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Overhead image of a plate of gingerbread cookies with holiday lights, sprinkles and a piping bag

Classic Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

  • Author: Joanie Simon
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 36 cookies 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


A classic recipe for gingerbread cookies made with molasses and brown sugar. They’re perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and decorated with royal icing.



Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 16 oz confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)


Gingerbread Cookies

  • In a large bowl, beat the 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup shortening, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy.
  • Add the 1 large egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating until combined, approximately 30 seconds.
  • Next add the 1 cup molasses and beat 30 more seconds until it’s smooth.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together five cups of flour, 2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 1 tsp baking soda.
  • Gradually add in the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Try not to over-mix or you’ll end up with a tougher dough.
  • Divide the dough in half, and shape each portion into a thick disk. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour up to 3 days.
  • Preheat the oven to 325F and line baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness using a rolling pin and cut using cookie cutters. Re roll the scraps together by gathering up the scraps, rolling them into a ball and then rolling out with a rolling pin and continuing to use the cookie cutters. Repeat that process until all of the dough is used up.
  • Bake the cookies on the middle rack in the oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes then place on wire racks and cool completely before decorating


  • Put all of the icing ingredients into a stand mixer bowl and mix on medium high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) with the whisk attachment for seven minutes. The consistency should be thick. If it’s too thick, add a teaspoon of water a time until it’s the proper consistency. If it’s too runny and doesn’t hold its form, add a tablespoon full of powdered sugar at a time until it’s the proper thickness.
  • Fold down the sides of a piping bag halfway and then scoop the icing into your piping bag fitted with a piping tip and secured with a coupler. Once you filled the bag halfway, roll the sides of the bag up and then twist the bag at the top of the frosting to force the frosting down to the tip of the bag.
  • Apply pressure at the twisted part of the bag, forcing the frosting to come out through the tip and have fun decorating your cookies.

Keywords: gingerbread, cookies, Christmas, holidays, baking, dessert, molasses, gingerbread cookies