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The iconic gingerbread man cookie is a favorite holiday tradition. Plus, gingerbread man cut-outs are a great holiday project to get the kids involved with—especially when it comes time to decorate. Though these gingerbread cookies are a little more involved than easy drop cookies, the nostalgic spiced treats are well worth the effort. To break up the process, the gingerbread cookie dough can be made in advance and refrigerated until you're ready to roll; just be sure that it is tightly covered. For more ginger-spiced dessert inspiration, check out these gingerbread desserts that go beyond cookies.

Recipe by Southern Living December 2011


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

1 hr
3 hrs 50 mins
Makes 2 dozen (4-inch) cookies


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until fluffy.

  • Stir together baking soda and 1/4 cup hot water until dissolved; stir in molasses.

  • Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with molasses mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Shape mixture into a ball; cover and chill 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough with a 4-inch gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

  • Bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).

  • Spoon Royal Icing into a small zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole; pipe faces on cookies, or spread cookies with Buttermilk Frosting. Decorate cookies as desired with candies and sugar crystals.

  • Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, cutting dough with a 1- to 2 1/2-inch snowflake-shaped cutter. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 13 to 17 minutes. Cool and decorate as directed. Makes: about 9 dozen. Hands-on time: 1 hr.; Total time: 4 hr., 50 min., including icing and frosting.