Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

This Classic Gingerbread Cookies recipe includes molasses and makes soft, sweet and lightly spiced cookies. It’s the perfect cookie for shaping and decorating! We love making gingerbread men, Christmas trees and snowflakes, but really any shape would work!

Everyone asks for this recipe after they try it – even if they weren’t gingerbread cookie fans before. I’ve made this recipe at least 100 times and know that it’s perfect. Let me show you how to make the best gingerbread cookies in town. These are the stuff family traditions and memories are made of.

Image of Gingerbread Cookies

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Whether you are attending a cookie exchange, taking treats to work/school/a party, giving goodie plates to neighbors, or just needing a weekend baking session with your people, I have you covered. This Christmas cookie recipes are some of my all-time favorite.

You need this recipe and you need it stat! HUNDREDS of people have made and loved these cookies, just check out the comments below!

This recipe comes from my chef sister-in-law. Beth went to culinary school and her emphasis was baking! Seriously, she’s amazing. And now she’s my neighbor, how lucky is that.

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, lightly spiced, and the perfect cut-out cookie recipe.

These Easy Cookies Will Make You a Gingerbread Lover

Think you don’t like gingerbread cookies? These will change your mind; they are so very good. Plus they hold their shape great and are so fun for the kids to make and help decorate.

Ingredients in Gingerbread Cookies:

  • Butter: use the real stuff here, no margarine please! It gives it such a nice, chewy, soft texture and a richer flavor. Margarine just doesn’t cut it.
  • White sugar: this helps the cookies to hold their shape and have a nice texture. It also gives the sweetness to balance the spice of warming ginger, cinnamon, and cloves!
  • Egg: one of the keys to keeping these cookies soft and helps them rise just enough.
  • Molasses: classic for gingerbread cookies’ color and deep flavor.
  • White vinegar: helps the cookies to rise and stay soft, and I promise it doesn’t give any vinegar flavor.
  • Flour: all-purpose white flour works the best for this recipe because it will rise best and creates a nice, soft texture.
  • Spices: ginger, cinnamon, and cloves make this a warming and perfectly spiced cookie and offsets the sugar!

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, lightly spiced, and the perfect cut-out cookie recipe.

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies:

  1. Cream butter, adding sugar gradually. Beat until well combined and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Beat in egg, molasses, and vinegar.
  3. Sift all of the dry ingredients together and then blend sifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  4. Divide the dough into two even pieces, wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 90 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working in sections, roll the dough to 1/2″ thick on a floured surface; cut into desired shapes.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. Decorate (here are 6 Simple Ways to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies if you are looking for some inspo).

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, and lightly spiced. This is the perfect cut-out cookie recipe, and will quickly become a family favorite for the holidays! 

Tips and Tricks for Making Soft Gingerbread Cookies

  • How to make crispy gingerbread cookies: If you like your gingerbread on the crispy side, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick and bake for 11-12 minutes. If you like it nice and soft (though still very sturdy), roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and bake for 10 minutes. If you play around with the thickness of the dough and the baking time, you’ll discover a cookie that meets your liking. I really like these thick and soft.
  • Butter + resting time: Use real butter because it really makes the softest, richest tasting cookie, and don’t forget the resting time in the fridge. The dough should be tacky but not gloopy like glue when you put it in the fridge. When it comes back out of the fridge, it should be very firm. Resting time and chilling the dough let’s it set up so that it’s easier to work with and holds its shape better. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days before using.
  • Not for gingerbread houses: This is not a good gingerbread recipe for making gingerbread houses. The dough is too soft. I love making gingerbread houses (here’s a post of a bunch I’ve made) and I normally use this recipe for a sturdy hard cookie that is good for construction.
  • Cookie cutters: If you are in need of a cookie cutter set, I’ve had this one for almost 11 years and we use it all the time.

Can I freeze Gingerbread Cookies?

Yes! The baked cookies freeze very well. Just bake and cool (but do not add icing), store in a freezer bag or airtight container, and freeze for up to 6 weeks. You can pull the cookies out as needed when guests show up, or thaw the whole batch for decorating all at once. I froze bags and bags of these to prep for my neighbor goodie plates, and loved having the baking done ahead of time.

Can I make the cookie dough or cookies ahead of time?

Yes! The cookies will last 2-3 day ahead of time store in an air-tight container at room temperature. These are a great make-ahead cookie for parties! You can also make the dough and hold it in the fridge for 2-3 days before baking it.

My favorite ways to decorate gingerbread cookies:

  1. Royal icing to add pretty patterns, clothing and face details, and anything else your creativity sparks!
  2. Candies for buttons, noses, eyes, or other festive designs.
  3. Sprinkling sugars over top the icing to add some sparkle.
  4. Rubber stamps for some printed designs.
  5. Candy melts to top cookies with a chocolatey topping.
  6. Sprinkles because sprinkles are always good on any cookie!

I wrote a huge post all about decorating these cookies if you want more specifics and details. You can find 6 Simple Ways to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies right here.

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, lightly spiced, and the perfect cut-out cookie recipe.

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Classic Gingerbread Cookie Recipe


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 3 dozen large cookies 1x

Description

This Classic Gingerbread Cookies recipe makes soft, sweet and lightly spiced cookies. It’s the perfect cookie for shaping and decorating! We love making gingerbread men, Christmas trees and snowflakes, but really any shape would work!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup light or dark molasses (do not use blackstrap or cooking molasses)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Cream butter, adding sugar gradually. Beat until well combined and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Beat in egg, molasses, and vinegar.
  3. Sift all of the dry ingredients together and then blend sifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, working in a few batches, stirring after each addition. The dough should come together when you press it in your hands but not very crumble.
  4. Divide the dough into two even pieces, wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 90 minutes.
  5. When the dough is done chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working in sections, roll the dough to 1/2″ thick on a floured surface; cut into desired shapes. Place shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Gather and reroll “scraps” of dough as needed, using all of the dough.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, and then move to a cooling rack.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. Leave plain or decorate (here are 6 Simple Ways to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies if you are looking for some inspo).

Notes

  • If you like your gingerbread on the crispy side, roll it 1/4″ thick and bake for 11-12 minutes. If you like it nice and soft (though still very sturdy), roll the dough 1/2″ thick and bake for 10 minutes. If you play around with the thickness of the dough and the baking time, you’ll discover a cookie that meets your liking. I really like this thick and soft.
  • SEE MORE NOTES in the tips and tricks section of the blog post.
  • The dough can be held in the fridge for 2 days before using without any issues.
  • You may need to add up to a 1/2 cup more flour as needed so the dough is workable. I’m cooking from an arid kitchen.
  • I’ve used both salted and unsalted butter for this recipe and haven’t noticed much of a difference, use what you have.
  • You can substitute the white vinegar with apple cider vinegar without any issues.
  • Use light, dark, or “fancy” molasses in this recipe. Do not use blackstrap or cooking molasses as your cookies will be bitter if you use the latter two. Here’s a post on how to make gingerbread without molasses.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 24 SERVING SIZE: 1 Cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239.8 Fat: 8.2g Cholesterol: 28.1mg Sodium: 197mg Carbohydrates: 39g Sugars: 18.9g Protein: 3.1g Vitamin A: 68.1µg Vitamin C: 0mg

Keywords: gingerbread cookies, gingerbread cookie recipe, gingerbread man cookies, how to make gingerbread cookies, best gingerbread cookies, easy gingerbread cookies, soft gingerbread cookie recipe

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These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, lightly spiced, and the perfect cut-out cookie recipe.

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, and lightly spiced. This is the perfect cut-out cookie recipe, and will quickly become a family favorite for the holidays! 

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, and lightly spiced. This is the perfect cut-out cookie recipe, and will quickly become a family favorite for the holidays! 

These soft gingerbread cookies are sweet, soft, and lightly spiced. This is the perfect cut-out cookie recipe, and will quickly become a family favorite for the holidays! 

I actually made these cookies for the county fair and they received a blue ribbon! I feel like stating that these are Blue Ribbon Cookies makes them pretty legit. Blue ribbon status is a big deal in my neck of the woods. 🙂

More Gingerbread Cookie recipes:

And there you have it – one lovely holiday cookie recipe, from my kitchen to yours. I’ve been so excited to share these with you since it’s cookie season. They will make you famous in your neck of the woods too. They are the stuff family memories are made of.

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About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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It looks as if measurement of butter is causing an issue for many. I made the same mistake…..I read 1 stick of butter instead of 1 cup of butter. Perhaps you can make an addition to your recipe after 1 cup of butter (2 sticks), When my recipe was so crumbly I couldn’t get it into a ball, I went to the comments on this page to see what caused others difficulty. I only used one stick of butter! I creamed a second stick of butter and then added the crumbly mixture. Ended up with two soft balls of dough to go put the fridge. I’ll report on taste.

Our family enjoyed this cookie very much!

I don’t have ground cloves, can I omit it completely or is there another spice I can substitute in?

the dough is too soft i cant even lift after molding , what to do im baking it now? i followed all measurements and procedures

Help!! I made my dough last night and failed to realized 1 cup of butter is 2 sticks and not 1! ? I only used 1 stick! Is there any way to remedy this now at this point?! We LOVED this gingerbread cookie recipe last year and now I messed it up!

This is by far my favorite gingerbread recipe!!! They are so soft and yummy!!! They almost didn’t get decorated!

I accidentally used 1 stick of butter instead of 2!! I made my dough last night and just realized it when I went to make another recipe that called for 1/2 c (1 stick) of butter ? what do you think I should do?!

Make this recipe! This now might be my favorite cookie. I did add more cinnamon and ginger. I like my gingerbread spicy. These cookies are soft and delicious! I frosted them with buttercream, it’s my preference. Love this recipe.

Followed the recipe, the mixture was so crumbly. I had to add another beaten egg, teaspoon more of the vinegar and few teaspoons of water. Also only 1000g flour. But worth the hard work as they taste yummy. Not sure if measurements are different in UK?

I love this recipe! I was looking for a soft gingerbread cookie with good flavor to make with my son last year and I came across this recipe! It made the house smell so good and the cookies were fabulous. We enjoyed decorating and eating them! Our family loves them too! Thanks for sharing this recipe and for being thorough with the direction! You make this easy for us to make!

I was thinking of making the dough and cutting out the cookies then freezing them individually and baking at a later date. Have you tried freezing the cutouts then baking?

Just made these absolutely delicious cookies………yummy. Thank you for the recipe!

I had a hankering to make (and eat!) gingerbread cookies last year, and I came across this recipe on Pinterest – so happy I did! I made quite a few batches for my friends and family, and they all loved them! Even those who normally don’t like gingerbread cookies were heading back to the plate for more! I’m excited to make the recipe again this year – thanks for sharing!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.