It turns out that my mom was definitely right when she told me as a child that my tastes would change over time.  I remember as a kid thinking gingerbread cookies looked absolutely delicious – and then I tasted one, and absolutely hated it.  Maybe it was just different than what I was expecting, or the flavors were a bit strong for me then, but I’ve steered clear of them ever since.  Then this past weekend, I had my yearly baking marathon for holiday goody packages and decided to give gingerbread a second chance, mainly because I thought they would help round out the packages and keep well for the ones being shipped off to friends and family.

I am so, so glad I tried these because they might just be my new favorite holiday cookie.  The wonderful spiced flavor and the perfectly chewy texture seem to embody the holiday season in a cookie.  Not to mention, they are very pretty!  I love the way they look with simple royal icing scrolls and a few sprinkles.  While this is certainly not necessary, it definitely made them much more attractive.  The only thing to keep in mind is that the cookies spread and puff quite a bit during baking, so you don’t want to use a cookie cutter with too much detail.  These snowflake shapes looked very different before I popped them in the oven.  Even though I didn’t like gingerbread as a kid, Andrew definitely approved of these, and I’m sure they’ll be part of my holiday baking traditions for years to come.



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg


  • 01

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices to combine; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the molasses and egg until combined.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least one hour.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place the cookie shapes onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

  • HoosierMamma

    I feel the same way about the gingerbread cookies. I was willing to try anything with ginger during my pregnancy and found that I was not a fan. But these are so pretty, maybe I’ll give them a whirl?

  • Hello Annie
    I love these cookies and the drawings on top are very delicate bravo!!
    I am Pierre based in France ! I have created mly foodblog 6 months ago dedicated to creative french food so if you want have a visit you are very welcome !! Cheers from Paris ! Pierre

  • One of my friend/coworkers made gingerbread cookies last year for Christmas. I’ve been thinking about those cookies for about 6 months now. Coincidentially she’s 6 months pregnant, so I’m not sure if she’s feeling up to making them this year, but I sure hope so! If not, I’ll just have to drool over yours instead. Gorgeous!

  • My all-time favorite Christmas cookie! :)

  • They look and sound wonderful! I love that you made them in snowflake shapes instead of the more traditional gingerbread men ones.

    Wow! Your post yesterday sort of went VIRAL! Woot-woot!!!

  • There’s something comforting about these classic holiday cookies. You decorated the cookies so beautifully!

  • These look amazing! I found your blog through mykitchencafe, and I’m very impressed with your artistic decorating ability! I steered clear of gingerbread men this year, because of the difficulty and my inability to decorate, but looking at your pictures, I’m wishing I had some!

  • They are gorgeous!

  • so pretty, why is it that when I make cookies, they never come out looking like that? hehe Guess I will have to give it a try. They look to delicious not to!

  • I love gingerbread cookies year round. I guess I need to go buy some molasses and get baking! What’s better than gingerbread to dip into coffee? (Wait, don’t answer that, I love biscotti too!)

  • Annie, these are so pretty! What royal icing recipe did you use?

  • Annie

    The royal icing recipe is all over my blog if you just do a search. Basically 4 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. meringue powder and 5 tbsp. water.
    :) Annie

  • These look so cute but I haven’t been a big fan of gingerbread and don’t know if I’ll go to the trouble to see if my tastes have changed this year. I love your blog and discovered it through Shannon…(I am a Wishard Histotech). I made your potato soup recipe last night for dinner and my 8 year old (that doesn’t eat soup) cleaned her bowl. Thanks!

  • factwoman

    These look amazing. I added a link to them over at so that people can find this recipe. I can’t wait to make them. They’re beautiful.

  • To prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven, put them 15 minutes in the refrigerator before you bake them. That way they’ll keep their beautiful shape !

  • These are SO pretty! I can’t wait to make gingerbread snowflakes next week!

  • Loved the snow flake decoration. This was really wonderful post. Gingerbread are sooo good and remind me of holiday season, no matter what time I eat them :) Thank you for sharing these.

  • love the pic!

  • They look wonderful! I might just have to try them. Merry Christmas and thanks for all the great recipes!

  • These are absolutely gorgeous cookies! I just made snowflake sugar cookies and they definitely didn’t look the same when they came out of the oven! Your decoration is beautiful.

  • I made these last night with a friend, and they turned out great! I found out that she’s one of those I-don’t-have-to-follow-the-rules bakers and doesn’t measure very carefully or keep the dough cold, but the cookies still turned out great! They are subtly spicy, with a good contrast between crisp edges and chewy insides. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Bakingfamily

    That’s a great picture! Have you ever tried using something like orange or lemon juice in your royal icing? I’m going to try that tomorrow — maybe orange vs. lemon — to amp up my orange gingerbread cookies.

  • Annie

    I have only tried clear vanilla extract, but I’m sure you could use any flavor. Have fun!

  • I just baked these guys. It was my first time making cutouts and they are delicious. For years the smell of molasses scared me from trying gingerbread cookies, but i’m glad I finally made them. They have just the right amount of spice, and they are just soft enough on the inside. Up next: my first attempt at royal icing!

  • Thanks for a great recipe! I really like that they are not too “spicy,” yet they still taste like gingerbread!

  • BMK

    These were fantastic.

  • Beautiful! And I love the cookie cutter you used…I’ve got to find me one of those :)

  • Liz

    I had THE same EXACT experience with GB cookies as you — from loving their look — as a child — and being SO horribly disgusted by their taste, to deciding to give them a second chance (since becoming an adult and much more into cooking) just this holiday season (’09). And, like you — AGAIN — was SOO glad that I did because they are now a favorite of mine, as well! (Yours look 1,000 times prettier than mine did, though! That icing job you did is nothing short of pure art.)

    How funny it is to absolutely adore something as an adult that you hated as a child and vowed never to consume again. So thankful our palates change as we get older, aren’t you?? Most of my favorite foods I would never have even ENTERTAINED the idea trying it.

  • ami

    I made these yesterday and they were abosolutely delicious. They are chewy and spicy. They have just the right amount of spice and buttery flavor. thanks for a great recipe Annie.

  • YUM!! we rolled these out in our post xmas wind down dipped them in choc and crushed candy canes…so tasty!! thanx for sharing this delicious recipe!

  • katy

    these are my husband’s new favorite gingerbread cookies. they stay soft and perfect for days! thanks for sharing.

  • Ellen

    Do you generally use sulphured or unsulphured molasses?

  • Annie

    I’m not sure, I’d have to check at home.

  • Ellen

    It sounds like the usual for gingerbread is unsulphered, and it’s a matter of how strong one likes ones molasses. I’m just curious what you use, so there’s no rush!

  • Jandkbraughler

    Do these cookies stay soft or are these a crunchy variety? Thanks!

  • Jandkbraughler

    Do these cookies stay soft or are these a crunchy variety? Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    They are soft.

  • annieseats

    They are soft.

  • dshak

    This is the best gingerbread cookie recipe I have tried so far! Cookies remain soft unlike some other recipes I have tried where the cookies get hard enough to break a tooth on! Dough rolls out well for cookie cutter shapes. Me and my 2 1/2 year old enjoyed baking, frosting and eating them. Thanks for a really great recipe!

  • I made a triple batch of these, my sister and I were crazy and stayed up until 1 in the morning decorating the various shapes I baked up. We shared many a giggle :) I’ve gotten so many compliments and gingerbread converts from these, thanks for sharing this and giving me good memories with my sister.

  • Sarah

    Has anyone used this recipe to make gingerbread houses? I haven’t made the cookies, so I was just wondering whether they’ll provide enough “structure” since they’re supposed to be so soft!

  • annieseats

    I don’t think this would work for a gingerbread house. These cookies are probably too soft.

  • Can this dough be frozen?

  • AmyT

    Annie, do you think these could be made more as ginger snaps and still be good (e.g. not rolled out and cut but dropped like chocolate chip cookies)?

  • annieseats

    No, but I’m planning on sharing a gingersnap recipe soon :)

  • annieseats

    I haven’t frozen this myself, but I don’t see why not.

  • Do you use brown sugar or white?

  • annieseats

    When not otherwise indicated, you can assume sugar means white granulated sugar. Enjoy!

  • Mine tasted ok but they were hard any suggestions?

  • annieseats

    Try baking for a shorter time next time. Hope that helps :)

  • Priti Patel

    I love your blog and normally I have amazing luck with trying your recipes, but for some reason I couldn’t get my dough to harden, even after putting it in the fridge for over an hour and then in the freezer for like 20 min…any thoughts as to why or what I can do to not let the dough go to waste?? Thanks!

  • I love this recipe. They have a wonderful spicy flavor and a chewy texture. I put half of the batch in the freezer, thawed the dough in the refrigerator, and just baked some to enjoy with a cup of coffee this morning. I never thought gingerbread cookies could taste so good!

  • annieseats

    Only an hour is a pretty short time. You just need to let it chill longer. I usually do mine overnight. The hour is just a suggested minimum.

  • I did freeze half of the batch. Thawed overnight in the fridge and baked as per instructions. Worked wonderfully.

  • These look really amazing I can’t wait to make these thanks for sharing your recipe with everyone

  • Kainaz

    Does anyone know how long these will keep in the freezer?

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page for links to posts with info on freezing cookies and dough. Thanks!

  • Ivy

    Annie a lot of cookies broke after sitting in my container over night :( is it because i rolled them too thin or I didn’t bake them long enough?? I made sure they were fully cooled before packing them away too

  • annieseats

    Hmm, that’s strange. It is hard to know exactly what happened because I can’t feel the texture to get a hint of the problem. I think your guess is probably close though, likely rolling too thin. I’ve made these more times than I can count and I haven’t really had them break unless I’ve made a really delicate shape or something, so you may just need to tweak your technique a bit.

  • Sheri Taylor

    I always through a piece of bread in with my cookies. The bread will get hard as a rock but your cookies will stay soft and chewy. That might help.