Soft and chewy gingerbread cookies are my favorite Christmas treat to decorate with my kids. They’re just as delicious to eat as they are cute to look at!

For more delicious cookie recipes to try during the holidays I love grinch cookies, these haystack cookies, and yummy snickerdoodles. They are perfect for any gathering because everyone loves them!

Decorated gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies

Tis the season for cookies so I hope you’re as excited to kick the holiday season into full gear as I am! I couldn’t think of a better recipe to share with you to start the Christmas season than with these fun and tasty gingerbread cookies! I love this recipe because the cookies are soft and chewy, instead of crispy. Plus, they have that delicious and classic gingerbread taste which really brings in that festive, holiday cheer.

Last year we enjoyed them for a treat, and then we let the leftover cookies dry out and we hung them on our Christmas tree. My kids loved it! Your kids will love to decorate them with you. We used regular buttercream frosting and added spice drops and m&m’s for the buttons. You could also use chocolate chips, red hots, raisins, or whatever you like.

Ingredients in Gingerbread Cookies

Some people shy away from gingerbread cookies because they think they are too hard! But these are not hard at all and you probably already have a lot of the ingredients in your kitchen! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all of the measurements.

  • Butter: I use unsalted butter that is softened to room temperature. It will mix better when it’s softened.
  • Dark brown sugar: Make sure to pack this tightly as you measure it.
  • Sugar: This makes the cookies sweet.
  • Molasses: Use unsulphured molasses. This means it’s “pure” molasses and should be what you find at all of your local grocery stores.
  • Vanilla extract: This will enhance all of the sweet flavors.
  • Egg: A large, room temperature egg will work best for this.
  • Flour: All purpose flour works best.
  • Cinnamon, ginger and cloves: These spices are what will bring in that delicious holiday flavor.
  • Salt: The salt will also enhance the flavors of all of the other ingredients.
  • Baking powder: This is what helps these cookies get soft.
  • Milk: This is optional, use it if you need to moisten up the dough so that it will press together in your hands.
  • Frosting and candy: These are optional if you want to decorate your cookies!

Let’s Bake Some Cookies!

These gingerbread cookies are so good that you may want to bake a couple of batches all at once! Give them to your neighbors or have your kids decorate them as a Christmas activity. They are the best holiday cookie!

  1. Preheat and prep: Preheat the oven to 375° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Beat: In a large bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Add in the molasses and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until just barely combined. 
  3. Mix flour and spices, then combine with wet ingredients: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until combined. If the dough is very dry, add 2 tablespoons of milk to moisten it just enough to be able to press together with your hands.
  4. Roll and cut shapes: This dough does not need to be refrigerated, so go ahead and roll it out on a very lightly floured surface. Roll to ¼ inch thick and cut out desired gingerbread shapes. Lay on the baking sheets with about an inch between the cookies. They shouldn’t spread as they bake. 
  5. Bake: Bake for 7-9 minutes, until the center of the cookies is just barely baked. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Frost and decorate once cooled. 
  6. Store leftovers: Store gingerbread cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers. Freeze for up to 3 months.
6 pictures showing steps on how to make cookie dough and cut them into gingerbread men.

Tips for Baking Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are so much fun this time of year! Here are a few tips for you to help them turn out perfectly!

  • Don’t overwork the dough: If you overmix your batter or roll your dough too many times then it can become tough. This will make your dough be too firm and not soft and chewy. Don’t over do it. Mix it until it’s combined and then leave it alone.
  • They shouldn’t spread: Your cookies shouldn’t spread in the oven. The flour should help keep them together in their exact shape. If you find that your cookies are speading then add a little bit more flour to your dough.
  • Underbake the cookies: Take your cookies out when they are a tiny bit softer in the center. Leave them on the baking sheet and they will finish cooking on it for a couple of minutes after you take them out of the oven!

Gingerbread cookies out of the oven (not decorated).

Decorating Tips

Gingerbread cookies are the best because you can make them look exactly how you want! That’s why these are some of my kids favorite cookies to make. Here are a few things that you can use to decorate them!

  • Gumdrops (small ones)
  • Red hots
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Regular chocolate chips
  • Buttercream Frosting
  • Cream Cheese Frosting

Zoomed in picture of a gingerbread cookies with gumdrops as buttons.

How to Store Leftovers

These gingerbread cookies can be made ahead of time and stored for later. Have them ready to decorate for a party by baking them beforehand. You can store gingerbread cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers. Or, you can even put them in the freezer and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Gingerbread cookies on a plate.

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