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These soft and chewy Gingerbread Cookies are my favorite gingerbread cut out cookies! Frosted with an easy royal icing, they’re the perfect holiday cookie. I’ve been making these cookies my entire life – and everyone loves them.

gingerbread snowman and men with outlined royal icing and sprinkles

My dad and I both love gingerbread. I cannot get enough of the flavor and texture of these cookies! When I was young, we’d make this recipe every Christmas. I remember going to the cookbook cabinet and sorting through to find the Christmas one that held this recipe. Back then we only had a hand mixer so I remember how, by the 4th cup of flour, mixing would get hard. Usually my dad was called in to help finish up the dough.

I make these gingerbread cookies every year. We normally make sugar cookie cutouts and these because I cannot decide which to make. If you’re wondering how to make chewy gingerbread cookies that are also soft AND keep their shape, this is the recipe for you.

ingredients in gingerbread cookies with words on photo

Gingerbread Recipe Ingredients

  • Butter: make sure it’s softened to room temperature
  • Molasses: I use the regular kind you find at the grocery store – unsulphured or blackstrap molasses.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar. I wouldn’t substitute brown sugar; they’re soft enough by design and brown sugar might make them too soft.
  • Egg, vanilla, salt: regular cookie ingredients!
  • Baking Soda: You’ll need 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda – this makes a lot of cookies.
  • Vinegar: the SECRET to soft and chewy gingerbread cookies! This activates the baking soda to keep them nice and soft. Substitute lemon juice if you don’t have white vinegar.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour, be sure to spoon and level it into the measuring cup.
  • Spices: A teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and a teaspoon ground cloves.
collage of 4 photos making cookie dough
  1. Cream butter and sugar: Beat butter, sugar, and molasses in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or very large bowl with a hand mixer) on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add wet ingredients: Mix in the egg, then add the vinegar, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix until combined (mixture may look a bit curdled, that’s normal.)
  3. Add Flour: Mix in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough forms. Divide dough into two or three sections (depending on how much space you have for rolling out).
3 photo collage showing dough, dough with parchment paper on top and dough rolled out with cookie cutters

I roll out my cookie dough before I chill it – between sheets of parchment paper or wax paper – making it easier to roll and removing the mess of using a lightly floured surface.

  1. Roll dough: Cut the cookie dough in half or into thirds, like you normally would. Then, sandwich each half between two sheets of Parchment Paper. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick using a rolling pin, and use the guidelines on the parchment paper to help with your rectangular shape.
  2. Chill the dough: Once you’ve rolled out your cookie dough between the sheets of parchment, cover with plastic wrap and chill it until it’s firm.
  3. Cut your shapes: use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your cookies, re-rolling the dough scraps between the parchment as needed. My favorite shapes are the gingerbread men! NOTE: if your dough is too soft to remove to the cookie sheet, chill the dough first.
  4. Before baking: Once you cut your shapes, I like to chill it again because the chances of spread are reduced if you bake these COLD. Plus, baking a cold cookie ensures softness and lessens the likelihood of an overdone cookie.
collage of 4 photos with powdered sugar in bowl, mixing icing, finished icing and icing on cookie

Royal Icing Recipe

Once cooled, I make a simple royal icing to decorate with. You can definitely use regular sugar cookie frosting, but I love making a simple royal icing. Royal icing comes together fast and dries hard, so you can stack the cookies for giving.

  • Powdered Sugar – be sure not to pack it (spoon it into the measuring cup)
  • Meringue Powder – powdered egg whites; this is why the icing hardens
  • Vanilla Extract – for flavoring (use any extract you like)
  • Water – the amount depends on how thick you want your icing
  1. Whisk the powdered sugar and meringue powder.
  2. Start with 5 tablespoons water and mix on high speed until it’s no longer glossy, then add more water as needed for consistency (whether you plan to pipe, flood, or frost).
  3. Mixing will take 7-10 minutes. It’s done when it’s no longer glossy.
  4. Pipe or frost as desired!
parchment paper with gingerbread men and snowmen on it outlined with royal icing and sprinkles

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • You can also freeze the dough once it’s rolled out or in balls. Allow it to thaw before rolling.
  • Store leftover cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
  • Don’t feel like making Royal Icing? Make sugar cookie icing or use my buttercream for cookies recipe.
  • This will be one of your favorite Christmas Cookie recipes I promise!


My dough is too sticky and I can’t get my cookies off the parchment.

The dough is a sticky dough, so make sure to chill the rolled out sheets until they are hard (they shouldn’t move if you pick them up). I use a spatula sometimes to help me release them up from the parchment paper. If you’re still having trouble, cut your cookies then chill again, then try moving them.

Can I use apple cider vinegar?

Yes you can use any vinegar (or lemon juice) instead of white distilled. But don’t use red wine or balsamic – you don’t want to taste it.

How do you make gingerbread cookies keep their shape during baking?

As long as you follow the recipe you shouldn’t have this problem: be sure to chill the cookies before baking and to measure the ingredients correctly.

gingerbread cookies

Chewy & Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

4.87 from 100 votes
These easy soft and chewy gingerbread cookies are the perfect holiday cutout cookie recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 36 cookies
Serving Size 1 cookie


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (237ml) molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 Cups (620g) All purpose flour Sifted

For the frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups (452g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons water
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Make the cookies:

  • Beat butter, sugar, and molasses in a stand mixer (or very large bowl with a hand mixer) until smooth. Mix in the egg, then add the vinegar, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix until combined (mixture may look a bit curdled, that’s normal.)
  • Mix in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough forms. Divide dough into two sections.
  • Lay out a sheet of Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper with SmartGrid on your work surface. Add half the cookie dough and add a second sheet of parchment paper on the top. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4″ thick, in between the pieces of parchment. Periodically, gently lift the parchment off the layer to make sure it’s not sticking. Repeat with second half of dough.
  • Chill the rolled out dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper with SmartGrid. Cut shapes from chilled dough, placing on the prepared pans. Chill another 10 minutes before baking.
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on cookie size. Re-roll any scraps of dough and re-chill and repeat.
  • Cool cookies completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:

  • While cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Add meringue powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, and water to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until peaks form and it’s lost it’s glossy sheen, about 7-10 minutes. Add a bit more water as needed for piping consistency.
  • At this point you can color the frosting if you want, using food coloring. Frost cookies and top with sprinkles. (I used a small piping tip in a disposable pastry bag.) Let set for at least an hour before stacking.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can find meringue powder at most craft stores in the baking section, and even at Walmart in the cake decorating aisle.
Recipe from Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen, a complimentary Bell Savings cookbook.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 166IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Other Holiday Favorites

This post was sponsored by Reynolds Kitchens in 2018; I know you’ll love the simple hack for rolling out the cookies I do with their parchment paper.

I absolutely love this parchment paper because it comes with a SmartGrid to help you with placement and it also helps you cut the paper to fit your baking sheet. I use parchment paper because it offers a non-stick cooking surface and easy clean-up, but the SmartGrid is a major added bonus. Plus: you can reuse this parchment paper up to three times, reducing waste, and it’s compostable. You can bake ALL your gingerbread cookies on two cookie sheets, easy peasy.

Last Updated on February 29, 2024

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating


  1. There used to be a sliding bar above the recipe to adjust the servings and ingredient amounts. Could I just cut the ingredients in half exactly?

  2. Had to turn these into reindeer plop cookies. I made the recipe to a T and even froze the dough for 30 minutes like suggested. Was a sticky, mess 🙁

  3. Hi Dorothy!
    I’ve been looking forever for a soft and chewy recipe for gingerbread cutouts. I love gingerbread but not the strong taste of cloves. Can I cut it down to a half tsp. or would that be too little? Please get back to me as I am making there for an early Christmas event. Thanks so much and Merry Christmas!🎄

  4. I’ve made these gingerbread cookies quite often, especially around December since 2020! They’re absolutely amazing and have a delightful texture! I loved pretty much everything about this recipe, I don’t think I could even fault it. It was easy cheesy and fool proof from the first time I made it! The only thing I personally like to do to jazz up the gingerbread cookies a bit is use half molasses and half golden syrup, and add 2 teaspoons of ground walnuts to the mix of spices for a subtle nutty flavour which pairs well with the wonderful spices.

  5. This was my first gingerbread cookie ever, and they turned out amazing. I didn’t have all of the individual spices, but I had Pumpkin Pie Spice on hand which has everything plus nutmeg (used about 3 1/2 TBSP). I am new to the baking world and have baked 100s of cookies over the last few weeks, and I have not eaten more than 1 or 2 cookies from each batch (sometimes only 1/2 cookie or less) because I am just not a huge cookie fan (I just love baking them). I have already eaten about 4 of these cookies, they are like a pumpkin pie gingerbread. I can’t wait to ice them tomorrow, but I’m going to stay on the leaner side of icing because I don’t want to distract from that amazing cookie flavor too much! I can’t wait to take them to work next week, I guarantee they are going to be a favorite for at least a few coworkers. Thank you!!

  6. Hi Dorothy
    This dough sounded so promising. It was a wet soft dough and I took advice from another commenter to chill in freezer instead. They were still challenging to peal from the parchment without FReezing again. Unfortunately, at 8 minutes cookies were overdone. I lowered temp to 365 and still overdone. Will try another tray at 350 and see if that works.
    Any other suggedtions?

    1. As for baking time – it really does depend on how thick your dough is and the size of the cookies. It’s hard to estimate that in these sorts of recipes because my cookie cutter sizes might be different. As for chilling – I chill before cutting and after before baking.

  7. These were delicious! I altered the recipe a tad for my tastes – used 1/2 molasses and 1/2 honey, an extra tsp of cinnamon, and a tsp of orange extract. Iced with orange royal icing. These are my new favorite cookie!

    Have you ever used vinegar in a classic sugar cookie recipe?