You are going to love this gingerbread cookies recipe because it makes a really soft cookie! It’s packed with flavor from the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. And I really like how dense the cookie is – no icing needed. (Unless you want to.)
Why I Love These Cookies
When I think of gingerbread cookies I think of a cookie that is rich in spices like ginger snaps. And honestly, in the past, I’ve felt like many gingerbread men have too strong of a flavor. So when I created this recipe by merging my favorite sugar cookie cut-outs with an all-time favorite molasses cake – I found the best gingerbread cookie recipe!
- This gingerbread cookies recipe does not produce your typical snappy crunch gingerbread that makes for sturdy walls in a decorated house. Instead, they are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside – just as I prefer a cookie to be.
- The spice is there, but not overpowering. My kids love them! They are also not overly sweet, so the icing would pair nicely.
- The most unique thing about these cookies? Absolutely no butter or shortening needed. The secret is in the unique blending of canola oil and blackstrap molasses.
These cookies are rather simple with only 10 ingredients. Most of the ingredients you probably have on hand. There are a few unique additions that are key to this recipe.
- Blackstrap Molasses – Blackstrap has a stronger flavor than regular un-sulfured molasses. No shortcuts here, get the blackstrap molasses.
- Dark Brown Sugar – Make sure to use this type of brown sugar as it has more moisture because of the additional molasses. It also has a bit of a caramel flavor which adds to the cookies.
- Canola Oil – Similar to vegetable oil, I prefer using canola because it’s lower in saturated fat and blends well with the sugar.
How to Make The Best Gingerbread Cookies (VIDEO)
Step by Step Tutorial
- Mix together the oil, brown sugar, and molasses. The consistency will be like shiny wet sugar. Mix in your eggs one at a time. The batter will start to become smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, baking soda, and salt. Add this flour mixer to the batter and stir well.
- The dough will be very sticky. Place on a heavily floured surface and knead with your hands. Add more flour a little at a time until it is no longer sticky.
- Refrigerate the dough in plastic wrap for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. When ready, roll the cold dough 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface and cut out your gingerbread men. Place the men on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake the men in a preheated 350˚ oven for 8 minutes or until they are puffed up and showing tiny cracks at the surface. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
How to Decorate
These cookies are delicious right out of the oven! However, if you have something fancier in mind to pair with your other Christmas cookies, here are my two suggestions.
- Powdered Sugar – I like to sprinkle mine with a little powdered sugar while they are still warm.
- Vanilla Icing – Spread or decorate using icing.
Using blackstrap gives a more robust flavor to the cookies. Because it is more concentrated we suggest using it for this recipe to bring out the bold flavors.
If your dough is not fully chilled, it can alter your finished product. For this recipe we recommend chilling at least 3 hours, but overnight is best.
The cookies need to be cool before adding any icing. If it’s added when the cookie is warm the icing will melt and you won’t have those nice tight white lines on your gingerbread men
More Cookies for Christmas
- How To Make The Best Sugar Cookie : Easy Sugar Cookies Recipe
- Lemon Tea Cookie Recipe
- Grandma’s Brickle Cookies
- Honey Cut-Out Cookies with Honey Icing
- Peanut Butter No Bake Oatmeal Cookies
The Best Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Whisk together the flour, spices, soda and salt. Set aside.
- Using a mixer, mix the oil, molasses and brown sugar together. Then, using the same wet bowl, mix in the eggs, one at a time.
- Next, slowly stir in your bowl of the flour mixture into the mixer bowl of wet ingredients. Add one cup at a time to make it easy for you.
- The dough will still be quite sticky. Place the dough onto a heavily floured surface and with floured hands, work in more flour with your hands until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but it's best to leave in refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350˚ F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out! Bake for 8 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets until just starting to crack. Let cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
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Comments & Reviews
Thanks Meredith, I agree, it acts as though I added too much flour but I didn’t. I will try more oil. I did refridgerate it overnight and it’s like a rock. I don’t know if I can even roll it out. : (
Kim E Goppert says
So, I just made the cookies but unfortunately I must have done something wrong as the dough was not sticky at all but very crumbly. I doubt I’ll be able to roll it out tomorrow. I’m looking for ideas on what may have gone wrong. I didn’t have dark brown sugar so I used the light brown. Would this make all the difference? Help?
Meredith Edwards says
If you only used 3 cups of flour, it shouldn’t be crumbly. Dark brown sugar may have a little more moisture, but it shouldn’t make a difference. Sorry this happened! I would suggest adding more oil until you get a less crumbly texture. Be sure to refrigerate the dough. Hope this helps!
Maybe they are crumbly because I used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer? It works great for muffins. I just googled it and it should work for cookies. I’ll try more oil
Can these be frozen after baking?
Yes! They freeze great!
Karo Hilton says
I by-passed chilling for three hours by cutting out the cookies, placing them on cookie sheets, and popping them in the freezer as I cut them out. As soon as I finished cutting the last pan (they filled 3 cookie sheets), I popped the first pan in the oven to bake. As soon as the first pan of cookies baked, I pulled the 2nd pan out of the freezer and it into the oven. They baked so perfectly! So soft and delicious!
I have had so many requests for this recipe. Everyone loves these gingerbread cookies. So easy to make too!!
I was surprised that the substitute for butter created more of a crumblier and drier cookie. Batter smelled more like egg than spices. It only smelled good during baking. I hope they stay moist, as I believe you mentioned that they do. If it has to be a crunchy gingerbread this year cuz I forgot to buy butter, then so be it! Just give a disclaimer for someone who makes the same mistake as me….
We love this recipe because it doesn’t have butter and it’s not made the typical way! Hope you enjoyed it 🙂