Grandma’s Gingerbread Men cookies are soft, perfectly spiced and great for decorating however you want. They taste just as good as they look, and are fun and easy to make.
Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
This recipe for Grandma's Gingerbread Men cookies was passed down to our family, and we are so happy to pass it along to you and yours. They are soft in the middle, a little crispy around the edges and so easy to make and decorate. Gingerbread cookies are a staple of holiday cookie baking, but let’s get real - they don’t always taste amazing. Grandma's recipe is different - these taste just as delicious as they look!
These Gingerbread Men cookies are flavored with plenty of molasses and the perfect amount of spice. Can’t you almost smell them baking?
If you are big on gingerbread flavor, but not big on decorating, you might also want to try our Soft Gingersnap Cookies or these Soft Molasses Cookies. Otherwise, we have provided you with additional recipes for both royal icing and buttercream frosting so you’ll have everything you need to get started.
Ingredients in Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe
- Butter - use unsalted, room temperature butter for these cookies. If you want to use salted butter, just reduce the amount of additional salt that you add.
- Sugar - this recipe calls for white granulated sugar.
- Eggs - any kind of large eggs will work.
- Molasses - this gives the cookies quite a bit of their flavor, color and even their soft texture.
- Flour - we use all-purpose flour for these cookies.
- Spices: we use a hefty dose of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in these Gingerbread Men cookies.
- Salt - sea salt works great.
How to Make Grandma's Gingerbread Men Cookies
- Make the cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter and sugar and cream using the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs in, then add the molasses and mix again until combined. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix just until combined. Check the bottom of the bowl and scrap as needed to make sure that everything has mixed completely.
- Chill the dough. Divide the dough in half, form into flat discs and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
- Roll and cut cookies. Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin lightly with flour then roll dough until it is about. ¼" thick. Cut cookies out into desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat) at least 1" apart.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are set and there is just a hint of golden brown color.
- Cool. Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
- Decorate. Decorate however you would like, and enjoy!
Decorating Gingerbread Cookies
Here are two different icing recipes for you to use when decorating Grandma’s Gingerbread Men cookies. We recommend making buttercream frosting if you plan to decorate with little ones, and royal icing if you want to get that clean "professional" look.
You could even make and decorate mini gingerbread men if you have a small cookie cutter, or use whatever shapes you like! Keep in mind that the bake time will vary depending on the size of your cookies. Smaller cookies will take slightly less time to bake.
Easy Royal Icing Recipe for Sugar Cookies
If you want a gingerbread men cookie icing that hardens fairly quickly and actually tastes good, this is your recipe. Since we use meringue powder, you also don’t need to worry about using raw egg whites.
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar (sifted)
- 5 Tablespoons Warm Water
- 3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
How to Make Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder
- Make sure all utensils are washed and grease-free.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together meringue powder and warm water with whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar to meringue mixture and whisk again. Once all sugar has been added, whip on high for several minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Separate frosting into several different bowls and color as desired - Gel food coloring works best.
- Thin the frosting out with ½ tsp water at a time (Note: when you pull a spoonful up, it should quickly dissolve back into itself and become smooth on top)
- Pour frosting into piping bags or squeeze bottles and decorate cookies as desired.
- To speed up the drying process, place frosted cookies in front of a fan.
- Freezing Royal Icing: Place frosting in a freezer bag or other covered container in the freezer for up to 12 hours. Before re-using, re-whip icing and add small amounts of water until you reach the correct consistency.
Buttercream Frosting for Gingerbread Men Cookies
Buttercream frosting is a tasty sugar cookie classic. It doesn’t set quite as shiny and clean as royal icing, but the taste can not be beat. You can keep the frosting plain white vanilla, or color and flavor however you’d like! A few of our favorite flavors include Eggnog Buttercream, Lemon Buttercream and Cinnamon Buttercream.
- ½ cup Butter (room temperature)
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 Tablespoons Milk
How to Make Buttercream Frosting
- Add the room temperature butter to your mixing bowl and then beat with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. You can also do this in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.
- Add half of the powdered sugar, all of the vanilla extract and half of the milk. Switch to a whisk attachment and whip until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and whip to combine. While continuing to whip, add the milk a half tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- If you have leftover buttercream frosting, you can store it in an airtight container in your fridge for a couple of weeks. When you're ready to use it again, just take the frosting out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. Whip until you have fluffy buttercream frosting again and use as desired.
Storing and Freezing Instructions
- Storing Gingerbread Men Cookies: You can store your decorated or undecorated gingerbread cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature. You can also store them in the fridge for up to 12 days as long as they are stored properly in a sealed container.
- Freezing Gingerbread Cookie Dough: Cookie dough freezes great! If you made too much, or simply don’t have the time to roll, cut, bake and decorate all of them at once, just freeze a portion for up to 3 months. You can freeze the dough as a flattened disc or rolled and cut shapes. Just be sure and wrap in plastic, then store in a freezer bag or another airtight container. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight. If you have frozen cut out shapes, you can transfer to baking sheets and bake immediately. Otherwise, let the dough come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, then roll, cut and bake as directed.
- Freezing Baked Gingerbread Cookies: You can also freeze baked cookies for up to 3 months, whether they have been decorated or not. Be sure to separate them with layers of parchment paper inside an airtight container and store frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, you can thaw either in the fridge or at room temperature.
- Be sure and chill your dough before cutting out and baking. This will help make sure that the cookies don’t spread in the oven. It will also be much easier to work with when it’s cold.
- Use flour when rolling out your cookies. You can even roll them out directly onto floured parchment paper for easy lifting and transferring to the fridge for a bit if the dough starts to get too warm.
- Do not overbake! Keep a close eye on the edges of your cookies and don’t let them go beyond a slight shade of golden brown.
- If you want crunchier Gingerbread Men cookies, roll your dough to more like ?” thickness. Your bake time will also decrease slightly.
Grandma's Gingerbread Men Recipe
- ½ cup Butter room temperature
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- ½ cup Molasses
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- ¾ tsp Cinnamon ground
- ¼ tsp Ginger ground
- ⅛ tsp Nutmeg ground
- ⅛ tsp Cloves ground
- 1 tsp Salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter and sugar and cream using the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs slowly, then add the molasses and mix again until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix just until combined. Check the bottom of the bowl and scrap as needed to make sure that everything has mixed completely.
- Divide the dough in half, form into flat discs and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin lightly with flour then roll dough until it is about. ¼" thick.
- Cut cookies out into desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat) at least 1" apart.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are set and there is just a hint of golden brown color.
- Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve as is or frost as desired. Enjoy!
- Baked gingerbread men freeze well in a covered container for up to three months.
- Gingerbread dough also freezes well up to 3 months. To thaw, just set frozen dough in the fridge for 24 hours before needed and then proceed with rolling and cutting directions.
Here are some more Christmas cookie recipes that we love:
- Heath Toffee Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Andes Mint Cookies
- Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting
- Soft Molasses Cookies
- Mint Chocolate Dipped Oreos
- Cranberry Orange Cookies
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Our Grandma’s Gingerbread Men cookies taste just as good as they look, and are fun and easy to make. They are soft, perfectly spiced and great for decorating however you want.