These gingerbread cut-out cookies are easy to mix, cut, bake and decorate. This is a favourite family recipe that never fails.
This reliable recipe for traditional gingerbread cut-out cookies is one I’ve used for many years. It makes sturdy cut-out cookies that are fun to decorate. Gather your kids in the kitchen and make some memories!
Our Christmas is steeped in tradition, but with an expanding family, we’re flexible enough to let go of the customs that no longer work. We love to embrace new ones that do. Our Christmas Day routines vary each year depending on which members of our extended family can join us.
We’ve hung on to many traditions: baking Nana’s Butter Tarts, watching the youngest child placing the angel at the top of the tree, finding an orange in the toe of our stockings, and pulling and popping Christmas crackers when we all sit down to dinner.
Now that our kids have families of their own, I cherish seeing them maintain some of the traditions they grew up with and, at the same time, I love seeing the new ones they’ve developed, too.
Our holiday diets have changed significantly, too. With some family members with gluten and dairy intolerances, rich cheesecake for dessert and gooey cinnamon buns for breakfast have been replaced with other healthier choices.
But one tradition that has stood the test of time has been our annual gingerbread cookie-making day. Some can eat them, some can’t, but we still make them anyway, just because it’s fun. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy decorating little gingerbread men and women!
This recipe for reliable gingerbread cut-out cookies has been tweaked over the years until it is the way we like it. It has just the right amount of ginger (not too spicy) and just the right amount of molasses (not too strong).
These cookies are sweet, but not too sweet. They’re sturdy enough to hold their shape, but tender and soft when you bite them. In short, they’re perfect!
We pipe decorations on them with a simple mixture of powdered sugar mixed with a tiny bit of lemon juice.
Tips for Making Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
Choose which kind of molasses you like. In my experience, kids find regular molasses too strong, so I use the lighter fancy molasses.
If you’re planning to bake with kids, make the dough ahead of time, as it has to chill for 30 minutes. Rolling, cutting and baking is often the most fun with young children who don’t like to wait!
To make the decorating icing, start with a small amount of lemon juice and add more, a drop or two at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Then use a piping bag and decorating tip set to draw faces and buttons on gingerbread people or to decorate Christmas trees and stars.
Add sprinkles or coloured sugar if you like.
Can I freeze these Gingerbread Men?
Yes, these cookies freeze beautifully, even when they have been decorated. Even without freezing, they stay fresh for a week or more. Lay them flat in an airtight container and put sheets of parchment paper or paper towel in between the layers.
I hope baking gingerbread men becomes one of your family’s holiday traditions, too!
Traditional and Reliable Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup fancy molasses
- 1 egg
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, then add molasses, and egg. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed or until well combined.
- Whisk together flour and remaining ingredients.
- Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients by hand until well blended.
- Press dough into 3 balls, flatten slightly and chill for 30 to 60 minutes before rolling.
- Roll out 1/8 inch thick, cut with cookie cutters and transfer to baking sheet.
- Bake at 350° F. for 8 - 10 minutes.
- Cool 2 minutes before removing from pan. To make icing, mix 1 cup powdered sugar with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Use a piping bag to decorate once the cookies are completely cool.
These Zebra Cookies are fun for kids to make, too.
Kitchen Items I Recommend
This recipe was originally published in 2015. I have updated it with new tips and nutritional information.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on any of the affiliate links and make a purchase within a certain time frame, I’ll receive a small commission. The commission is paid by the third party, not by you. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.