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Gingerbread People

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


2-1/2 dozen

These soft, chewy cookies are favorites of my grandchildren. They love helping me decorate them. —Joan Truax, Pittsboro, Indiana
Gingerbread People Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Decorating icing and assorted candies


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg, vanilla and lemon zest. In another bowl, whisk flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. gingerbread man cookie cutter.
  3. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake until edges are firm, 7-9 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
To decorate with Royal Icing: In a bowl, combine 2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water, 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. If desired, tint with food coloring and pipe with a pastry bag and small pastry tips. Keep unused icing covered at all times; beat again on high to restore texture as necessary. Yield: 1 cup icing.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie (calculated without decorations): 99 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 88mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch.

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  • dharriso
    Dec 29, 2012

    No comment left

  • brianneosborn
    Dec 22, 2011

    I love soft gingerbread cookies, saw this recipe had received high marks, so I was super excited to try it. I would not, however, bother making it again.The recipe yields a fantastic classic gingerbread flavor, which is why I rated this 2 stars instead of zero. The dough was unworkable. In fact the first batch I made was so dry and crumbly I had to throw it away. Sure that I had done something wrong, I carefully mixed up another batch, only to get the same result. I decided to keep the 2nd batch and use my cookie scoop, which was still tricky. I rolled them in sugar crystals and baked. I ended up with decent cookies, but it was way too frustrating to make it worthwhile.

  • raceywlf
    Dec 17, 2010

    first time making gingerbread cookies. loved this recipe. i cut them into snowmen, and bears, which I decorated with white frosting,into boy and girl outfits, turned out so cute.the only problem I had with the dough, was that it cracked showing lines, other than that exc. will do again.

  • jeffsmithnc
    Dec 21, 2009

    Is anyone's dough very sticky when rolling it out and cutting? Mine is. Have to add bunch of flour. Any ideas? They are GOOOOOD though.

  • lspiess
    Dec 17, 2009

    They turned out really good and looked perfect when cooked. I had no cloves so used a little nutmeg and apple pie spice and it worked fine. I didn't decorate to look like men but used powdered sugar icing and tiny peppermint candy cane sprinkles. They looked really cute and the peppermint flavored sprinkles gave it a great taste!

  • karenbuttke
    Dec 17, 2009

    Cookies are very good - definitely a keeper!!Just decorated them with mini M&Ms and green and red sugar and they look terrific.Grandma in WI

  • Alouette
    Dec 17, 2009

    The first gingerbread recipe that I loved.....soft inside & very tasty. Only negative is that I tended to hold it too tightly while decorating & lost a couple of arms & legs. I quickly learned to hold them in the middle, not by an arm or leg :)Missygiraffe

  • kathy loyd
    Dec 17, 2009

    I love this receipe, I made one huge gingerbread boy for my son and decorated it. He was thrilled. Very easy and quick. Thanks TOH

  • wheattreat
    Dec 16, 2009

    No comment left

  • greenfaerae
    Dec 12, 2009

    Made this recipe last year and I am so excited to make it again this year! It was perfect.