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These Soft Gingerbread Cookies are perfectly spiced and have a soft, chewy texture. They’re super festive and taste just as good as they look!

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Gingerbread cookies

Beautifully lit Christmas trees, nativity scenes, Santa hats and gingerbread cookies….all signs that the holidays are just around the corner!

I love gingerbread cookies, thanks to my aunt Jane. She makes the BEST gingerbread cookies – they’re so soft, chewy and full of all the right spices. It’s one of those treats that I always look forward to seeing in a Christmas tin at Grandma’s house on Christmas day.

Lucky for me (and you!), Jane was willing to share the recipe and I’m SO glad she did! I’ll walk you through the process of making these cute little gingerbread people and how to decorate them.

Gingerbread Cookies on a white plate with Christmas lights on in the background

Ingredients Needed

  • Molasses – As you’ll see in the photo below, I use the Grandma’s brand unsulfurated molasses (any brand will work!). However, be sure you do not accidently purchase dark corn syrup or blackstrap molasses – similar in appearance but they’re very different.
  • Brown Sugar – I typically use light brown sugar, but either will work great; be sure to pack the cup when you measure it.
  • Cold Water
  • Shortening – This brings the fat the cookies need, but little flavor. That way the spices and molasses really shines through!
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Spices – Ground allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
  • Frosting Ingredients, if you plan to decorate the cookies. I like using the Wilton royal icing recipe (as it hardens and makes the cookies easy to store).
Ingredients needed to make soft gingerbread cookies

How do you make Soft Gingerbread Cookies?

The cookie dough is really simple to put together. Combine the molasses, brown sugar, water and shortening. Then stir in the flour, soda, salt and spices. The mixture does get quite thick, so you’ll want to use a stand mixer if you have it.

Put the dough in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This dough is a little sticky (see photo below). Refrigerating overnight is a must with these!

Now for the fun part! Grab a big chunk of dough and roll it out on a floured surface. Roll it out to 3/8 inch thick. It feels quite thick for a cookie, but it’s what will help give it that soft, chewy texture! Use a floured cutter to make the shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or silicon baking mat.

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. If you over-bake them, they will firm up and won’t be as soft as intended. Therefore, I like to cut a couple out, cook it for 11 minutes, let it cool and test it. If it’s too firm, I’ll reduce the time the next batch, etc.

Now time to decorate! As I mentioned before, I use the Wilton royal icing recipe. I usually make just 1/2 batch as it makes more frosting than I like to use on these gingerbread men.

How to Fill a Piping Bag

Sure, you can try to hold the bag and fill it, but chances are, you’ll make quite the mess….speaking from experience here! 🙂 Instead, use a tall cup, open the piping bag and fill it (see photos below). Then remove it from the cup and twist the top. Now you can snip the tip off and get to decorating!

Ways to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies

Honestly, I love these even without frosting! But if you’re up for it, they’re super duper cute when decorated. You can use royal icing (which hardens) or buttercream. Then, get creative! Use spinkles, little candies, etc to bring these cuties to life! This is a fun way to get your kids in the kitchen, too.

Other Favorite Holiday Treats

Everyone’s got their favorite Christmas treat, but here are a few of my favorites!!

Cutout Cookies – Like gingerbread cookies, these are just a classic! Fun to decorate and just as fun to eat!
Cookie Dough Truffles – It’s not the holiday season at our house without these little morsels of deliciousness!
Grandma’s Frosted Spritz Cookies – These are my #1 favorite Christmas treat. There I said it. I’m picking favorites and this is the one…my mouth is watering just thinking about them!! 🙂

Gingerbread Cookies on white background

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Soft Gingerbread Cookies decorated

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 13 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Refrigeration Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
24 3″ cookies
These Soft Gingerbread Cookies perfectly spiced and have a soft, chewy texture. They bring all the holiday spirit and taste just as good as they look!


  • 1 1/2 cups molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the molasses, brown sugar, water and shortening.
  • Add the flour, soda, salt and spices; mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Roll the dough on a floured surface to about 5/8 inch thick.
  • Cut with a floured cutter and place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on a parchment-lined (or silicon baking mat-lined) cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes (depending on cutter size) and let cool on a cooling rack.
  • Decorate as desired.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1.5mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 0.9IU | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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