How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

Learn how to make gingerbread two ways—one recipe is for soft and chewy cookies, the other is for a sturdy and lavishly decorated Christmas cottage.

It’s time to break out the ginger, cinnamon and cloves, and learn how to make gingerbread cookies! You’ll want to master two types of gingerbread. The first is an ultra-soft and chewy treat, a staple on Christmas cookie trays. The second is a crisp version, perfect for fashioning a fairytale gingerbread house.

Can’t get enough gingerbread? Check out our complete guide for gingerbread cookies, houses, cakes and more.

Soft Gingerbread vs. Hard Gingerbread

The defining factor that separates the deliciously soft gingery cookie from the more sturdy versions is the use of a leavening agent. Leavens like yeast, baking soda and baking powder release carbon dioxide into your dough, making it lighter and giving baked goods a pleasantly chewy texture. Love gingerbread in all its forms? Get our complete gingerbread baking and decorating guide.

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

The Soft Kind

Taste of Home

The best way to make soft and chewy gingerbread is our recipe for Big Soft Ginger Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Additional sugar

Instructions

Step 1: Hand mixers at the ready

Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream together until it takes on a light, fluffy texture. In a separate bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set off to the side.

Step 2: Just beat it

Beat the egg and molasses into the butter and sugar. Add the flour mixture to the wet mix in small increments until the dough is thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Roll and bake

Preheat your oven to 350°. Roll the dough into small 1-1/2-in. balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.

The Sturdy Kind

Gingerbread Cutout CookiesTaste of Home

Use our recipe for Gingerbread Cutout Cookies to make gingerbread for a sturdy house.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Step 1: Making the dough

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until easy to handle, about 4 hours or overnight.

Step 2: Break out the cookie cutters

Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. For a house, set your template (download a PDF here) on the dough and cut out using a sharp knife. For cookies, use a shaped cookie cutter. Place the pieces on ungreased baking sheets.

Step 3: Bake and decorate!

Bake until edges are firm, 8-10 minutes for smaller pieces and 12-15 minutes for larger pieces. Remove to wire racks to cool. Then you can assemble and decorate your gingerbread house, cabin, man or woman.

Building a gingerbread house and baking whimsical gingerbread cookies are cherished Christmas traditions. It’s a wonderful opportunity to flex your creative muscles and also makes a terrific activity for kids and adults. Now that you know the how-to, here’s a little inspo for your next gingerbread masterpiece.

Find More Tasty Gingerbread Recipes
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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.