Basic Gingerbread Cookies

24 6-inch gingerbread people

Use this basic gingerbread recipe to make cutout cookies in various shapes. Our favorites are gingerbread boys and girls in different sizes, decorated with white royal icing and currant "buttons."


  • 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed

  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses

  • Currants, for decorating

  • Royal Icing, for decorating


  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in spices and salt. Add eggs and molasses; mix well. With the machine on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Divide the dough into thirds, and wrap each piece of dough in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat nonstick baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into gingerbread boys and girls. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.

  4. To decorate cookies: Press currants into dough to create buttons. Bake cookies until crisp but not darkened, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.

  5. Decorate cooled cookies with Royal Icing.

    gingerbread cookies
    Alpha Smoot

Cook's Notes

When making large cookies, use two spatulas to transfer dough cutouts to baking sheets, or roll out the dough directly on the baking sheet. Press cutter into dough and remove excess before taking away the cutter.

Related Articles