Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Glaze Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Glaze

1118 reviews / 4.8 average

Let's make Soft Gingerbread Cookies this holiday season! Soft, pillowy gingerbread with sunken centers and slightly crisped edges, plus little nooks and crannies packed with ginger spice and molasses. These are SO GOOD!

‘Tis the season, friends! But not the season for firm, crisp, dryish gingerbread that you can literally build tiny houses from. This season, let's make some soft pillowy gingerbread with sunken centers and slightly crisped edges and open crackly crags of gingery spice and rich, but not overwhelming, molasses. Let's roll them in sugar, get them baked to perfection, and dip them in a mapley glaze. Yes? Yes.

The hallmark flavors of gingerbread are molasses and ginger, so once we've got those going on in all the right proportions, who says that gingerbread cookies can't be a textural wonder of soft and chewy and crackly and tender-buttery-crisp all in one glorious bite? 2021 is the year to reinvent “gingerbread” into a cookie that we really, truly love. (Or, maybe gingerbread muffins? Love those too.)

No gingerbread men splat flat on a pan. Go all out this year. Get your Christmas music playing, your cozy candles lit, get your tried and true baking sheets, your favorite mixing bowls, and your holiday spirit at the ready. Let's do this.

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Gingerbread cookies on a sheet pan

Deliciously SOFT Gingerbread Cookies

It's hard to describe just how good these are, these spicy-sweet little gingerbread pillows. There's certainly a time and a place for the darker, more crisp peppery gingerbread, but that is not this. These cookies are suuuuper soft, light and coppery, almost melty in their ginger spice, with the slightest crunch from the edges and little sugar sprinkles.

And if your family has always gathered round a floured surface, armed with rolling pins and cookie cutters, fear not! Sure you may not be stamping out little shapes or battling with royal icing, making sure the gingerbread people don't look like sorta scary clowns with drippy icing smiles, all while making sure your toddler isn't eating too much dough...but will you miss that part? (Okay fine, maybe...these are the beautiful chaotic memories we cherish).

But there are memories to be made around these as well. Gently rolling the soft gingerdough balls in the snowy sugar. Getting the perfect half dip of creamy maple glaze once they're out of the oven. Going a little extra and piping tiny little holly leaves and berries on them or maybe just a few festive sprinkles. Gathering round the oven to see who can smell the warm sweet ginger bake first.

Also, can we talk about that maple glaze? Subtle, sweet, and smooth taking these just one notch above magnificent. Just...come on.

Gingerbread cookies with icing and holly sprinkles on a sheet pan

Key Ingredients For Gingerbread Cookies

For these truly remarkable gingerbread cookies, you'll need the staples — flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and salt. There's a little extra baking soda in there to ensure a good spread, so they go wider and flatter in the oven. This is key to their positively clutch texture. Beyond that, let's round up this delicious list, shall we?

  • molasses
  • ground ginger
  • extra sugar for rolling
  • maple syrup
  • confectioner's sugar
  • lil' holly sprinkles if you're extra (so cute, so fun, so merry)
Gingerbread cookies on a plate

How To Make Gingerbread Cookies From Scratch

Once your ingredients are assembled and your heart is ready and your kitchen windows are fogged from the heat of your oven, it's cookie-baking time, and is there any other better time on this planet?

  1. Make your dough. Cream butter and sugar, and then incorporate egg and molasses. Add your dry ingredients and mix until you have a soft dough. Pinch off a piece because it's the holidays, but also don't eat raw dough, and also merry everyday to you.
  2. Roll and bake. Scoop dough into small balls and then take one teeny extra step to gently roll them in sugar until they literally sparkle. Line your sheet and bake.
  3. Maple glaze. Whisk together your glaze ingredients until smooth. Dip one side of your slightly cooled, slightly flattened cookies in to coat. Now's the time to add sprinkles if you're feeling it.

There is already so much joy in cookies and these are big-time joy-bringers. There's just something so special about gingerbread, with all its cozy and merry and bright. So fill your jars, your holiday platters, your care packages and gift boxes, your kiddos' eager hands. Leave them on your plates for Santa and sneak them in the night like magic.

We hope your holidays are filled with all the best things this year, like family and friends and gingerbread.

Gingerbread cookies with a bite out of them

Soft Gingerbread Cookies: FAQs

How should I store these cookies?

Store these cookies in a sealed container at room temp for 3-5 days (if they even last that long in your house).

Are there any substitutes for molasses?

It won't taste exactly the same, but maple syrup can work in a pinch.

Can you freeze these cookies?

Yes! Just bake 'em up and freeze any leftovers in an air-tight container.

Notes on flour and the added weight specification: how you measure your flour will have a big impact on the thickness of the cookies, so if you have a scale and you're able to measure to get it exactly right, that would be my recommendation! But if you're measuring flour without a scale, my method for the 2 1/4 cups is to just scoop the measuring cups into the flour bag or canister and level them off. More on this in the notes of the recipe.

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Gingerbread cookies with icing and holly sprinkles

Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Glaze


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x

Description

Let's make Soft Gingerbread Cookies this holiday season! Soft, pillowy gingerbread with sunken centers and slightly crisped edges, plus little nooks and crannies packed with ginger spice and molasses. These are SO GOOD!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (300 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • granulated sugar for rolling

Maple Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (180 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (and a very tiny bit more if you need more)
  • pinch of salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses; mix until incorporated.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Scoop into small balls (a little smaller than the size of a golf ball) and roll in sugar. Bake for 9-11 minutes; remove from pan so the cookies can sink / flatten slightly as they cool. 
  5. Whisk maple glaze ingredients together until smooth (it will be very thick - if it's too thick, just add a teaspoon more milk at a time until it becomes dippable, but we want this to be very thick so it sets nicely). Dip one side of the cooled cookies into the maple glaze, run the edge of the cookie along the side of the bowl to remove excess drips, set on a piece of wax paper, and add a few festive sprinkles before the glaze sets! 

Notes

300 grams of flour is the perfect amount to achieve the texture and crinkly flat look of these cookies. If you find that your first batch is a bit flatter than you’d hoped, mix in a tablespoon or two of flour to the rest of the dough to get a thicker center.

Give these cookies some holly sprinkles to bring them over the top! I bought these ones on Amazon (affiliate link).

For this recipe I use unsulphured molasses. For most of my testing I used the Grandma's brand which can be found in the baking section of many grocery stores. Blackstrap molasses is less sweet and would not be recommended here.

The glaze should set to become fully dry to the touch with just an hour or two of sitting on the counter. For the best / most beautiful and travel-proof glaze results, you might want to wait to glaze until within a day of serving. The cookies can be baked ahead and stored (without glaze) in the freezer until you're ready for glaze!

I prefer the flavor of the maple glaze which is why that's how the recipe is written, but if you need a glaze that is more sturdy, melting 1/2 cup white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil will also work and it will hold its shape better for travel.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: soft gingerbread cookie, gingerbread cookie, christmas cookie


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1437 Comments

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your gingerbread cookies with maple glaze look amazing. You mentioned they can be frozen. Would you freeze with the glaze and decorations on them?
    Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I had the same question. Do you freeze after sugaring? Then bake and decorate?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Same! I think I’ll shape into balls and freeze them until I’m ready to bake. Then roll in sugar and continue from there.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Her note in the recipe says she “bakes them up and freezes in an air tight container.” Caught it as one of the last lines.

      I make the Claire Saffitz recipe for ginger cookies also and she recommends rolling the balls out and in sugar then freezing on a sheet until solid before putting in an airtight container. May just need an extra minute or two on the bake time. I like doing it this way so you can make a few as you want them! 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I guess my concern of baking them after decorating, would be the icing melting off? Could someone from pinch of yum advise? It would be helpful 🙂

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Hi Jamie! You can roll the cookie dough balls in sugar before or after freezing. If doing it after freezing, I’m guessing you’d have to let them defrost a bit for the sugar to stick. I have a batch of sugared, pre-rolled balls of dough in the freezer and they bake up just fine! In terms of freezing the baked cookies before or after glazing, we’d recommend freezing the cookies without the glaze to avoid any cracking of the glaze. There are a lot of questions in this thread, so let me know if you need any clarification or if I completely misunderstood!

          1. Skillful Cook Logo

            @krista, thank you so much! Excellent explanation!

            I’m making these today 🙂

          2. Skillful Cook Logo

            Can you roll balls and toss in a ziplock to freeze or will they all stick together?

          3. Skillful Cook Logo

            Great question! I’d suggest rolling the balls, tossing into a ziplock, then refrigerating for a bit so the dough firms up. Then, pop them in the freezer!

        2. Skillful Cook Logo

          Success! Every other time I’ve made cookies, they’ve turned out cakey. These were perfect! Crispy but chewy, and just the right amount of sweet. Can’t wait to make another batch and maybe send them out to family for the holidays!

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        I just baked them. For me the dough was a bit runny i didn’t add anything to it & it came out soft and looks so good. I used blackstrap molasses cause this is what i managed to get. It is a bit too sweet for me although i skipped the glaze. But dipping it with milk balance the flavour.

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      My dough came out pretty gooey, not sure where the error was but found it very difficult to roll the dough into balls or in the sugar. Any advice?

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    We just made these for an after school snack. These are perfection in a cookie. Soft, slightly crisp edges and don’t get me started on the maple glaze. Don’t skimp on the optional salt, it rounds out the sweetness to make these utterly perfect. These cookies will be a holiday staple in our house for years to come.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! I love gingerbread and would LOVE to make these but I don’t have a stand mixer. Can I make these (and other cookies on POY) without one?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      These look amazing! I’m wondering if fresh ginger could be subbed since a family member is allergic to ground ginger.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I’m betting they’re probably allergic to fresh ginger too 🤦🏻‍♀️

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        Great question! You could try grating in some fresh ginger so it’s really fine and paste-like. You could also try using ginger paste!

      3. Skillful Cook Logo

        What am I doing wrong?? The dough is so sticky I can’t roll into balls because it kept sticking to my hands

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    i have read atleast eight posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wondering if the type of molasses would make a difference, or which kind was used in this recipe? I’ve been reading about milder varieties, but can mainly get blackstrap molasses (which I think is more bitter) where I live.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Jill! Lindsay used standard unsulphured molasses (like Grandma’s brand), and would not recommend blackstrap molasses.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Silly question, but I’ve never made gingerbread before. Do you use ground ginger or fresh grated?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I have not always been the biggest fan of ginger but this was good and not overpowering. It was also easy to make!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love the option to convert to Metric for measurements, but when I print, it turns back to standard measures. Anyone know how to fix this? Looking forward to making these this weekend and will report on how they turn out.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We are currently looking at how to fix this. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Hi, for the maple glaze it just mentions melted butter. Would you suggest salted or non? Thanks so much!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Either would work well, but we tend to use salted butter a lot when baking!

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        Made these with a couple good friends tonight and there were barely any left to take home!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Delicious! These are very good and pretty easy to make. Will definitely keep the recipe in my rotation.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    These cookies are SO delicious! I’m not usually a gingerbread fan but holy cow.

    My glaze didn’t quite turn out right- it was kind of stringy? Guessing because I used cheap maple syrup. Will need to try again!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      So glad you enjoyed them! We’d recommend using pure maple syrup for the glaze.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, these are so moist and full of ginger, I love them! And that glaze is to die for. I did not have enough glaze to be able to dip half of the cookies but I did have enough to drizzle over the rest. I would make a double batch of glaze if you want enough to be able to dip each cookie.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for the feedback, Ashley! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    So easy to make and incredibly good. We love them without the glaze. 5 stars and will make again!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    These cookies are flawless – go all in and add the full amount of ginger. I did half dark brown and half white sugar and I swear, I’m never making any other ginger snaps ever again.

    I also added a quarter cup of cream cheese to the glaze and it was WONDERFUL. I never review recipes, and I bake a LOT. These were just perfection.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks so much for the review, Melanie! We’re so glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made a half batch of these for the first time today. Very tasty!!!! But my cookies were a lot flatter than the pictures. Maybe I needed a bit more flour? In any case I will make these again!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I only had coconut sugar in the house, and I might have been a little scant on molasses. It didn’t matter! These turned out great! Freezing some for later gifting. Another home run, POY!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made these according to the recipe and they are absolutely delicious. Crisp on the outside, chewy soft on the inside. Just perfect. Left them in for 10, gave the sheet pan a whack on the kitchen counter when I took them out of the oven… flattens them and adds crunch.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you make the dough and refrigerate overnight to bake the next day? So excited to try this recipe!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Would you suggest pre-rolling the dough before refrigerating overnight or can I leave it in a bowl covered and bring them back to room temp next day before rolling?

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made these tonight for a cookie exchange and tried one right from the oven and another with the glaze and both are delicious! I only had blackstrap molasses so I used that and still found the cookies to be so good! Thanks for the perfect holiday cookie recipe POY!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    The best ginger cookie recipe! I’m throwing out the other ginger cookies recipes and keeping this recipe. Love them. My family loves them. Love the texture and flavor. Amazing! So pretty dipped in maple glaze and using red and green sprinkles.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Delicious! I am putting this into the regular holiday cookie rotation. Super easy, great texture, and yummy even without the glaze (which I couldn’t make because I ran out of butter!).

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made these today for a family holiday party and everyone loved them!! They are seriously so soft and yummy!! The perfect amount of ginger and molasses in my opinion. I will definitely be making these again soon.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this cookie recipe to the exact measurements. The cookie texture is great after baking, but it needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours after mixing, or it is too mushy to roll, the icing is good, but I would not call it a “ginger bread cookie” it should be called a “molasses cookies” . The molasses is way too over powering in this recipe. I would suggest using much less.

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you have a suggestion for a substitute for the one egg? A family member is allergic to eggs. Thank you!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Happy to report that these turned out AMAZING with vegan subs – specifically Becel plant-based margarine and Bob’s Mill egg replacer. Followed amounts and directions exactly. Just gorgeous!!!!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Chris! We haven’t tested this recipe using an egg substitute. But I’m guessing a flax egg would be a good replacement!