Easy Christmas Gingerbread Cookies Recipe: This classic gingerbread cookie recipe results in sturdy, perfectly spiced cookies to decorate for the holiday season!
It’s cookie season! Holiday cookie exchanges are on our calendar and plates of Christmas cookies are wrapped up for friends, family and neighbors. Easy Cutout Sugar Cookies, Cornflake Wreaths, reindeer cookies, Snowball Cookies and these Chocolate Cherry Cookies are some of my favorite cookies to make for the holidays. And now, I can add these festive gingerbread cookies to our baking list!
Why you’ll love this easy Christmas gingerbread cookies recipe
Is there anything that smells like Christmas more than the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies? Your kitchen will smell absolutely scrumptious as these cookies bake.
This is the perfect cut out cookie recipe to make for any themed holiday party. (You know how much I love hosting themed parties!!) You can make a herd of gingerbread reindeer for a reindeer themed party, cut out gingerbread houses for a gingerbread decorating party or roll out some snowmen for a sweet snowman themed get together.
Decorating these crisp, delicious gingerbread cookies is a family activity for holiday memory making. Kids of all ages will love adding frosting, sprinkles and their favorite candy to these tasty cookies.
What are the ingredients for a gingerbread man? Well, regardless of the shape you choose for these cookies, the base is a sturdy cookie dough with the warm flavors of molasses and spices like ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
See the printable recipe card below for ingredients, nutrition information and detailed recipe notes.
This easy Christmas gingerbread cookies recipe is simple to follow, especially with the detailed instructions and pictures below.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the shortening, sugar and salt on medium speed until smooth.
- Next, add the egg, molasses and white vinegar to the bowl and mix well to combine.
- Now, in a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground ginger.
- Add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the wet ingredients and mix well between each addition. The dough will be thick and smell absolutely glorious!
- Cover and chill the gingerbread dough for at least 2 hours. The dough should be cold to allow it to be rolled out properly.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set them aside.
- Cut two squares of parchment paper at least 1 inch bigger than the size of the cookie cutters you are using. (Mine were about 3 inch cookie cutters.) These two sheets of parchment paper are going to be used to roll out the dough for each cookie, cut the shape and transfer the cookie to the lined baking sheet.
- For each cookie take a 1 inch ball of dough and roll it out to 1/8 inch thickness on a parchment square. Add flour to your rolling pin if it is sticking to the dough.
- Press the cookie cutter into the flattened dough and remove the excess dough from around the cookie cutter, leaving the cut out cookie on a parchment square. Remove the cookie cutter.
- Now, take the other parchment square and place it on top of the cut out dough and flip it over. Gently peel off the top piece of the parchment – the cookie will now be upside down. Flip the cut out cookie onto the parchment lined baking sheet and peel the top paper out. Now, the cookie is right-side up again. This process ensures the cookie keeps it shape and will bake with clean edges.
- Repeat for the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes just until firm. The cookies will become crunchy if they are overbaked, so just keep an eye on them in the oven.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely and decorate with the icing and candies of your choice.
How to Decorate Cutout Cookies
- While royal icing may sound intimidating, I’ve got a great post on cookie decorating for beginners that will break it down and help you create cute decorated gingerbread cookies!
- If you prefer, you can use a simple 2 ingredient glaze. Whisk 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2-4 tablespoons of milk (or gingerbread coffee creamer, eggnog or any other festive flavored liquid) until it is a smooth, spreadable glaze.
- For an easy, family friendly option, use purchased frosting and cookie icing tubes.
- Use your favorite candy to decorate. Here are some festive suggestions:
- Mini M&Ms or cinnamon red hot candies for ornaments on the Christmas trees and buttons for the gingerbread people.
- Sugar pearls or silver dragees to accentuate the snowflakes.
- Sprinkles and jimmies to add definitions to the stripes on candy canes.
- Mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons on the gingerbread man cookies.
Gingerbread cookies recipes are a lot like people: there are different varieties and all of them are great! Some recipes may call for light brown sugar, lemon juice or vanilla extract. While we think we’ve nailed down the best gingerbread cookie recipe, here are a few other options for this recipe.
- If you like a little heat, try adding a small amount (1/4 teaspoon) of ground black pepper to the dough. Some people think it enhances the flavor of the other spices. What do you think?
- If you don’t want to use cookie cutters to make decorative shaped cookies, you can roll the dough and cut it into squares using a knife or use a drinking glass to make round gingerbread cookies.
Should gingerbread cookies be hard or soft?
Ah, the great gingerbread debate. In my opinion, it depends on your preference and what you are making with the cookies. For example, if you are making a gingerbread house, the finished cookies need to be crisp and well baked. And cut out cookies need to be a little more baked to stand up to frosting and decorations. But, if you like chewy gingerbread cookies or if you don’t plan to decorate them, then you can roll the dough a little thicker and adjust the baking time accordingly. Whether you want soft gingerbread cookies or ginger cookies with a little snap, this traditional gingerbread cookie recipe will taste amazing!
How long do homemade gingerbread cookies last? You can store undecorated baked gingerbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperture for 2-3 weeks. Once they are decorated, the cookies do soften. So we recommend storing the decorated gingerbread in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
If you need to freeze the baked gingerbread cookies once they have cooled, wrap each cookie in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Holiday entertaining is one of my favorite things about this time of year. So, whip up a bowl of this fun Christmas Tree Cake Dip, make these melting snowman cheesecake cups, add a festive Pinwheel Christmas Tree Appetizer to your party menu and shake up a round of these Red Apple Martinis and you’ll be rockin’ around the Christmas tree!
Did you make this? I’d be so grateful if you left a “star” rating below to let me know what you thought! Then, the next time you need a quick and easy recipe, come back to Fantabulosity to browse all of my easy recipes!
Easy Christmas Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ tablespoon ground ginger
Making the Cookie Dough
- In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer bowl), cream together the shortening, sugar and salt on medium speed until smooth.
- Next, add the molasses, white vinegar and egg to the bowl and mix well to combine.
- Then, in a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger.
- Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients, and mix well between each addition. Note: the dough will be thick.
- Cover and chill the gingerbread dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The dough needs to be cold to allow it to be rolled out properly.
Cutting Out the Cookie Shapes
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set them aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigeratorand keep the dough in 1 big pile.
- Cut two squares of parchment paper that are at least 1 inch bigger than the size of the cookies cutters you plan on using. (The cutters seen in this recepe are about 3 inch cookie cutters.)These two sheets of parchment paper are going be used to roll out the dough for each cookie, and for transferring to the baking sheet.
- For each cookie, take a 1 inch ball of dough and roll it out on a parchment square to be 1/8 inch thick. Add flour to your rolling pin if it is sticking to the dough.
- Press the cookie cutter into the flattened dough and remove the excess dough from around the cookie cutter, leaving the cut out cookie on the parchment square. Remove the cookie cutter.
- Take the other parchment square and place it on top of the cut out dough and flip it over. Gently peel off the top piece of the parchment – the cookie will now be upside down.Now, flip the cut out cookie onto the parchment lined baking sheet and peel the top paper off. Now the cookie is right side up again. This ensures the cookie keeps it shape and will bake with clean edges.
- Repeat for the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 1 inches apart.
Baking the Cookies
- Bake for 5-6 minutes just until firm. The cookies will become crunchy if they are overbaked, so keep an eye on them in the oven.
- Allow the cookies to cool and decorate with icing and candies of your choice.
- When peeling the parchment paper off of the cookie, start from the bottom and peel the paper back nearly horizontally in the opposite direction. This angle will prevent the dough from sticking as much.
- If you prefer, you can roll the dough out in a large thicker square and cut out multiple cookies at once and transfer them gently to the baking sheets with a thin offset spatula. The parchment paper method described above just helps the cookies keep their shape better.
- While the dough is rolled out relatively thinly, the cookies will puff up nicely in the oven.
- You can make the dough ahead of time! Store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator or up to 3 days.
- Store undecorated baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 weeks. After icing or frosting has been applied, store the cookies in an airtight container and eat within a week.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.