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Gingerbread People Recipe

Gingerbread People Recipe

These soft, chewy cookies are favorites of my grandchildren. They love helping me decorate them. —Joan Truax, Pittsboro, Indiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling YIELD:30 servings


  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 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 peel. 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 wrap. 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 7-9 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Recipe Note

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.

Nutritional 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.

Reviews for Gingerbread People

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brianneosborn User ID: 1758607 178495
Reviewed 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 User ID: 3872239 210471
Reviewed 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 User ID: 4007572 179122
Reviewed 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 User ID: 3132674 110628
Reviewed 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 User ID: 1228497 111277
Reviewed 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 User ID: 431682 165814
Reviewed 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 :)


kathy loyd User ID: 2193573 164274
Reviewed 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"

greenfaerae User ID: 1372022 104046
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2009

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

[email protected] User ID: 1329520 178492
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2009

"Wonderful flavor without being overpowering. I followed the receipe as written. The whole process went smoothly. The cookies were crunchy on the edges and soft/chewy on the inside. This cookie will most certainly become a part of my Holiday cookie making!!"

jeffsmithnc User ID: 4007572 179121
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2009

"Couple of things. I didn't have lemon peel or the cloves. Oops. Turned out well. It got late when we made the dough for it to sit in the fridge for 1/2 hour. So it was in there for 2 days until we could get back to it. Had a GREAT time with my girls making cookies. The only problem, the dough was VERY sticky. Just kept adding flour until workable. Turned out very well. We make a big box of cookies. The next morning they were all gone. WHAT! My wife was giving them away to the girls Sunday School teachers for gifts - the teachers LOVED the cookies. Guess I'll be making some more ... so I can have a few. Thanks."

maddylynne User ID: 4045921 143147
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2009

"Easiest dough I ever worked with!"

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