Tis’ the season to make a batch of these soft ginger bread cookies! Make them into festive holiday cookies or choose whatever shape you’d like! They are soft, spiced, and decorated with a simple icing that adds a bit of sweetness.
This soft gingerbread cookies recipe was inspired by our delicious chewy ginger cookies. They’re made with similar ingredients but are rolled out and cut into cute little shapes so that you can frost them with icing.
We love making a double batch of these cookies because they freeze wonderfully and are so fun to decorate and giveaway as a delicious holiday gift.
What You Need for Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Spices: ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Large egg
Also make sure that you have a couple of baking sheets, parchment paper, a stand mixer, and your favorite cookie cutters on hand.
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Can I substitute the butter for coconut oil?
No! We do not recommend using coconut oil instead of butter in these cookies. The coconut oil is too soft and does not help hold the shape of the gingerbread cookies. Cold butter is a must!
Can I use a different flour?
- Whole wheat flour: We tested this recipe with part whole wheat flour and the ratio for this is 1.5 cups all-purpose to 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
- White whole wheat flour: The original recipe when this was first published used part white whole wheat flour, so if you want to go that route, you can use 1 cup white whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose flour.
What if I don’t have those spices?
If you are missing ginger, cloves, or cinnamon, check to see if you have any spice mixes. Try a chai spice mix, a gingerbread spice mix, or anything with similar spices!
How to Prevent Your Cookies from Spreading Too Much
You’ll notice in the recipe that not only do you refrigerate the dough for 4 hours, but you also freeze the cut outs before baking. Why?
The colder the dough, the less likely that the cookie dough will expand in the freezer.
When testing this recipe we found that the cookies spread less when there was refrigeration time and freezer time, so make sure not to skip either part! JUST TRUST US!
How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies
While the cookies are baking, make the gingerbread cookie icing. You want the icing to be thick enough to hold its shape which is why we suggest adding the milk by the tablespoon instead of all at once.
If you’re planning to pipe frosting onto the cookies as we did, you’ll want to make sure that when you spoon the frosting and let it drip, it holds shape for a few seconds before melting back into the frosting.
What size Wilton tip should I use? We used a Wilton 2 Round Tip for piping the frosting onto the cookies.
These soft gingerbread cookies are a wonderful cookie to freeze. You actually have 2 options when it comes to freezing them.
- Freeze the cookie dough until you’re ready to bake them.
- Freeze the cookies after you have baked them and they have cooled completely. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
The cutest soft gingerbread cookie cutouts are made with common ingredients and gingerbread spices. Pipe on as simple icing and serve for Christmas!
Total:4 hours 7 minutes
- 10 tablespoons butter cold and cut into 1/2 tablespoon pats
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
First, add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside for later.
Next, use a stand mixer* butter and brown sugar together at medium speed. This will take around 3-4 minutes. Add molasses to the sugar and butter and cream the molasses into the mixture (~1 minute). Crack the egg into the creamed mixture mix on medium until combined.
Finally, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a 1/2 cup scoop at a time and mix on medium. Repeat until all dry ingredients are gone and the dough is combined. The dough should be a little thicker than normal cookie dough, but still be very easy to form a ball.
Wrap the cookie dough ball in plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (the longer the better).
When you’re ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge and sprinkle flour onto a hard, cool surface as well as a rolling pin. Then, cut the dough in half. Place half the dough on the floured surface and place the rest in the cookie dough back in the refrigerator to stay cool until it’s time to roll it out.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough so that it’s around 1/4-inch thick. Feel free to generously use flour if your dough sticks to the rolling pin.
Use small/medium cookie cutters to create ginger man cookie cut-outs. Then, transfer the shapes onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. The cookies will expand a little bit, so make sure to leave a bit of room between the shapes. Freeze the cookie cutouts for 10 minutes. This will prevent them from expanding too much.
Bake at 350ºF for around 7-9 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. They cook fast, so be careful! While these cookies are baking, prepare the next batch.
Immediately remove from hot pan and place on cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting.
For the frosting, add all the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla into a large bowl. Add milk by the teaspoon and mix over low/medium speed until the frosting is thick, creamy, and smooth. Continue to add the milk to the frosting until it reaches the desired thickness. If you’re planning to pipe frosting onto the cookies like we did, you’ll want to make sure that when you spoon the frosting and let it drip, it holds shape for a few seconds before melting back into the frosting.
Frost the cookies with the icing and then decorate with sprinkles and edible glitter. We recommend a Wilton 2 Round Tip if you plan to pipe lines on your cookies like we did.
Store the cookies in a cool, dark place for up to 5-7 days.
Tips & Notes
- This recipe was updated on December 6, 2023, to remove white whole wheat flour. If you’d like to use part whole wheat flour, we recommend 1.5 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
- Refrigeration + Freezing: Make sure not to skip chilling the dough for 4 hours before rolling out OR freezing the cut outs before baking. This will prevent the dough from spread during baking.
Calories: 307kcal Carbohydrates: 54g Protein: 2g Fat: 9g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 30g
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.