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Gingerbread cookies piped with royal icing, in a silver tray surrounded by gold ribbon and mini ornaments.

Best Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Ultra thick & soft, full of classic gingerbread flavor, & easy to make! Decorate them with a dusting of powdered sugar or a quick royal icing, & watch these fly off the platter anywhere you take them. They are truly the most incredible gingerbread cookies I've ever had!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Keyword Best Gingerbread Cookies, Soft GIngerbread Cookies, Christmas Cookies with royal icing
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Dough Chilling 2 hours
Servings 24 cookies
Author Stephanie Simmons


  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature I prefer salted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses do NOT use blackstrap
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp milk

Royal Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp meringue powder See note below
  • 4-6 tbsp water


  • Prep: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Make the Cookie Dough: Add butter to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until creamed. Add the brown sugar and mix until well creamed together. Add the molasses and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. The dough will be a bit crumbly (see photos above). Add 1 tbsp of milk to help it come together better - see photos above.
  • Roll and Chill: Divide the dough into two halves, and roll each one out to 3/8" thickness between sheets of parchment paper. (Use a ruler to check this, or just eyeball halfway between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. This is the perfect thickness for these cookies - trust!)
    Place the rolled dough, between the two pieces of parchment, on a baking sheet and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Chill for 1-2 hours, until completely chilled and firm.
  • Cut out Cookies: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut shapes out of the chilled dough and place cookies a couple of inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. If the cookies are no longer firm and cold to the touch from working with the dough/having it out of the fridge, pop the pan back in the fridge for 5 to 15 minutes to re-chill so that the cookies hold their shape when baked.
    While the cookies are baking, combine your dough scraps, roll back out, and cut out more cookies. Repeat this until all the dough is gone! You may need to chill the dough for a bit again once you roll the scraps back out so that it's firm enough to cut the shapes easily. (Roll it back out between the parchment each time to keep things easy.)
  • Bake: Bake for 9-10 minutes. The cookies should appear just set, and will look a tad puffy. Let them cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.`
  • Decorate: Decorate by dipping the cooled cookies in this glaze (swap the maple syrup for milk, if desired), dusting them with powdered sugar, or piping them with royal icing.
  • Make Royal Icing: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, starting with 4 tablespoons of water, and mix on high speed with an electric mixer for about 1 and 1/2 minutes. When the icing is the right consistency, you should be able to drizzle some of it into the bowl, and watch it sit on the surface of the mixture for 5-10 seconds before melting back in. If it's too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. If it's too thin, beat it for another 30 seconds to a minute, or add a bit more powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating between each addition.
    Add the royal icing to a piping bag fitted with a wilton #1 or #2 tip (I used a #1 for my cookies) and pipe desired designs. You can even use gel food coloring to tint the royal icing if you want a colored icing. While the icing is still wet, sprinkle on a little white sanding sugar for that sparkling look (optional, but that is what I used in the photos above).
  • Serve + Store: Enjoy cookies once decorated! Be sure to let the icing set completely before storing. Store cooled, set cookies in an airtight container at room temp for 4-6 days.
  • Cookie Dough and Cookie Make-Ahead Tips: The dough can be made, rolled out, and covered well and stored in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking. The cookies can be baked, cooled, and stored in an airtight container at room temp for 1-2 days before decorating.
    Royal Icing Make-Ahead Tips: The royal icing can be made and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 1-2 days before using, or leftovers can be stored in this same way and used for other decorating within 1-2 days. Simply re-mix for about 10-20 seconds with a mixer to loosen things back up after being in the fridge. The same guidelines from above can be used to adjust the icing's consistency.


Meringue Powder: You can find this in the baking aisle of stores like Michael's and Joann's, or at baking supply stores. 
Yield: Cookie yield will vary based on the size of cookie cutters you use.