Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

November 24, 2021
36 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food stylist: Kate Buckens. Prop stylist: Suzie Myers.
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes about 3 pounds (1.37 kg) dough and about 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters
Author Notes

I love to make festive decorated cutout cookies around the holidays, I prefer a softer, chewier cookie to the ones that are quite crisp. Enter: these ultra chewy gingerbread cookies. They use the reverse creaming method, which ensures a smoother mix with this ratio (which is high in molasses). They require a little extra chilling to ease the handling, but you reap the chewy rewards after baking—and they stay chewy for days and days. I hereby deem them worth it in every way. These are the gingerbread cookies you’ll find me slipping into cookie boxes each holiday season—and just about everyone who tries one asks for the recipe! —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
  • 4 1/4 cups (510 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1 gram) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1 gram) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1 tablespoon (15 gram) portions
  • 1 large (56 grams) egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (340 grams) molasses (not blackstrap)
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, pepper, and nutmeg on low speed to combine.
  2. Add the butter to the mixer and mix on medium speed until the mixture is uniformly combined—it should look like the consistency of cornmeal. Add the egg and molasses and mix on low speed until an even dough forms, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into 2 even disks, about 1 in/2.5 cm thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Line four baking sheets with parchment paper, and have a few extra sheets of parchment paper ready. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to ¼ in/6 mm thick. Peel the parchment away occasionally while you work to make sure it’s not sticking to the dough (you can use a little flour, but only if needed).
  5. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the chilled dough. Gently remove the excess dough, and press it back together. Transfer the cut shapes to the prepared baking sheets—the cookies can be fairly close (within about ½ in/1 cm), they won’t spread much. Stagger the rows of cookies to help fit as many cookies onto the baking sheet as possible (you may require more trays if you’re using lots of different shapes).
  6. Press all the scrap dough into a 1 in/2.5 cm disk, and re-roll, chill, and cut as directed above.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C with the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  8. Bake the trays of cookies in batches. While the cookies do not need to be chilled before baking, chilling them can help achieve more defined shapes, which can be helpful with more complex shapes. If you’re doing a simple shape—or like a softer/rounded/less defined look—chilling isn’t necessary. Bake until the cookies brown lightly around the edges and appear set, 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Cookies will be fragile when they first come out of the oven, so cool them on the baking sheets for a few minutes (3 to 5), then use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michele Moore
    Michele Moore
  • Jamie
  • Bikegirl227
  • Ryan Piccini Ryan
    Ryan Piccini Ryan
  • Cailey
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

34 Reviews

AUresti February 1, 2024
Hands down the best gingerbread cookie recipe I've ever used. This past holiday season I had several people asking me for it after taking one bite of a cookie. :-)
EastCoastDawn December 14, 2023
I loved Erin's other recipe for Gingerbread houses (and everything she does on Bake it up a Notch) so thought this one would be a home run too. Dough was so sticky to roll out and it was almost impossible to cut out shapes and remove the extra. They tasted pretty gummy too. I put back in for a couple more minutes and that helped a bit. Super disappointed.
Michele M. December 14, 2023
Love this recipe. I am prepping for a big holiday gathering has anyone ever frozen the dough?
h.wong December 14, 2023
I've got a half portion of the dough in my freezer currently. It freezes beautifully from my experience!
Jamie November 26, 2023
We made these last year and thought they were the best gingerbread cookies ever! Delicious chewy gingerbread just as Erin describes. They stay chewy for several weeks. Looking forward to making them again this year!
Bikegirl227 November 19, 2023
I made a half batch of dough and it was incredibly sticky and difficult to roll out. I made a full batch and had the same problem. I weigh my ingredients to the gram measurement. I used a Turkey cut out cookie cutter. The turkeys looked swollen. Today I’m going to make a half batch. I’m going to use less baking soda, use less molasses and use a combination of shortening And butter. I’ll cut rectangle shapes and bake the rectangles. Less scraps to re roll. Then I’ll draw the Turkey cut out design on the baked rectangle with an edible cake pen. Then I’ll decorate it with royal icing. They will be easier to transport too! Wish me luck!
Bikegirl227 November 19, 2023
I didn’t need to cut the dough into rectangles. My fix of using 6T molasses, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2T shortening along with 2T butter produced a half batch of dough that was easy to roll out. They look like turkeys! Of course I used half of the other ingredients listed (flour, brown sugar, spices). The challenge now will be the Royal icing decorating. I don’t expect to produce a Rembrandt but something that looks better than a 3 year with an icing bag in tow will make me happy.
Bikegirl227 November 19, 2023
Correction 4 T shortening and 4 T butter. Recall I made a half batch of gingerbread.
Ryan P. November 14, 2023
I really love these cookies but took a less traditional approach due to a lack of time, they turned out so well I’ve been doing it the same way for three years. Instead of rolling these out and cutting them I use a cookie scoop ball them up and then press them down with a Nordic cookie press. For decoration I simply dip them in a lemon glaze made from fresh lemon juice powdered sugar and vanilla this really makes the imprint from the cookie press pop, and everyone goes nuts for them. The citrus gives this heavy but delicious cookie, a brightness that I absolutely adore.!
Cailey September 13, 2023
I love this gingerbread recipe. I have made it several times, it’s my go to. I feel like the recipe makes a time consuming and complicated cookie (at least it is to me! Compared to chocolate chip cookies or other scooped cookie doughs) more approachable. I see a lot of other reviews mentioning that the dough was too sticky for them, or it just didn’t turn out quite right. I was surprised to see so many reviews say this when I have had such success with the recipe ever since it first came out, and I think tonylope’s review helps give some clarity as to why some people’s attempts at making this gingerbread recipe turn out great and others don’t. He mentions that 1 cup of molasses measured is 240ml rather than the 340ml amount listed in the recipe; I have always measured the ingredients in this recipe and based off what he has said, I think that maybe that’s how I get a great cookie result. I recommend anyone who tries the recipe to measure the ingredients vs weigh them.
fiftynow December 22, 2022
This recipe is fantastic and I love the pepper kick. Just made these last night. The only thing is that this dough is incredibly sticky, not sure why. I could not roll it out between parchment, it simple stuck to the paper. I finally had to put it all back in the fridge and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours minimum to get it to be solid enough to work with. Next time, I'm going to try making a day before for an over night chill. This being said, the cookies are so AMAZING and I cannot stop eating them. Thank you for this fantastic recipe and I look forward to making more of your recipes.
YorbaLara December 19, 2022
I have been making gingerbread cookies for years, this is the best tasting recipe I remember making. They do spread a bit more than I would like, so I will try the tips in the other comments to reduce the spreading. Delicious cookie!
CMac January 7, 2022
Made them for Christmas after watching the video 50 times!!! Came out great. Grandkids were able to cut out the cookies with no issues and using the parchment paper was genus.
h.wong December 28, 2021
I followed the video and found the dough impossibly sticky even with rolling between parchment. Sticks even worse to silpat so avoid that as well! The best results for me was rolling the dough in portions between plastic wrap, cutting shapes with cutters, chilling the whole sheet of dough on a sheet tray in the freezer, then transferring the cut outs to a baking sheet to bake. If you want your cookies to spread less in the oven, definitely chill the dough prior to baking. I didn't mind the spreading as it meant more surface area to apply icing! These cookies are addictingly chewy and not overly sweet. Thank you Erin for a fantastic recipe as always!
Jgilson01 December 26, 2021
Made these according to the recipe and video. They came out great!
Susan N. December 24, 2021
Ok, SO, I decided to give these another try. The weight measurement if definitely a little off for the molasses. Use a cup measure. I got about 320-ish grams when I weighed it in a cup. I erred on a tiny bit less since I thought the molasses flavor was really strong and the dough was so sticky. Rolled and cut out first batch. They puffed hugely. WTH?!? More frustration ensued. Next batch, I rolled a LOT thinner. BINGO. My cutouts baked much more cleanly and didn’t puff so much. This batch came out MUCH better. So, be careful with the liquid measure and actually pay attention to the thickness of the dough. It says 1/4” but I think it could even be slightly less. I’m still not sure if I would make these again. The flavor was much better and they were soft and chewy but I’m still on the fence about them. Didn’t love them enough to go through this much work. Oh, and I still have to ice/decorate them tomorrow. 🙄
manta December 24, 2021
This was a frustration fest for me. I admit I'm at a higher altitude, but I tried really hard to follow instructions to a T. I weighed my ingredients and everything. But the stickiness of this is just sooo frustrating. And worst of all, my cookies spread HUGELY. I took a picture of my "gingerbread men" (now they're just blobs) next to the cookie cutter and had to laugh. Plus...they're kinda crispy??? If I just end up with crispy cookies, why did I suffer so much through the world's stickiest dough? :(

They taste really nice though.
avidbaker December 23, 2021
Even with only 3/4 of the sugar called for, it was a little too sweet for me, but I loved that it's chewy!! For some reason, my batter turned out much darker than the video and pictures, but still delicious!!
Sonia December 19, 2021
I was so looking forward to making these. The dough smells lovely but there is just too much molasses and the dough is not usable. Too sticky. Can’t lift from parchment to bake. Tried to chill more but this didn’t help. This is just too sticky and unmanageable. Disappointing, as I have wasted the ingredients. I might try scooping and just seeing if they will work as drop cookies, flatten to circles. Not going to try this one again.
Violet B. December 19, 2021
These cookies are perfection and I’m super picky with gingerbread! I used my scale for each ingredient and agree that the molasses is best measured in a dry cup. My first batch was a bust because the molasses didn’t say Blackstrap on the front, but in the tiny print on the back confirmed why the cookies tasted like a kick in the teeth and were too dark to really tell when they were cooked. Once I got the right kind… they were delicious and super easy!!
zhadye December 19, 2021
This recipe translated extremely well to Gluten Free Cookies using King Arthur's Gluten Free Flour!!! This is now going to be a new family Christmas tradition! Thank-you! ❤
zhadye December 19, 2021
PS. I added cardamon.
Janie December 16, 2021
No problems with this recipe. I used a couple of Tablespoons less molasses than called for as I didn't have enough on hand. The dough was easy to work with and tastes great.
Nic December 15, 2021
The dough was incredibly wet and sticky, and the cookies spread a lot but held their shape perfectly. They were soft and chewy and absolutely the most delicious, most professional cookies I have ever made.