Gingerbread Men Recipe

Gingerbread cookies are a classic during the holiday season. The flavors are reminiscent of warm homes, large gatherings of people, and happy celebrations. But when did the tradition of creating cookies in the shape of people come about?

According to Time, gingerbread men were first seen on Queen Elizabeth I's formal dinner party tables to represent people in her court. How funny is that image? Royal Queen Elizabeth I using little gingerbread cookies to represent people, acting out conversations and scenarios. And we thought it was impolite to play with our food?

Nevertheless, this custom carried on and now it is common for many homes to fill with gingerbread cookies this time of year. Families have fun decorating these gingerbread cookies with icing, candy, shredded coconut, chocolate, etc. Whether you leave them plain or you are a decorating pro, read below to learn how to make the best gingerbread men cookies.

Gather your ingredients to make gingerbread men cookies

To make these delicious gingerbread men cookies, the first step is to gather the necessary ingredients. The majority of these ingredients in this recipe are the warm spices that are typical of holiday baking. You know the ones! You will need butter, brown sugar, molasses, an egg, vanilla extract, flour, baking soda, saltt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, as well as icing and extras needed for decorating.

Prepare the wet ingredients

Like most cookie recipes, this one starts by preparing your wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add your softened butter as well as brown sugar. Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, beat until the butter and sugar are combined. "Softened butter is best here instead of cold or melted butter as the sugar and butter can be well-incorporated when the butter is soft," Carli explains. Once those are combined, add in your other wet ingredients: egg, vanilla and molasses. Give these a good mix, then you will be ready to proceed with your dry ingredients.

Prepare the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. This should start to smell delicious! Then, using a whisk, stir until all the spices have been well-incorporated into the flour. Because the spices are darker in color, you should be able to visually tell when the spices have been mixed well enough. No dark chunks will remain in the dry ingredients.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients to create cookie dough

Now, to create the cookie dough, add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer with the wet ingredients. As you will notice, these are a lot of dry ingredients. Don't fret! Place the bowl in the stand mixer and continue to beat until mixed together. Carli notes that "this dough will be very thick. Don't worry! Keep beating until you feel the dough has come together and is not crumbly."

Chill the dough then cut out gingerbread men

Next up, you must chill this dough for at least one hour. We asked Carli why this step is necessary, and she responded letting us know that "this dough has a high fat content so if we were to proceed with the dough without chilling, the gingerbread men would spread a lot during baking, losing their shape." Alright, she convinced us... we'll chill this dough.

Once the hour is up, preheat your oven to 350 F, then remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out into a large sheet, about ¼-inch thick. Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut several gingerbread men. Once you are left with scraps, press dough into a ball and roll out into another layer. Repeat until all of the dough is used and you've cut out all of the gingerbread men that you possibly can.

Bake and decorate your gingerbread men as desired

Once all of your gingerbread men have been cut out, place them one inch apart on several large baking sheets that have been covered in parchment paper. This will ensure that they do not spread in the oven and melt together. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're nice and golden.

Remove the gingerbread men from the oven and allow them to cool thoroughly, about 10 minutes. Then, once they are cool to the touch, you can begin decorating them. Carli recommends "using decorating icing gel because the tubes have a fine tip, which allow for more control when decorating." Feel free to add faces, buttons, and outfits to your gingerbread men. Then, once you are done decorating, you can snack on these festive and tasty gingerbread men cookies!

Gingerbread Men Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
Gingerbread cookies are a classic during the holiday season, and you can't beat the classic gingerbread man shape, which this recipe will help you achieve.
Prep Time
Cook Time
gingerbread men cookies on plate
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Optional Ingredients
  • white decorating gel
  • green decorating gel
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and brown sugar. Beat until combined.
  2. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the dry mixture into the bowl of stand mixer with the wet ingredients. Beat until combined.
  5. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the dough from the oven and roll it out into a ¼-inch thick layer.
  7. Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out several men. Place the gingerbread men on several large baking sheets, covered with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before decorating with the white and green gel.
Calories per Serving 158
Total Fat 5.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 19.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Total Sugars 11.5 g
Sodium 94.8 mg
Protein 2.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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