These delicious gingerbread man cookies are a crowd pleasing favorite. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, they’re an amazingly fun and festive way to celebrate the holidays!
It’s that time of year again – the time to make Christmas cookies for holiday parties, ship holiday cookies to friends and family, and all around stuff your face with cookies! I simply can’t get enough.
The classic gingerbread man cookie is crunchy on the outside yet slightly soft on the inside with flavors of molasses, brown sugar, and of course, ginger. They’re perfect for decorating with royal icing and for spreading holiday cheer!
This gingerbread man cookie recipe is from Sally’s Baking Recipes. The cookies are perfect in texture and I absolutely love the flavor! Keep reading to learn how to make them absolutely perfect.
How to make gingerbread man cookies
Note: The molasses creates a very sticky dough, so it’s important to chill the dough for at least 2-3 hours before rolling it out and cutting out cookies. It will firm up the dough and help the cookies maintain their shape while baking.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
- Cream the butter. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and continue to mix until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Incorporate the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients, combining gently and being sure not to overmix.
- Chill. Chill the cookie dough for at least 2-3 hours.
- Cut out your cookies. Now’s time for the fun part. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto a work surface and roll out the cookie dough to ¼-inch thick. Use around 4-inch cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake. Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes at 350°F/180°C. If using smaller cookie cutters, reduce the baking time to about 8 minutes.
- Cool. Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating.
Decorating gingerbread man cookies
If you ask me, decorating the cookies is the most fun part of making gingerbread man cookies. To keep things simple, you can sprinkle a dusting of powdered sugar over the cookies for a festive (and delicious) garnish.
But I really love using royal ricing to decorate my gingerbread man cookies. Place it in a piping bag and use a small tip to decorate however you like. You can use a few drops of food coloring to create festive colors, too!
Tips for making gingerbread man cookies
- Don’t overwork the cookie dough. To prevent your cookies from becoming tough, mix the dough as little as possible. When packing together dough scraps after the first roll, gently press them back together and don’t knead or squeeze the dough too much.
- Chill, chill, chill. I can’t stress this enough – it’s extremely important that you chill the cookie dough before rolling it out, cutting out cookies, and baking. Molasses is very sticky and has a lot of moisture, which makes the dough nearly impossible to work with right after it’s made. Chilling the dough also helps the cookies maintain their shape while baking.
- If the dough becomes soft while rolling, put it back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.
- You may need to adjust the baking time depending on how big your cookie cutters are. I use 4-inch cookie cutters and the cookies bake perfectly in 9-10 minutes. For smaller cookie cutters, I recommend baking for 8 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating. Otherwise, the heat from the cookies will cause the frosting or powdered sugar to melt.
More of my favorite holiday cookie recipes
- Maple Cookies: Made with maple syrup and dark brown sugar, and topped with amazing maple glaze.
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies: Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and dusted with powdered sugar.
- Linzer Cookies: Light butter cookies filled with yummy jam, dusted with powdered sugar.
- Brown Sugar Cookies: Full of molasses and caramel flavors. Super chewy!
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies: Dark and fudgy with real ginger flavor.
Gingerbread Man Cookies
A delicious gingerbread man cookie recipe: crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, these cookies are full of flavor and perfect for decorating!
- 3 ⅛ cups (438g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅔ cup (145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) light or dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Royal icing for decorating, optional
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-low speed for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and molasses and continue mixing until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla extract just until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour-spice mixture and beat just until combined. Do not overmix or the cookies will be tough.
Form dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to form a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until firm enough to roll. If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it or for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a lightly floured surface (or between 2 pieces of parchment paper), roll the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes (I used a 4-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter) using a cookie cutter and place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
If at any point the dough becomes too warm, place it back into the fridge for a few minutes. Gently re-roll the remaining scraps and repeat. I recommend placing the sheets with cookies in the freezer or fridge for at least 15 minutes before baking, until firm, so that they will be less prone to spreading.
Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes, but if cookie cutters are smaller than 3-4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes (or if larger, baker for 1-2 more minutes). Allow cookies to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on the counter, still covered, or overnight in the fridge.
Recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Recipes.