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Gingerbread Men Cookies

Updated on October 2, 2017
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green enjoys whipping up tasty dishes in her home kitchen. She's received many requests for her recipes and is happy to share.


A Classic Cookie, Loved the World Over

Gingerbread men are such a delight around Christmas time. And it's not just young ones that love 'em. "Big kids" enjoy them too. Who of us doesn't look forward to taking a gingery bite, picking off the chocolatey Smarties and eating the icing?

And the flavor of these cookies, if done well, is unbeatable: creamy butter icing with spicy ginger. The perfect combo. Yum!

With their appealing shapes (will you bite off a leg, an arm, or a head first?) they are different from the classic round cookies. So much fun on so many levels. And the cute factor is a definite plus.

While eating gingerbread men cookies is a delight, they are also fun to decorate.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup fancy molasses
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups flour


If you want spicier cookies, add more ginger and cinnamon to taste.


  1. Cream together butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add salt, spices, and molasses.
  3. Dissolve soda in water, then stir into batter.
  4. Add enough flour, mixing with a wooden spoon, until dough is stiff enough to roll out on a floured surface.
  5. Roll onto floured counter until 1/4" thick and cut out with gingerbread men cookie cutters. Cut your cookies on the thick side. This makes for a softer cookie.

Adding Sprinkles to Cookies


For Softer or Harder Cookies

Make sure to not overbake gingerbread men, unless you want a harder cookie.

• Softer cookies are better for eating.

• Harder cookies can be hung on the Xmas tree.

Baking Tips

  • Double-pan, so cookie bottoms don't overbrown.
  • Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat as needed toward end of cooking time.
  • Let cookies cool in pan before lifting out.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen gingerbread men.

Cookies Ready for Icing


A Word About Cutters

Make sure your cutters are open, so that you can choose the thickness of your cookies.

Closed cutters are much harder to work with because cookie dough tends to stick to the "roof" part.

Butter Icing

While cookies have been set to cool, make a batch of butter icing:

  • butter
  • icing sugar
  • milk to moisten
  1. Start with 1/2 cup of soft butter and beat with beaters.
  2. Add icing sugar to taste and continue beating.
  3. Add just enough milk to make a smooth icing.

You can make more icing if needed, depending on how much icing you use on your gingerbread men.

Spread icing over cookie surface or pipe it on to decorate.

Iced Gingerbread Men Cookies With Sprinkles


Icing Entire Cookie

If you are short on time, use a mudding tool that has a wide flat blade. Make one long wide sweep to frost entire cookie.

  • Add sprinkles on top
  • Dip arms and legs in red or green sparkles
  • Dip entire cookie in red or green sparkles

Decorated Gingerbread Men

Piping on icing gives you much better control and it's easy to add specific elements, such as eyes, belts, clothing.
Piping on icing gives you much better control and it's easy to add specific elements, such as eyes, belts, clothing. | Source

Decorating Tips for Gingerbread Men Cookies

It is easier to pipe icing to decorate these cookies. This gives you more control and you can easily add decorative elements such as hair, eyes, teeth, clothing, belts, and even shoes.

It can be fun to change it up a bit, by using different-colored icing.

Other elements can be added, such as M&Ms, chocolate chips or Smarties. Thin licorice can be used for belts and hair.

Storage Tip

Store cookies in a tin or a lidded container. The will soften as they sit.

Why Not Give These Cookies as Gifts?

These cookies are so charming, they are perfect for giving as a gift around the holidays. Line a basket with brightly-colored tissue paper and add cookies or take a plate over to a neighbor to spread good will.


Tree Decorations

Some people plan to use some of their cookies as edible tree decorations or as decorations that will be discarded at the end of the season. If you plan on doing this, while cutting out your cookies, make a hole in the dough at the top, so a thin ribbon can be threaded through the cooled, baked cookies later. Lift out other cookies, but leave cookies that will become tree decorations and turn down oven. Continue baking these cookies in a long, slow oven, so they dry thoroughly and will harden as they cool. If necessary, cover with a baking sheet, so tops don't overbrown.

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© 2009 Athlyn Green


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