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Gingerbread Cookies

5 from 1 vote

posted: 11/30/15

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

These Gingerbread Cookies make for the cutest Gingerbread Men. They’re soft, keep their shape and have the perfect spice!

An overhead photo of the Gingerbread Cookies shaped as little people with smilie faces and mini M&Ms as little buttons.

You guys! It’s the Christmas season!! I’m so pumped!

If you are new to my blog, you probably should know that five years ago I lost my sweet little second son, Elliot. And just about 8 years ago, on the day my first kiddo was born, I lost my amazing mom. Guys, I miss them both so much this time of year. I miss them all the time. But Thanksgiving and Christmas can be especially hard.

Though each year, and I’m getting better at it with each passing year, I try to really just focus on my kids and make it as magical for them as possible. Making Gingerbread Cookies with them really helps.

These gingerbread cookies are soft and chewy. They have the perfect gingerbread spice flavor. Your family is going to love this classic Christmas cookie.

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Combine the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, the spices, salt, and baking soda.
  2. Beat together the wet ingredients. Beat the shortening, butter, and sugar together. It will take about three minutes to make it light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and molasses.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add the flour mixture in all at once. Beat on low just until the mixture is combined enough so that the flour won’t fly out of the bowl when you turn the mixer up high. Turn the mixer up high for a few seconds just until the mixture is combined.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough in batches. Keep the dough you aren’t rolling out in the refrigerator. Cut into gingerbread men or ninjabread men.
  6. Bake the cookies. Then allow to cool completely before decorating.
The Gingerbread Cookie Dough is rolled out flat and little shaped people are cut out of the dough.

Cookie Making Tips

These tips are helpful for all cookies.

  • Measure your flour correctly. Spoon the flour into the dry measuring cup. Then level off with a the flat edge of a spatula. Do not use the measuring cup to scoop the flour from the container it is kept in.
  • Use fresh baking soda. You can check to see if it is fresh by adding a little to some vinegar. It should bubble right away.
  • Your butter should be room temperature. You should be able to easily dent the butter with your finger, but not push it all the way through. The butter will still feel cold to the touch.
The Gingerbread Cookies are shaped as little people with a smilie face and mini M&Ms as little buttons.

Icing for Gingerbread Cookies

We like keeping our decorations on gingerbread cookies to a minimum. You can see we decorated with a really simple frosting and M&Ms. You can find the recipe for it in the recipe card below. It comes together with just three ingredients: powdered sugar, pasteurized eggs, and cream of tartar.

Big Batch Gingerbread Recipe

This recipe makes a lot of gingerbread man cookies. We were able to get three dozen cookies using a standard size cookie cutter. You can easily cut this recipe in half though. Otherwise, you can find instructions on freezing the cookies below.

An overhead photo of the Gingerbread Cookies shaped as a little person with the leg bitten off and a frowny face on the gingerbread cookie.

Freezing Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe freezes really well. I suggest flash freezing these cookies first and freezing them undecorated.

Freeze the cookies in a single layer for two hours. Then transfer the cookies to an air tight container where they can be stacked. The cookies can be frozen for up to three months.


Can this recipe be used to make a gingerbread house?

I have a great gingerbread house recipe that also comes with a template to make cutting it out easy. You can also get my three ingredient gingerbread icing that works as the perfect glue.

Can I replace the shortening in this recipe with more butter?

You can, but you run the risk of your cookies not holding their shape. Butter provides a great taste, but shortening is what keeps the cookies from spreading too much. Their combination here is pretty key.

How long can gingerbread cookies be frozen?

These cookies can be frozen for up to three months. See my instructions for freezing in the section above.

An overhead photo of the Gingerbread Cookies shaped as little people with smilie faces and mini M&Ms as little buttons.

Other Christmas Cookies

If you like my soft gingerbread cookie recipe or any of my other cookies, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

5 from 1 vote

Gingerbread Cookies

Serves: 36 cookies
(tap # to scale)
These Gingerbread Cookies make for the cutest Gingerbread Men. They're soft, keep their shape and have the perfect spice!


Gingerbread Cookie Dough

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsps ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature should be soft to the touch, but not melted
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup molases
  • 2 eggs

Icing for Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar spooned into measuring cups and leveled
  • 1 pasturized egg white
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a large bowl and a handheld mixer) beat together the shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs and molasses until just combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • Add in the dry ingredients. Beat on low until just combined enough for the mixture to withstand being beaten on high. Beat on high for a few seconds until the flour mixture is just combined with the wet ingredeitns. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl so it all gets incorporated.
  • Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Working in small batches of dough, roll it out on parchment paper or until about 1/4 of an inch thick. Keep the dough you arent working with in the refrigerator.
  • Cut out your gingerbread men and place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the gingerbread looses it's shine and just begins to crack at the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and after two minutes transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Beat the ingredients for the icing until soft peaks begin to form. Using a small piping tip, pipe edging onto the cooled cookies.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Gingerbread Cookies

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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  1. Julie is Hostess At Heart says

    These gingerbread people are just adorable. I love the sad faced one who lost his leg! I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how hard it is to get through this. We miscarried and that was tough too. I just know that we will meet again one day.

  2. Kenneth Garcia says

    Feel sorry for your son and mom! :(
    This recipe is new to me. I must try this on next holiday for my Emma! Thanks Lisa for such an awesome recipe.

  3. Mir says

    Oh, my goodness. That cookie with the little sad face and broken leg. I want to take him home!
    Holidays can be a really intense mix of emotions, from missing those we love who are gone to enjoying what we have and being grateful for it. I think anyone dealing with all of those feelings is entitled to sit in a closet and eat cookies when things get overwhelming. Thinking of you!

  4. heather @french press says

    so, is it bad that I love the sad guy with a broken leg the best ;) these are the cutest Lisa, and I’m sure your gingerbread house will be just as cute, even if it is a NEW Years house

  5. Leticia says

    Condolences for your mom and son. I also dearly miss my family members that have passed. I am so excited to find your gingerbread cookies recipe it sounds absolutely delicious . I am making these cookies for my daughter, and l know she will love them. I used to buy them in a bakery when she was little , but it closed a long time ago. She is now 47 years old. I can hardly wait to see her face with excitement Thank you so much. I will keep you posted.

    • Lisa Longley says

      This makes me so happy! I hope she loves them!

  6. Tory says

    I want to say I lost my daughter in 1991, and I lost my boyfriend in 2001 to cancer. I lost my Dad in 2009. I miss them all very much ,and always will. But your right Thanksgiving and Christmas is the hardest for me also I know that pain. Hang in their kiddo!

    • Lisa Longley says

      You hang in there too Tory! This year especially.

  7. Tammy says

    My husband loves gingerbread cookies just plain. So I’m going to make half with icing and half without. I don’t think it will matter to kids a cookie is a cookie.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you both enjoy them!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners