Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


5 dozen

Updated: Aug. 24, 2023
Add a little snow hat (complete with a pompom) to a classic gingerbread shape to create adorable gingerbread Santas. —Christy Thelen, Kellogg, Iowa


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


  1. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half; shape each into a disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate, covered, until firm enough to roll, 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut 60 gingerbread men using a floured 3-1/2-in. cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. If desired, cut sixty 1-1/4-in. triangles for hats; attach to gingerbread cutouts, pressing edges to seal. If desired, cut sixty 1/4-in. circles; attach to hats for pompoms.
  3. Bake cookies until edges are firm, 8-10 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
  4. Tint some of the frosting red; use red frosting for hats and buttons. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry bag or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; insert #3 round pastry tip. Fill bag with white frosting; pipe faces and trim on hands and feet. Using a #16 star pastry tip, pipe decorations on hats.
Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts Tips

What's the best way to roll out gingerbread cookie dough?

For best results, let your gingerbread cookie dough chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Use that time to set up a large, clean area for rolling.
When the dough is chilled, follow our Test Kitchen's tips for rolling out cookie dough: Start by lightly dusting the countertop with flour, but use it sparingly (too much will make the cookies stiff). Then use your favorite rolling pin and roll the cookie dough from the center. Take your time and roll to an even thickness. Working cookie dough repeatedly makes it tough, so try your best to cut out as many cookies as you can within two rolls of the dough.

What's the best frosting for decorating gingerbread cookies?

When it comes to decorating gingerbread cookies, royal icing is our Test Kitchen's preferred frosting. This icing is perfect for piping designs, and can be dyed any color you like for your holiday designs. It also doesn't need to be refrigerated, so decorated gingerbread men can sit out at room temperature until you're ready to enjoy. If you're new to royal frosting, check out our go-to royal icing recipe. You can also use this frosting to assemble your gingerbread house!

What are some ideas for decorating gingerbread?

Decorating gingerbread, much like decorating sugar cookies, is a great way to show off your creative chops. Try these fun gingerbread cookie designs—all of which use classic cookie-cutter shapes. And if you want to go frosting-free, try using an embossed rolling pin. This tool gives your cookies detail without extra decorating.

How long will decorated gingerbread men last?

For the best flavor and texture, eat decorated gingerbread men within a week of baking. If you want to extend their shelf life, stash the cookies in the freezer; they'll keep for up to six months.

Lisa Kaminski, Taste of Home Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 78 calories, 2g fat (2g saturated fat), 9mg cholesterol, 64mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.