UPDATE: Not interested in all of the rolling and cutting? I’ve updated my site with an even SIMPLER soft, chewy gingerbread recipe. It only takes about 30 min. from start to finish!
My Mom loves Christmas. She doesn’t love Christmas like other moms.
She REALLY LOVES CHRISTMAS. Like, at one point we regularly had four trees spread throughout the house.
Not baby trees.
One of the trees was 12 feet tall (I think that one has finally been retired this year).
She’s the best mom.
With all of those trees there was at least one set of new ornaments created each year. One of my favorite tree designs has always been strings of popcorn and cranberries, cinnamon stick bundles and gingerbread.
Here’s the thing. My mom is a better
at everything baker than I. It probably has something to do with her perfectionist style. The recipe she regularly made during the holidays was WAY to hard and time consuming for me. I really wanted the result without all of the work…
I may not be a perfectionist, but I am determined and about five or six years ago I came across a recipe that looked to be just my style. I’ve tweaked it over the years and I think that the recipe I am about to share is perhaps the EASIEST, most SOFT gingerbread recipe I have ever tried. Basically I should call it Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe.
Easy Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
- 3/4 c. butter softened
- 3/4 c. brown sugar packed
- 1 3.4 oz.pkg. butterscotch instant pudding
- 1 egg
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tblsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, dry pudding mix and egg in a large bowl until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients
- Slowly add ingredients from secondary bowl to the butter mixture.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour or until dough is firm.
- Roll dough out on a floured work surface to 1/4-1/2-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to shape cookies.
- Place cutouts on a greased backing sheet.
- Bake 10-15 min. or until edges are lightly brown.
A couple of tips that may help…
Do not use melted butter. Use room temperature moldable butter that will mix well with the other ingredients.
Do refrigerate your dough long enough that it’s firm. I like to make the dough in the evening and let it firm up over night. If you don’t your dough will stick to everything AND your cookies will mush out on the pan while baking. Yuck!
Do over-bake these cookies slightly if you’re going to use them to make a gingerbread house, otherwise the cookies are too soft and your “house” will crumble.
Once your cookies are ready to go, you might want to dip them.
In fact you might really want them to decorate them like Mario.
Or maybe just box them up for the neighbors…
Looking for something a bit more simple? Try these super-delicious soft, chewy gingerbread cookies. They provide all of the traditional flavor without all of the hassle associated with rolling and cutting out shapes!
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This is the same recipe I grew up with, and they are so good! Love the cute photo of the Mario cookie and the decorator. My boys would love that idea, so I’ll have to show them. 🙂
I haven’t made gingerbread cookies in years!! We may need to add this recipe to our cookie list this year! and I love the idea of just dipping them in chocolate to make decorating easy too!!
Oh my gosh Cheryl. Thanks so much for popping over and leaving a comment. I SUPER appreciate it! I really do love this recipe. It’s my favorite. xoxo Tauni
I see there is no cloves or ginger in this recipe. Do they taste very gingerbread-y?
Hey Val, there is actually ginger in this recipe – a tablespoon. In the case of ginger a little goes a long way. I love ginger and I think they taste flavorful. You could probably add cloves if you wanted. Thanks! Tauni
Therese Vana says
Hi Val, I didn’t see cloves listed in the ingredients, how much can be added? Can fresh grated ginger be used or must it be dry powdered ginger? I’ve seen some ginger bread recipes call for freshly ground black pepper to give it a bit of spice, what do you think? And if so, how much, a teaspoon?
3/4 c. butter softened
3/4 c. brown sugar packed
1 3.4 oz.pkg. butterscotch instant pudding
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tblsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Hi! This recipe doesn’t actually call for any cloves, so I would use them sparingly. I don’t know how fresh ginger would work with this particular recipe. While I’ve used it with other gingerbread recipes, this one is a bit more mild and fresh ginger could easily overpower the rest of the ingredients. I wouldn’t add pepper to this recipe. You may be looking for something a bit more authentic. Let me know if you try some of those things out. I’d love to know how your cookies turn out. xoxo Tauni
Crystal Todd says
How many cookies does this recipe make?
Hi Crystal, it really depends on the size cookie cutter you use. Generally I would say two dozen with a medium round cookie cutter, but I’ve made both far more and far less. Hope that helps! xoxo Tauni
Crystal Todd says
Great!! I am making these with a Mickey Mouse gingerbread man cookie cutter I got last year at Disney World. I am making them for a cookie exchange I’m hosting this weekend and need to make 6 dozen.
Crystal, HOW FUN! I hope you will share your cookies on the Facebook page so I can see how they turn out! xoxo Tauni
I am currently in the process of making these cookies as I type this. What should the dough feel like when it is ready to be put in the fridge. Mine will combine but is almost on the crumbly side. Normal??
Lindsey, My dough is dry, but after kneading it’s not really crumbly. You may want to add just a touch of water? You probably already took the dough out…Let me know how they turned out. I am happy to give you a little extra feedback. Plus, I’d love to see your finished cookies! xoxo Tauni
Tiffany S. says
This was the easiest recipe to follow. I used it to make gingerbread boys and girls for my preschool class and they LOVED them! I’m going to make a gingerbread house using this recipe next week 🙂
Yay Tiffany! I seriously LOVE this recipe sooo much. We’re hosting our annual gingerbread decorating party on Sunday and I cannot wait. When you make your gingerbread house walls, I would recommend overbaking the cookies just slightly. It’s such a soft cookie, they can bend and break under the weight of decorating if you don’t make sure they are sturdy enough! Happy baking! xoxo Tauni
for the instant pudding, is that just the powder? or made pudding? i used just the powder and found it was too dry, now i’m thinking i’ve done it wrong.
Tara, Yes. It’s the powdered instant pudding in a box. You have to make sure that you use exactly the right amount (the pudding comes in several sizes). I have found that using the wrong amount can really throw this recipe off. Also? Make sure your butter is softened. Hope that helps! –Tauni
When you put the dough in the fridge does it need to be covered? Soooo excited to make these!!
Hey Lauren, I cover the dough with plastic wrap if it’s going to be longer (like overnight) before I use the dough, but honestly I am typically a same day baker and just stick it in the fridge uncovered. Good luck! Tauni
This recipe is too good to be true! *-* Definitely doing it this Christmas 🙂 PS: Can you suggest some modifications if I leave out the pudding? (We may not have the right substitute in Hungary 🙂 I will do a research, but still 🙂 )
Timi, goodness. Americans have such ridiculous ingredients, don’t we? Unfortunately, I am not sure what would make a good substitute, as it contributes to both the flavor and the consistency…Good luck. I’d love to hear back if you find something! xoxo Tauni
Dear Tauni 🙂 Thank God we have instant puddings here in Hungary as well (also the ingredients are quite the same), they are just different in flavour. Correct me if I’m wrong but I found that butterscotch flavour is something creamy, caramel-y, and has a touch of vanilla maybe? I can definitely do that. I’ll update You on my results! (the tought occured to me that it would be fun if you tried our traditional christmas cookie as well 🙂 It is similar to gingerbread in some parts, and its main flavours are honey, cinnamon, clove. I also think that in texture they are quite the same. I will surely find out when I make these 🙂 If you want, I can send a recipe. )
Have a beautiful day
Yes Timi. I think that something with a bit of caramel would work. I’d love to try your cookie recipe. Send it to email@example.com xoxo
Could I substitute the Butterscotch instant pudding for Vanilla Instant pudding?? I started the recipe and realized I don’t have that key ingredient 🙂
Sarah, the texture would come out okay, but I don’t know about the taste. If you went forward with the vanilla, let me know how it turned out. xoxo Tauni
Laura Reynolds says
Hi ladies! Sarah how did the vanilla turn out?
Laura, I heard that they didn’t taste very good. Using the vanilla will result in a rolled cookie, but it won’t have the gingerbread flavor 🙂 xo Tauni
These look so yummy! I’d love to know what you dipped them in. Is it just melted chocolate chips? Almond bark? Thanks!
Hi Taylor! I usually use melted chocolate, but almond bark would work as well! Enjoy! xoxo Tauni
how many does this make b/c I am doing this baking thing with my family and we have to make 2 dozen?
Gabriella, It sort of depends on the size of your cookies. I typically make smaller cookies and it would make more than enough. Good luck! Tauni
Can this recipe be made gluten free?
Colleen, I don’t think so. I don’t eat gluten free though, so I wouldn’t even know where to start. Let me know if you figure something out. xoxo Tauni
Hi, I’m an amateur… to dip them, do you just dip in melted chocolate then put on parchment to cool? Should they be refridgerator? Will any chocolate work? Thanks!
Hi Jackie, These cookies are perfect for amateur bakers. Really! If you want to dip them the very easiest solution is almond bark, which can be found on the baking isle this time of year. However, chocolate chips will work too. I like to microwave my chocolate on 50% power for one minute, stir and then stick it back in for about 30 seconds. It creates a nice drippy texture. Don’t microwave it for too long or it will burn and become clumpy. Good luck! xoxo Tauni
Sarah Kay says
Are these freezable? Thanks 🙂
Hi Sarah Kay, I haven’t tried freezing them, but I imagine they’d be fine. xoxo Tauni
do you think the UK equivalent to the instant butterscotch pudding – is our Angel Delight???
Hi Claire, I think Angel Delight is a bit thicker than our instant pudding here. I’ve only tried it once, but it seemed more like a mousse? A bit set up? I’d love to know if you try it and it works though 🙂 xoxo Tauni
Thank you for the recipe, I just made a batch of gingerbread men, stars and hearts for my friend’s 4 year old twins to decorate tomorrow. We don’t have the butterscotch pudding thingy here in the Middle East as many of your readers, I substituted with vanilla pudding mix and then upped the doze of spice added a little clove powder, and substituted some of the brown sugar with muscovado sugar. They turned out amaaazinf, I guess the extra spices and muscovado took care of the butterscotch flavour; I decided against getting rid of the pudding mix all together I guessed the recipe still needed some of the other stuff from the mix like syarch and all. happy baking x
Yay! I am so glad to hear from someone who’s tried the recipe with alternate ingredients and it worked! I hope you had a fun day of decorating and snacking on yummy gingerbread! xoxo Tauni
Would it be best to use Salted or unsalted butter?
I don’t think that it would make a huge difference in this recipe, but I prefer unsalted.
hey! I’m a teacher and plan on making these for my kiddos. Are they okay for a child with an allergy for artificial coloring?
Kathryn, Gosh. I don’t know why they wouldn’t be, but I am not familiar with an allergy like that and couldn’t be certain. I’d check with the child’s parents. xoxo Tauni
These are delicious and just what I was looking for in a gingerbread cookie.We live in a somewhat dry climate so I found the dough to be so dry it only crumbled although I have never had this problem before with other cookie recipes. To salvage it I pour in some oil and mixed with my hands until it felt like it could be rolled out. This worked well for this time but I think next time I will just use a little less flour. Does this seem like it would work to you? Thanks for this recipe!
Hey Jodi, I actually live in Utah – it’s pretty dry here. I can see how the dough might seem a little dry initially, but once it’s been needed and worked through appropriately I’ve never had a problem with it. If you’re really having trouble though you could pull back a little on the flour, but don’t eliminate too much or they will ooze all over when baked. Good luck! xoxo Tauni
Just made this – Day 1 of our 12 days if Christmas cookies. I subbed in gingerbread pudding and they are so delicious and my littles loved cutting out the men. Thanks for an amazingly easy yummy cookie!
Dawn, Thanks so much for sharing! I am totally going to have to try tracking down some gingerbread pudding! xoxo Tauni
Would they be ok if they needed to be in frig longer than over night I need to make then in the evening on Friday but won’t use them til the after noon on Saturday Will that be too long in frig
Hi Julie, I haven’t ever left them in the fridge that long, but it shouldn’t be a problem. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic to make sure it doesn’t dry out!
My dough is so crumbly. I dont know what i did wrong. ?
Estelle, Did you hand knead your dough after it was mixed? Mine starts out crumbly, but gets really smooth. Also, I found out the hard way this past week that leaving it in the fridge for too long (I made it one night and baked the next) can dry it out. I had to knead in sprinkles of water before I rolled it out. If you’d like to see how those cookies came together, you can check out my Instagram feed @snapconf They aren’t quite as thick and smooth as my regular batches of cookies, but they still looked and tasted great! xo Tauni
Hi! These look so good – going to make them for holiday parties as hostess gifts! To freeze them, would you suggest freezing the uncooked cutouts or the baked cookies?
Becky, I would freeze the baked cookies. I haven’t had a great turnout on dough that’s been stored. xo Tauni
Jessica U. says
Mine came out crazy crumbly too!! How long should I knead it to get it to come together? Should I add liquid to it??
Jessica, Your dough should be crumbly when it’s mixed. Simply knead it until it’s a nice smooth ball of dough – that’s going to be a bit different for everyone. I probably wouldn’t add liquid. Your cookies may not come together correctly. –Tauni
Hi there! Nice and easy recipe!! My cookies baked really fast..less then 10min! They came out pretty good..just a bit burned but i’ll get the timing right next time. Hehe
My only problem is with butter cookies, because i have warm hands (or maybe it’s the weather) and the dough starts sticking really fast while im rolling it or cutting 🙁 Had to split it in batches and keep them in the fridge while i’m working on one batch.
Thanks for the recipe!
Karina, I am so glad that you tried this recipe. I am sorry to hear that your cookies came out a little too crisp. It’s so hard to predict how different ovens will react to a recipe. Mine are 10 min on the dot, but I’ve had others say that they needed a touch longer.
I live in Utah where the weather is very dry and a bit cool this time of year, but I’ve noticed that as I near the end of rolling and cutting they can get a touch sticky. I keep a canister of flour nearby and use it to keep things nice and tidy 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience with these – they’re my absolute favorite! xo Tauni
Brooke Hutchinson says
Do you think I could add a small amount of molasses to the mixture? I see a lot of other gingerbread recipes have molasses in them and I want them to taste authentic. Thanks!
Brooke, I’m not sure how that would affect the recipe, but these taste pretty authentic 😉
I have never made this type of cookie before, do they need a frosting or chocolate topping to be tasty? Are they good on their own? Thanks! 🙂
Stacy, These cookies are great on their own. I just like to dress them up a bit 🙂 xo
Ali @ Jamhands.net says
I’ve made these twice. Once my dough was fine but the 2nd time it was much too dry. I added 1 Tablespoon of milk and mixed it and it came together very well. Just thought I’d mention this as a lot of comments were about crumbly dough. 🙂
Thanks for your comment Ali! Milk works great, I’ve even used water 🙂 –Tauni
Made this into “ninja bread” men today with vanilla pudding because I couldn’t find butterscotch (looked at 3 store!) Texture is right on and they taste good but aren’t great. The kids don’t seem to mind. I’m sure that butterscotch gives them more flavor. I’ll order some online next year before I try again! Thanks for a great recipe.
Thanks for the feedback Katy. The butterscotch flavor is definitely essential to ensuring these cookies have the right taste! Since pudding has such a long shelf life, I am a butterscotch pudding hoarder. I hope they work out better when you try them next time. xo Tauni
Jessica H says
I made these tonight and put them in general fridge to bake tomorrow. The dough was a little crumbly but I thought some time in fridge might help. I checked on the dough and it seems worse. Anything I can do before I bake them tomorrow? I tripled the recipe so really hoping I can save them!
Hi Jessica, Sorry I didn’t see this yesterday. I’m taking a bit of an online break for the holidays. Your dough should come together as you knead it. You might also try adding a little water? xo Tauni
Karen Marie Kedzuch says
Yum! My Dad loves Gingerbread. This will be a great gift to make for him. At 86 soft gingerbread cookies will be the best gift ever.