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Gingerbread Man Cookies

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Gingerbread man cookies are a delicious holiday tradition! Use this treasured recipe for bakery-style gingerbread men. They’re super easy to make! Decorate these Christmas cookies with my 3-ingredient, royal icing recipe.

Christmas cookies on a plate next to a bottle of milk for Santa Claus.

WHO WAS THE GINGERBREAD MAN?

In the classic folktale, an old woman cut out a gingerbread man from dough and baked him. When she opened the oven door, he jumped out and ran away! Passing animals and people as he ran, he taunted everyone with a song: “Run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!” The tasty cookie felt invincible, until he was outsmarted by a fox!

A stack of Gingerbread Man Cookies on a vintage white metal plate with a red rim.

INGREDIENTS FOR GINGERBREAD COOKIES

This easy recipe makes the best gingerbread cookies! Below are the ingredients you’ll need for the cookie dough and the royal icing recipe.

COOKIE DOUGH

  • Butter, softened
  • Dark brown sugar, packed
  • Molasses
  • Large eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • All-purpose flour

Ingredients for making gingerbread cookies laid out on a white rustic table.

ROYAL ICING

  • Egg whites
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)

Ingredients for making a batch of Royal Icing.


MORE HOLIDAY COOKIE RECIPES: Make a batch of SNOWBALL COOKIES! Everyone loves LINZER SUGAR COOKIES with lemon curd. Enjoy BISCOTTI with chocolate drizzle. They’re perfect for gift-giving!


GINGERBREAD MAN RECIPE

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions for making delicious gingerbread cookies. This bakery recipe delivers the taste of childhood!

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  • STEP 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fully combined.
  • STEP 2: Add eggs, molasses and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add cornstarch, salt and spices. Blend well. Add flour. Mix until fully incorporated.
  • STEP 3: Divide dough in half. Shape into two disks. Wrap each disk in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill dough in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or refrigerate for one hour.
  • STEP 4: Remove the cookie dough from the freezer. Put one disk in the fridge to keep it chilled, and work with the other one. Roll out the stiff ball of cookie dough to a thickness of just under 1/4 inch. Use a Gingerbread Man cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Four images showing step-by-step instructions for making Gingerbread Man Cookies.

GINGERBREAD COOKIES AND ROYAL ICING

Here’s how to complete this gingerbread man recipe and make a beautiful batch of royal icing!

  • STEP 1: Transfer gingerbread man cookies to a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are firm to the touch, and the centers are still lightly tender.
  • STEP 2: Gather the ingredients to make royal icing: eggs, vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
  • STEP 3: Separate the eggs, discarding the yolks. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whip attachment, whip the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat on low speed until mixture is shiny. Beat on high speed for 6-7 minutes, or until icing is stiff and glossy.
  • STEP 4: Transfer royal icing to a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton #3 decorating tip. Outline each gingerbread man along the edges. Add eyes, a smile, and a set of 3 buttons down the middle.

Four images showing how to make gingerbread cookies and royal icing step by step.

EXPERT TIPS FOR THE BEST GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Making a beautiful batch of bakery-style gingerbread men is easy! Use these helpful recipe tips:

  • THE SECRET FOR COOKIES THAT KEEP THEIR SHAPE: The secret for gingerbread men that keep their shape is keeping the dough chilled. It’s important to chill the dough for 20-30 minutes in the freezer before rolling it out. If while prepping the cookies for baking, the dough becomes soft and overly pliable, return the dough to the freezer for 10 minutes. When time allows, place the tray of Gingerbread man cut-outs into the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
  • KEEP THE COOKIE CUTTER EDGES CLEAN: For perfectly sharp cookie cut-outs, keep the cookie cutter clean. After cutting out each cookie, briefly dip the edges of the cookie cutter into flour, shaking off excess. Another method is lightly spraying the cookie cutter with cooking spray.
  • LET COOKIES COOL COMPLETELY after baking. Before applying royal icing, make sure the gingerbread men are completely cool. After the icing has been applied, allow the icing to harden before stacking the cookies.
  • COOKIE DECORATING INSPIRATION: In addition to the royal icing, can use small pieces of peppermint stick, button candies, or M&Ms for the buttons. Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. You can add red coloring to some of the royal icing to give the gingerbread men red mouths. Sprinkle edible glitter or finely-shredded coconut around the edge of the cookies, right on top of the icing.

Three gingerbread man cookies on a white plate.

GINGERBREAD MAN RECIPE FAQ

During the busy holiday season it’s nice to have recipes that can be prepped in advance! Here are some tips for how to do that:

  • CAN GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH BE FROZEN? Yes! You can make the cookie dough in advance and freeze it in a tightly-sealed container for up to one month.
  • CAN BAKED GINGERBREAD MEN BE FROZEN? Yes! Place baked and decorated Gingerbread Men in an airtight container with a little space between the cookies so they’re not touching. When stacking the cookies, use waxed paper to separate the layers. The cookies can then be frozen for 1-2 weeks.

A stack of gingerbread men on a white and red plate next to red-and-white striped drinking straws.

RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you enjoy these special Christmas cookies? Rate this gingerbread man cookies recipe in the comments!

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

Print

Gingerbread Man Cookies


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Prep Time: 50 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour
  • Yield: 24 Gingerbread Men 1x

Description

This bakery recipe produces beautifully-shaped gingerbread men! Our royal icing recipe firms up nicely, allowing the cookies to be stacked. These gingerbread man cookies are a childhood favorite!


Scale

Ingredients

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

ROYAL ICING

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)

Instructions

COOKIE DOUGH

  1. In the bowl of  a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fully combined. Add eggs, molasses and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add cornstarch, salt and spices. Blend well. Add flour. Mix until fully incorporated.
  2. Divide dough in half. Shape into two disks. Wrap each disk in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill dough in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Remove dough from freezer. Place one disk in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  4. Working with the first disk, roll out dough to a thickness of just under 1/4 inch. Cut out cookies with a 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. Place cookies on lined baking sheets. If at any time the dough becomes too soft to handle, wrap it in plastic and stick it back in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove second disk from refrigerator. Repeat rolling and cookie cutting process.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies are done when edges are dry to the touch and centers are a bit softer. Allow gingerbread men to cool on the baking tray for 6-8 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate gingerbread cookies with royal icing.

ROYAL ICING

While the cookies are baking and cooling, prep the royal icing! This recipe makes enough icing to decorate a double batch of cookies.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy.
  2. Add powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until mixture is shiny. Beat on high speed for 6-7 minutes, or until icing is stiff and glossy.
  3. Transfer royal icing to a pastry bag fitted with a small round decorating tip. I use a Wilton #3 for decorating gingerbread man cookies.

Notes

EXPERT TIPS FOR GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES

  • THE SECRET FOR COOKIES THAT KEEP THEIR SHAPE: The secret for gingerbread men that keep their shape is keeping the dough chilled. It’s important to chill the dough for 20-30 minutes in the freezer before rolling it out. If while prepping the cookies for baking, the dough becomes soft and overly pliable, return the dough to the freezer for 10 minutes. When time allows, place the tray of Gingerbread man cut-outs into the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
  • KEEP THE COOKIE CUTTER EDGES CLEAN: For perfectly sharp cookie cut-outs, keep the cookie cutter clean. After cutting out each cookie, briefly dip the edges of the cookie cutter into flour, shaking off excess. Another method is lightly spraying the cookie cutter with cooking spray.
  • LET COOKIES COOL COMPLETELY after baking. Before applying royal icing, make sure the gingerbread men are completely cool. After the icing has been applied, allow the icing to harden before stacking the cookies.
  • COOKIE DECORATING INSPIRATION: In addition to the royal icing, use small pieces of peppermint stick, button candies, or M&Ms for the buttons. Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. You can add red coloring to some of the royal icing to give the gingerbread men red mouths. Sprinkle edible glitter or finely-shredded coconut around the edge of the cookies, right on top of the icing.
  • CAN GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH BE FROZEN? Yes! You can make the cookie dough in advance and freeze it in a tightly-sealed container for up to one month.
  • CAN BAKED GINGERBREAD MEN BE FROZEN? Yes! Place baked and decorated Gingerbread Men in an airtight container with a little space between the cookies so they’re not touching. When stacking the cookies, use waxed paper to separate the layers. The cookies can then be frozen for 1-2 weeks.
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: Gingerbread Man, Gingerbread Men, Christmas Cookies

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Do you have special holiday memories surrounding Christmas cookies? Did you enjoy learning how to make perfectly-shaped gingerbread men? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “Gingerbread Man Cookies”

  1. Wow, gingerbread man cookies were my favorite growing up as a kid. We would always make them to leave for Santa. Of course we would enjoy a few along the way too. This recipe makes me very nostalgic for my childhood and I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply
  2. These are so cute; wouldn’t be Christmas without a gingerbread man! My kids will love to bake these this weekend!

    Reply
  3. These might the cutest Gingerbread man cookies I’ve ever seen! I’m so excited to try this recipe and thanks for the SUPER easy royal icing!!!!

    Reply
  4. LOVE this recipe! I have tried making gingerbread so many times before and failed, but not with this recipe. It’s perfection! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    Reply

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