These traditional spice cookies are just right for the holidays.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap; pat into an 8-inch square. Wrap well; chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured parchment or waxed paper; roll out 1/8 inch thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed. Freeze dough (on paper) until firm, about 20 minutes.

  • Loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes, and transfer to baking sheets. Decorate with sugar or sprinkles, as desired.

  • Bake until firm and edges just begin to darken, 10 to 18 minutes, depending on size. Cool completely on baking sheets.

Cook's Notes

This recipe makes 3 dozen medium cookies. We used star cookie cutters for the shapes. For the neatest edges, dip cutters in flour before cutting out each cookie.

Reviews (23)

948 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 143
  • 4 star values: 154
  • 3 star values: 406
  • 2 star values: 202
  • 1 star values: 43
Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2018
Is very sticky, you have to put some more flour, and very difficult to work. The savor is very good.
Rating: 5 stars
12/20/2018
We love this recipe. Many years ago I saw Martha make these on her TV show and tried them at Christmastime. Family loved them. Such a rich flavor and a very easy cookie to make. Now, with 16 Grandchildren, we have fun passing on the tradition of making our favorite Gingerbread cookies. Thanks Martha. As always, never disappoints.
Rating: 5 stars
12/20/2017
It's my go-to recipe
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Rating: 4 stars
12/18/2017
Reading the other reviews made me doubtful but the recipe was fairly good. I have no experience in making gingerbread cookies but my cookies turned out fine and kept their shape. I did increase the amount of spices but they were still a little bland. However, the dough wasn't sticky, even when I forgot to flour my parchment😅
Rating: 2 stars
11/20/2016
Sorry Martha. I made this, following the recipe to the letter and the cookies are tasteless. The saving grace was that I decorated them with icing and sprinkles, so that at least gave them some sweetness. On their own these cookies wouldn't pass as 'gingerbread'. If you're making this, bump up the spices, maybe that will help.... actually, finding a different recipe would help more.
Rating: Unrated
11/23/2014
I have made this recipe twice now and love it. The cookies stay soft for days after baking. I did however add a buttercream frosting on mine! Great Christmas cookie for a change from all the sugar cookies around at Christmas.
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Rating: 5 stars
04/23/2014
The point of a traditional gingerbread recipe is that the actual cookie isn't meant to be especially sweet. That's why it's called gingerbread, not gingercookie. The sweetness of the icing will give you that sugary kick. If you add too much sugar to the gingerbread mixture and then add icing, you're double-handling and they'll be quite sickly.
Rating: Unrated
12/16/2013
I thought that it was easy to make. The dough was the perfect texture, it was easy to roll out and didn't stick to floured parchment paper or a floured rolling pin. The only drawback is the taste. I found that it did indeed need more sugar, and it tastes kind of bitter-ish. Not my favourite recipe on this site.
Rating: 5 stars
12/07/2013
I made this recipe this evening. It isn't bland at all! The dough is really easy to work with on a wax paper and floured surface. The cookies came out perfect! They don't taste like store-bought cookies, but that's the point, they shouldn't taste store-bought. So good!
Rating: Unrated
12/17/2012
I made this dough last week, put it in the freezer and did a test run today. Quite the disaster. Gingerbread can sometimes be a real pain, but this one tops the list. Extremely sticky, no matter how much flour, no matter parchment paper or cold granite surface.
Rating: 1 stars
12/21/2011
Was hoping for a good gingerbread cookie recipe - don't think this is it :( My family thought they were very bland. They definately need to be sweeter! Also the dough was extremely sticky.
Rating: Unrated
12/19/2011
This is a great basic gingerbread cookie recipe. I made them for a cookie swap and was very pleased with the results. I have a tiny freezer, so I chilled the shapes in the fridge for 10-20 minutes before baking, and they kept their form very well, with little spreading. I'll definitely keep this one on hand for the future.
Rating: Unrated
11/26/2011
This recipe turned out extremely well. Everyone was raving about the cookies. I found they had the perfect combination of moistness and crunch to them and the flavour was absolutely perfect. Not too heavy on the sweetness nor on the spice. Can't wait to make more for the holidays!
Rating: Unrated
10/25/2011
Just wondering, can I keep this recipe in the freezer? and if yes for how long? thanks!
Rating: Unrated
12/10/2010
The recipe should read 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Make this change and you'll be fine. If the dough is sticking too much, chill it for about 10 minutes to firm up the butter. Brush off excess flour before baking and enjoy!
Rating: Unrated
12/10/2010
The recipe should read 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Make this change and you'll be fine. If the dough is sticking too much, chill it for about 10 minutes to firm up the butter. Brush off excess flour before baking and enjoy!
Rating: Unrated
12/09/2010
I just made these (with stick of butter, as directed) and they came out beautifully. The dough was super easy to work with and the cookies themselves we delicious. Perfect balance of crunch and softness!
Rating: Unrated
12/07/2010
THE PROBLEM IS IN THE INGREDIENTS! It says 1/4 cup butter and in parentheses is says "one stick". However, one stick is 8 oz of butter, and 1/4 cup is only 4 oz of butter. If you put in one stick, that would cause a BIG problem!
Rating: Unrated
12/18/2009
this was kind of a disaster, the dough was extremely sticky even after i added a ton of flour, it was really hard to cut shapes out bc everything was so sticky
Rating: Unrated
12/16/2009
make sure you don't roll these babies too thin, they burn very easily
Rating: Unrated
12/07/2009
Are they a soft gingerbread cookie or are they hard?
Rating: Unrated
12/05/2009
Yes, KimberleyRene is right. It looks like they thought 1/4 lb but typed 1/4 cup. A stick is 1/4 lb or 1/2 c, and that's the usual ratio to 2 cups flour.
Rating: Unrated
12/03/2009
I just made this recipe, and i'm pretty sure it should be 1/2 cup of butter, not 1/4 cup. It was really crumbly with only the 1/4 cup, but once I added more it was fine. After all, 1 stick is usually 1/2 cup.