Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies for a Traditional Holiday Treat

Gingerbread cookies are a staple during the holiday season. Our gingerbread cookie recipe is quick and easy to make, but has show-stopping potential so you’ll be sure to impress your friends and family this year.

25 min. Prep
10 min. Cook
35 min. Total
20 Servings




baking soda

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, seasonings, salt, and baking soda) together in a bowl with a fork or whisk. Set this bowl aside.



Soften your butter by microwaving it for 20-30 seconds or let it sit out for about 20 minutes.


brown sugar

Mix your softened butter with the brown sugar until it is well combined. You can use an electric mixer to cut down on time.



Gently add your other wet ingredients (vanilla, molasses, and egg) until all are whipped in the bowl.


baking soda

Grab your dry ingredients and slowly add these to the wet mixture in three batches, so that the flour is evenly combined and you do not make a mess. Combine your dough into a soft ball. It is best to refrigerate or even freeze your cookie dough before baking if you can prepare it a day in advance.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.


cookie dough

Flour a clean and flat surface in your house. Roll out your dough with a rolling pin until it is large enough to use a cookie cutter and cut out about 20 cookies. The dough should be about a ½ thick for this.


Place your cookies on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or greased well. Bake them in the oven for 8-10 minutes until slightly brown and stiff. Let them completely cool before decorating with icing or toppings.

ALSO READ: Apple Pie Cookies

What’s the History Behind Gingerbread Cookies?


Gingerbread comes from German roots and actually, the oldest recipe known to the modern world was from the 16th century. This exact recipe is kept in a museum in Germany, marking their national pride in the recipe. Gingerbread cookies then spread across the world over time and are known as a slightly spicy treat that can be made sweeter with various toppings.

In fact, Queen Elizabeth was known to enjoy gingerbread and formed them into the shape of men that we most commonly see. The cookies do not necessarily have to be in the shape of a man in order to be true to the gingerbread recipe, but gingerbread men are extremely popular to this day.

Why is gingerbread a symbol of Christmas?

Even though gingerbread cookies are a perfect treat for any winter holiday, it is most commonly associated with Christmas. Originally, the recipe started out as what is known as “pepper cake” before it evolved into gingerbread cookies. This cake was commonly served at festive celebrations and could be found at Christmas markets in Germany and England. Other theories involve old nursery rhymes and fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel, which introduced the concept of gingerbread houses. These quickly became a Christmas tradition that many families still participate in.

Gingerbread Cookies: Flavor Combinations

Gingerbread cookies have such a distinct flavor that comes from the molasses, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. These flavors made gingerbread cookies part of the “spice” family that you would also see in a spiced cake or spiced apple recipe. They have a crunchy texture as opposed to a soft, chewy one. You can always make gingerbread cookies softer by using more butter and molasses, but that would diverge from the traditional holiday recipe shown above.

Ginger and molasses are very potent flavors. Not everyone enjoys this strong, bitter, and spicy taste they provide. If you prefer a milder gingerbread cookie, you can certainly cut back on the spice quantities. I wouldn’t recommend cutting out the molasses because that is mainly there for texture and flavor. However, you could add a bit less ginger and replace with cinnamon to end up with a slightly sweeter cookie.

Gingerbread Cookies: Topping and Serving Suggestions


Gingerbread cookies can be served in many ways. One of the most popular is with decorator’s or vanilla icing. This adds a little sweetness to the spice cookie and looks fun as it is often used to decorate gingerbread men with clothing. For a simple decorator’s icing recipe, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.

Other toppings that pair well with this gingerbread cookie recipe include raisins, dried fruit, sprinkles, chocolate, and candy. While it might not seem like raisins or chocolate would go well with gingerbread cookies, you’d be surprised how they pair together in terms of sweetness.

We suggest serving our holiday gingerbread cookies with some milk or even eggnog to get you into a festive mood. Since they are a crispy cookie, it is extra fun to dip them in milk to soften some of the texture. Be sure to share with friends and family, so that everyone can reignite those warm childhood memories.