Looking for the perfect gingerbread cookie recipe? Here you go! These cookies keep their shape, and won't spread during baking! Pick up a gingerbread cookie cutter here, and get baking!
There are few things more disappointing than baking cookies to decorate and having them spread out like a pancake during the baking process. That Santa? Looks like Africa. Snowflake? A meteor. Ain't nobody got time for that!
Really though, it's disappointing. I've been doing some research, and while recommendations range from chilling dough, to increasing oven temp, to using better baking sheets — I'm convinced that omitting baking powder is key. You'll notice that this recipe has NONE. Perhaps it wouldn't be an issue (I haven't made this recipe WITH baking powder), but I was so impressed at the zero spreading that I wouldn't go any other way.
As for chilling the dough, this was a BIG mistake for this recipe. The chilling is fine, but then you MUST bring it back to room temperature before rolling and cutting. I didn't do this for my first batch and was starting to think I'd lost my cookie-mojo: the dough was strangely dry and crumbly, resulting in ugly cracked cookies. Then, I used the same dough only warmed to room temperature and it was PERFECT. Soft, moist, easy to work with. I've never encountered a dough quite like that before! Usually cold = good. NOT ANYMORE!
So go make some cookies this weekend, get some red hots (if you can find them!) to decorate with, and ENJOY!Print
Gingerbread Cookies That Won't Spread
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 9 mins
- Total Time: 19 minutes
- Yield: 24 1x
This gingerbread recipe makes tasty cookies that hold their shape, perfect for holiday decorating!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup molasses (unsulphured is best, DO NOT use blackstrap)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- 1-3 teaspoon milk ONLY IF NEEDED*
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Whisk the flour, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until they've just come together (we don't want them too light and fluffy).
- Add the egg, and mix until incorporated.
- Add the molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest (if using). Mix until incorporated.
- Slowly mix in the flour mixture until your dough forms. If your dough is remarkably dry (this can happen depending on how you measure your flour), add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it comes together but is not wet/sticky.
- Roll out on a lightly floured surface to ¼" thickness. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-9 minutes.
- If you're not immediately making the cookies, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate (or freeze) until you are ready to use it. Before using, bring to room temperature.
*Depending on how you measure flour, the amount that ends up in your recipe could greatly differ from mine. I whisk my flour, then gently scoop and level. If you end up with a really dry mixture at the end, I'd guess you have more flour than I do — just add TINY amounts of milk until it comes together, being careful not to over-do it.
Looking for more cookie recipes? Here are bunch of my favorites (and see more HERE!):
Fresh Cranberry Almond Soft Batch Cookies
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Chocolate Almond Espresso Shortbread Cookies
Salty Honey Cookies
this sounds perfect! But one question, should the butter be softened or refrigerated?
Thanks, Denise! The butter should definitely be room temperature — I've updated the ingredients list to make that more clear! Thanks for asking! xo
I did today for my tree , and I loved it !!! Perfect thanks .
They look delicious! Do you know how long you can keep these refrigerated before using?
Thanks! Do you mean baked or unbaked in the fridge?
Oh, I'm sorry, I meant how long can you refrigerate the dough before cutting and baking cookies? I have a lot of company this weekend and want to prep as much as possible!
Aha! I would try to make it within 24 hours of baking, but I bet that could be stretched to 48... I just worry about it drying out a little bit. Whenever you make it, definitely wrap it up nice and tight! Also: you could freeze it, if it's going to be more than 24 hours! I shape my dough into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and stick it in the freezer until the morning I want to use it. Or, transfer to the fridge the night before. Have a great weekend!
Libby Baker says
I find that when you're planning on refrigerating rolling cookie recipes like this one for a day, you can decrease the flour by 1/4 cup.
Can I just use the ground ginger SPICE instead of fresh produce? I don't have the gadget/grater to grind well. If so should I reduce the measurement?
Hi Jolyn — YES! That's what I actually meant for you to use (so don't reduce!)... sorry for being unclear! Enjoy!
Are these cookies soft and chewy, or hard?
They're definitely not hard, as long as you don't overbake them! I wouldn't necessarily call them chewy, though. Soft, yes! Enjoy!
Thanks for the reply! Merry Christmas!
is your dough sticky? Mine was super sticky couldn't do anything with it.
Before refrigerating, it's definitely sticky! Was yours still sticky after chilling? If so, add more flour!
But she says not to chill...mine is so sticky. I find using cups really hard.
Does the dark brown sugar make much of a difference? I'd prefer to use light as it's what I always have on hand.
I wouldn't worry about it, as long as you aren't using WHITE sugar! Enjoy, Melissa!
What happens if you use white sugar??? I just did!
Ha! I guess you'll find out! (but really, I'm not totally sure... the texture/flavor might be slightly different, but it'll still be sweet and delicious, I think!) Good luck!
hey, how long will these keep once cooked? I'm making food hampers for Christmas and I don't want to risk making them too early!
Hi Laura! I think you could make these 3-4 days in advance, if you keep them in an airtight container! Enjoy!
rose marie says
These cookies hold their shape fabulously! They are a little heavy. Good flavour but not quite perfect taste for me.
I followed the recipe exactly, weighed my ingred., except went a little light on the lemon peel. Good gingerbread cookie recipe.
I have a delicious gingerbread cookie recipe but they do spread, looking like a cross between grizzly bears and buffalo. I will try this recipe and add a pinch of cardamom. I think that's what makes my recipe taste so good.
Yum! Sounds great, Sherry!
l am so very confused. Followed directions to a T and there is not enough liquid. Am l missing something?
Hi Anne! Sorry to hear they're too dry! Without seeing all of your ingredients, I'm not sure what to tell you! Was it still too dry after letting it rest in the fridge? If so, I'd put it in a food processor and gently pulse it with 1 tsp more of liquid at a time. Good luck!
Hi, I want to make these but do not see any "rest in the refrigerator time" in the recipe but saw you mention it a few times. Do you always let it rest in the refrigerator or is it optional and for how long?
Hi Annalize! I deliberately don't call for refrigerating the dough — but if you look at the very last instruction, I say you CAN refrigerate if you need to: just bring the dough back to room temperature before proceeding. It's pretty tricky to work with when it's cold! Enjoy!
Glad to see people are still active on this post--I've been sharing this as my favorite gingerbread recipe!
@Anne I've also thought it's a bit too dry, but I add a generous helping of fresh orange zest and somehow the citrus oils combined with just letting it rest at room temperature in a bowl make it magically into a smooth dough.
Also, I don't think the baking powder is related to spreading since it usually just makes things fluffy. I've added 1tsp to it and the cookies turn out soft and chewy, just perfect! I'd guess that the lack of spreading is due more to slightly less molasses and butter than I've seen in other recipes. Either way, I'm amazed at how perfectly these turn out, and they keep really well too. Thanks for this!
Ashley Stefani says
Thank you so much! I made these with my toddler today and this is by far the BEST gingerbread recipe I have ever used. Thank you for sharing!
Yay! So glad to hear it, Ashley! Xo
Hi! I was wondering if this recipe is ideal for making small gingerbread houses? Would it hold together or crumble?
Hi Eunice! I haven't tried it for making gingerbread houses, so I can't say with certainty... but I think if you baked it a little longer, it would work great! Let me know how it goes! xo
Have you tried making a triple or larger batch at once? I need to make a ton of these and I'm trying to cut down on batches if possible. Thanks!
I haven't tried making a huge batch, but as long as your mixer can handle it there shouldn't be a problem!
These gingerbread men look perfect! Do they make a softer or crisp cookie after cooked?
They are fairly soft (unless you over-bake them...)!
Best gingerbread recipe I have come across! They have been flying out of the tin today at work!
Yay! Thanks, Rosie — I'm glad to hear it! xo
I have just tried making these following the instructions but the dough seems to just break when I try to lift during rolling and cutting. Any advice? It's very sticky.
Hmm, did you try adding more flour? Or using plenty of flour for rolling? I'm assuming it isn't crumbly, if it's sticky, but breaking due to lack of flour. I hope it works out!
This recipe worked like a charm with my cookie cutter and stamper. The dough was the right consistency, not too sticky or too dry. The shape held up very well during baking. The taste is also great! I will be adding this to my recipe book for future use. Thanks so much!
Yay! So glad they worked for you, Eva!! xo
These were by far the WORST tasting gingerbread cookies I've ever had and gingerbread cookies are my favorite. Did I do something wrong? I see everyone saying how good they were and I thought they tasted like cardboard......#gross
These were by far the WORST tasting gingerbread cookies I’ve ever had and gingerbread cookies are my favorite. Did I do something wrong? I see everyone saying how good they were and I thought they tasted like cardboard……#gross
So sorry they didn't work out for you, Sara! I hope you find another recipe you love! xo
Heinz Probst says
Made the recipe as published. Wonderful results. I really like the fact they don,t run at the edges. Out of the bowl,rolling pin, saran wrap and gingerbread men in 9 minutes. Now to decorate and make another batch.
BTW can you double the recipe?
Hi Heinz! I'm so glad you enjoyed the cookies!
You absolutely can double the batch, as long as your equipment can handle it! Enjoy! xo
This is the first time I made gingerbread men. I have family from Canada coming to the UK next week. How far in advance can i ice them. They taste fab☺ x
Hi Janette! The icing will depend on what kind of icing you're using, but will definitely last longer than the cookies! I'd make sure you don't make the cookies more than a few days ahead of time. Enjoy! xo
Can't bake cookies to save my life says
So, I really suck at cookies. I'm OK with cakes, I'm OK with pies but I mess up cookies with a depressing regularity.
Each time I've tried gingerbread men, they spread all over the baking sheet like mad. I found this recipe and thought I'd found the solution to my problem. I followed the instructions to a T, and found myself with a dough so sticky that I couldn't even roll it, because it stuck so badly to both the rolling pin and the counter. I eventually managed to painstakingly form two baking sheets worth of misshapen (because of the sticky dough) ginger bread men, but after they were cooked, while they did keep the shape they had when i put them into the oven, they were fairly hard and dry; not a very pleasant texture at all. Also, the taste was so-so (too much ginger and not enough cloves for my taste). By comparison, the last recipe I tried (Cora's ginger men) looked absolutely ludicrous when I made them but tasted great and had a nice -- if a bit crumbly -- texture.
... (Just had a look at Cora's website, and they changed the flour quantity from 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups flour since the screen capture I used; perhaps it's worth trying again)
Nicole Fresa says
Thank you so much! I thought I was doing something completely wrong :')
What liquid do you recommend adding if the dough is dry and crumbly?
Hi Keith! I think milk would be the best option here, but be careful and add only a little bit at a time. It's likely that the texture is going to change substantially if you're adding liquid at the end (you're going to activate the gluten by mixing it more and more), so if you have time: let the dough rest (overnight in the fridge if you can!) as much as you can. Good luck!
What kind of molasses is best to use?
Hi Carolyn! Dark (sulphured) is best, but just not blackstrap!! Enjoy!
I used Blackstrap. The recipe didn't say not to use it. The dough is crumbly and tastes too strong.
Sorry, Vashti! I'll update the recipe now.
I just made these and they don't spread at all, it was awesome! And the bake time was spot on as well, even in my very sad rental apartment oven.
I had to use gluten free flour (for a mixed dietary crowd). If you need to use GF flour as well, I recommend using just a wee bit more moisture, the flour made them a bit crumbly and I didn't realize until after I took them out of the fridge to reach room temp (going into the ziploc it looked fine, coming out they needed about a tablespoon more moisture).
Thank you for the great recipe!
Yay! Thanks for the gluten-free tips, April! xoxo
Cheri p says
I just tried these cookies, I'm a terrible baker but these were super easy and are abosulutely the best tasting gingerbread cookies I've ever had, 'my grandkids love them and they did not spread at all, I rolled the dough out to quarter of an inch, they turned our perfect.
So glad you liked it, Cheri! xo
Made these yesterday and baked them 1 minute longer because they appeared to need it, still not browned in the end, however, outside is hard as rock, the inside a "very" dense chew, inedible! The flavour is also very strong. The batter seemed dry but they rolled out great and held firm during baking, they just didn't result well in flavour or texture. I am no expert but felt this recipe was very finicky. Will try something different next time. Hoping to put holes in them for tree decorations, so they are not totally wasted.
I just read the comment above and I did use black strap, presumably this is where the strong flavour came from, not sure if it impacts texture. If that's my issue, I would try these again.
This recipe looked great for Christmas baking. I attempted it this morning and followed the recipe - although I'll admit I may have overheat the butter and brown sugar. The dough came out very crumbly and was impossible to roll out. So I gave it another go and the same thing happened. Not sure what I'm doing wrong here.
Sorry it isn't working for you Nancy! I wish I knew how to help! xo
Perfect! I agree with Caitlin - adding a teaspoon of baking powder just makes them a little fluffier, but the edges are still crisp. No spreading at all! 😀
My only issue was that they seemed overly spicy. Although, oddly enough, after they'd sat in tupperware for a day they seemed to not have that problem as much. Still, next time I make them I'm going to cut the ground ginger down to 75% of the suggested (because I think it was the ginger that was too much). I want these to be a crowd-pleaser and very spicy cookies are not for everybody.
Added a little store-bought icing to decorate. Amazing!
Thanks for the tips, Gillian!! I'll have to re-make these this year to see about altering spice — it's been a while (and I do definitely love spicy cookies!). Have a wonderful rest of your year! xo
just tried this recipe, followed all instructions but the dough turned out WAY TOO DRY. needed to add lots of water for the recipe to work-
Sorry to hear it Miche! I'm thinking of changing the instructions to be by weight so that we're all measuring flour in the same way... I think that really throws it off depending on how you scoop! Hope they turned out in the end. xo
These were great!! Came out perfect and I could taste all the spices!!
Loved it so much, I'm making a second batch!
Thanks for sharing the recipe!!
Thanks, Deborah!! I'm so glad you liked them! xo
Very confusing recipe. You said not to refrigerate, or at least bring to room temperature. So soft and sticky it can't be rolled and cut. In a reply to a comment about this, you asked if it was sticky even after refrigeration. Another, did you add more flour. The flavor is delicious, but the instructions leave a lot to be desired.
Hi Kitty! Sorry for the confusion — I never know what tweaks other people are doing in their kitchen, so various approaches seem like the best trouble-shooting method from a distance! I'm open to any better one-size-fits-all instruction suggestions you have.
After being baked, how long do they keep when being stored in a tin or plastic container?
Hi Claudia! These are definitely best within the first few days, but I think they'd last about a week! Enjoy! xo
So I just got finished making these for my daughter's first grade class. They are having a holiday party tomorrow where the one and only activity happening is decorating THESE gingerbread people. I don't know where I got the nerve to volunteer to bake all the gingerbread cookies considering I don't think I've ever made them before, and then I found this no spread recipe. The comments on this thread left me conflicted whether or not to make this recipe, but I went for it. So glad I did. It was simple. The dough came out great. The cookies are picture perfect. Please don't let the comments sway you from making this recipe. The taste/ texture, was a little different, which made me understand some of the comments, but still delicious! (I added a little nutmeg also).
**I decided to add a little bit of baking powder (1/2 teaspoon about)... once the dough was made I decided it looked like I would have no room for error because I'm making for an entire 1st grade class so I decided to make a second batch. In the second batch just for an experiment I left out the baking powder as the recipe suggests... There was no contest! The batch WITHOUT the baking powder was most definitely the clear winner here. The baking power made them chewy, but it's a very dense cookie so it was just not as good as the version without the baking powder.
Hi Jillian! Thanks for the detailed comment — I'm so happy you took the time to test baking powder vs. not, and share the results! So glad these worked out well for you and the kiddos! xo
Jillian: Hi. My mom and I am considering trying this recipe. I would like to know..... when you made the recipe WITH baking powder, did they keep their shape and did they rise a lot? Were the ones WITHOUT b. powder hard and crunchy? My mom and I are looking for a recipe that keeps shape, but are not super-hard (She has weak teeth). Thanks.
Hi KB! I can't speak for Jillian, or for making them WITH bp, but the recipe without bp is not hard and crunchy — as long as you don't overbake them. Take them out when they don't look done, and they'll firm up but stay soft! Good luck! xo
Thank you, Mary.
Laura V says
Thanks for a great sounding recipe and the science behind why they won't spread or crack. I need to make a large batch for a cookie decorating class, and need to calculate how many batches I should make. Your recipe yields 24 cookies- can you tell me how thick you roll your dough and what is the approximate measurement of your cookie cutter?
Hi Laura! I roll my dough to 1/4" thickness, and my cookie cutters are roughly 2"x4". Good luck!!
As far as the recipe goes, these turned out perfectly. The dough was not wet or dry for me. Very easy to work with. The baking time was perfect in my convection oven. I can’t comment on the taste just yet because I am dieting and will have to wait until my husband gets home to try them. I did use the lemon zest but it’s funny because I’ve never seen lemon zest in a gingerbread cookie recipe. That’s why I had to try it. I’ll come back to let you know how he liked them. Thanks for posting.
Thanks for the great feedback, Diane! Hopefully you can sneak at least a bite!! xo
I just pinned several of your cookie recipes and I can't wait to get busy cooking!!! I especially am interested in the chocolate crinkle cookie. Wondering if adding cinnamon would work? I'm remembering a recipe my mom and I made several years ago. It had Saigon cinnamon in it. Well, we lost that recipe! Maybe your chocolate cookie will be the one? My fingers are crossed!
Oooh yum! I think the chocolate crinkles would absolutely work with cinnamon in them — I've never tried it, but it sounds delicious! I often make them with peppermint extract in them, but will have to try cinnamon! Enjoy, Ruthann! xo
They look amazing! Are they a crunchy or chewy cookie?
Thanks, Sadie! Definitely more chewy, unless you over-bake them (which is easy to do). Take them out before they look done!
Jeanne DelVecchio says
Never made gingerbread men before, OMG! Until today with your recipe. Followed it to a T. I'm not going to decorate them, going to "glue" edible glue, and put them all around a cake.
What a cute idea!! Thanks for sharing, Jeanne!! xo
I followed the recipe and it was crumbly and non-moldable (if that's even a word?) so I needed to add 1/4th cup of water and it turned out perfectly! Definitely would make again!
Sorry to hear it didn't work at first, Jessie — but so glad you figured out a way to get it functional! xo
I just made these with my son and they taste great and don’t spread! My dough turned out too dry so I added another 2-3 tablespoons of molasses and it was perfect. I’m bad about exact measurements with flour, so I probably added too much. The dough rolled out easily (on powdered sugar rather than flour), didn’t stick to the counter or cutter, and baked perfect in the 8-9 minutes. I also made minis which turned out super cute! Thank you! I’ve never had a successful gingerbread cookie recipe!
Thanks for sharing, Shannon! What a great tip — rolling out on powdered sugar instead of flour! Glad these worked for you two! xo
They came out great! This was my first time making ginger bread men. When I first mixed them it was a little to dry. It would crumble when I tried taking it out of the bowl. I wrapped in plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour to see if the moisture would even out and bind it better. That didn't work. So I put it back in the mixing bowl with a splash of milk. That did the trick. After rolling and cutting a bunch of cookies the scraps were starting to get a bit dry from my floured surface. I just returned them to the bowl and added a dribble of milk and mixed until it reached the right texture again. I was able to get a lot more cookies that way. I was a little unsure about baking times. I read in your comments to take them out just a little before they looked done. I had no idea what that meant since I've never made and sort of gingerbread cookie before but I just stuck with 8 minutes. It worked out perfect!! Now they're in the freezer to wait until I need them for our family cookie decorating party.
Thanks for the helpful tips, Leah! I'm glad you were able to figure it out and make these work for you! xo
This recipe tastes awful. Yes, they don’t spread but the dough is so bland and dry.
Followed the recipe and they spread into big blobs 🙁 Any advice?
Hi Jessica! So sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, if you really followed the recipe closely ... I have no idea why they turned into blobs. Sorry!
Hi! I was wondering how well these freeze?
Hi Katrina! I wish I could be more helpful here, but I've actually never frozen them. Are you thinking of freezing the dough, or the finished/baked cookies? I think freezing the dough would be the better option, but then make sure it comes back to room temperature before working with it. Good luck!
Hi there, thanks for sharing the recipe. My cookies came out great in shape and flavour. At first the dough seemed wet but when I chilled it for about ten minutes, it was pleasantly pliable. Unfortunately, my cookies came out very hard. I baked them in a fan forced oven at 180 for 9-10 min. Should I be tweaking something? Thank you.
Hi Vanan! The only thing I can think of is just baking them for less time — all ovens run a bit different, and especially if you are using convection they will get done faster. Good luck! xo
I followed the recipe and they turned out great! I did need a splash of milk. I made the dough and let my preschool class roll it and cut out gingerbread men. This dough was perfect, not too sticky or dry so it was easy for the kids to work with , I needed very little flour for rolling out the dough Thank you!
Thanks for the feedback, Lisa! I'm glad this worked out for you all! xoxo
Should I be using vanilla or vanilla extract for this gingerbread recipe?
Hi Lisa! Use pure (aka real) vanilla extract! It should be liquid. Enjoy! xo
Gina H. says
I have never attempted to make gingerbread cookies before but am so glad I tried this recipe. The one thing I didn't want were puffy looking cookies and they are not. They look absolutely perfect and dare I say professional? I took them to a party and they were all gone by the time the party was over. We loved that they were chewy and smelled wonderful. I will be putting this in with my holiday must haves.
Thanks for the wonderful review, Gina! I'm so glad these worked well for what you wanted! xoxo
Do I have to use unsalted butter? I only have salted butter
Hi Heidi! You can definitely use salted butter — just cut down the amount of salt you add to the recipe. In general, baking recipes call for unsalted butter so that you have more control over the amount of salt, and because unsalted butter is (generally) higher quality. If all you have is salted, you can definitely use it and make adjustments as needed! Enjoy! xo
I live in a small town in NZ and can only get blackstrap molasses - why shouldn’t I be using it? I made a batch last week and used maple syrup instead (had problems with dough sticking to everything including my cutters so ended up just hand rolling them into rounds. Any tips??
Hi Megan! Blackstrap is just too dense and bitter — it really isn't a replacement for regular molasses. This article describes the differences nicely! I can imagine maple syrup made incredibly sticky dough! I wish I had an answer for you, but I'm honestly not sure what to recommend. The internet says dark corn syrup could be a replacement, but the flavor here is also so essential!! Best of luck!
Will these work if I have light brow sugar it’s all I have and the roads are bad where I live and i don’t want to have to go get dark brown sugar from the store
Hi Eden — Go for it! It shouldn't change the recipe all that much. Enjoy! xo
Carmel Bergin says
Mary, your gingerbread men are lovely without baking powder, but grey font is difficult to read.
Ha! Thanks, Carmel. You're totally right about the font color — I'd never really thought of that! I just ran it through a WCAG color contrast tester (for web accessibility), and indeed it FAILS at the strictest level. I'll look into improving that right now! Thanks for pointing it out 🙂
Thank you for sharing this. We baked some of these wondeful, gorgeous cookies tonight and I could not be happier. The dough was beautiful to work with, like play dough. And the cookies are delightful to eat. It has been added to the family binder. Thank you for sharing your talent. And I had to add that your grace in the comments is impressive and inspiring.
So glad you enjoyed these, Drea! Thanks for the kind words! xo
I'd like to offer some advice for issues I've read here from various individuals.
First, every recipe you find is going to take trial and error on your part to get the best results. Everyone is using different brands of raw ingredients which makes a huge difference in the end result. For example, different flour brands require different amounts of liquid to reach the same saturation point. Also, as some have mentioned, how you measure has a direct affect on your dough. That is why recipes with weights are the best option. Keep a notebook and weigh all your ingredients as you measure them out and note the brands you used. If your recipe came out perfect, you now have a go-to weighted recipe for the future. If not, try again using different amounts of dry or weight ingredients needed depending on where your problem was.
All cookie doughs that require rolling should be rolled in powdered sugar as opposed to flour. The more flour you keep incorporating into the dough will create gluten formation and make a tougher cookie. Sugar is a wet ingredient while flour is a dry ingredient. Adding more flour can also create a dry dough and cookie.
My secret to handling delicate, sticky dough is the use of plastic wrap. Sandwich your dough in between two pieces of plastic wrap, with the bottom piece dusted with powdered sugar (you can dust the top if neccessary), and roll away. Your rolling pin will never stick because it doesn't come in contact with the dough. I also use this method for pie dough. Plastic wrap easily pulls away from the dough. Cut your shapes then lift the bottom piece up to remove the cut outs by letting the cut outs fall into your had as opposed to picking them up. If the dough is too sticky to cut or still distorts out of shape using this method, freeze the dough for about 10 minutes, after you roll it out, until it's very firm, but not frozen. Then cut, transfer to the baking sheet, and let the cut outs come back to room temperature before baking.
When using convection, you'll need to lower your temperature. Convection just bakes "hotter." As with all cookies, if it looks done in the oven, they are over cooked.
I've never posted to a website like this before, but this recipe is identical to the base recipe I used a long time ago, except mine had both baking powder and baking soda added, to create my own weighted recipe that I've now been using for many years with excellent results. So, I know it works.
Also, please remember that how something tastes is a personal preference and you need to adjust the spices to your palate. It does not equate to a recipe being bad. This holds true to all things you cook.
I've been baking for about 27 years and these are the things I've learned either from other experts in the field and by my own trial and error. So, I hope it helps alleviate some of the issues being encountered.
YES! Thank you, Sherry! All of this is wonderful advice, and I appreciate the recognition that personal preference on spices does not equal a bad recipe. To each their own! xoxo
Thank you for the recipe! I really wanted one that didn’t spread, and they didn’t! I did end up with a very wet dough at first. I think that was my fault though.
My kitchen is small, and pre heating the oven makes it really warm in there. Also, I cheated and defrosted my butter in the microwave and it was 3/4 soft, 1/4 liquid.
I’m also thinking I may have messed up when measuring the molasses. I used a dry 1/2 c measure instead of a liquid measuring cup. Does that matter?
Anyways, I kept adding small amounts of flour until it firmed up. It was still a tad sticky, but it rolled out well between two sheets of wax paper. Even slightly sticky, the cookies held their shape beautifully! They maybe tasted a bit on the “floury” side because of my quick fix, but the lemon zest and spices were really delightful. My two year old, who can be rather picky, LOVED them! They put us in quite the holiday mood! Thank you! ☺️
Glad you liked them, Angela! I don't think the measuring cup matters for the molasses... the dry 1/2c should have been fine. Glad you figured it out! xo
Very forgiving recipe! I have the habit of not reading ahead and just dumping ingredients as I go down the list (did your eye just start twitching? Haha!) and these turned out as promised. I did end up adding milk, but the dough was easy to work with, and the cookies did not spread. I will be saving this in my holiday baking book!
HA! Only a mild eye twitch... ;P Glad it worked for you, Mandy!! xo
Is the measurement for the brown sugar packed or unpacked?
Packed!! Always packed!
Found your recipe and I've always wanted to try gingerbread so in the end after refrigerating and still not being able to roll it out or use the cookie cutter I decided to make gingerbread snaps because the it was too delicious to not do something with.?
This recipe was perfect! I followed it exactly, didn't need to add milk. I make 750 of these for a Paul Allen event. I probably made 25 batches. Great taste, perfect spice, a little chewy and crunchy. Perfect!
25 BATCHES! OMG!! So glad you liked them, Shayna!! xo
Catherine Sand says
How many cookies does this recipe make? They sound awesome!
Catherine,( Your PNW neighbor in Seattle)
Hi Catherine! When I made these I got 24 cookies, but that will depend on the size of your cookie cutter!! I used a pretty standard/small 3" gingerbread person cutter. xo
Before I made these cookies, I read the recipe several times and read through all the comments. I don't usually bake, so I wanted to make sure I was going to do this correctly. I was a little worried based on the comments, so I figured I would give a full review here:
-I wanted cookies that would retain shape, as I wasn't using men for cookie cutter, but an intricate outline of my state (WV) which looks way off and just like a big blob if it expands. These definitely did that! They are definitely firm cookies, but not as hard as a gingerbread house you'd by from the store. I wanted firm cookies so this is great for me, but if you're looking for soft, chewy cookies, find another recipe.
-I had not intended to refrigerate the dough, but I ended up doing so because I was running late. It took a long time to return to room temperature, and was still chilly when I began rolling it out.
-I rolled it out between two sheets of parchment paper, instead of on a floured surface. One time I did use the roller bare on the dough, and it stuck it the roller. It wasn't hard to peel back off, though.
-Like one reviewer stated, this dough is not your normal chocolate chip cookie dough consistency. It's more like Play-Dough. If you're expecting that, I think a lot of the comments about it being dry make sense.
-I broke my big refrigerated dough ball up into manageable chunks to roll out. When breaking it, the inside was a little crumbly and I was kind of worried. But as it came to room temperature, the butter inside softened and it was fine. The cookies cut excellently and did not crumble.
-I will say, make sure your dough is of equal depth when you roll it out, or your cookies will have some funny lumps.
-I really like spicy cookies, and I felt these could have used even more spice than it called for. I'd recommend maybe a dash of allspice or more cloves, if you like spicy cookies.
-I didn't plan to decorate or glaze my cookies. After tasting, I think they would have benefited from a light glaze to complement the flavor, but oh well. Next time.
-That being said, I loved that this recipe was so easy to follow and it worked! Especially relieved because as I mentioned, I am not a baker and am prone to cake and cookie disasters. This was not a disaster!
-I do not have a stand mixer, so I was uncertain if the instructions would work for me, but I did it all by hand and it worked fine. I tried an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar, but it was kind of useless. There isn't enough of it for the mixer to be really effective, it just gets stuck in the beaters, so I ended up just using a fork and it was fine.
-I made the dough on a Wednesday, refrigerated it until a Thursday evening, and have the cookies sealed in an airtight container until Saturday evening. I expect this to be fine.
-The "messed up" one we tasted as a baker's glean was great! It didn't snap in my moth, but broke off nicely and was still quite chewable. Flavor was very good; as I mentioned, I think they could have been spicier, but I'm sure our guests will like them just fine. I'm glad I chose this recipe!
Thank you for the thorough feedback, Brittany! I'm glad to hear it worked out for you! xo
Hi Mary. Going to make the cookies tomorrow. Just one question, can I use any honey instead of molasses ?
Hi Sofia — I wouldn't recommend it!! Good luck!
Hi. What size if gingerbread cookie cutter yields 24. I’m baking for my class and need 22. Thanks
Hi Elayna — It's been a long time since I made these, but I believe I used 3" tall gingerbread person cutters!
Excellent recipe, such a nice dough to work with, not sticky or crumply and can be handled without faling appart or stretching. Lovely taste and no spread so ideal for houses.
Glad you liked it, Gina! xo
Made cookie following the directions exactly. They did not spread as stated however I believe the flavor spices should be a little stronger.
This is my tried and true gingerbread cookie recipe. I’ve made them every year or the past 3 years. Thanks for sharing this with us! I love it!
Lars Larson says
Perfect gingerbread cookies they did not spread baked up the same size.they went in as.Perfect taste kids had a wonderful time decorating the cookies.
I made this recipe yesterday and the cookies came out perfectly! They were soft, but retained their shape and they tasted delicious. I’ve never made gingerbread and it was daunting, but this recipe made it easy.
Woo! That's what I like to hear! Thanks, Nina! xo
Erm these hold their shape so well I was so excited I am making dinosaurs then I tasted one eughjhhhhhhh awful now can’t get the taste out of my mouth and I had to go round 4 different ships to find molasses these are dry and taste awful. I keep checking the recipe to see where I went wrong going back to my tried and tested recipe.
I feed molasses to my pony.....?
This recipe was one of the easiest to work with! The smell in my house on this Halloween night, just might make those goblins want cookies, instead of treats! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
I really wanted to like this recipe, especially because the cookies truly do hold their shape and do not spread out. Unfortunately, the texture was incredibly disappointing. Overall, they tasted and had the texture of stale cookies...
Ashley Williams says
My secret when making cut-out sugar cookies is to make the dough and then instead of chilling it, divide it into 3 batches and roll each batch between two sheets of parchment while it's room temp and easy to roll. I use bands on my pin to ensure even thickness. Transfer the first third (rolled out, still in parchment) onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer while you roll out the second, then stack that on top of the first in the freezer, then repeat with the third. By the time you're done rolling out the third, the first should either be ready or almost ready. It should be stiff but not frozen solid, about 15-30 minutes is usually good. Pull the fist sheet off the bottom, peel off the parchment and then place it back on lightly (otherwise it will stick when you try to pick up your shapes with the spatula), flip it, peel off the other layer of parchment, then cut out the shapes, and transfer to a baking sheet while it's cold.
This makes it easier and way faster to roll out (because it's softer at room temp), easier to cut out (less sticking to the cutter when cold), and easier to transfer to a baking sheet without stretching or misshaping (as long as you move quickly while it's still cold and stiff). Then you can set that tray aside to come to room temp prior to baking while you start cutting out your second sheet. Letting it come to room temp helps them bake evenly. Then start baking the first sheet while the second comes to room temp and you start cutting the third sheet.
Depending on the size of your parchment sheets and the size of the batch of dough you make, you may need to divide it into 4ths instead of 3rds but you'll figure it out. I typically weigh the dough and divide it by weight so it's even but you can eyeball it if you want.
Ashley Williams says
Sorry, I meant to mention - I do this with sugar cookies. I haven't tried it with this recipe yet but I imagine it would work the same!
Loved then! I can’t eat baking soda or baking powder so these are perfect!
Thank you for sharing!!
Absolute rubbish, tasted like a a hard bread, it was savoury and it puffed up a lot in the oven and it did not taste like a biscuit it was not sweet at all and it was disgusting
This looks so good! It is so hard to find a sturdy gingerbread recipe!
Thanks for sharing! How far ahed of time can I make the dough?
Yum! Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite Christams cookies. The kids owuld love to decorate.
I really wanted to like these but they don't taste good. Without the baking powder the texture is off. They were too dense and rubbery and I didn't over bake them. They do look pretty though. So if I was making a batch just to hang on my tree for ornaments I'd use this recipe again.
I'd like to make an addendum to my comment. I think the molasses brand I used might be to blame. It wasn't black stap but it also wasn't as sweet as the Grandma's molasses I'm used to. It might be not having enough sugar content that contributed to my results
Just made these with my husband yesterday and they are perfect! No adjustments made at all. Followed exactaly as directed. Will make them again for sure! Ty!!!
Christina Joseph says
big love for this recipe! i came across it last year (2020) and this year (2021) i am following the same recipe again because it turned out great the first time 🙂
Thank you. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, xoxo