Gingerbread Dough requires at least 4 hours of chilling time in the refrigerator prior to baking. Allow ample time so the dough yields best results.



  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fancy molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons warm water


  1. Mix flour, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.

  2. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugars until smooth. Add in the egg and molasses and continue to beat until blended.

  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons of water. Add the baking soda mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer's bowl. Stir until combined.

  4. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into two disks, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least four hours to overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by spraying with cooking spray or lining them with parchment paper.

  6. Prepare your work surface for rolling out your dough, by lightly flouring the area. Alternately, you could roll the dough on parchment paper. Roll the dough out to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out gingerbread men using your cookie cutter, and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Make sure to dip the cutters in flour before stamping to prevent dough from sticking.

  7. Bake gingerbread cookies in the oven for 10 minutes. Place on cooling racks. Decorate after completely cooled. Enjoy!


  • medium bowl
  • stand mixer (paddle attachment)
  • small bowl
  • plastic wrap
  • baking sheet
  • cooking spray
  • parchment paper (optional)
  • rolling pin
  • gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • cooling rack

Recipe Notes

Chilling the gingerbread dough helps roll and cut the dough with more ease. Do not skip this step.

No holiday cookie plate would be complete without the classic gingerbread men cookie. It's important to keep in mind that before you set out to make your gingerbread men, that not all gingerbread cookie dough is created equal. The gingerbread dough has to be sturdy enough to roll out and to be stamped with your favorite cookie cutter. A dropped cookie dough recipe, for instance, would be too sticky to work with to create cutouts. There are a variety of ways that you and your family can make your gingerbread men stand out from the rest. You could blend your batter with different ingredients to create unique flavorings or embellish your cookies in colorful sweet toppings. No matter what you choose, you'll have an irresistible holiday treat.

Blend Your Gingerbread With Other Flavorings

chocolate gingerbread man with hot cocoa

Traditionally, gingerbread dough consists of the warm and spicy flavors of cinnamon and ginger, sweetened with molasses. Gingerbread dough can easily be blended with other flavors known for their holiday flare. Blended flavors are wonderful for those that would like to have other ingredients to offset the spiciness of traditional gingerbread. Here are a few popular combinations to give you some inspiration:

  • Pumpkin (pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree)
  • Chocolate (cocoa)
  • Orange (orange zest)
  • Chocolate Mint (cocoa and peppermint extract)
  • butterscotch (pudding mix)
  • coffee (brewed joe)

Don't Forget The Gumdrop Buttons!

gingerbread men and decorations

Decorating gingerbread men is so much fun! Gingerbread men are traditionally decorated by using royal icing, a mixture of beaten egg whites, powdered sugar, and lemon or lime juice. Royal icing hardens quickly and efficiently keeps its shape, making it a popular choice for decorating cookies. It will give you the ability to make more intricate details like facial features and clothing on your gingerbread men if you choose. Along with frostings, there are various candy options to make your cookie dazzle. Here are some fantastic decorating options for your gingerbread men:

  • white chocolate ganache
  • chocolate ganache
  • cream cheese buttercream
  • marshmallow buttercream
  • caramel drizzle
  • Nutella
  • powdered sugar
  • chocolate chips
  • white chocolate chips
  • butterscotch chips
  • sprinkles
  • sanding sugar
  • raisins
  • gumdrops
  • mini m&ms
  • cinnamon candies
  • licorice

Allergy And Diet-Friendly Variations

rolling out dough

Holiday treats can be chockful of ingredients that those with food allergies or dietary restrictions try to avoid, gingerbread men like many other holiday sweets may not be suitable for all diets. However, there are substitutions available that allow everyone to enjoy this classic Christmas dessert.


Replace all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. Check out Bob Mills gluten free all purpose baking flour.


Use vegetable shortening (Crisco) or vegan butter, replace the egg with a flax egg, and use vegan-friendly sugars such as Wholesome.


Replace all-purpose flour with almond flour, shortening with butter, sugars with erythritol and omit molasses.

Gingerbread men cookies are a Christmas classic and an absolute must for your cookie plate. They are a deliciously fun treat to serve to your guests this holiday season.

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