How To Make Gingerbread Cookies

Eileen's Spicy Gingerbread Man

Eileen’s Spicy Gingerbread Man | Photo by Maryam

For many holiday bakers, nothing is more festive than classic gingerbread cookie cut-outs. Here are 10 essential tips for successful gingerbread baking and decorating.

10 Tips for Making Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Gingerbread dough is easier to work with if you chill it for 1 hour before rolling it out.
  2. Roll out the dough on a surface that’s lightly dusted with flour or flour and confectioners’ sugar mixed. If the dough isn’t too sticky, you can roll it out between sheets of parchment paper.
  3. Keep cookie cutters from sticking to the dough by misting them very lightly with cooking spray or dipping the edges into flour.
  4. If you’re cutting out large or intricate shapes, here’s how to keep them from stretching or falling apart when you transfer them to a baking sheet: Roll out the dough on parchment paper, cut the shapes, remove the scraps, and slide the parchment paper directly onto the baking sheet.
  5. Let baked gingerbread cookies cool completely before you decorate them.
  6. A simple glaze of confectioners’ sugar and milk works well for decorating cookies. Add extracts or citrus zest to enhance the flavor.
  7. Use liquid or paste food coloring to brighten up icing.
  8. Add decorations (such as colored sugar, shredded coconut, toasted sliced almonds, chocolate and rainbow sprinkles, edible glitter, multicolored nonpareils, button candies, mini semisweet baking bits, and dried currants) before the icing dries. Need decoration inspiration? Here you go!
  9. Let decorated cookies rest flat and uncovered for about 2 hours or until icing firms up.
  10. You can make the cookie dough and freeze it for up to three months. Baked (undecorated) cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to four weeks. Baked and decorated cookies can be stored in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks. Place waxed paper between layers of cookies.

Pictured: Eileen’s Spicy Gingerbread Men

A Taste of History with Your Gingerbread?

Dense, ginger-spiced cookies flavored with molasses or honey date back to the Middle Ages, when intricately carved boards were used as templates to make fanciful shapes. Sold at fairs, these treats became holiday traditions. Gingerbread remains popular today, and cookie cutters make it easy to create an assortment of holiday-themed shapes.

Related Gingerbread Cookie Fun

See our complete collection of gingerbread cookies. (We also have all kinds of delicious gingerbread cakes, cupcakes, pancakes, and waffles.)

If you’d like to make a gingerbread house, we can help you out with recipes for the dough, icing, and house template. Decorating a gingerbread house for Christmas is a fun tradition to share with kids, Halloween gingerbread houses are gaining in popularity, too.

Share the cookie fun with a cookie decorating party and/or super-fun cookie exchange party.

Get more tips, tricks, and awesome food finds right here.