This Classic Gingerbread Cookies recipe is filled with a sweet molasses flavor and topped with a delicious homemade icing. They are easy to make and are perfect for cookie exchanges or gift giving this holiday season. We may earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this post. Read our disclosure policy here.
Growing up, we always loved helping mom decorate Christmas cookies. Doing crafts and baking sweets have always been a holiday tradition. These classic gingerbread cookies were so fun to make, decorate, and even more fun to eat. If you like these delicious Christmas treats, don’t forget to check out my M&M Christmas Cookie Bars, Oreo Dipped Christmas Cookies, or my Old Fashioned Snowball Cookies.
Let’s Take A Quick Look At The Ingredients
For this recipe, you will need ingredients for both the cookies and the deliciously sweet homemade vanilla icing.
• Molasses- You should find molasses in the baking aisle or near the maple syrup.
• Dark Brown sugar
• Butter-unsalted and softened
• All-Purpose Flour-Do not scoop the flour with a measuring cup. Use a spoon to scoop it into the measuring cup.
• Baking soda
• Ground Cinnamon
• Ground Cloves
• Ground Ginger
• Sea salt
• Eggs- Only the egg whites
• Confectioners sugar-powdered sugar
• Almond extract
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
Get the kids involved when you make these delicious gingerbread men cookies recipe. They’ll love using the cookie cutter and seeing their finished product.
Step 1: Blend sugars and butter. In a large mixing bowl, beat your molasses, brown sugar, and softened butter together until they are smooth and creamy. Add in your cold water and blend until smooth.
Step 2: Mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt together.
Step 3: Combine wet and dry ingredients. Next, add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and blend until the dough is soft.
Step 4: Divide the dough and chill. You want to divide your gingerbread dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each section into a ball. Then, wrap each ball tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour. .
Step 5: Cut the cookies. Roll out your chilled dough and using your gingerbread men cookie cutters, cut out your cookies. Then, place the cutout cookie dough shapes onto the lined baking sheet.
Step 6: Bake. Place your cutout cookies into the oven and bake cookies for 12-13 minutes. Once the cookies are done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
How to Make the Royal Icing
Instead of buying store-bought icing for your cookies, you can make your own with just a few simple ingredients.
Step 1: Beat the egg whites. First, you will use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites until they are foamy.
Step 2: Add sugar and almond extract. Gradually add in the sugar and almond extract and beat until the icing has thickened.
Step 3: Place your frosting in a piping bag if using.
Step 4: Frost and enjoy. Finally, frost your cookies with your homemade icing and enjoy!
- Chilled dough. If the dough isn’t chilled long enough, it can crack while rolling it out. 1 hour is the minimum, but overnight is ideal.
- Don’t overbake the cookies. The edges of the cookie should only be slightly golden.
- Thin the icing. If you find that your icing seems a little too thick, you can add a small amount of milk to thin it.
- Thicken the icing. If your icing seems too thin, you can add more powdered sugar until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Store leftover icing in the fridge. If you have any leftover icing, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
How Do I Soften Butter?
For this recipe, you will want your butter to be softened, but not melted. Do not microwave your butter because you will not get the right consistency for the dough. Instead, leave the butter to sit on the counter at room temperature for about 30-minutes to soften. Or try this butter hack!
Should Gingerbread Cookies Be Hard or Soft?
Gingerbread cookies should NOT be hard. Instead, they should be soft and supple. You want them to have a bit of elasticity so that they bend to your teeth before the cookie breaks.
What If I Don’t Chill The Dough?
If you do not chill the dough for at least an hour, the dough will not roll out without cracking. Additionally, the dough will be sticky making it difficult to roll out. The process of chilling the dough allows the ingredients to absorb into each other for a smooth roll.
How to Store Classic Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are fairly dry which means they have an exceptionally long shelf life without much effort. Simply store your cookies in a sealed container or Ziploc back where they will last for 2-3 weeks.
Other Christmas Cookie Recipes to Try
Looking for more delicious cookies to try? Check out some of my other favorites, below!
Classic Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 ⅓ cup molasses
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup water
- 6 cups all purpose flour sifted
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For The Icing
- 2 egg whites
- 4 cups confectioners sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- In a large bowl, blend together the molasses, brown sugar, and softened butter. Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer until the texture is smooth and creamy. Add in the cold water and continue to blend until smooth.
- In a separate bowl; slowly sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt. Add in the flour mixture to the molasses mixture, blending until well combined and the dough is softened.
- Divide the dough into three equal parts. Shape each section into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap or tightly covered in parchment paper. Place the dough into the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
- While the dough is chilling; preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a shallow baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Working the dough in small batches; place one section of chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out to roughly a 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies with the gingerbread men cookie cutters. Place the cutout cookie dough shapes 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining dough, until all the dough has been cut out.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12-13 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Be sure not to overbake. Upon removing the baking sheet from the oven, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Once the cookies are completely cooled, decorate with your favorite icing.
- For The Icing
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer at high speed until foamy.
- Gradually add in the sugar and almond extract. Beat at high speed until the icing has thickened. If the icing is too thick, add a small amount of milk. If the icing is too thin, stir in a small amount of additional confectioners sugar until desired consistency is achieved.
- Store leftover icing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.