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Gingerbread Man Decorating Ideas

Updated on December 6, 2012

How To Decorate A Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread men have been around since the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I had gingerbread men made to pay homage to her most important guests. Most gingerbread men have the same basic shape. We use royal icing and other decorating candies to give them detail. Decorating gingerbread men is a fun family activity and a great Christmas time craft. This lens will show you some creative ways to decorate a gingerbread man and I will even give you a basic gingerbread man recipe. By the time Christmas rolls around, you will be coming up with your own unique and gingerbread men decorating ideas and I hope you come back to share them with me.

This picture is courtesy of Samdogs on Creative Commons.

How To Make A Basic Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man Recipe


½ c butter or margarine

½ c white sugar

½ c molasses

1 egg

2 c flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp nutmeg


In a bowl, mix margarine and sugar. Stir in molasses and egg until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, powder, soda and spices. Slowly pour into the creamed mixture and mix until smooth. Place in a sealed bowl and chill for at least one hour in refrigerator.

After chilling, lightly flour a flat surface. Roll a portion of the dough to ¼" thickness and use cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on wire racks before decorating.

Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter - The Cookie Cutter For Kids

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Curious Chef Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter
Curious Chef Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter

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Gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter; food safe plastic

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These Gingerbread Men Need Clothes!

These Gingerbread Men Need Clothes!
These Gingerbread Men Need Clothes!

Gingerbread Men Decorating Ideas - Fun Ways To Decorate Gingerbread men

  • You don't have to stick to strictly making Gingerbread Men; you can make gingerbread women, children, and pets.
  • Royal icing can be used to outline your gingerbread man. It can also be used to draw on clothes, faces, accessories. Use colored royal icing to make your gingerbread men stand out.
  • Eyes and buttons can be made using gumdrops, raisins, red cinnamon candies or chocolate chips.
  • Mix beaten egg yolks with food coloring, and paint your cookies before they go in the oven.
  • Cut out accessories from scrap pieces of gingerbread. You can make hats, scarves, or bow ties. Use royal icing to 'glue' them onto your gingerbread men for a 3D effect.
  • Spread a thin layer of icing on your gingerbread man and cover it with sprinkles or colored sugar.

These Gingerbread men are courtesy of solyanka on Creative Commons.

Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Set - Kuhn Rikon Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Set

Instant fun for the whole family - kids and adults - with professional quality results. The Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Set from Kuhn Rikon has everything you need to decorate cookies, cupcakes and cakes. 4 Decorating Bottles for different color icings, 9 interchangeable decorating tips and one frosting spatula.

Royal Icing Recipe

2 egg whites

5 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, lightly whisk egg whites. Gradually beat in approximately confectioners' sugar. The icing should be smooth and stand in firm peaks.

Mother And Child Gingerbread People

Mother And Child Gingerbread People
Mother And Child Gingerbread People

Decorating With Royal Icing - Tips for decorating with royal icing

Decorating with royal icing can be a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to be creative and personalize your gingerbread man. Here are a few tips and tricks for using royal icing.

  • Always let your cookies cool completely before decorating them.
  • Always sift the powdered sugar before making the royal icing.
  • Drag a butter knife through the surface of your royal icing and count to 10. If the icing surface becomes smooth in anywhere between 5-10 seconds, then your icing is ready to use.
  • Do not overbeat the icing. This will cause thinner outlines to crack and fall off. When the icing is glossy and comes to stiff peaks, it is ready.
  • Use a #2 for outlining and filling in. For larger cookies use tip #3 or #4 and for smaller cookies use tip #1.
  • Always do the outlines first; then fill in with more icing as desired.
  • For multiple layers of icing, wait at least 10 minutes between layers to prevent bleeding.

Decorating Icing - Colored Decorating Icing

If you don't want to mess with making individual colors of royal icing, you can simply buy these small pre-made tubes. They are easy to use and make a lot less mess.

This army of Gingerbread Men is courtesy of Paul Jerry on Creative Commons.

Fun Tip

Punch a hole in the top of your gingerbread men before baking. After the gingerbread man has been decorated, add a red ribbon through the hole and hang on your Christmas tree for a fun and unique ornament.

Gingerbread Santa Is Coming To Town

Gingerbread Santa Is Coming To Town
Gingerbread Santa Is Coming To Town

How To Make Gingerbread Men - GIngerbread Man Decorating Ideas

Simple Royal Icing on Gingerbread Man

Simple Royal Icing on Gingerbread Man
Simple Royal Icing on Gingerbread Man

How Do You Decorate Your Gingerbread Men? - Please leave your comments below.

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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 years ago from Washington State, USA

      My kids love gingerbread. I enjoyed your suggestions on how to decorate--the Santa is a cute idea. Thanks for posting.

    • Zoraya Nash profile image


      4 years ago from Ukraine

      Very useful! I am going to make it! thank you for a recipe!

    • fathomblueEG profile image


      6 years ago

      Gingerbread is timeless and oh so yummy:-) super seratonin goodness:-)

    • Stephanie36 profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      Such great ideas! I love gingerbread :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      so cute.. and great ideas.

    • iijuan12 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Beautiful and helpful lens! I'm featuring it on my lesson on "The Gingerbread Man."

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like to use little cinnamon candies (like Red Hots) for buttons: that and white icing.

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Just from reading this lens...I can almost smell the I need to go and bake some.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love your lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      pretty much the standard methods, icing sugar, jube-jubes, things of this nature

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cute ideas.

    • Coffeebreaker profile image


      8 years ago

      I plan on making these this year...been a few since I have and am glad for the ideas for decorating you have here! I think I will make the "men" on a stick and take for christmas dinner dessert for the kids!


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