The BEST soft gingerbread sugar cookies recipe! The cookies don't spread, are filled with warm spices and are delicious decorated or plain!
Tis the season for cookie baking! The holidays would not be complete without gingerbread cookies, but I'm not talking about hard, crunchy, "you're going to break a tooth" gingerbread. Instead, I'm bringing you perfectly spiced, soft and chewy, with a hint of molasses, gingerbread sugar cookies. Cookie nirvana, if you ask me!
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Sugar cookies are hands down my absolute favorite cookie! They are perfect for so many occasions, but the holidays just wouldn't be the same without them! This recipe brings you an easy homemade sugar cookie filled with warm spices and molasses for that classic gingerbread taste.
ingredients for soft gingerbread sugar cookies
- All-purpose flour - gives structure and helps the cookies to keep their shape
- Ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger - to flavor the cookies
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter
- Dark brown sugar - helps to give that chewy texture and an extra molasses flavor boost
- Egg - give the cookies some structure
- Vanilla extract - for extra flavor
- Molasses - for that signature gingerbread flavor, I use unsulphured
how to make gingerbread sugar cookies
The cookie dough comes together quickly and easily. Start by whisking together the dry ingredients, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
Then with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat together the butter, salt, and brown sugar for a minute or two. Then add the egg, vanilla and molasses and beat until combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture on low and combine until the dough starts to gather into a ball around the paddle (see the photo on the right below).
The dough will be soft, but not sticky. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and press into a 1 inch thick disk. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes before rolling out and for up to seven days. If the dough has chilled longer than a few hours, it may need 15 minutes (or more, depending on the temperature of your kitchen) of sitting out of the refrigerator before you can easily roll it out.
rolling out the gingerbread sugar cookie dough
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ of an inch thick. My mom got me this Williams Sonoma rolling pin last year and I love it!! You want thick cookies, so be careful to not roll them too thin. I love using these fluted cutters or just making circles with biscuit cutters (I love this set with various sizes!). They would be cute in any holiday shapes too!
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies will be slightly puffy on top and will look underdone. Allow the baked cookies to rest on the baking pan for 2 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Be careful not to over bake the cookies so they have that nice, soft and chewy texture.
how do you decorate sugar cookies?
I like to freeze my baked and cooled cookies for at least a few hours (or up to a few months) before decorating. It helps to keep the cookies nice and soft. I also find it easier to decorated chilled cookies. Meaning, it's easier to correct your mistakes on a cold cookie!😉
I used my favorite American buttercream to create the decorated cookies you see in these photos. I've got a post coming in the next week with detailed step-by-step photos and a video of how to create the cozy patterns you see on these cookies.
Do you have to frost sugar cookies?
No, these soft gingerbread sugar cookies are super delicious all on their own! They would also look great with a light dusting of powdered (icing) sugar.
what is the best way to store sugar cookies?
The sugar cookies will stay soft at room temperature (covered in an airtight container) or stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. The cookies also freeze very well for up to three months.
If freezing decorated cookies, chill or freeze them in a single layer until the buttercream is hard. The cookies can then be stacked and frozen in an airtight container. When you take the frozen cookies out of the freezer, be sure to unstack them before they thaw or the buttercream will stick the cookies together. They defrost in about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Remember to snap a picture and tag me @twosugarbugs on Instagram if you make these Soft Gingerbread Sugar Cookies. It warms my heart to see you bring these recipes to life! Thank you for being here and happy baking!
more sugar cookie recipes to explore
- Always Perfect Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- Easy and Fast Soft Drop Sugar Cookies
- Perfect Cinnamon Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- Sprinkle Cookies
If you make this recipe (or any recipe!) from two sugar bugs please come back and leave a review and a star rating. I read every comment, and I LOVE hearing from you!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar*(200g)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses (15mL)
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cloves and cinnamon with a whisk. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add in brown sugar and beat until smooth, about 1-½ minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla and molasses and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape up and down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture a little at a time, occasionally stopping to scrape your bowl. The dough should form a ball around the paddle when the mixing is finished. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.
- Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and press into a 1 inch thick disk. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes before rolling and for up to seven days. If the dough is chilled longer than a few hours, let it sit on the counter for 15 or more minutes until you can easily roll it out.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- On lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about a ¼ inch thickness, use additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all the dough is used.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
- Bake one sheet at a time in the middle of the oven, about 7-8 minutes, until slightly puffy. Allow the cookies to rest for 2 minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.**
- Decorate as desired. Favorite American Buttercream or spiced buttercream from Perfect Cinnamon Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are my favorites for decorating.
*Dark brown sugar is preferred for the extra molasses flavor, but light brown will also work.
**I like to freeze the cookies once they have completely cooled, I think it adds to the softness of the cookies. I typically bake the cookies at least a day prior to decorating them (or bake in the evening and freeze overnight). You can also bake the cookies and freeze them for up to 2-3 months before decorating.
Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They also freeze well for up to 3 months. If freezing decorated cookies, chill the cookies in a single layer. The cookies can then be stacked and frozen in an airtight container. When you take the frozen cookies out of the freezer, be sure to unstack them before they thaw or the buttercream will stick the cookies together.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 161Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 81mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g
The nutrition information is an estimate and may not be entirely accurate.