Gingerbread Man Cookie is a cut-out cookie full of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses flavor, decorated as creatively as you like! Try my Soft Ginger Cookie for another delicious spiced cookie.

Gingerbread Man Cookies
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Gingerbread Men Cookies are holiday classic cookies that are as fun to decorate as they are tasty to eat. These cut-out cookies may have originated when Queen Elizabeth I held her fancy dinners. She actually had her royal gingerbread maker make gingerbread men who represented members of her court. Whichever way you decorate the cookies, be creative and have fun! For an adults-only sippable twist to this classic cookie, check out my Gingerbread Martini!

Gingerbread Man Cookie Dough with Cutouts

Before you can roll out and cut the dough, it does need to chill for at least 4 hours, so plan accordingly. There are a few ingredients that are a must when making gingerbread man cookies; ginger, cloves, and molasses. 

Molasses: The molasses in the cake is unsulphured molasses. Unsulphured molasses (regular molasses) is richer, thicker, and sweeter than sulphured. It is made with fewer preservatives because it is made with more mature sugarcane. Sulphured molasses has added sulfur dioxide to the younger sugarcane, so that can alter the flavor of the recipe.

There is also a variety of molasses called blackstrap. Do not substitute molasses in a recipe (including this one) for blackstrap unless the recipe is very specific about using it. 

Room Temperature Ingredients: For best results, have all ingredients (especially butter, eggs, and milk) at room temperature. To be specific, room temperature ingredients should be 65-70°F.

Decorating Gingerbread Man Cookies

Decorating Gingerbread Man Cookies

The gingerbread men cookies I made were decorated with my buttercream frosting recipe and some added sprinkles. You could also use a glaze, icing, candies, and colorful sugars to add more flair to each cookie. That’s the fun part about this classic holiday cookie–the fun you and the family can have while dressing and designing the gingerbread men!

PRO TIP: Do NOT decorate these cookies until you are ready to serve them. These cookies will remain soft if stored properly, but once decorated it is hard to store them without smashing the decorations.

How to Keep Cookies Soft

To store the cookies (before decorating) I add parchment or wax paper to a rectangular storage container. I place the cookies in a single layer, then cover them with another piece of parchment. Repeat once more. I then place a couple of pieces of BREAD on top of the top layer of parchment. The bread will stale, but the cookies will NOT! 

Basket of Gingerbread Man Cookies

Can I Freeze Gingerbread Man Cookies?

Yes! Gingerbread cookies are perfect for freezing after being baked or freezing the dough to be baked later.

Freezing Baked Cookies:

After the cookies have completely cooled (and before any decorating), place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze the cookies until they are solid. Then, transfer the cookies to a sealed, freezer-safe container. Label and date the bag; they will last up to three months. When ready to decorate, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature (about an hour) before decorating.

Freezing Cookie Dough:

You can freeze the unrolled and uncut cookie dough by tightly wrapping the dough disc and thawing it when ready to roll, cut, and bake. You can also roll and cut out the gingerbread man cookies before freezing.

If you roll and cut out the cookies before freezing, lay the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer until the dough hardens. Then, transfer the cookies into freezer-safe containers. When ready to bake, simply bake them from frozen. 

More Christmas Desserts

4.84 from 6 votes

Gingerbread Man Cookie

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Gingerbread Man Cookie is a cut-out cookie full of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses flavor, decorated as creatively as you like!


  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks / 170 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup (168.5 g) molasses


  • In a sifter, add the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Sift into a bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, being careful not to overmix.
  • Beat in the egg. Then, stir in the molasses.
  • Slowly add the sifted ingredients to the molasses mixture.
  • Press the dough into a disc and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 4 hours, or up to overnight. (If you do chill the dough overnight, you may have to set the dough out for 30 minutes before rolling it out. You may also have to add a teaspoon of water to the dough if it looks too dry or crumbly.)
  • When ready, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  • Use a 3-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  • Place on the lined baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch between each cookie.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until browned (but not cracked).
  • Let cool completely before decorating.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Made these for Christmas – they were amazing!! Dough was very sticky but rolled out fine after adding a bunch of flour.

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