We’ve had our blog for over 10 years and this is the first time we’ve posted the BEST soft gingerbread cookies recipe ever!
I’ll be honest, we made more sugar cookies that we decorated around the holidays, especially Christmas than we did gingerbread cookies or even gingerbread houses. I’m not sure why, it was just how life was. But now that I’ve tested and tested recipes I can say that this really is the BEST Soft Gingerbread Cookies Recipe and it will be happening year after year.
We aren’t very great at the whole decorating gingerbread cookies thing, but we do have a lot of fun trying.
Can I give you a quick tip before we go over some of the most asked questions? When you’re frosting with royal icing, use a small pastry bag with a very small tip. I’ve linked to some.
You see, when you are decorating the royal icing starts to solidify quite quickly. That causes issues as it can’t come out of the bag if it’s turning into a hard mess.
For this purpose you want as much as possible to hang out in the bowl so you can stir it to soften it and adjust with water if needed.
The BEST Soft Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
If you’re looking for a crisp cookie this isn’t it. But let me tell you, the best soft gingerbread cookie recipe is absolutely the recipe that Christmas cookie wishes are made of.
That soft and chewy cookie that you can smell the moment you walk into the house. The spices fill up every bit of you as you take a bite and letting everything hit your tongue in the most experiential way you’ll ever have with a cookie. It’s just dang good.
No, really, it is.
The Most Important Step in Making Gingerbread Cookies
The absolute most important step in making gingerbread cookies involves chilling the dough. And I’m not just talking about resting the dough in the fridge, I mean totally letting it sit in there for hours. This allows the dough to really hold up to rolling and cutting out shapes as well as holding shape in the baking process.
Please, do not skip it.
If rolling and cutting is taking a while, once you have the dough on the cookie sheet place it in the freezer for a couple of minutes to slow down the spreading in the oven.
Ps. One of our ovens just died. Any advice on buying new? 🙁
Are Gingerbread Cookies the Same as Gingersnaps?
In order to really answer the question, are gingerbread cookies the same as gingersnaps we need to add in molasses cookies as all three are similar but different.
The main difference between molasses cookies and gingersnap cookies is that molasses cookies are chewy and soft, versus ginger cookies that are snappier and crisper in texture.
The ideal gingersnap cookie is a little different as the outside is crispy (but not tooth-breakingly so) and then soft and chewy on the inside.
Gingerbread for building houses is extra crisp though, so don’t confuse that either.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies Soft?
Gingerbread houses are made using a really crisp cookie, but what if you want all of that flavor and still a soft and chewy cookie? Oh, and don’t forget that you still want the shapes to hold so it can’t be so soft you end up with chubby gingerbread men that are barely distinguishable.
We’ve all been there. It’s like that little boy on the Christmas Story movie in his snow clothes.
Kids and snow clothes is such a hassle but always worth it. I love, love, love seeing them out in the snow.
To make soft gingerbread cookies make sure that you beat the butter and sugar together for a few minutes. There’s an actual change in the properties of butter and sugar as they are beat together which makes for a softer cookie. You can see it happen if you watch the color of the butter change from yellow and grainy to extra light and fluffier.
Which Molasses for Gingerbread Cookies?
I had no idea that my choice in Molasses was messing with my cookies until I started to experiment. We prefer to buy Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses. It has the best flavor, viscosity and color to give flavor and chew to the cookies.
Can You Make Gingerbread Cookies without Molasses?
I know, not everyone carries molasses on hand at all times, and if it’s around the holidays your store might just sell out like our’s did last week. Here’s the issue though, gingerbread cookies’ main ingredient for distinct flavor and that chewy texture, so it is in fact the molasses that should not be substituted.
However, I understand that sometimes you just need a substitute, so remember that this won’t turn out exactly the same.
- Substitute for Molasses
- 1 cup dark corn syrup, or maple syrup
- 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
What Spices are in Gingerbread Cookies?
I absolutely love that gingerbread cookies are packed full of flavor, and it warms you from the inside out. Oh how I love warm and comforting foods!
Here’s the list of spices used in gingerbread cookies:
- Ground Ginger
- Ground Cloves
Can You Make Gingerbread Cookies without Cloves?
You can skip the ground cloves if you need to in gingerbread cookies but we really like that warmth from the spices.
What Temperature to Bake Gingerbread Cookies at?
Oh how many temperatures are listed for baking gingerbread cookies! In all of my research I found everything from 450 degreed Fahrenheit, then lowering the temperature to a mere 325 degrees. Here’s the thing though, unless you’re making cookies for a gingerbread house you really need to treat these like any other soft and chewy cookie, so 350 degrees it is!
Can Gingerbread Cookies be Left Out?
Gingerbread cookies need to always be stored in an airtight container. While these are really soft cookies as soon as you leave them sitting out on the counter or on a plate for Santa they are going to quickly crisp up. Even faster than many other cookies.
I tend to store my cookies in gallon sized ziploc bags because it removes so much more air.
How Long are Gingerbread Cookies Good For?
Gingerbread cookies, when stored properly can last for up to one week.
Can You Freeze Gingerbread Cookies with Icing?
If you want to freeze gingerbread cookies, do it before you decorate. The royal icing, buttercream, or cream cheese frosting can all separate or liquify which is no bueno.
Instead, consider freezing them as dough (I like to make them into balls and then freeze) and baking later.
How Long Can Gingerbread Cookies be Frozen?
You can absolutely freeze gingerbread cookie dough and gingerbread cookies that have been baked.
- Gingerbread Cookie Dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Already baked gingerbread cookies can be frozen and stored in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 4 weeks.
Christmas Cookies RECIPES
Looking for more Christmas Cookies Recipes? A good Christmas Cookie totally makes the season feel magical, so make sure you try our FAMOUS White Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread White Chocolate Molasses Cookies, Peppermint Double Chocolate Cookies, Cinnamon Roll Cookies, Hot Cocoa No-Bake Cookies, Best Sugar Cookie Recipe, or Chocolate Chip Biscotti!
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The Best Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 and 1/2 cups Flour See how to measure flour for perfect results
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
- 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
- 10 Tablespoons one stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar dark works for even more flavor
- 2/3 cup Molasses we've had the best luck with Grandma's brand
- 1 Large Egg at room temperature
- 3/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Light Corn Syrup
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 2-3 Tablespoons Room Temp Water
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves, whisking to completely combine.
- In a large bowl using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and the brown sugar for 3 minutes on medium high speed. Add the molasses and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy-looking.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Next, beat in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined.
- Divide the cookie dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each dough up tightly and pat down to create a flat disc shape.
- Chill the discs for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Chilling is mandatory for gingerbread cookie dough.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (We recommend these for cookies and never bake without them.)
- Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator.
- Generously sprinkle a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin with powdered sugar, not flour.
- Roll out disc until 1/4-1/2"-inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is shaped. Repeat with remaining disc of dough.
- Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate with royal icing!
- In a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, water, vanilla and corn syrup until smooth. When you lift your spoon you should see the icing ribbon down onto the remaining icing, staying in its ribbon for a few seconds before melting back into the rest. If it doesn't hold it's shape just add a little more powdered sugar. If it's incredibly thick and doesn't melt back within a few seconds add a little more water.