Glazed gingerbread

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Day Five of the 12 Days of Global Cookies –

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

This Gingerbread Cookie Recipe is soft in the middle, slightly crisp on the edges, and full of flavor and spice! A favorite cookie for the holidays, this cut-out gingerbread cookie is perfect for decorating and so delicious!

Gingerbread cookies are one of the most popular cookies around the holidays and I even make them year round because I just can’t get enough of the spices!

This cookie has been served at several autumn weddings and they are always the most popular cookie on any cookie bar!

It seems that every country in the world has some sort of gingerbread. There are various names for it and different methods for making it but it is a global favorite!

Using this recipe for Gingerbread Cookies and for Gingerbread Houses

I have used this same recipe for years for both cut-out cookies as well as to build structures. I also used this recipe on the Great American Baking Show when I made a Globe Structure in the Tent.

People still tell me that I’m crazy for making a globe, especially under the pressure in the Tent. But this recipe has never let me down!

Gingerbread Globe
THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW – “Spice and Dessert Week” – Eight bakers return to the tent this week. First up, “Spice Week” with the bakers challenged to create sweet and savory creations using spices. From cinnamon to saffron, the bakers put their best spice flavor combinations together. “Dessert Week” has the bakers creating delicious delicacies like cakes and cookies, including one of Paul Hollywood’s toughest challenges yet on “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition,” THURSDAY, DEC. 19 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Mark Bourdillon) TANYA

There are just a couple of tricks to using this recipe for two different purposes.

Softer Cut-out Cookies

When making softer, cut-out cookies, just follow the recipe below. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch and bake until just browned around the edges.

It is difficult to give an exact baking time because the time will vary with the size and shape and depth of the dough.

Always bake to the indicator, not the time. Meaning, watch for browning around the edges and your cookies are done!

Structure Gingerbread

When I use this recipe to build a gingerbread structure, the trick is to roll it a bit thinner.

By rolling the gingerbread to about 1/8 inch thick and baking for the same time, your gingerbread will be crisp.

If you really want a super crisp gingerbread, there are a few other alterations that you can make:

  • Leave out the vinegar, which is there mainly to tenderize the dough.
  • Use all butter instead of shortening.
  • Reduce the syrups (molasses and honey) to 100mL, down from 240 mL. The flavor will be lighter but the gingerbread will be more crisp.

Those are a few things that I have played with but, to be honest, I usually use the recipe as written below for both cutout gingerbread cookies and to build structures with no problem.

The most important factor is how thin you roll the dough!

Making the Gingerbread Cookies

This Gingerbread Cookie Recipe comes together in no time at all. It is important, though, to chill the dough after making it.

Once the dough is mixed, split it into two disks (or more if you choose), wrap them in cling film and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

You can also freeze this dough after making it. I prefer to make a couple of batches at a time and freeze all of it several days or even weeks before I want to make cookies or a structure.

Steps to making gingerbread cookies:

  1. Make the dough, wrap it up and chill it well.
  2. Roll out the dough, cut the shapes with cookie cutters or templates. Chill again. If you are cutting any windows, doors or other openings in the gingerbread, cut them but leave them in place.
  3. Bake the cookies. Remove any windows, doors or other openings immediately after removing the gingerbread from the oven. Cool completely.
  4. Decorate as desired and allow to dry completely.

Glazing the cookies or Decorating with Royal Icing

These Gingerbread cookies are delicious on their own without any glaze or icing at all. But decorating them can be fun and make they festive!

To add just a bit of sweetness, glazing these cookies is a great option. A quick mix of powdered sugar, a touch of milk, and a tiny bit of corn syrup make a thin glaze that coats these cookies perfectly.

If you have made these cookies in a mold or used a decorated rolling pin, the glaze will allow the detail to pop. Just apply a thin glaze and then wipe it back off with a pastry brush or an offset spatula.

You can also decorate these cookies with Royal Icing. Using royal icing takes a bit more time and some practice to get it right. I have a post with a full video tutorial on how to make royal icing, how to get the perfect consistency and how to do different decorating techniques.

12 Days of Cookies, Global Edition!

Check out the other cookie recipes that will be on my cookie tray this year:

Day One – Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Day Two – Mint Brigadeiro

Day Three – Spumoni Cookies

Day Four – Classic Linzer Cookies

Day Five – Gingerbread Cookies

Day Six – Chinese Almond Cookies

Day Seven – Orange Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Day Eight – Russian Pryaniki, still perfecting this recipe!

Day Nine – Ginger Cookies

Day Ten – Japanese Pocky modified from The NYT Cooking Recipe

Day Eleven – Plum Ginger Rugelach

Day Twelve – Alfajores

Extra! – Buckeyes aka Peanut Butter Balls

I would also love to share these Gnome Gift Tags with you that I made for tying to gift bags full of cookies! These Gnome tags are so cute and completely free. Please download them and use them for personal use only!

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 640 grams all-purpose flour

  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 226 grams shortening OR unsalted butter, at room temp

  • 200 grams granulated sugar

  • Zest of 2 lemons or 1 orange

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 120 mL (1/2 cup) honey**

  • 120 mL (1/2 cup) molasses**

  • 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

  • Glaze ingredients, if glazing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk or water

  • 1/2 Tablespoon light corn syrup


  • Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the orange zest and sugar for 30 seconds to release the oils from the zest. Add the shortening and mix until well combined. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice during mixing.
  • Add the molasses, honey, and vinegar and mix well.
  • Turn off the mixer and add about half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low just to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  • Gather the dough together into a ball and then flatten the dough into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for about 3 hours or until firm enough to roll without sticking.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3/16-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters or cut according to gingerbread house template. Carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets with an offset spatula or dough scraper (I like to use a wide dough scraper to keep the cut dough from losing it’s shape.)
  • Baking time will vary with cookie size and thickness. Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch and lightly browned around the edges. A three-inch round cookie will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting and/or assembling with royal icing.
  • If you choose to glaze:
  • Mix together the glaze ingredients until completely smooth. When the cookies are completely cool, dip cookie top in the glaze, drain off the extra glaze and then use a pastry brush or an offset spatula to scrape off the excess. Place cookie on a cooling rack to dry completely.
  • If you want to decorate your cookies with royal icing, go to my Royal Icing recipe and video .


  • **For a darker, more robustly flavored dough, you can use 1 cup of molasses. For a lighter colored dough with a lighter flavor use half molasses and half honey. You can also use 1 cup of honey and no molasses for a lighter dough that does not have the typical bitter flavor from the molasses.

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