Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men Cookies are perfectly spiced with molasses, cinnamon, ginger and other warm spices, and sweetened with brown sugar. The best way to spread Christmas cheer might be singing out loud for all to hear, but these cute little fellas come in a close second!

Holiday baking is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the Christmas season! Some of our other favorites are making English Toffee, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, or Toffee Pecan Shortbread!

Gingerbread Men Cookies next to a string of yarn and greenery

Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men Cookies are part of my personal Christmas cookie trifecta. The other two cookies are these perfect peanut butter blossoms and classic sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles or M&Ms. Although I have been making a chocolate peppermint cookie for a couple of years now that keeps inching it's way up on my list of "must bakes" each Christmas season.

If you love gingerbread, be sure to check out my gingerbread cupcakes with eggnog buttercream.

gingerbread cookie shapes decorated in white icing with tirling loops of yarn and green sprigs around them

Even though gingerbread is a classic Christmas cookie, it's not one I grew up with. In fact, I don't even remember ever having had a gingerbread cookie until probably 8 or 9 years ago when I just started searching for a gingerbread cookie recipe on a whim.

I'm not sure where my original recipe came from since those were the days before most food blogs really got started and I definitely wasn't keeping track of sources anyway, but since then I've made small adjustments to the flour-to-butter-to-spice ratio, tweaking things just a bit here and there to yield the most perfect soft & chewy gingerbread men cookies you can imagine.

decorated gingerbread cookies on a wire cooling rack

Just the aroma of the molasses and cloves and ginger and cinnamon is enough to transport you to Santa's workshop and make you feel like one of his baker elves.

This is such a fun Christmas baking tradition to make with my girls because we turn on Christmas music and they love to help use the gingerbread men cookie cutters. Although you can obviously use whatever cookie cutters you like or even cut out house shapes with a sharp knife to make 2-D gingerbread cookie houses that you can decorate with candy and eat (unlike the hard gingerbread houses that are just for decorating).

I'm partial to gingerbread snowflakes and like to sprinkle them with plain ol' granulated sugar after frosting them with royal icing.

Just be aware that while the recipe says to bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, you might need a little more or less time depending on whether your cookie cutters are small or extra large. I have a few really big tree and train cookie cutters that I have used in the past and those gingerbread cookies take more like 11-12 minutes to bake. Tiny cookie cutters take more like 8 minutes in the oven.

But the regular size cookie cutters that you are most likely to use will give you perfect soft & chewy gingerbread men cookies right around the 9-10 minute mark every time.

decorated gingerbread cookies next to some green christmas tree sprigs

Be sure to measure the flour carefully so as not to add too much, which could result in the dough being crumbly and dry. I recommend the spoon & sweep method where you spoon the flour into your measuring cup rather than scoop it, then level it off by sweeping away the excess flour with a knife. I have a whole post on how to measure baking ingredients that you might find helpful!

The royal icing is super simple to make with just a little corn syrup for shine and no messing around with meringue powder (which I can never find in the store anyway).

You can use a piping bag with a small tip for decorating or do what I always do and just fill a freezer safe ziploc bag with your royal icing and then snip off one of the corners with scissors. Just don't snip off too much.

green sprigs off of a christmas tree and a striped piece of yarn resting around some nicely decorated gingerbread cookies
a close shot of gingerbread cookies on a wire rack all decorated with white icing

While these gingerbread men are perfect for eating all by themselves, they also make AMAZING ice cream sandwiches if you want to put a little vanilla or strawberry ice cream between two of them. Seriously, those gingerbread ice cream sandwiches are my favorite!

stacked gingerbread men surrounded by other gingerbread cookies and a piece of striped yarn behind them. green tree sprigs at the top of the image

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Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men Cookies

4.69 from 45 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine European, German
Servings 48 cookies
Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men Cookies are perfectly spiced with molasses, cinnamon, ginger and other warm spices, and sweetened with brown sugar.  The best way to spread Christmas cheer might be singing out loud for all to hear, but these cute little fellas come in a close second!


Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (227g)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200g)
  • 1 cup molasses (340g)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (625g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

Royal Icing

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2-3 Tablespoons room temperature water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Gel or liquid Food coloring (optional)


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the molasses (it really does help to spray your measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring the molasses - it will pour out more easily afterwards) and egg and mix again to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices, then mix until everything is completely combined. Scrape the gingerbread cookie dough out of the bowl onto a large piece of plastic wrap, then wrap it up into a disc and put it in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours or even overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼" thickness. I always find I need to be generous with the flour so the cookies don't stick to the counter or the rolling pin, but you don't need to worry about having cookies that look dusted by flour because it will be absorbed into the dough as the cookies get rolled out.
  • Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, leaving a little space between each cookie. They don't spread much, but you just don't want them touching while they are baking. Bake for about 10 minutes until they just start to look set but do not overbake or they won't stay soft. Let cool for 5-10 minutes on the pan. Remove from cookie sheets to cool completely on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool with royal icing.

Royal Icing

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons of the water. If should be thick, but if it is TOO thick, whisk in another ½ tablespoon at a time, checking consistency after each half tablespoon. If you go too far and it gets too runny, whisk in two additional tablespoons of powdered sugar at a time. You want the royal icing to drizzle off you whisk into the bowl and hold it's shape for a second or two before melting back into the rest of the icing. If desired, you can separate your icing to different small bowls at this point and add food coloring, then transfer to piping bags with small decorating tips.



  • Measure carefully: This recipe calls for 5 cups of flour, which means that if you overmeasure you could make the dough too dry and it will be crumbly. I recommend the spoon & sweep approach where you spoon flour into a measuring cup then level it off with the flat backside of a knife or another flat-edge tool. This post explains in more detail how to measure flour accurately.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 126mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. I don't think I had enough molasses. My batter was too dry. I tried to coax the extra bit if molasses out if the bottle with honey then added an extra egg and 2 tbsp butter. They turned out really good in case anyone else needs a quick fix.

    1. I can't believe I still haven't shared that one! You will need to grab those peppermint chips (if you can still find them) or chop up peppermint bark and mix it in to these Chewy Brownie Cookies instead of the nuts! But that's pretty much it! 🙂

  2. Our family absolutely L❤️VED this recipe- I made it into snowflakes and squirrels for Christmas and it was a huge success! Everyone that ate one asked for your recipe! Perfection! Wish i could leave a picture- they were gorgeous! Thank you!!

  3. Absolutely the best ginger bread recipe ever!  I microwaved my butter slightly to soften it, and only used ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg as didnt have the rest.  I used Gas mark 6 for 6 minutes - to knock them out fast lol - they were PERFECT.  So soft, bread-like, fluffy and melt in the mouth i literally couldnt stop eating them lol.  I might use half a cup of brown sugar next time to reduce the sweetness even more as i used 3/4 of a cup.  Thank you for such a simple recipe that didnt need measuring scales! 

  4. If you love a rich spiced gingerbread anything, this is a perfect recipe. I was very happy with how chewy they were. Hands down my favourite recipe!

  5. These turned out really, really well.  I did find that I had to let the dough warm up a little when I took it out of the 'fridge before I could roll it out, but they turned out great.  I used with the homemade peach ice cream recipe to make ice cream sandwiches and they were a big hit!

  6. Thanks for the recipe! We’ve made these twice now and they go down a storm in our house. I halved the recipe and used golden syrup instead of molasses, but I forgot to halve the amount of baking soda (something always goes wrong when I bake!). Wasn’t a problem though, the biscuits ended up fluffy and chewy and tasty, so I did the same thing for the second batch.

    What would you think to substituting some oats for some of the flour, just to give it a bit of texture? Or would it end up more cake-like, similar to parkin?

    1. I'm not familiar with parkin! But it sounds like it could work to me! I make a cut-out oatmeal sugar cookie that we love and I would imagine it would be similar just in gingerbread form.

  7. My 5 year old daughter watched the story of the Gingerbread Man this morning then asked if we could make a gingerbread man. I have never made gingerbread but came across your recipe. Thank you for making it easy. We had a blast baking it together. We took some to neighbors and they said “That was some of the tastiest gingerbread I have ever had!!” We’ll be making it again at Christmastime to take to the family. Thanks!

  8. My preschooler loves the story of the gingerbread man and wanted to make his own cookies. Despite some of the other comments, the dough (consistency and spice) was perfect and the cookies were delicious!!

  9. I just made these for the first time. Me and my husband loved them! I didn't put clove, nutmeg or allspice in. I don't have those spices on hand. I will be decorating these tomorrow with my kiddos. I am surprised that some mentioned that it was crumbly. Mine wasn't at all. I only chilled it for 3 hours. But, had to put more flour on the board to roll out the dough. Thank you! I will def be making these again.

  10. I see the last comment was in 2017, not sure if you will see this...
    For a guys make these for the first time they came out perfect I love the aroma and better yet the spice taste they deliver, our 8 year old son confirmed the delicious taste for me!! 😃
    The dough was easy to work with once it had sufficient time to soften out of the fridge. 👍🏼
    We will have fun decorating these and will make it an annual activity from here on out!!
    Thank you for this simple and delicious recipe Amy, blessings and Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙏🏼🎅🏼☃️

    1. I'm so glad your family enjoyed these as much as ours does! We just made a batch last week and they are gone already!

      1. I  tried this recipe today, I love the flavor, but they spread out and did not maintain their shape. This first pan was almost 1 giant cookie. The rest, I put less on a sheet, but they still spread out and look more like little Michelin men than gingerbread men. What can I do to make them retain their shape? 

        1. That sounds like either the butter was too soft or there wasn't enough flour in your dough. Another thing you could try is freezing the cookie dough after the shapes have been cut out before baking.

  11. I LOVE this recipe and have used it for a number of years now. Some tricks I have learned over the past few years to keep them super chewy is when you add your butter, sugar, molasses & egg, I also add the salt, baking soda and spices in then. I also allow all these ingredients to whip for a solid 2 minutes. I add the flour one cup at a time and make sure it’s well mixed.  I refridgerate over night then allow to sit in my counter for a half hour- an hour before I roll it out 🙂

  12. Finally, a gingerbread cookie that lets the spices shine through. These are delicious and thank you so much for sharing this recipe. 

  13. Just reading through these comments and questions  now and I have to say I have NEVER had an issue with this recipe.  It is absolutely delicious. Sooo chewy and yes molasses is strong but it works soooo nicely.  I’ve made 4 batch’s already this holiday season because they’re such a hit among friends.  Craziness! My only question is - can I substitute margarine for the butter since I am out? 

  14. Really did not like the overwhelming flavour or the molasses. These could be classified as molasses cookies rather than ginger bread. The consistency is nice however and a good chewy cookie. 

  15. I haven’t made this recipe, but was wondering which type of molasses you use. I have black strap at home for cooking and it’s supposed to be healthiest of the molasses available. I saw other recipes mentioned using unsulfured molasses because blackstrap is too bitter)? Thanks in advance for your help! Happy holidays!

    1. I haven't tried this with blackstrap molasses, but yes, I hear it doesn't work well for making cookies. I use unsulphered molasses.

  16. 5 stars
    I've made these for the past 3 years now, usually multiple times a season and they come out perfect every time. While the dough may seem a bit crumbly, after refrigeration and some time to warm up on the counter, it becomes a breeze to work with. This is, hands down, the best gingerbread cookie recipe I've ever worked with and my go to every year!

  17. 2 stars
    The cookies tasted pretty nice- but I cut these gingerbread cookies out perfectly (lol it might of took me about an hour) and the cookies ended up spreading a TON! Now, it might be because I’m a baking perfectionist- so I have nothing against the recipe. It’s just that I believed that the cookies were not supposed to spread (I probably misheard that on the vid) If your looking for a recipe that your just making to have fun for the holidays and decorate with your family, then these are the way to go. But if you want gingerbread cookies that look like that they just came from a bakery to give to friends/ neighbors I would recommend going with a no spread recipe.

  18. 5 stars
    This is my favorite gingerbread recipe, I have made it for so many years my kiddos now include this recipe as an xmas tradition. I do not change the recipe at all, however I have never used the icing, I buy mine at the bakery as it is way easier!

  19. 5 stars
    I have tried many different gingerbread cookie recipes over the years, but this one is the favourite in our house. Icing or no icing they always disappear quickly. After refrigeration the dough is lovely to work with.
    Thanks for sharing such a good recipe.

  20. 5 stars
    I made these gingerbread cookies today and they are SO delicious! I think they have the perfect amount of spice. I prefer a semi-soft cookie and they came out so yummy and a little chewy. I had so much fun decorating them.I hope to get better at decorating in the future lol. Definitely give these cookies a try. We are eating them up like crazy!

  21. 5 stars
    Perfect Gingerbread every time! I only bake for 8 minutes. These cookies turn out best when made with the help of grandchildren!