Gingerbread Men Cookies are a classic treat that’s fun to make and decorate. This recipe is straightforward and perfect for baking with family or friends. You’ll end up with cute, customizable cookies that are as enjoyable to create as they are to eat!
Every Christmas, our kitchen becomes a lively spot for baking different cookies and candies, a tradition that the whole family, especially the kids, love to participate in. We start with our Decorated Sugar Cookies, cutting them out them in all sorts of fun shapes that the kids adore decorating them. We also love to make easy drop cookies like White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies, and everyone’s favorite Grinch Cookies that are always so popular on our site!
And of course, we can’t not make any homemade candies. Our sweet treats include the cutest Peanut Butter Snowballs, homemade Three Musketeers Candy, and these delicious Mocha Chocolate Truffles. And, of course, we always make our easiest and much-loved recipe, the Condensed Milk Fudge it’s a failproof recipe that you are going to love!
This mix of cookies and candies brings lots of joy and flavor to our holiday celebrations, and we hope you love them too!
Why This Recipe Works
- Really Fun to Make: Making Gingerbread Men Cookies is a super fun activity. You get to roll out the dough, use cookie cutters to make shapes, and then decorate them however you like. It’s great for families to do together, especially with kids who love getting creative.
- You Can Make Them Your Own: These cookies are awesome because you can decorate them in so many different ways. You can use different colors of icing, all kinds of candies for decoration, or even change up the spices in the dough. This means everyone can make their own special cookie.
- They Taste Like Christmas: Gingerbread Men Cookies have this special spicy and sweet taste that just feels like the holidays. The mix of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses in these cookies is not only yummy but also makes your house smell amazing when you bake them. It’s like having a bit of Christmas in every bite.
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
- Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt: These are the staples in this recipe, giving the cookies their structure. Flour forms the base, baking soda adds a bit of lift, and salt enhances all the flavors.
- Signature Spices: A mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg is what gives these cookies their signature holiday flavor. Whisk these spices with your dry ingredients to ensure they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Butter: The use of unsalted butter in this recipe contributes to the cookies’ rich taste and smooth texture.
- Brown Sugar: Instead of regular sugar, brown sugar is used here to add a deeper sweetness. It imparts a subtle molasses flavor and keeps the cookies soft and chewy.
- Molasses: Make sure that you use unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap!), I use Grandma’s brand for molasses.
- Egg: A room-temperature egg blends in the cookie dough much easier than a fridge-cold egg,
- Vanilla Extract.
How To Make Gingerbread Men Cookies
Start by preheating your oven and lining your baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, blend the softened butter and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This step is important for getting the right texture in your cookies.
- Add Wet Ingredients: To the creamed butter and sugar, mix in the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract until everything is well combined.
- Whisk Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, and the mix of spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg). This helps to evenly distribute the spices for a consistent flavor in every cookie.
- Combine Wet and Dry Mixtures: Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stir everything together until the dough is well combined, but avoid overmixing.
- Chill the Dough: Before rolling it out, chill the dough in the refrigerator. This makes it easier to handle and helps in keeping the shape of the cookies while baking.
- Roll and Cut the Dough: Once chilled, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out shapes and carefully transfer them to your prepared baking sheets.
- Bake: Bake the cookies in the preheated oven until they are just right – not too soft, but not too hard. They should be slightly firm to the touch.
- Cool and Decorate: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a bit before transferring them to a wire rack. Once completely cool, decorate with the icing, adding features like eyes, mouths, and buttons.
Making the Icing for Gingerbread Men Cookies:
- Combine Ingredients: In a mixer, blend half of the powdered sugar with meringue powder and half of the vanilla. Add water gradually and mix until stiff.
- Prepare the Second Part: Without cleaning the bowl, add the remaining powdered sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Mix with the whisk attachment until smooth.
- Mix Both Icings Together: Combine the two mixtures, adjusting consistency with more powdered sugar or water as needed. Aim for a spreadable consistency.
- Check Consistency: The icing should smoothly blend back into itself in about 12-15 seconds when tested with a spatula. Adjust thickness accordingly.
- Transfer to Piping Bag: Fill a piping bag with the icing for decorating.
- Decorate and Set: Use the icing to add details to the gingerbread men. Allow the icing to set at room temperature before handling the cookies further.
- Try Different Shapes: Gingerbread men are great, but you can also use other cookie cutters like stars or trees for fun.
- Size of the Cutter: If you use a big cookie cutter, you’ll get fewer cookies, and a small one will give you more.
- Don’t Skip Chilling the Dough: Make sure to chill the dough in the fridge. If it’s not cold, it sticks to the cutters and the cookies might spread too much in the oven.
- Cut Cookies Close Together: When you cut out your cookies, try to do it close together so you don’t waste dough. If you keep re-rolling the dough, the cookies might not hold their shape as well.
- Keep an Eye on the Oven: Bake the cookies just right – not too long, or they get hard, and not too short, or they’re too soft.
- Let Them Cool First: Wait for the cookies to cool down before you decorate them, so the icing doesn’t melt.
- Storing the Cookies: If you’re not eating them all at once, keep them in a container with a lid. This keeps them fresh and tasty for later.
Have a blast making and decorating these cookies. Don’t forget to rate and review the recipe if you give it a try – your feedback is super helpful. Also, be sure to pin this recipe so you can find it easily for your next baking day.
Gingerbread Men Cookies
For the Gingerbread Men:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar divided
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract divided
- ½ – ¾ cup water divided
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), or 160°C if using a fan oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes).
- Mix in the molasses, vanilla, and egg thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Chill the dough in the freezer while preparing the icing (10-15 minutes).
- For the icing, in a mixer, combine 2 cups powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix on low, then medium until stiff.
- Mix the remaining powdered sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Combine both icings, adjusting consistency with water or more powdered sugar as needed. Then transfer to piping bags.
- Remove the dough from the freezer, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface ½-⅝ of an inch thick. Using gingerbread men cookie cutters, cut out shapes and transfer them to the prepared cookie sheets about an inch apart.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Be careful not to overbake the cookies to keep them chewy (not crispy!).
- Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
- When ready to decorate, snip off the tip of an icing bag and decorate by adding details like eyes, mouths, and buttons with sprinkles. Attach the sprinkles by adding a little icing underneath them.
- Allow icing to set at room temperature for about an hour before stacking cookies.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.