The best easy Gingerbread Cookies that are perfect for the Christmas season. These cookies are flavored with just the right amount of gingerbread spices and topped with homemade royal icing for decoration.
I always make several kinds of cutout cookies for the holidays and, of course, gingerbread cookies are always on the list. I like to make them early in the season because they have the most amazing aroma while they bake - the scent of ground cinnamon and ginger just fills the house at gets everyone in the holiday mood.
So, I'm sharing my favorite easy gingerbread cookie recipe. It's great for beginning bakers because it's simple. Not only that, but my royal icing is easy, too! So, you can decorate your cookies and give them a special Christmas finishing touch.
The cookies have the best flavor - not too much spice and just enough sugar. They really are the perfect holiday cookie if you want to surprise your friends and family.
Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients
- All-purpose flour - use flour that is at least 11% protein. This will help keep the cookies from spreading.
- Pinch of salt
- Baking soda
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground ginger
- Softened butter
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Large egg yolk
This recipe makes a batch of 11 cookies, but you can double the ingredients to make a bigger batch. If you do, use one whole egg. That's the only change you need to make.
How to Make Them
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Set the flour mixture aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and both kinds of sugar with a hand mixer until soft and creamy. Add the molasses and egg yolk and beat again to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead to form a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least one hour. You can also chill it overnight.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the chilled dough until it's about a ¼" thick. Use a 2 ½" round cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Place the cookie cutouts on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and space them about 1 to 1 ½" apart.
Chill the cookie dough cutouts while you preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Bake the cookies for eight to ten minutes and then leave them on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before adding the icing.
Royal Icing Recipe
Royal icing is great because it hardens when it sets. This makes it easy to store the cookies without the icing smearing.
- Egg white or meringue powder
- Sifted icing/powdered sugar
- Lemon juice or water
- Food colouring if desired
Traditional royal icing is made with raw egg whites and lemon juice, but you can use meringue powder and water instead and get the same result.
Egg White Method: In a mixing bowl, beat the egg white until it's light and frothy. Next, add the sifted sugar and lemon juice and beat on medium speed until the mixture is thick and shiny. Add food coloring at this point if you're using it.
Meringue Powder Method: In a bowl, whisk the sifted sugar and meringue powder. Add the water and beat the mixture on medium speed for approximately two minutes. If the icing is too thick add a drop or two of water to thin it. Add a little more icing/powdered sugar and then beat the icing for about 15 to 20 seconds.
How to Ice and Decorate the Cookies
Once the gingerbread cookies are cooled completely and the icing is made, it's time to do the decorating.
You can use a pastry bag fitted with a small hole tip for piping. This makes it easier to have more control when you decorate. If you don't have a piping bag, a simple resealable bag with the corner snipped off will work, too.
Pipe the icing onto the cookies or you can also drizzle it. Add sprinkles and other decorations while the icing is still wet.
Once you decorated the cookies, let them sit out at room temperature for one to two hours so the icing can harden.
Once you've decorated your cookies, place them in an airtight container with wax paper separating the layers. This will keep them from sticking. They will keep well for several days at room temperature.
Freeze the cooled decorated or undecorated cookies in a freezer safe container, with parchment paper separating the layers. They will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
You can't go wrong with these Christmas cookies. They're a classic and my recipe is so easy you can make it several times through the holidays!
More Christmas Recipes
Easy Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (at least 11% protein) (146 grams - total)
- 1 pinch salt*
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup butter (soft)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 large egg yolk
*If using unsalted butter then use ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- 1 large egg white** (or ¾ tablespoon meringue powder)
- 1 cup icing/powdered sugar (sifted)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice**
- food colouring if desired
**You can substitute the egg white with ¾ tablespoon of meringue powder, if you do then use 1 - 1½ tablespoons of water.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl beat until soft and creamy about 2 minutes the butter and sugars, add the molasses and yolk and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and beat just to combine. Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead to form a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least one hour. You can also chill it overnight.
- Roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness, cut out with 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, leaving them 1-1½ inches apart. Refrigerate the cookies while the oven is pre-heating.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes. Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for approximately 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. Enjoy.
- In a small/medium bowl beat the egg white until light and frothy, add in the sifted powdered/icing sugar and lemon juice, beat on medium speed until thick and shiny. Add colouring if using. Fill the pastry bag with the small hole tip and decorate the cookies. The icing should firm up in about 1-2 hours.If using meringue powder - In a small/medium bowl, whisk together the sifted icing/powdered sugar and meringue powder, add the water and beat together on medium speed for approximately until 2 minutes, if too thick add a drop or two of water (to start) too thin a little more icing/powdered sugar, beat to combine, about 15-20 seconds.