Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (2024)

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by Katrina Bahl

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Looking for the perfect soft gingerbread? Baking expert SweetSugarBelle shares her favorite gingerbread recipe, complete with step-by-step instructions and tips for creating this classic holiday cookie.

Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (1)

This recipe was published in 2012 and updated in 2024.

Why You’ll Love Soft Gingerbread Cookies

  • If you make our No-Spread Best Sugar Cookie Recipe every Christmas, you will want to try our favorite gingerbread recipe for soft gingerbread cookies.
  • These cookies are soft while keeping their shape and have the perfect texture for chewy gingerbread cookies.
  • This gingerbread cookie dough can be made 2-3 days in advance and is very forgiving if you need to add more flour while rolling it out.
  • These cookies are perfectly spiced with the warm flavors of ginger, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and more. What more could you want in classic gingerbread men cookies?
Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (2)

Gingerbread Ingredients and Substitutions

Please see the printable recipe card for a complete list of ingredients with measurements.

Molasses—Unsulfured molasses is made from ripe sugar cane and doesn’t require sulphur dioxide to preserve it. Light, unsulfured molasses is the most commonly sold in the United States. Unsulphured molasses can be light, dark, or blackstrap molasses, as long as they haven’t been treated with sulfur dioxide.

Shortening (Crisco)- This recipe calls for shortening. If you have an aversion to shortening, use all butter. Shortening helps cookies retain their shape, while butter gives cookies a nice flavor.

Sugar– You can swap out granulated sugar for light brown sugar.

Spices– Use fresh ground spices for best results and superior taste. If you can’t remember when you bought the spices in your cabinet, it may be time to replace them.

Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (3)

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Prepare the gingerbread cookie dough. Cream your butter, shortening, and sugar until smooth and light in appearance and creamy in texture. Next, add molasses, eggs, and vanilla. Eggs work best at room temperature for this recipe. Finally, mix together all of the dry ingredients and slowly add them to the mixing bowl until everything is fully incorporated.
  2. Chill the dough. Separate the gingerbread cookie dough into 2-3 discs and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for three hours or overnight. You can prepare the dough up to three days in advance. Also, at this point, you can freeze the dough for up to one month.
  3. Roll the dough and bake cookies. We like to use an adjustable rolling pin to get consistent cookie thickness, about 1/4 inch thick. Use additional flour to dust your work surface as you go. Some people also like to use powdered sugar instead of flour to dust.
Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (4)

How to Decorate Gingerbread

Use a basic royal icing recipe for simple gingerbread cookie decorations. No need for anything elaborate!

We also have a simple Three Ingredient Chocolate Glaze that hardens and would be a fun twist on classic gingerbread cookies.

Finally, you may want to try our famous Christmas Cookie Frosting. It is a crisping buttercream, which dries firm enough to be stacked lightly but does not entirely harden like royal icing.

Tips and Storage

Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired. Using piping bags, you can spread icing with a knife or dip cookies into a cookie glaze and add sprinkles.

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to five days.

To freeze gingerbread cookies, we recommend freezing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet for an hour, then transferring them to an airtight container where you can stack up to 3 months. Let them thaw on the counter for 2 hours before serving.

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If you love Christmas cookies, try our Best Chocolate Cut Out Cookie and our Best Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER. Let us know what you think!

Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (8)

Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Looking for the perfect soft gingerbread? Baking expert SweetSugarBelle shares her favorite gingerbread recipe, complete with step-by-step instructions and tips for creating this classic holiday cookie.


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  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, 625 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, optional


  • PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F.

  • CREAM together the shortening, butter, and granulated sugar. ADD the molasses and eggs and whip until light and fluffy.

  • SIFT all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, then use a measuring cup to add the dry ingredients about 1 cup at a time.

  • SEPARATE the dough into three equal pieces. WRAP it in plastic wrap and chill for three hours.

  • ROLL on floured parchment paper to about 1/4 an inch thick and cut into desired shapes. OPTIONAL- Place the cookies into the freezer for ten minutes before baking.

  • BAKE at 375° for 6-8 minutes for small cookies, 8-10 minutes for medium, and 10-15 minutes for large. Let cool, then decorate with vanilla royal icing.


This recipe calls for shortening. If you have an aversion to shortening, use butter or half butter, half shortening.

You may add more flour as you are rolling the cookies out if the dough is too sticky.


Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g

Author: Katrina Bahl

Original recipes and images © In Katrina’s Kitchen

Did you make this recipe?Tag @katrinaskitchen on Instagram with the hashtag #katrinaskitchenrecipes

Guest Post by Callye Alvarado

GUEST POST- My name is Callye Alvarado, better known as SweetSugarBelle.

I bake so many cookies that I’ve become pretty good at resisting the occasional nibble, but that goes away when I break out my soft gingerbread recipe. It’s so good, and I think everyone should try it. Even my husband, who’s not a gingerbread fan, admits it is good.

I hope you try our favorite gingerbread recipe! Thank you for inviting me to attend your annual cookie exchange, Katrina. I always have a blast! Happy holidays!

More Gingerbread Recipes

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All Recipes, Christmas, Christmas Cookie Tray Favorites, Cookies, Holidays, I'll Bring the COOKIES

posted on December 10, 2012 — updated April 2, 2024 // 17 comments

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    17 Comments on “Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies”

  1. Kenny DombroskyReply

    As an avid baker, I’m so embarrassed! After mixing all of the ingredients (I thought), I portioned it into 3 balls, wrapped them up, put them in fridge and discovered I forgot to add the vanilla. What am I supposed to do? Throw everything out, and start over?Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (12)

  2. MelissaReply

    Loved this recipe! Never made gingerbread cookies before, super tasty! I cut the shortening in half and increased the butter. It was a rainy humid day, so I only need 5 1/4 cup of flour, and I added a dash of all spice. Will make these every year for Christmas!

    You should now go checkout Katrina’s sugar cookies!Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (13)

  3. Vivien CurtisReply

    Love this recipe. Turned out great!Thanks!Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (14)

  4. ShannonReply

    Approximately how many dozen cookies does this recipe make?

  5. SheilaReply

    Best gingerbread cookies EVER!!Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (15)

  6. Tia TerrcotReply

    This is kinda confusing…. the flour first of all. 5-51/2 even sometimes 6? Then the extract. The fact that you said “SUCH AS” is just kinda suspicious. Like, are we supposed to use both? Anyway, for the extract I put a tsp of vanilla and 1/2 a tsp of pure lemon extract. it came out really nicely.

  7. AnnaReply

    how about a frosting recipe

  8. TrishReply

    I’m confused about how much flour to use…5 to 5 1/2 and sometimes 6 cups???

    • Simone

      I do not see where anyone’s questions are answered

    • Katrina Bahl

      This is not my recipe, so I cannot advise. I will be in touch with the author.

    • Colette Franklyn

      The 5-51/2 sometimes 6 cups of flour will come into play depending on how your batter comes in when mixed;Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (16)

  9. PatriciaReply

    Would love to bake the gingerbread biscuits. Can the molasses be substituted with golden syrup?
    Would this receipt be suitable to use for a gingerbread house?

  10. Meg FReply

    About how many dozen cookies will this recipie make?

    • Tia Terrcot

      Thats what i was wondering. With a small sized cookie you can make about 2 dozen. If it is for a big thing than you might want to double it.

  11. linda smartReply

    can u use all butter in this recipe or can we use coconut oil instead of shortening

  12. linda smartReply

    can u use all butter or instead of shortening,,,use coconut oil ?

  13. BrooklynReply

    These are the best tasting gingerbread cookies we have ever made. I don’t have shortening in our house so we always substitute the shortening with butter but it always turns out well. I’ve been asked for the recipe by other people. Thank you for sharing it!

Favorite Gingerbread Recipe for Soft Gingerbread Cookies (2024)


What makes gingerbread hard or soft? ›

Some gingerbread recipes require some time to soften after baking because they are initially firm. Gingerbread is made harder by molasses and honey, but it becomes softer when water is absorbed by the sugar.

Why are my gingerbread cookies soft? ›

Baking at too high of a heat.

To ensure even cooking, with crisp edges and soft centers, bake at a lower heat. Follow this tip: Bake gingerbread cookies at a reasonable 325°F in order to prevent them from burning before they are cooked through.

What are the three types of gingerbread? ›

The three distinct types of gingerbread are brown gingerbread, wafer-based gingerbread and honey gingerbread.

Why are my gingerbread cookies crunchy? ›

Keep in mind that the longer the cookies bake, the harder and crunchier they'll be. For soft gingerbread cookies, follow my suggested bake times. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

How do you make gingerbread less dry? ›

If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it comes together without being wet/sticky. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼" thickness. Use a gingerbread cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between each cookie.

What is the secret to soft cookies? ›

Baking cookies quickly in a hot oven – at 375 degrees F as opposed to a lower temperature – will make for soft results. They'll bake fast instead of sitting and drying out in the oven's hot air. Ever so slightly underbaking your cookies will give you softer results than cooking them the full amount the recipe says.

What is the secret to keeping cookies soft? ›

“To keep cookies soft, store them in an airtight container and not in a cookie jar,” Amanda recommends.

What makes a cookie more soft? ›

What Makes Cookies Soft?
  1. Brown sugar, as it has a high moisture content and retains moisture better than white sugar. ...
  2. Shortening instead of butter or in addition to butter. ...
  3. Baking powder instead of baking soda. ...
  4. Eggs, particularly egg yolks. ...
  5. Cake flour instead of all-purpose flour.
Oct 5, 2020

What makes gingerbread taste like gingerbread? ›

Spice Combinations

Some other common spices used in gingerbread recipes are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and allspice. Cinnamon is available in ground form and in a stick. For baking, you should use ground cinnamon. Nutmeg adds a nutty, sweet spiciness to gingerbread.

How has the gingerbread recipe changed over the years? ›

An early European gingerbread recipe involved making a paste of stale breadcrumbs, ground almonds, rosewater, sugar, and ginger. English recipes of the 16th century replaced the stale breadcrumbs with flour and added honey for a sweeter taste and lighter feel.

What is Victorian gingerbread? ›

gingerbread, in architecture and design, elaborately detailed embellishment, either lavish or superfluous. Although the term is occasionally applied to highly detailed and decorative styles, it is more often applied specifically to the work of American designers of the late 1860s and '70s.

Should gingerbread be soft or crunchy? ›

Gingerbread cookies should be soft. They should be supple. They should bend to your teeth before the cookie skin breaks and the crumbs fall all over you. They should retain a bit of elasticity, and maybe you can even leave your fingerprints on the cookie if you hold them too hard because you're just that excited.

Why did my cookies come out crunchy instead of soft? ›

Flour adds fluff and texture to the cookies. Adding too little flour can cause cookies to be flat, greasy, and crispy. Most recipes assume you'll use all-purpose, but if you want a lighter, crumblier cookie texture, choose one with a lower protein content such as cake-and-pastry flour.

How do I make my cookies chewy instead of crunchy? ›

How To Make Cookies Chewy Without Cornstarch
  1. Go heavy on brown sugar. It has more moisture than its granulated counterpart, which means the cookie comes out less crispy. ...
  2. Choose margarine or shortening instead of butter. ...
  3. Use baking powder instead of baking soda. ...
  4. Rest your dough. ...
  5. Shorten baking time.
May 14, 2023

Are gingerbread hard? ›

Gingerbread cookies should be soft. They should be supple. They should bend to your teeth before the cookie skin breaks and the crumbs fall all over you. They should retain a bit of elasticity, and maybe you can even leave your fingerprints on the cookie if you hold them too hard because you're just that excited.

Does gingerbread soften? ›

Decorate the gingerbread people with the icing. Allow icing to set completely before storing biscuits in an airtight container. The gingerbread will soften over time.

What makes gingerbread so strong? ›

A 1:4 ratio of butter to flour makes the gingerbread strong. Corn syrup keeps freshly baked gingerbread pliable and soft, so it's easy to cut while warm. Rolling the dough directly on parchment makes it easy to transfer to the pan.

Why is my gingerbread dense? ›

Under-baking can cause a sunken cake and over-baking can cause a dry one, so making sure your gingerbread is properly baked is critical! Gingerbread is inherently slightly dense and heavy in texture, but each bite is perfectly flavored and moist and just melts in your mouth.

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