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Gingerbread Men Cookies

Looking to create the best gingerbread man cookies this holiday season? Your search ends here. Our homemade gingerbread cookie recipe is the key to crafting these classic Christmas treats. 

Whether you’re a baking enthusiast or a novice, we’ve got you covered with step-by-step instructions on how to make gingerbread cookies that are soft and chewy, fragrant, and really really good!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

With our easy to make gingerbread cookie dough, you’ll achieve the perfect texture and taste. We’ll guide you through the process too!

Gingerbread cookies on a table next to a glass of milk.

But it doesn’t stop there. Discover the art of gingerbread man cookie decorating with our expert tips and ideas. 

Get ready to embrace the warmth of the holidays with our spiced gingerbread cookies. With our recipe and gingerbread cookie decorating supplies, you’ll be the star of your next holiday gathering. 

So, grab your gingerbread man cookie cutter and let’s get started and  bake some cute gingerbread men cookies!

The ingredients for gingerbread men including butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and other ingredients.

Ingredients

Find the ingredients to make this gingerbread men cookie recipe at your local grocery store:

  • unsalted butter, softened
  • brown sugar
  • molasses
  • egg
  • vanilla
  • flour
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • baking soda
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • sugar
  • meringue powder
  • vanilla
  • water
  • corn syrup
Gingerbread cookies on a wooden cutting board with pine cones.

Equipment you will need: 

We’ve listed everything below to make it easier for you to purchase!

  • Gingerbread man (or woman!) cookie cutter
  • cookie sheet
  • ​different sizes of mixing bowls
  • stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Disposable piping bags 
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap
  • kitchen scale

How to make Gingerbread Men Cookies

Detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below.  But here are the highlights. You can also follow the step-by-step photos above!

For the cookies:

Use a stand mixer if at all possible.  It makes the mixing process so much easier! But if not a hand mixer will do.

Mix the unsalted and brown sugar until smooth and creamy, then add in the molasses, vanilla and egg. Mix well. These are your wet ingredients.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. These are your dry ingredients. 

Gingerbread cookies on a table next to pine cones.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix well – scraping the sides, and mixing again, then chill the bowl in the freezer while making the icing. 

When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the freezer.  Roll the dough out to about ½-⅝ of an inch thick on a lightly floured work surface.  

Cut out the gingerbread men and carefully transfer to your parchment lined baking sheets – there should be minimal spread, so about an inch apart is sufficient.  

Save the dough scraps and reroll until the dough is too small to cut any more cookies. 

Bake the cut out cookies in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.  Overbaking will lead to crisper cookies and not chewy.  

Allow to cool before decorating. 

Gingerbread cookies on a table with a red and white checkered tablecloth.

When ready to decorate, cut a very small hole in the tip of the piping bag.  

Pipe the eyes, a “U” shaped mouth, stitches on both arms and both legs.  Use three small dots to create the bond for the buttons and then place the round sprinkles.  

Icing will set at room temp after about an hour.  Then they can be stacked.  

For the royal icing 

Again use a stand mixer if you can and follow the directions on the recipe card exactly. The first batch of icing will be very stiff.  Transfer to another bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. 

Mix the second batch of icing using the same bowl, mixing on very low speed. Then combine the two icing mixtures and whisk until smooth. If you need extra water to thin it slightly, that’s ok, just don’t add too much. 

The icing should re-incorporate back into itself and settle within about a 12-15 second count.  Too thin of icing will need a bit more powder sugar and too thick of icing will need another dash of water.  

Continue to test if needed until desired consistency is achieved.  

Transfer the icing to a piping bag.  Set aside.  

Gingerbread cookies on a table with pine cones and a glass of milk.

Expert Gingerbread Men baking tips

If you’re on a quest to master the art of gingerbread men cookies, you’ve come to the right place. Our expert gingerbread man cookie baking tips will ensure your homemade gingerbread cookies turn out flawlessly. 

1. Perfect Your Dough: Start with a well-chilled gingerbread cookie dough. It’s the foundation of your cookies’ texture and flavor.

2. Roll It Right: Roll your dough to an even thickness for consistent baking. Use gingerbread cookie cutouts to create uniform shapes.

3. Spice Sensation: Elevate your cookies with a blend of spices. A classic gingerbread recipe relies on a harmonious mix of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

4. Mind the Molasses: Opt for dark molasses to infuse that deep, rich flavor into your spiced gingerbread cookies.

5. Baking Precision: Keep a watchful eye as they bake; nobody likes burnt gingerbread. 

Gingerbread cookie recipe the best recipe.

6. Cool Calmly: Let your cookies cool completely before decorating to ensure your gingerbread man decorating ideas shine.

7. Royal Icing Magic: Master the art of gingerbread cookie icing for intricate designs. 

8. Texture Matters: Aim for soft gingerbread cookies by not overbaking, and store them properly for freshness.

With these gingerbread cookie decorating tips and our best gingerbread cookie recipe, you’ll be the star of your next holiday gathering. So, grab your gingerbread man cookie cutter and let the festivities begin!

Gingerbread cookies on a table with pine cones.

How to store

You can store your delicious cookies in an air-tight container for a few days, and freeze them for up to three months. 

FAQs

Here are some of the questions people have asked me about making homemade gingerbread men cookies:

What are gingerbread man cookies made of?

The key ingredients are molasses, cinnamon and ginger to make a delicious spice cookie. 

What makes gingerbread cookies hard or soft?

How long you bake the cookies is key. Overbaking will result in a crispy cookie, while less baking will keep the cookies chewy and soft.

How long do gingerbread men take in the oven?

Each recipe is different, however this recipe says 8 minutes – always set the timer for less time and add more if needed. 

How long will homemade gingerbread men keep?

About three days stored in an airtight container, but up to three months if frozen. 

Gingerbread men cookies perfect for the holidays.

How do I decorate my Gingerbread Men cookies?

When it comes to bringing your gingerbread men cookies to life, the decorating possibilities are as endless as your imagination. With our trusty gingerbread man cookie recipe as your starting point, let’s explore how to turn your homemade gingerbread cookies into festive works of edible art.

1. Begin with the Baked Canvas: Start with your freshly baked gingerbread cookies and ensure they’ve cooled completely. Our classic gingerbread recipe guarantees the perfect base for your creative endeavors.

Gingerbread cookies on a baking sheet with sprinkles.
Decorate using a piping bag and small red beads for buttons

2. Embrace Royal Icing: Royal icing is your secret weapon for intricate designs and a smooth finish. Experiment with different colors and consistencies to bring your gingerbread man decorating ideas to life.

3. Master the Piping: Use a fine-tip nozzle to outline your gingerbread men with precision, then fill in the details with finesse.

4. Texture and Detail: Get creative with icing textures—smooth bodies, textured clothing, and expressive facial features.

5. Add Sparkle: Elevate your cookies with edible glitter or colored sugars for that extra holiday magic.

6. Candy Adornments: Enhance the charm with colorful candies, sprinkles, or tiny edible decorations. Let your cookies reflect your festive spirit.

7. Inject Personality: Each gingerbread man can have its own unique personality—go wild with your imagination.

8. Exercise Patience: Allow your decorations to set before storing or gifting your gingerbread creations.

With these gingerbread cookie decorating tips, your gingerbread men will steal the show at any holiday gathering. So, grab your trusty gingerbread man cookie cutter, gather your gingerbread cookie decorating supplies, and let your inner artist shine through.

Where did I get my inspiration for this recipe?

I love to make gingersnap cookies and have baked a gingerbread house once or twice! Molasses is so much fun to bake with and the flavor is distinctive. Gingerbread is just one of those cozy, classic flavors that comes with the holidays, especially around Christmas. 

And I’m always on the lookout for ideas for you! These easy to bake gingerbread cookies would make wonderful gifts for a favorite teacher, babysitter or next door neighbor! Box up a dozen or two to give away as homemade food gifts. Easy Peasy.. 

You can still print the recipe, or even better, bookmark the post to look at it later!  

Want more Christmas Cookie recipes? Then head on over to our collection of 40 Christmas Cookie recipes by the very best bloggers. 

When it comes to great cookie recipes, check out these:

Could this be the best Gingerbread Men Cookie recipe?

Freshly baked and decorated, our Snickerdoodle Cupcake Cookie recipe is just so good. You will love the sweet combination of cinnamon, brown sugar and cream cheese. This is a chewy cookie that will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the Pie Lady Bakes community! We’re all about sharing easy-to-make vintage recipes that remind us of the ones our moms and grandmas used to make.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for my weekly email newsletter using this link. It’s absolutely free, and you’ll never miss out on any of my new recipes.

See you soon!

Judy

★★★★★ 

If you’ve made these delicious Gingerbread Men Cookies, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Be sure to give us a 5-star rating!

★★★★★ 

Gingerbread cookies on a table next to a glass of milk.
Yield: 36 cookies

Gingerbread Men Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes

Gather the family and transform this classic dough into charming gingerbread men – the perfect canvas for your creativity. Decorate with colorful icing, candies, and sprinkles to make each cookie a unique work of edible art.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE COOKIES
  • 12 T unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c molasses
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 c flour
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 2 t ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • FOR THE ICING
  • 4 c sugar, divided
  • 2 T meringue powder
  • 2 t vanilla, divided
  • ½-¾ c water, divided
  • 2 T corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and brown sugar.  Cream until smooth. 
  3. Add in the molasses, vanilla and egg.  Mix thoroughly.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.  Whisk to combine.  
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix well - scraping the sides, and mixing again. 
  6. Chill the bowl in the freezer while making the icing. 
  7. For the soft-bite icing - In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine the 2 c powdered sugar, meringue powder and 1 t vanilla.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.  Add in 3 teaspoons worth of water as the mixer is going.  Allow to mix until combined.  Increase the speed to medium for another 2-3 minutes. The icing will be very stiff.  Transfer to another bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. 
  8. Using the same mixing bowl, combine the other 2 cups of powdered sugar, corn syrup, 2 tablespoons of water and the other teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix on low speed until combined with the whisk attachment.  
  9. Combine the two icing mixtures into one bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add in additional water if needed to thin the mixture.   Using a spatula, scoop a bit of icing up and allow it to drop back into the bowl.  The icing should re-incorporate back into itself and settle within about a 12-15 second count.  Too thin of icing will need a bit more powder sugar and too thick of icing will need another dash of water.  Continue to test if needed until desired consistency is achieved.  Thin icing spreads nicely but can run over the edges of the cookie.  Thick icing will not move - it is good for lettering and flowers.  
  10. Transfer the icing to a piping bag.  Set aside.  
  11. Remove the dough from the freezer.  Roll the dough out to about ½-⅝ of an inch thick on a lightly floured work surface.  
  12. Cut out desired shapes and carefully transfer to your parchment lined baking sheets - there should be minimal spread, so about an inch apart is sufficient.  
  13. Save the dough scraps and reroll until the dough is too small to cut any more cookies. 
  14. Bake the cut out cookies in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.  Overbaking will lead to crisper cookies and not chewy.  
  15. Allow to cool before decorating. 
  16. When ready to decorate, cut a small hole in the tip of the piping bag.  
  17. Pipe the eyes, a “U” shaped mouth, stitches on both arms and both legs.  Use three small dots to create the bond for the buttons and then place the round sprinkles.  
  18. Icing will set at room temp after about an hour.  Then they can be stacked.  
  19. Storage:  Cookies are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for 3 months. 

Notes

  • These cookies are very versatile.  Use whatever sprinkles and decoration that you’d like!
  • Use clear vanilla in the icing recipe to make it bright white and true colors.  
  • Toothpicks are great to help spread the icing.  
  • The quantity of cookies will depend on the thickness and the size of the cookies.  

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

36

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 0gSugar: 28gProtein: 1g

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced writer and baker, creating delicious desserts (including pie!) for over 40 years. She loves to take classic and vintage recipes and update them to fit the busy lives of her readers. When not baking, Judy and her husband Mark are passionate golfers, travelers and dog lovers, spending as much time as they can with their sweet pup Millie.

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