Enjoy a little bit of Christmas in your mouth with my mother-in-law’s classic gingerbread man cookies recipe. She’s been making it for decades and it’s one of my husband’s favorite flavors.
Gingerbread cookies aren’t ultra-sweet and the icing is more for decoration than for taste. With that in mind, feel free to use store-bought icing. That’s what my baking extraordinaire mother-in-law does so give yourself that permission if you want to save time and energy.
She uses straight-up Better Crocker or Great Value brand cookie icing and likes to use colors in addition to white for fun. Especially if the kids are helping you decorate your gingerbread cookies, feel free to get wild!
If you’re a purist and want every part of your classic gingerbread man cookies to be homemade, then use your favorite royal icing recipe.
Gingerbread Man Cookie Ingredients
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Royal icing – homemade or store-bought
- Assorted candies, sprinkles, or sanding sugar for decorating (optional)
Note that the yield for this gingerbread man recipe will depend on the size of the cookie cutters you use. If you use a 2″ cutter (the Small size pictured in the sets below) you’ll end up with 4 dozen cookies! That’s great news if you’re making gingerbread cookies for a cookie exchange or to feed a crowd.
However, if you’d rather save time making cut-outs, icing, and decorating use the 3″ or 4.5″ sizes (Medium and Large below) so you’ll have less work to do.
How to Make Classic Gingerbread Man Cookies
In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar then add molasses, egg, and vanilla.
In a separate large bowl combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add remaining dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients (butter and brown sugar mixture) to the dry ingredients and beat with a mixer until the dough is light and fluffy.
Separate dough into two equal portions. Press each portion of dough into a disc-shape onto a piece of plastic wrap. Top with an additional piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.
On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 1/4″ thickness. I’d work with one disc at a time leaving the other in the fridge so your dough stays chilled and easy to work with.
Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut dough into the desired shape and place on a prepared cookie sheet (a non-stick, silicone cookie sheet such as Silpat works best or you can place parchment paper on a regular cookie sheet)
Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes.
Cool completely on wire racks
Decorate with icing and candies if desired. Store in a covered container for up to two weeks.
Yield will depend on the size of your gingerbread man cookie cutter so use a large cutter if you want to do less cutting and rolling and use a smaller cutter if you need to make lots of cookies for a Christmas cookie exchange or to serve a large group. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Yield will depend on the size of your gingerbread man cookie cutter so use a large cutter if you want to do less cutting and rolling and use a smaller cutter if you need to make lots of cookies for a Christmas cookie exchange or to serve a large group.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.