Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Men are a classic holiday cookie filled with warm spices like nutmeg, molasses, and cloves. Royal Icing recipe and decorating tips included!
Nothing quite says holidays like the flavor of gingerbread. From Gingerbread Cookies to Gingerbread Cake, our Dessert Recipe catalog has a big assortment of classic holiday treats to try.
Gingerbread Man Cookie served with a mug of hot chocolate on a wooden tray.
When it comes to Christmas cookies, is there anything more iconic than gingerbread? The spicy ginger, warm nutmeg and cinnamon, and rich, sweet molasses have been a main part of holiday baking since the 15th century.
Collage of pictures showing ingredients and mixing steps for recipe.
Whether you are making it into a house, cute little men and women (and animal) figures, or just round cookies, this gingerbread recipe is perfect for your baking traditions, old and new.
Collage showing mixing ingredients and steps for recipe.
In the past, we’ve shared Award-Winning Gingerbread Cookies but these cookies are slightly different. Unlike the soft chewy bite to the regular gingerbread recipe, this cookie recipe will be crispier on the edges when set.
Collage showing steps for cookie cutting and baking.
Start a cheery tradition and bake a batch of these Gingerbread Men cookies a day or two in advance and hosting a playdate for kids to decorate them with icing, sprinkles, gum drips, peppermints, etc.
Gingerbread Men being decorated on top of white parchment paper.
To make gingerbread houses, cut the dough into rectangles before baking. These houses become an instant decoration and are a great way to use up any leftover Halloween candy. Plus they probably won’t get eaten, which means the kids eat less sugar!
TIP FOR MAKING GINGERBREAD COOKIES
The dough in this recipe is going to be pretty sticky, from the brown sugar and molasses, so it’s very important to let your dough chill for at least 3 hours before you try rolling it out.
When you are rolling out the dough, keep flour on hand to sprinkle as needed. The less sticky your dough is, the better for shaping and baking.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD MEN

  • Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in molasses, egg and water.
  • In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  • Gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  • Divide dough in half.
  • Shape each into a disk; cover.
  • Refrigerate until easy to handle, about 3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness.
  • Cut with a floured 4-in. gingerbread man cookie cutter.
  • Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Bake until edges are firm, 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Frost as desired.

Decorated Gingerbread Man Cookie.

MAKE GINGERBREAD MEN AHEAD OF TIME

If you want to get a head start on your holiday baking, you can make the dough up 3 days in advance if you store in the fridge. If you want to make the dough and freeze, it will last for up to 3 months. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap before storing in an air-tight container.

HOW TO MAKE ROYAL ICING

  • 2 pounds Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 2 whole large egg whites

Beat the powdered sugar, milk, and egg whites until thick but able to be piped. If too thick, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time. Add to piping bag.

TIPS FOR DECORATING GINGERBREAD MEN COOKIES
  • Allow the cookies to completely cool before attempting to decorate. Put on a baking sheet and place in freezer for 30-60 minutes if needed.
  • Use a fine tip for precise lines. You can always go back and add to the line if it’s too thin.
  • Keep intricate designs and different icing colors from blending together by chilling in freezer for 15-20 minutes at a time between decorative piping.
  • Score the dough, before baking, as a guide for icing when cool. You can get special food stamps that will give you perfectly uniform face and button imprints on your cookies.
  • If you aren’t confident with your piping skills quite yet, skip icing your Gingerbread Men. Instead, score or stamp your cookies before baking.
  • Serve: Give your gingerbread men about 2-3 hours for the icing to set if you are transporting or storing.
  • Store: Keep gingerbread cookies sealed in an air-tight container for up to a week.
  • Freeze: You can freeze these cookies or the raw cookie dough for up to 3 months in an air-tight container.

A Gingerbread Man cookie is served with a cup of hot chocolate in a white mug on a wooden serving tray.

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Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Men are a classic holiday cookie filled with warm spices like nutmeg, molasses, and clove. Royal Icing recipe and decorating tips included!
Yield 24
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar , packed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Instructions

  • In your stand mixer, add the butter and brown sugar and on medium speed, cream until light and fluffy.
  • Add in molasses, egg and water until it makes a smooth mixture.
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice
  • On the lowest speed setting add the flour mixture to the stand mixer until just combined.
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each half tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Flour a smooth surface and your rolling pin and roll each portion of dough to about ⅛ - 1/4" thick.
  • Press cookies out with gingerbread men cookie cutters or any other shape you'd like to use.
  • Place the cookies 1" apart on the baking sheet (these cookies should not spread very much).
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, your don't want the edges to brown.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet to cool completely before frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Gingerbread Men

Collage of Gingerbread Men Cookies

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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