectioners' sugar and meringue powder. Add vanilla extract and water and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. If the icing is too thin, add some more sugar. If it is too thick, add more water, a teaspoon at a time.
  2. Transfer the icing into a piping bag with a fine round tip (Wilton #2 round tip) and pipe the icing onto the cookies.
  3. If storing these cookies, allow the icing to set and harden before stacking the cookies on top of each other, at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. This will prevent the icing from smudging before it's set.


How to store: Store the cookies (with or without icing) in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature. If decorated, allow the royal icing to set and harden before stacking the cookies on top of each other, at least 3 hours, preferably overnight (or store in a single layer until they are set). This will prevent the icing from smudging before it's set.

How to freeze: Gingerbread cookies freeze beautifully. Store in an airtight container or in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to freeze cookie dough: Freeze unbaked and tightly wrapped cooke dough discs for up to 3 months. To bake, allow them to that in the refrigerator overnight before using.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes (+3 hours chill time)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gingerbread men cookies, gingerbread cookies, how to make gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men, gingerbread