Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread is a classic Christmas flavor. I love it. But I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of thin and crispy gingerbread cookies. I’ve always wanted a gingerbread cookie similar in texture to a really good sugar cookie.

This recipe fits the bill.

These cookies are packed with gingerbread flavor but the texture has a delicious and surprising softness and chewiness that keeps me going back for just one more gingerbread man.

The dough requires chilling and freezing in order for the cookies to keep their shape, but the time invested is well worth it. And as a sidenote, the cookies are egg-free in case that happens to be an allergy you are working around.

These cookies are such a favorite, we make them every holiday season. One taste, and I think you’ll know why.

Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen gingerbread men

Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies


  • 3 cups (15 ounces) flour
  • ¾ cup packed (5 ¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature (but not warm!), cut into 12 pieces
  • ¾ cup light or dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. With an electric mixer, stir together the flour, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and add the butter pieces. Mix at medium-low speed until the mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and with the mixer running, gradually add the molasses and milk; mix until the dough is evenly moistened about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
  2. Scrape the dough onto a work surface and divide it in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough ¼ inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment or wax paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment or wax paper, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or overnight.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
  4. Remove one dough sheet from the freezer and place on the counter. Peel off the top parchment or wax paper sheet. Gently cut the dough into 5-inch gingerbread people or 3-inch gingerbread cookies, transferring the shapes to the prepared baking sheets with a wide metal spatula and spacing them ¾ inch apart. Set the scraps aside. Repeat with the remaining dough until the baking sheets are full. Because flour is not added during rolling, dough scraps can be rolled and cut as many times as necessary.
  5. Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains and imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 9 minutes. Do not overbake!! Cool the cookies on the sheets 2 minutes, then remove the cookies with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Gather the scraps; repeat the rolling, cutting and baking. Frost as desired (I used a ziploc bag filled with simple white icing).
  6. Store soft gingerbread in a wide, shallow airtight container or tin with a sheet of parchment paper between the cookie layers. These cookies are best eaten within one week.

Recipe Source: adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook by ATK

91 Responses to Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Ma'Carry says:

    All of Mel’s cookie recipes are my GO TO! I can even make them vegan/gluten free for all of my friends. These are delicious and I will never use a different recipe for gingerbread.

  2. […] cookie base adapted + modified from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  3. Mel says:

    this was awful…. i ended up having to use an egg… and way more milk… and still it was gross and grainy. NOT a fan. will not be making this again

  4. Natalie Briggs says:

    This recipe was the answer to my Christmas! I only like gingerbread if it is soft and chewy but never found one that turned out right. This was so easy and turned out perfectly! I did chill the dough in plastic wrap in the fridge overnight. We cut out reindeer and piped their red noses.

  5. Carrie says:

    YUM! I made these without refined sugar by subbing date syrup for the brown sugar. That made the dough pretty sticky so omitted the milk and added about 1/3 cup more flour. The keys for me for getting them super soft was rolling out thick like you said and NOT over baking. I found 5-7 minutes to be ideal, depending on the temp of the dough and the cookie sheet. Thank you for your recipes, they are always great!

  6. Amy says:

    I am going to make these, I’m a little confused about the rolling out and refrigerating? However we have a bakery here in Salt Lake City that dips the bottom half in milk chocolate… I am so going to do that with these. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Carol says:

    These are the best! My daughter has made several batches now and they stay chewy and moist! They held their shape perfectly and you can really taste the spices! We will never need another gingerbread recipe! Thank you!
    Is it possible to put a picture on this comment site?

  8. Morgan says:

    These rolled out well and came out soft, but they tasted VERY salty. I’ll continue my search…

  9. Darci Gautreau says:

    They taste good, but didn’t hold there shape from the cookie cutter, won’t be making them again

  10. Heather bell says:

    Mel these were life changing. I don’t even like gingerbread or so I thought. I ate five. Yes five. Our elderly friend mother of seven loves them too. Score! And now I have to try all the other gingerbread recipes on here.

  11. Kristin says:

    I am obsessed with the flavor of these cookies but unfortunately they spread too much for what I need them for. I have tried to play around with the recipe so it won’t spread, but so far no luck. Any ideas? I need cookies with crisp edges for decorating. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      These might not be the right cookie, I’m afraid – they are meant to be soft and chewy, not crisp like a traditional gingerbread cutout cookie.

  12. Kim says:

    I made these today and dipped half of each cookie in chocolate. This has made a great holiday treat! I love the flavor. Thanks!

  13. gw says:

    Best gingerbread recipe I’ve tried yet, and I’ve tried quite a few. Thick, moist and chewy, like I remember as a little girl. These are my favorite Christmas cookies. THANK YOU!!!!

  14. Sarah says:

    This recipe is magic!!! Thank you. We were able to yield almost 40 cookies (cut them into circles with a biscuit cutter instead of gingerbread men), and we served them right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream… HEAVEN on a plate Mmmmm we’ll be dreaming about these all Christmas…

  15. Bess says:

    Just finished these cookies for Christmas and they were such a hit!! I will definitely be saving this recipe for next year. The cookies were perfect for me because I prefer them to be a little softer and slightly chewy…these came out perfect!!

  16. Raquel says:

    I tried both your recipe and the King Arthur Flour recipe this year for gingerbread men. I found them similar in taste and texture (which I loved both!) but your method for rolling out and chilling the dough was the hands down winner! Rolling between parchment while the dough is still soft, and then freezing the rolled out dough before cutting out the cookies worked great. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

  17. Kate Tierney says:

    This recipe is GOLD!!! Gingerbread cookie *dough* is my favorite thing about cookies, ever. But the cookies always dissapoint. At last, here’s a recipe where the cookie tastes better than the best dough. It’s perfectly assembled — and the caution against overbaking is very important. Thank you for changing my holiday baking forever!

  18. Kelsey says:

    These cookies were a heartbreaker for me. So many folks seem to have had success with them, but mine came out of the freezer so stuck to the wax paper that I had to throw the whole batch away. I tried letting get softer, letting them get harder, no matter what they were just tragically stuck. By the end there were pieces of wax paper all through the dough so it wasn’t salvageable. I’m not a terrible baker, and followed the recipe so I’m not sure what happened here.

    • Mel says:

      Sorry these didn’t work out for you, Kelsey. Any chance your dough needed a bit more flour?

      • Raquel says:

        Just a thought in case it helps…I had a similar problem last year when I made these, but I was able to determine it was the wax paper. When I used parchment paper instead, there was no sticking! Maybe some brands of wax paper don’t work as well.

  19. Lisa says:

    These sound great! I am wondering if subbing coconut oil for the butter would work. What do you think?

  20. Jasmine Toor says:

    First eggless cookie recipe that i can truly say you do not miss the egg! Very flavourful, perfectly chewy and soft…so good! I followed the directions to a T and got perfect results. I added white chocolate chips and it went well. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  21. Tina says:

    I made these with my 2 kids and they were a huge hit! My son has an egg allergy, and I can’t thank you enough for something he can decorate that is also delicious! And these are just plain Delicious! We made not only gingerbread men, but also snowmen, trees, and snowflakes. The entire batch was gone in 3 days, my husband is requesting more this weekend, he says it’s he best cookie we’ve ever made.

  22. Megan says:

    3 cups is 24 oz.
    3/4 cup is 6 oz.

  23. Jordan Johnson says:

    Do you happen to know if these freeze well after being baked? Thanks!

  24. Sonya says:

    These cookies. I have no words. They’re amazing! So good in fact, I must have missed the memo that gingerbread is only for Xmas (cause I just baked another batch the other night). And can I tell you a secret? When my husband and kids aren’t looking, I totally sandwich vanilla ice cream between two cookies. Whoa. If they knew what mom was doing those cookies would be gone in a heartbeat!

    As always, thanks so much from Canada!
    Sonya 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Sonya – you sound like me; known to do crazy things like putting ice cream in between two cookies when no one is looking. 🙂 Glad you loved these!

  25. MamaMags says:

    As I started making these my husband (aka Cookie Monster) said ‘just so you know I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread’- well after they came out of the oven he had a change if heart, ‘you can make those again anytime!’ So they have all been devoured and I’m doubling it for the Christmas batch! Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Stephanie says:

    Suzanne, I too was worried about so much molasses, and about so much spice. This was my first gingerbread making experience, but I could not be happier with the result! Not too strong flavored, good and chewy. Great recipe, Melanie!

  27. Suzanne says:

    The bottle doesn’t say blackstrap molasses, it just says Wholesome Sweeteners organic molasses unsulphured.

  28. Suzanne says:

    Hi Mel! I’m wondering if my particular type/brand of molasses is extra strong b/c I made the same chewy gingersnaps my sister made and hers turned out much lighter in color and less molasses tasting. Accordingly, I’m worried about using the full amount of molasses in these cookies, but really want to try them, do you know if it would affect the cookies much if I dialed back the amount of molasses and if I should add something in it’s place?

    • Mel says:

      Suzanne – are you using blackstrap molasses? That kind will definitely have a darker appearance and much stronger flavor. I usually use plain old unsulphured molasses.

      • gerri says:

        Thanks for sharing your recipe. I have been trying to find the perfect soft gingerbread recipe. It’s our family tradition to gather around and decorate gingerbread men. Ill let you know how they turn out. I usually use Grandma’s brand molasses is this ok?

  29. Laura says:

    Hi Mel! I tried these today and I don’t think they were cold enough. I’m going to try them again tomorrow. Do you have a recipe for your simple white icing? Thanks! Laura

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laura – I just mix powdered sugar with a bit of milk until it is thick but still able to pipe out of the corner of a ziploc bag without running all over the place. Sometimes I add a touch of vanilla, too.

  30. Rita says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting both your gingerbread recipes! My daughter has an egg allergy, so we’re always on the look out for new yummy Christmas treats to make. I’m sure they’ll become family favorites along with your other great recipes that I’ve tried!

  31. Debbie Johnson says:

    I absolutely love these cookies. I make them every christmas to put in my gift baskets.
    They are the perfect gingerbread cookie!

  32. Caitlin says:

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this recipe, I made them for the first time almost a year ago. Before I made these, I never had any luck making rolled cookies. But these are phenomenal, my children love them and I have been making them all year (it seems in our house gingerbread men are just as delicious in July!). I am making another batch today. Just recently I started doing before and after school childcare for a fellow mom I know and there has been a little tension in this busy house! Gingerbread men to the rescue (and to put a smile on four little faces)

  33. Tyler says:

    You may have ended my search for an egg-less gingerbread cookie recipe. I have fond memories of cooking class in junior high school making an egg-less dough….then taste testing it before baking. I only wish I had made digital copies of all the recipes I got from my teacher Miss Munzer. I am still on the search for the clover rolls recipe. They were so good!! Now have to search for molasses in Japan.

  34. […] asked to make gingerbread cookies, so we did. We used Mel’s Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies, cause she’s never let me down. Let me preface by saying I don’t like gingerbread […]

  35. Shannon says:

    We wanted to make these for an evening treat, and I was not about to leave them in the fridge overnight, so I’m glad to know the freezer trick. I wonder if that would work for sugar cookies. ? These are super yummy straight out of the oven and good cold too. My father-in-law loves gingerbread; I think I might move up to favorite d-i-l status if I make these for Christmas!

  36. Cathy says:

    Made these last night with my granddaughter and daughter. They turned out soo good.. I rolled them out a little thicker and put the dough in the frig overnight rolled out between the parchment paper. LOVE THIS!!!

  37. […] Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookiesfrom Mel’s Kitchen Cafe  […]

  38. Mel says:

    Stacy – I’ve never tried them that way but it’s worth an attempt. I don’t know how they’ll spread/flatten as they bake so I’d start with smaller-sized dough balls.

  39. Stacy says:

    My family loves the hard crispy Peparkakor gingerbread men, I love a chewy cookie but don’t want to go the effort of making another cutout, could you just roll this dough into balls, maybe then in some sugar and bake? Would they turn out the same?

  40. Terri says:

    Hmmm…made these cookies 2 days ago….they were gone by that night (hey, I didn’t eat them ALL…I have four growing boys in this house!)….so I’m making more today…except it will be a double batch!! My husband can’t stop talking about them, and he’s like me, could care less about gingerbread before!! They ARE that amazing!! 🙂

  41. Tristan says:

    Thanks Mel!!

  42. Loralee says:

    Best eaten within one week – are you kidding me? These will certainly disappear the minutes they hit the serving plate! Can’t wait to make them….

  43. Terri says:

    These cookies are fabulous!! I’m not a gingerbread fan…NORMALLY….but these, well, I ate three before they were even decorated!! My 11 yr old is decorating them as I write this…and I’m enjoying a cup of hot tea, eating ANOTHER cookie, and relaxing!! Thanks Mel!!!

  44. Mel says:

    Tristan – I do, actually! We make these gingerbread sleds every year and the dough is great for gingerbread houses:

  45. Tristan says:

    Do you have a recipe for gingerbread house-worthy cookie dough? My daughter needs to make one for school and I would much rather log some quality kitchen time then buy something pre-made! Thanks so much for any help- Tristan

  46. Anissa says:

    I made a big batch of this dough a few days ago and froze it in the rolled out sheets like you suggested and then covered the whole tray in seran wrap so it would stay fresh through the week. Worked like a charm. The cookies were baked today and they are OH SO TASTY! I’d definitely err on the thicker side when rolling out the dough to make it easier to cut and transfer to the tray. I also would only bake mine for about 7 minutes.
    And yes, I’m making gingerbread men cookies in September… they are for my kids Candy Land birthday party this coming weekend and of course, we had to have gingerbread men to decorate! 🙂 Thanks for another great go-to recipe!

  47. Andrea says:

    Okay, so I made these and they were a hit! Wowzers, they blew my socks off. I love that they were so soft and not too spicy. Best recipe for gingerbread ever!!!! Thanks!

  48. Andrea says:

    I’ve made the dough and am going to bake these with my girlfriends tomorrow morning! Yay for Christmas and yay for delicious gingerbread men recipes posted by Melanie! Merry Christmas!!

  49. Melanie says:

    Sara – I love this idea of sandwiching the cookies together! Thanks for letting me know that you liked this recipe.

  50. Melanie says:

    Ruby – oat flour? Wonderful idea. Thank you for letting me know you liked these!

  51. Ruby says:

    I made these and substituted 1/4 cup flour for oat flour and they turned out soooo chewey. Thanks for the recipe!

  52. Melanie says:

    Karin – I’m so glad these cookies were a hit. Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m glad they turned out perfectly.

  53. Karin says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I tried these and they were delicious. I am never happy with how my cookies turn out-it’s very sad. These were easy to work with and turn out perfect.

  54. Charlene says:

    I think I’m going to try making these later, mine came out hard and crunchy. I like chewy cookies better so I can’t wait to give these a try.

    Definitely coming back to look at more cookie recipes later.


  55. Melanie says:

    Email from my Aunt Marilyn:…..loved the ginger bread cookies! of course I had to make them in the last 30 minutes I had left before I had to be out the door. They were delicious.

  56. Melanie says:

    Kandi V – I’m sorry these didn’t work out for you. If you haven’t thrown away the dough yet, just freeze or refrigerate again. My guess is that the dough wasn’t cold enough to cut the dough. If you refrigerated the dough, try freezing it next time. The dough needs to be quite firm to cut out into shapes. Good luck!

  57. Kandi V says:

    I was excited to make these, and my kids were excited to eat them. So imagine my dissappointment when I pulled them out of the fridge and they were too soft to be cut! They fell apart as I slid my spatula underneath to lift them! We are bummed! Any ides on what happened? Thanks!

  58. Katy ~ says:

    Don’t you just love gingerbread cutouts. I think of all the Christmas cookies, this is one that defines the season. They are adorable!

  59. Melanie says:

    Leslie, you are correct, there are no eggs.

  60. Melanie says:

    Pat – haha, very funny!

  61. Melanie says:

    Jenni and Christian – these cookies are definitely too soft for gingerbread houses. If you want a fantastic recipe for gingerbread houses (or sleds like we make in our house), email me at mykitchencafe at gmail dot com and I’ll send you my tried-and-true recipe.

  62. comfycook says:

    This looks delicious. I have discovered the joys of ginger in cookies and cakes.

  63. Leslie says:

    I am so excited! I lost my old recipe that I loved and have been sad that other recipes were not so great. Am I reading it right that there are no eggs?

  64. Pat says:

    I want to make gender-neutral gingerpeople cookies for the local ACLU holiday party. These will be great! I don’t suppose you have a recipe for feminist frosting?

  65. Jenni and Christian says:

    would these be good in shapes to make gingerbread houses too.. or are they too soft for that?

  66. Melanie Anne says:

    Wow–I needed this recipe!! The gingerbread I have tried in the past has been dissapointing! Fun–I love your sugar rush! Merry Christmas Mel!

  67. Sallie My Sister's Kitchen says:

    I had this bookmarked in my cookbook at home for when my nephew comes over to make gingerbread men. Looks delicious!

  68. Cammee says:

    Oh Sugar Rush! Bring it on, baby! These Sound wonderful. I’m with you on the hard crunchy cookies, not for me. I’m taking dinner to a friend tonight, this just might be the treat!

  69. Debbie says:

    I love gingerbread men and decorating them. Mine always turn out too hard. I’ll have to try these! They look sooo good!

  70. The Double Dipped Life says:

    These sound divine! I have all the ingredients…sounds like a good afternoon kid activity!

  71. grace says:

    i always eat the limbs first, then the head, then the body, unless the head has the most glaze, and then i save it for last. 🙂

  72. Sara says:

    Mmm, gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite Christmas cookies because that’s the only time I make them!

  73. Anonymous says:

    These will be perfect for my kids to decorate and take to their friends. I was going to have them take sugar cookies, but these are much more fun. I agree, a soft and chewy gingerbread cookie is the only way to go. I can’t wait for the next eleven recipes. -Liz K.

  74. ~Judy~ says:

    Sounds like a winner to me!

  75. Jelli Bean says:

    I also really enjoy soft cookies, so I´m sure this recipe would be perfect. Unfortunately, I can´t head straight to my pantry to bake these up, as I do not have molasses around (yet!), but this recipe is going directly to my files. Thanks for sharing.

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