The Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Ever!

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No other cookie says Christmas like a gingerbread cookie.  When I considered which cookies to include here, this was the first that came to mind.  And to think, I didn’t discover this delicious cookie until just a couple of years ago!  It’s now one of my favorites and it quickly became a favorite around the office.

You could really make these cookies any time of the year, and use any shape cookie cutters you like.  After baking these the first time for my co-workers at Christmas, they requested Valentines Gingerbread Cookies, Easter Gingerbread Cookies, Halloween Gingerbread Cookies, just because Gingerbread cookies, and Thanksgiving Gingerbread Cookies.

Unfortunately for them, the hustle and bustle of everyday life took over and I never got around to making them other than at Christmas time. I suppose that makes them even more special!

Anyway, this recipe is adapted from a 1982 Current booklet my great-grandmother taped inside her copy of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.  Her book with all of her notes was passed down to my mother and now to me.  It’s one of the few sentimental items I have, but it’s also useful.

Cooky Book

These cookies, are not difficult.  They’re quite simple to make.  The ingredients are easy to find.  The most exotic item is molasses, and that’s not very exotic.  You won’t have to go to a special store to find anything.  In fact, everything can be found using the Walmart Grocery Pickup service (if you haven’t read my post on this service, you’ve got to see how amazing their grocery pickup service is).

The hardest part about making these is rolling the dough and not making it too thin.  If you roll it too thin, it will burn easily in the oven.  Been there, bought the t-shirt.

I like to keep the scraps in the fridge while I’m cutting and then re-roll it until I can’t get anymore full cookie cutters on it.  Then I bake whatever pieces are left.  This way nothing is wasted, and those pieces are perfect for taste testing, saving the pretty cookies for display or gifts!

I’ve found the best way to freeze these gingerbread cookies is to bake, frost and freeze flat on a cookie sheet.  Then after they’re frozen, you can stack them in a container or plastic bag.

These soft and chewy gingerbread cookies are perfectly paired with Café Escapes Chai Latte.

Gingerbread Cookies


  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup light molasses (make sure you use light or these will have a bitter taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting (optional), see below


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, mix until combined.
  3. Blend in molasses and vinegar.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Then combine with creamed mixture, mixing well.
  5. If necessary, add a little more flour until the dough is less sticky and forms a ball.
  6. Line cookie sheet with plastic wrap and press dough out. Cover with plastic wrap and press flat.  Divide into fourths by pressing plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or freeze for 1 hour.
  7. Flour work surface well. Remove one fourth of dough from refrigerator, leaving remaining portions in refrigerator until ready to roll.  Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness.  (Making dough too thin will cause the cookies to burn.)
  8. Cut with floured gingerbread cutters. (Cookies spread and small edge details blend together on edges.)
  9. Using a pancake turner, carefully transfer to lightly-greased baking sheet.  If using, press re-hot candies or raisins into dough for buttons or eyes.
  10. Bake 10 minutes or until set.
  11. Remove to wire rack to cool. Repeat until all dough is used.  (Re-roll or bake scraps to reduce the amount that’s thrown away, waste not want not and all!)
  12. Let cool and decorate with frosting.

Gingerbread Cookie Frosting

The Gingerbread Frosting Recipe that is also from the Currant booklet is actually my favorite cookie frosting recipe.  It’s also the one I use for my Chocolate Drop Cookies.


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup solid vegetable shortening
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • Food color (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, combine butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, and sugar.
  2. Beat until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Divide and tint as desired.  Fill pastry bags and decorate gingerbread cookies as desired.

Cookie baking tips

Here are some great cookie baking tips I’ve learned along the way.

I saw this tip for filling pastry bags on This Is How We Bingham on YouTube (around 9:55:00 she demonstrates how to do this).  Roll out a sheet of plastic wrap.  Plop a dollop of frosting in the middle.  Roll it up like a tootsie roll and twist the ends.  Then slide the twisted end down into the pastry bag, through the tip and cut it off.  Voila!  Easy peasy frosting squeezie!

Line baking sheets with parchment paper to make baking multiple batches easier.  Just lay a sheet out on your cookie sheet, bake, then toss and line with a new sheet for the next batch.

If you haven’t used parchment paper before, you’re about to experience a life changing event here.  I always forget to use it until I’m struggling to get those gooey chocolate chip cookies off the pan.  It is seriously amazing.  Never have cookies stuck to the pan again.  No more scraping off the cooked on bits after each batch.  Cookies slide right off the paper, no fuss no muss.  Maybe if I write it into my recipes I can remember?

Use cold outside temps to cool cookie sheets between batches.  Since I’m always baking these in the winter (and I live in upstate NY where winters are COLD) I like to set my cookie sheets in my unheated breezeway for a few minutes after removing each batch to cool the sheets down quickly so they’re ready for even baking.  This way I can get all of my holiday baking done while keeping minimal pans in my kitchen.

These are my ultimate favorite cookie sheets (mine are an unknown brand from a restaurant supply store).  I have two half sheet pans and they’re the only sheet pans I own.  They’re so versatile.  You can bake cookies, use as a work surface for prepping meats, broiling fish, etc.  They clean up easy and don’t warp.

Get creative!

You can really get creative with these cookies.  Last year I made my gingerbread men into Star Wars Chewbacca Gingerbread Cookies, and reindeer with antlers.  This year I’m going to only bake gingerbread men and see how many different ways we can come up with to decorate them <–My mom’s idea, isn’t she awesome?  Maybe I’ll make it into a little family competition.  Hmm…

Gingerbread Chewbacca

How many ways can you decorate your gingerbread men?  Leave a comment below and tell me what’s the most creative cookie decorating you’ve done.

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