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."


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

Makes about 24 six-inch gingerbread people


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Decorate cooled cookies with Royal Icing.

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.

Reviews (21)

124 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 40
  • 4 star values: 40
  • 3 star values: 30
  • 2 star values: 9
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
I love this recipe! I added a little more brown sugar, substituted with sifted whole-wheat flour, and baked for 15 minutes. They came out perfectly! Everyone loved them!
Rating: 5 stars
I love this recipe. I had no problems following it verbatim. Everyone always compliments the cookies when they try them.
Rating: 5 stars
Great recipe! I baked perfect cookies with it.
Rating: 5 stars
Before I made this recipe, I read all the comments and reviews and I was surprised because mine turned out great. I don't know if my oven is just really hot or if it's because it's small and narrow but whatever you do 350 F IS WAY TO HOT. I put mine on 150 C / 305 F for 12 MINS MAX. If you use 350 F for 20 mins you'll end up with rock hard hockey pucks. I also made 2 batches: one with the black pepper and one without. The black pepper really helps give the other spices a kick and brings out the flavors. I wouldn't eat too many in one sitting though! With the other batch I substituted nutmeg for black pepper. They were also great but with less of a spicy kick to them. I also used table salt and 1/2 of what the recipe recommended. Make sure the dough is not sticky before you put it in the fridge. You might need to kneed the last bit of flour in with your hands. Overall, VERY GOOD cookies and royal icing also helps the flavor. These are not sweet, sugary cookies. They are spicy and tangy.
Rating: 5 stars
This recipe is perfect as is, have been making it for years! Mine bake for 15-20 minutes as the cutters I use are quite large and oven temps vary. Don't want them to burn? Watch them!
Rating: 4 stars
The recipe doesn't say how long to bake these. I found 8 minutes to be good, but depending on your oven, I'd suggest checking them at 7. I felt like I could definitely taste the pepper and might use half the amount next time. I'm not really a gingerbread fan, but these taste good and the Royal Icing tones down the spicy taste a little.
Rating: 1 stars
It does not say how long to bake the cookies. I didn't discover this until I had already made the dough and put it on cookie sheets, so had to guess at the time. I remember last year the time was included, but it appears something is wrong with the page now.
Rating: Unrated
Love this recipe. Easy to follow and my friends and family love them. Thank you, Martha.
Rating: 5 stars
Wonderfully excellent cookies from start to finish. Thank you for a receipe that actually tastes like it looks!
Rating: Unrated
PLEASE tell us how to find the templates for these adorable cookies! I love the girl's dress with pockets! Pam
Rating: Unrated
Yeah the link that the one person put up was of no use. I am also looking for the link to the templates, please put back
Rating: Unrated
I found the template link, I can't wait to try these.
Rating: Unrated
This recipe has a great taste. Mine were cute and a HUGE HIT. To those whose cookies burned and thought it was the fault of the recipe: 1. Place cookies in preheated oven; 2. Set timer for 5 minutes less than suggested; 3. When timer goes off, check cookies; 4. If they need more time, leave in oven and check again in another few minutes until done. And, if your taste buds are sensitive to salt, add less (you can always add more). And congrats on your first attempt at baking cookies! Keep trying!
Rating: Unrated
i baked these today and they taste a little bit salty... i wanna know what can i do... i reserved 2 third of the dough so i could fix them but i don't know... and the baking time is totally wrong they actually burned after 15 minutes... i need some help please cause i love gingerbread cookies but these oner were sooo wrong =(
Rating: Unrated
One stick of butter is 125gms.
Rating: Unrated
A half pound is about 227 grams. Volume-wise, two sticks equals about 1 cup (237 mL).
Rating: Unrated
A half pound is about 227 grams. Volume-wise, two sticks equals about 1 cup (237 mL).
Rating: Unrated
We don'tr use 'sticks' of butter here in Canada or pounds for that matter, what would the measurement be in cups??
Rating: Unrated
Be careful with the cook time! My first tray scorched and they were only in the oven for 15 minutes. To be fair, I may have rolled the dough out a little thinner than 1/8 inch, I didn't measure. Once I figured out the right cook time, though, (8-10 minutes) they were delicious! The icing complemented the spices of the cookies very nicely as well.
Rating: Unrated
I made these last night, and they tasted terrible! The cook times were wrong and they tasted too strongly of spice with very little 'cookie" taste. I expected much more from Martha Stewart than this waste of time.
Rating: Unrated
Whatever happened to the 'templates' link? It used to be in Step 4 of the Directions. I love making gingerbread cookies, it's a tradition of mine. The decorating is my favorite part !! It would be great if you could add back the link :) Thanks! Ash.