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Iced Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

It’s Christmas cookie season and every year my family enjoys making gingerbread cookies during the holiday season. Most years we make delicious gingerbread men, gingerbread house cookies, (also known as gingerbread mug huggers) and a gingerbread village to decorate and display. The smell of gingerbread is classic this time of the year and this recipe is so easy and delicious. I hope you enjoy our family’s favorite, iced gingerbread cookies.

white farmhouse hutch with gingerbread village on the shelf and orange garland

Key Ingredients In Gingerbread Cookies

Ginger, Spices and Molasses

This delicious recipe has a big flavor from all the amazing spices and the MOLASSES! For years, I didn’t want to make ginger cookies or any type of baking that included molasses because of its extra thick consistency. It seemed a bit intimidating but I am here to tell you, these are worth making!

Eggs

The eggs give these cookies structure, and richness and help keep them the perfect texture!

Brown Sugar

Although this recipe will work with white sugar if that’s all you have on hand, brown sugar is a better and classic choice. It enhances the flavors from the spices and molasses giving these cookies extra delicious flavor!

Gingerbread men with simple icing

Tips and Tricks to Making Gingerbread Cookies

Chill The Dough

Chilling your dough is very important and is not a step you want to rush or skip! The dough is slightly sticky once mixed together, therefore, it must be chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight. 

Dough that is chilled will also hold its shape better which is important if you choose to make any type of shape out of your gingerbread dough. Make sure to wrap the dough in plastic wrap before you place it in the refrigerator.

Roll Out the Gingerbread

Once you have let the dough chill, you will want to roll it out to around ¼ inch thick. The gingerbread dough may still be sticky. Add lots of flour on the board or counter before you place the dough down to roll it out. Rubbing flour on the rolling pin and your hands is a good idea too. Don’t worry about adding too much, your cookies will still turn out even with all the extra flour. 

Don’t Overbake the Gingerbread Cookies

The longer the Christmas cookies bake, the more crunch they will have. If you are hoping for soft gingerbread cookies, be sure to keep an eye on them. If you do overcook them by accident, simply ice them and place your cookies in an airtight container overnight. By morning, they will have softened to a deliciously chewy cookie. 

Ice While Cookies Are Warm

It’s best practice to ice your cookies while they are warm as the icing will apply a bit smoother. Another option for these cookies is to simply sprinkle sugar on top.

Let The Icing Set

Allow the icing to cool and set for at least 1 to 2 hours. Test the icing by lightly touching the top of the cookie to see if the icing is soft or squishy.

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How To Make Iced Gingerbread Cookies 

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour. You may use whole wheat flour if that is all you have on hand but white flour is best.
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature  
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients For Icing

  • 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Clear vanilla (regular vanilla is fine but your icing won’t be as white)
  • 1 tbsp Milk

Step-by-Step Instructions For Gingerbread Dough

  1. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar and butter on medium speed until it’s creamy or fluffy, for a minute or so. Add the wet ingredients including the molasses, egg, white vinegar and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides if needed. The butter may separate but that’s ok.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, beating just until combined. Mix until combined and the batter is smooth, quite thick and slightly sticky.
  4. Place dough on a sheet of parchment paper and cover it with flour, then fold the parchment paper to make a package for each portion. 
  5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare large baking sheets by lining them with clean parchment paper.
  7. Roll out the cookies with a marble rolling pin or french rolling pin. Make sure you add plenty of flour to your rolling pin, hands and cutting board. Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut the cookies. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets, leaving several inches between cookies.
  8. Sprinkle the cookies with the coarse sugar and bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. For my tiny stars, I only cooked them for 4 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling wire rack!
  1. Whisk the vanilla and milk together in a small bowl.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, adding a small amount of confectioners’ sugar at a time until it’s smooth and the consistency is slightly thicker than syrup.
  3. Ice the cookies. For the best results, ice your cookies while they are still warm.

Storing and Freezing Gingerbread Cookies

This gingerbread cookie dough is wonderful as you are able to freeze it before or after it is baked. Place it in an airtight container and store it for up to three months after it has been mixed. 

Once you have baked the cookies, they will also store or freeze well. Simply place them in an airtight container and store them for up to 3 months in the freezer.

I hope you love these enjoyable cookies! This gingerbread recipe makes the best gingerbread villages and chewy gingerbread cookies. It is a great way to leave the whole home smelling amazing and muster up those nostalgic memories of Christmas past! I have a few other favorite holidays treats this time of year like my Candy Cane Oreo Fudge and Salted Chocolate and Almond Toffee!

Deborah B Vintage Style

Frequently Asked Questions

What strength of molasses should you use?

This is completely dependent on personal preference. I prefer light molasses but dark molasses or blackstrap molasses will work too. Go with the type of molasses you love the most. 

My cookies keep spreading, how do you stop them from losing shape?

Be sure you have chilled your dough long enough. It is recommended that you chill your gingerbread dough for at least 3 hours or even overnight before using it.

Can you freeze or store the batter?

Yes, you can do both! For best results, place the dough in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Gingerbread men with simple icing
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Easy To Make Iced Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Try these easy-to-make, classic Gingerbread cookies and delicious icing this holiday season. This recipe makes the perfect cookies every time, nicely spiced with warm ginger, cinnamon, molasses and more. Perfect for cut-outs and gingerbread men!
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Chill Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: german
Keyword: gingerbread, gingerbread cookie, how to make a gingerbread cookie, iced gingerbread cookie
Servings: 50 cookies
Calories: 79kcal
Cost: 20

Equipment

  • 1 Stand mixer
  • 1 Parchment Paper
  • 1 Baking sheets
  • 1 Cooling wire rack
  • 1 Marble rolling pin

Ingredients

Ingredients For Gingerbread Cookie

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour You may use whole wheat flour if that is all you have on hand but white flour is best.
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature  
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients For Icing

  • 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Clear vanilla regular vanilla is fine but your icing won't be as white
  • 1 tbsp Milk

Instructions

Step-by-Step Instructions For Gingerbread Dough

  • In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar and butter on medium speed until it’s creamy or fluffy, for a minute or so.
  • Add the wet ingredients including the molasses, egg, white vinegar and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides if needed. The butter may separate but that’s ok.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, beating just until combined. Mix until combined and the batter is smooth, quite thick and slightly sticky.
  • Place dough on a sheet of parchment paper and cover it with flour, then fold the parchment paper to make a package for each portion. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare large baking sheets by lining them with clean parchment paper.
  • Roll out the cookies with a marble rolling pin or french rolling pin. Make sure you add plenty of flour to your rolling pin, hands and cutting board.
  • Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut the cookies.
  • Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets, leaving several inches between cookies.
  • Sprinkle the cookies with the coarse sugar and bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. For my tiny stars, I only cooked them for 4 minutes.
  • Remove the baking sheets from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling wire rack!

Step-by-Step Instructions For Gingerbread Cookie Icing

  • Whisk the vanilla and milk together in a small bowl.
  • Add the powdered sugar, adding a small amount of confectioners' sugar at a time until it’s smooth and the consistency is slightly thicker than syrup.
  • Ice the cookies. For the best results, ice your cookies while they are still warm.

Notes

Chill The Dough

Chilling your dough is very important and is not a step you want to rush or skip! The dough is slightly sticky once mixed together, therefore, it must be chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight. 
Dough that is chilled will also hold its shape better which is important if you choose to make any type of shape out of your gingerbread dough. Make sure to wrap the dough in plastic wrap before you place it in the refrigerator.

Roll Out the Gingerbread

Once you have let the dough chill, you will want to roll it out to around ¼ inch thick. The gingerbread dough may still be sticky. Add lots of flour on the board or counter before you place the dough down to roll it out. Rubbing flour on the rolling pin and your hands is a good idea too. Don’t worry about adding too much, your cookies will still turn out even with all the extra flour. 

Don’t Overbake the Gingerbread Cookies

The longer the Christmas cookies bake, the more crunch they will have. If you are hoping for soft gingerbread cookies, be sure to keep an eye on them. If you do overcook them by accident, simply ice them and place your cookies in an airtight container overnight. By morning, they will have softened to a deliciously chewy cookie. 

Ice While Cookies Are Warm

It’s best practice to ice your cookies while they are warm as the icing will apply a bit smoother. Another option for these cookies is to simply sprinkle sugar on top.

Let The Icing Set

Allow the icing to cool and set for at least 1 to 2 hours. Test the icing by lightly touching the top of the cookie to see if the icing is soft or squishy.
Shop all my favorite baking must-haves in the B Vintage Shop

Nutrition

Serving: 2cookie | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 0.003mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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4 Comments

  1. Hello, I am just wondering if we are supposed to put molasses in the mug huggers? It’s on the recipe ingredients list but doesn’t mention it again in the recipe. I put it in with the brown sugar you suggested and it’s quite dark and very strong molasses flavour.

    1. Hi! Yes, you were supposed to. You can always alter the molasses amount if you find it to strong.

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