Easy Gingerbread Cookies

Golden baked easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white piped icing embellishments.

Bake up a holiday memory with this super easy Gingerbread Cookies recipe, then simply decorate with royal icing or add your favourite candy decorations.

Cut out cookies are so fun to make and look gorgeous on any Holiday goodie tray. Dig out those festive cookie cutters and make these classic Brown Sugar Shortbread stars or delicious Cinnamon Walnut Cookies. Decorate them as much as you like, or keep them simple and elegant.

Golden baked easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white piped icing embellishments.

Easy Gingerbread Cookies

There’s a reason gingerbread cookies have withstood the test of time for everyone’s favourite Christmas cookie. The warmly scented dough is a joy to roll out and their wonderful baking aromas fill your entire home. It’s an aroma that brings a sense of warmth and love.

The joy of holiday baking grows exponentially when combined with the action of giving. Bake up a batch of these easy gingerbread cookies and share them with friends and neighbours. They’re guaranteed to bring smiles to the most grinch-like of holiday naysayers.

Gingerbread cookie decorating makes a fabulous activity for holiday parties. You can use this recipe to make classic gingerbread men, other Christmas shapes, or even a gingerbread house!

Just mix up a few batches of royal icing (in multiple colours) and gather sprinkles or decorative candies to add to the fun. Don’t forget the gumdrop buttons!

Ingredients used to make easy gingerbread cookies.

The Birth of a Classic

Most people recognize gingerbread (a baked confection containing ginger and other spices) as being German in origin. However, this confection had a well traveled history before it even reached Germany (in what is the Alsace-Moselle region in France today).

In the 17th Century England, gingerbread was sold as a ‘digestive aid’ in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets, though it became more widely available in the next century.

Sifting dry ingredients into a bowl of wet ingredients.

European settlers brought gingerbread to the US where the recipe was altered slightly to include molasses (an inexpensive sweetener when compared to refined sugar). The first printed recipe for soft American style gingerbread, among others, was in 1796 edition of American Cookery by Amelia Simmons.

At present, gingerbread is enjoyed around the world in one form or another, such as the bread like pain d’épices in France, Dutch peperkoek, German Lebkuchen, or ancient Toruń from Poland.

A wooden rolling pin beside rolled gingerbread cookie dough in between two pieces of parchment paper.

Ingredients

Below are the typical ingredients for making easy Gingerbread Cookies and royal icing. Though there are recipes that do not contain molasses, I prefer the taste and texture of this classic American gingerbread recipe.

  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Egg
  • Vanilla
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Salt
  • Confectioner’s Sugar (or powdered sugar)
  • Water

As most of these ingredients are widely available and common baking ingredients, they really need no introduction. As always I recommend unsalted butter, along with a pinch of salt in order to have some control over the salt level in most recipes. The butter, along with the egg should be at room temperature for best results.

A baking sheet full of unbaked gingerbread cookies on parchment paper.

As always, I recommend upgrading your baking spices at least every two years and a good time to do that is before you start holiday baking. Fresh spices ensure the tastiest result!

Molasses is the sticky, sweet and slightly bitter syrup leftover from refined sugar processing. You can use either ‘Fancy’ Molasses or ‘Blackstrap’ Molasses for this recipe.

How to Make Easy Gingerbread Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Make sure they are light and fluffy before moving on. With the motor running on medium speed, add the egg, vanilla, and molasses.

White icing being piped from a piping bag onto a gingerbread man.

Next, combine the dry ingredients. Place a sieve or sifter over the bowl of wet ingredients and add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, clove powder, salt) in the sieve/sifter.

Sift dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Mix them together well without overworking the dough. Divide dough in half, cover, and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on the kitchen counter and place half of the dough in the middle. Cover it with another sheet of parchment paper.

Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the dough in between the two layers until it is a uniform 1/4 inch thick. Carefully remove the top layer of parchment paper.

A red plate full of golden baked easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white piped icing embellishments.

Lightly flour the cookie cutters and use them to cut out shapes, fitting them together tightly like a puzzle. Remove the excess dough and set aside. Slide the parchment paper with cookies directly to a baking sheet.

Bake at 350ºF degrees for 8-10 minutes. While the cookies are baking, roll out the other half of the dough and cut out the cookies as directed.

During baking, the cookies should puff up slightly but still hold their shape. When they are done baking, they should have a slight change in colour but not be too dark. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then remove and continue cooling on a wire rack.

Gather leftover dough into a ball and let rest in refrigerator another 15 minutes then roll, cut, and bake as directed.

Golden baked easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white piped icing embellishments.

How to Make Royal Icing

Though it sounds fancy, royal icing is just a combination of confectioner’s sugar and water, or sometimes milk. It only takes a little amount of added liquid to get the right consistency for piping, so always start slow and add small amounts of water or milk, as needed.

You can use the royal icing to pipe simple features on the gingerbread or use it as an edible glue to stick on candy or sprinkles. Feel free to add a tiny bit of gel food colouring to make royal icing in multiple colours.

To decorate the cookies: Place royal icing in a piping bag and snip off a very tiny part of the corner. Push out any excess air and twist the open end to seal. Lightly squeeze the bag as you pipe the icing designs onto the cooled cookies.

A red plate full of golden baked easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white piped icing embellishments.

How to Store and Freeze Gingerbread Cookies

Undecorated gingerbread cookies freeze well in an airtight container for up to three months. This means you can get a jump on holiday baking and decorate them just before serving.

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Pinterest image featuring easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white icing.

If you make these easy Gingerbread Cookies, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 30 *see note

Easy Gingerbread Cookies

A red plate full of golden baked easy gingerbread cookies decorated with simple white piped icing embellishments.

Bake up a holiday memory with these super easy Gingerbread Cookies then simply decorate with royal icing, or add your favourite candy decorations.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter; softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch of salt

TO DECORATE

  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoon water

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
    2. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together.
    3. With the motor running on low speed, add the egg, vanilla, and molasses
    4. Place a sieve or sifter over the bowl and put all the dry ingredients
      (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, clove powder, salt) into the
      sieve.
    5. Sift dry ingredients into the wet mixture. and mix well.
    6. Cover and rest the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
    7. Lay parchment paper on the kitchen counter and place half of
      the dough in the middle. Cover it with another sheet of parchment paper.
    8. Gently roll out the dough in between the two layers with a rolling pin until it is a uniform 1/4 inch thick.
    9. Carefully remove the top layer of parchment paper. Cut out shapes as desired, then remove excess dough. Slide the parchment paper with cookies directly to a baking sheet.
    10. Bake at 330ºF degrees for 8-10 minutes. While the cookies are baking, roll out the other half of the dough cut out and bake the cookies as directed.
    11. Gather leftover dough into a ball and let rest in refrigerator another 15 minutes then roll, cut, and bake as directed.

FOR THE DECORATIVE ICING

  1. Mix icing sugar and water in a bowl, adjusting liquid as needed to make a thick but pipable icing.
  2. Place icing in a piping bag, snip off a very tiny part of the corner, and decorate the
    cookies as you wish.

Notes

*The amount of cookies varies according to the size of the cookie cutters.

**Lower the oven temperature to 330F if the cookies puff up too quickly.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 126Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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29 comments

  1. Oscar

    These cookies were so good. I’m a huge fan of gingerbread and these cookies hit the spot. Great recipe.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Glad you enjoyed them Oscar. Happy holidays!

      Reply

  2. Amy Liu Dong

    These cookies looks really delicious. Kids will def love this.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      They will for sure love decorating them and then eating them!

      Reply

  3. Megan Ellam

    These look amazing! I cannot wait to get into the kitchen to get baking! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Bring on the holiday baking!!

      Reply

  4. Ramona

    These look like so much fun to make. Perfect to get the kids involved. Delicious flavours in here.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      oh, for sure. especially when you bring out a few candies to decorate them with!

      Reply

  5. Kayla DiMaggio

    Loving how easy these were! So fun to make with the family!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So great to hear Kayla. Easy is king when it comes to holiday baking.

      Reply

  6. Amanda Dixon

    These cookies turned out so cute, and they were super fun to make! I especially loved how easy the dough was to handle. Such a great recipe for this festive time of year!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great to hear. Easy is king when there’s so much Christmas baking to do.

      Reply

  7. Veronika Sykorova

    These are so cute! I love how you decorated them, so simple, yet so pretty! That’s such a good idea to roll out the dough over parchment paper, I never even thought of that!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you. It’s a very handy trick and also saves on the mess!

      Reply

  8. Jenny

    So good. These gingerbread cookies are effortless but so delicious. Love them! I will make them again!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Jenny. I do love how simple they are!

      Reply

  9. Liz

    I love gingerbread cookies! They make the house smell so delicious! I wish mine would turn out as beautifully decorated as your’s!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Don’t give up! The mistakes are just as delicious as the perfect ones.

      Reply

  10. Julia

    I absolutely love Gingerbread cookies! These look and sound amazing, saving for later. Confession, I’ve never ever made Gingerbread cookies….EVER! Now’s the time!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      What?! Oh, you’re gonna love them so much. They smell so great when they’re baking.

      Reply

  11. Jessica

    I’m a busy single momma so I’m thrilled to have come across this simple recipe. The holiday season just isn’t complete without gingerbread cookies. Can’t wait to try these! I’m doing a test run this weekend.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So great to hear Jessica. I hope you have a great time baking with your kids.

      Reply

  12. Lauren Michael Harris

    Gingerbread cookies are such a Christmastime classic! I. love how easy they are to make and how fun they are to decorate!

    Reply

  13. Dennis Littley

    I made a batch of your cookies and shared them with some friends. They absolutely loved them!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      The best part of Christmas baking is sharing it!! Glad your friends loved the cookies!

      Reply

  14. Tammy

    Gingerbreads are probably my favorite cookie to bake. It’s such a fun and festive process…these look perfect and so cute!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes!! Don’t forget how great they smell!

      Reply

  15. Aleta

    You’re right, these were the easiest gingerbread cookies I have made yet! I love that they don’t need to rest too long in the fridge, and then simply pulling the parchment with cookies onto the baking sheet to bake was great.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Gotta love easy holiday baking recipes!

      Reply

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