Soft Gingerbread Cookies are such a festive Christmas cookie! They’re so fun for kids and adults to decorate.
Made with brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon and cloves these gingerbread cookies are packed with holiday flavor!
I used to think that all gingerbread cookies were crispy and hard but that’s not the case. These Gingerbread Cookies bake up nice and soft!
If you’re looking for a cookie you can cut out easily and decorate then Soft Gingerbread Cookies are for you! Feel free to use other shapes besides just the traditional gingerbread man to spice things up a bit too.
I used snow flakes, candy canes and Christmas trees too!
Can I freeze Soft Gingerbread Cookies?
Yes, you certainly can! You can freeze the cookies in an airtight container, wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months.
Or you can triple wrap the cookies in plastic wrap then place them inside a zip lock bag and store them that way for up to 3 months as well.
You can also freeze the raw dough! Triple wrap the Soft Gingerbread Cookie dough and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it just take it out and let it warm up enough to be able to roll it out.
A couple hours on the counter should do it or you can defrost it in the fridge for 24 hours. Then just roll them out and follow the directions.
Ingredients you’ll need
- All Purpose Flour – Flour is the structure for the soft gingerbread cookies
- Ginger – Ground ginger is the star of the show in gingerbread cookies
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon is a traditional holiday flavor and goes so well in cookies
- Cloves – Ground cloves are one of my very favorite holiday spices
- Dried Mustard – Dried mustard gives the cookies a little extra punch
- Baking Soda – This is the leavening agent in the soft gingerbread cookies
- Kosher Salt – Salt and sweets are a match made in heave but salt also brings out the flavors of the other ingredients
- Butter – I prefer unsalted butter so I can control the salt level myself
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar will sweeten the cookies, add a touch of molasses flavor and make a softer gingerbread cookie
- Egg – Egg will help the structure of the cookie
- Molasses – Because what is gingerbread without molasses?
- Powdered Sugar – The base of the icing used to decorate the soft gingerbread cookies
- Milk – The liquid used for the icing
- Vanilla Extract – To give the icing a bit of flavor
Tips for the best Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Don’t over bake. The cookies will burn on the edges and become crispy.
- Wait until fully cooled before decorating.
- Bake the cookies ahead, freeze them then take them out when ready to decorate and serve.
- You can freeze the raw dough too so you have a stash to pull out and bake whenever you want.
- Make sure to refrigerate for at least 1 hour or cookies will not hold their shape.
- You can use store bought icing if you don’t want to make your own.
- Decorate with sprinkles and other Christmas cookie decorations found in the baking aisle.
Equipment you’ll need
- Rolling Pin – The Soft Gingerbread Cookies need to be rolled out. Something like this works perfectly
- Oven – The cookies will need to be baked
- Sheet Trays- I prefer to use larger sheet trays (cookie sheets). This is what I have
- Cookie Cutters – Any shapes you want to use are fine but I think a holiday pack is fun!
- Stand mixer or electric mixer – I use a stand mixer but an electric mixer works fine too
- Sifter – Sifting your powdered sugar before making icing is the best way to go to avoid lumps and clumps. I use this sifter
How to make Soft Gingerbread Cookies
Making the Soft Gingerbread Cookies
Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Add the egg and molasses to the butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until fully combined. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
Separate the dough into 2 balls then flatten them. Wrap each disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
After chilling the dough, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured surface.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour your rolling pin and begin to roll out the soft gingerbread cookie dough.
You may need to re-flour the rolling pin if the cookie dough starts to stick.
Once the soft gingerbread cookies are rolled out to about 1/8 inch thick or just slightly thicker then begin cutting shapes out. Use a metal spatula to get the cut cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Re-roll out the dough and repeat the process. Continue with this process until you’ve used all the soft gingerbread cookie dough.
Bake the gingerbread cookies for 8 minutes then allow to cool. After 2 minutes cooling on the sheet tray, move them to a cooling rack.
Making the icing and decorating the Soft Gingerbread Cookies
Meanwhile you can make the icing. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer.
Beat the mixture until smooth.
Using a pastry bag or a Ziplock bag with the corner cut off, fill the bag and decorate the cookies. Serve the Soft Gingerbread cookies the same day after decorating them.
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Are Gingerbread Cookies supposed to be hard or soft?
I suppose that depends on recipe and your preference. These Gingerbread Cookies are supposed to be soft, hence the name!
I prefer mine to be on the softer side rather than crispy, hard or crunchy. These are soft with a slight cake like texture but still sturdy enough to hold their shape.
If you prefer them a bit harder you can always bake them an extra couple minutes but be careful not to burn them.
How do you keep Gingerbread Cookies from getting hard?
There is a trick to keeping your cookies soft and it is very easy! My mom taught me this when I was young and it’s what I’ve done ever since.
Whether you’re storing your cookies in an airtight container, cookie jar, Ziplock bag or on a plate that’s been wrapped in plastic wrap, all you have to do is add a piece of bread.
I use regular white or wheat sandwich bread. Just one slice.
Add it to the container that your cookies are in and leave it until they are gone. Essentially the cookies will absorb moisture from the bread thus preventing them from drying out and becoming hard.
Why are my Gingerbread Cookies so dry?
If your cookies are dry as soon as they’re baked and cooled then it’s likely you used too much flour. Make sure to fluff your flour with a fork before adding it to your measuring cup.
After fluffing the flour, spoon it into the measuring cup. Do not pack it down, simply level it off with the back of a butter knife after spooning it in.
This will give you a better measurement and make sure you’re not using too much flour.
Another reason you could end up with dry cookies is if you don’t chill the dough long enough. Chilling the dough helps moisture spread back through the cookies.
I know sometimes it’s hard to wait but it yields the best result!
What kind of molasses should I use for my cookies?
I grew up using Grandma’s Molasses and that is still what I use. Generally I use the “original” but if I’m looking for extra molasses flavor then I will buy the “robust’ from time to time.
Grandma’s Molasses is a high grade molasses that contains no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. Check out this page for more info!
How to store
You can store these Soft Molasses Cookies a number of different ways. Either on the counter, in the fridge or in the freezer.
For Counter Storage – Store the cookies in an airtight container, Ziplock bag, cookie jar or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap on a plate or platter for up to 5 days on the counter. I recommend adding 1 slice of white or wheat sandwich bread to the storage container to help keep the cookies soft.
For Fridge Storage – Store the cookies in an airtight container, Ziplock bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap on a plate for up to 1 week in the fridge. I recommend adding 1 slice of white or wheat sandwich bread to the storage container to help keep the cookies soft.
For Freezer Storage – Wrap the Soft Gingerbread cookies tightly in multiple layers of plastic wrap then place them inside a Ziplock bag. Place the bag inside an airtight container for an extra layer of protection.
Freeze the cookies for up to 3 months. Let them come to room temp before eating or enjoy them frozen as I often do!
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Rolling Pin
- stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- sheet trays
- cookie cutters
- 3¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ dried mustard
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup butter room temp
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg room temp
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Mixing the Dry Ingredients
- In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients
Mixing the Wet Ingredients
- Cream the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes on medium speed
- Add the egg and molasses and beat on medium speed just until incorporated
- Add the dry ingredients and mix together on low speed just until fully mixed
- Separate the gingerbread cookie dough into 2 equal parts and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
Rolling, Cutting and Baking
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Set the gingerbread cookie dough on a lightly floured surface then lightly flour the rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough to about ⅛ inch thick or just slightly thicker
- Cut out cookie shapes with cookie cutters. Use a metal spatula to lift the cookies and transfer to the baking sheet. Re-roll all the dough that is leftover and repeat the same process. Repeat this process until all dough is used up
- Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool on the tray for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes remove the cookies from the tray and place on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way
Making the Icing
- Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer
- Add the milk and vanilla then beat on low to medium speed until smooth. If icing is too thick add a small amount of milk. If it's too thin then add a small amount of powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency
Decorating the Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Using the icing decorate the cookies however you please. Feel free to use my photos as a guide! Holiday sprinkles and small candies in the baking section work well too!