Soft Gingerbread Cookies that Don’t Spread

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I think there should be a national holiday where we all celebrate Soft Gingerbread Cookies that Don’t Spread. And Christmas isn’t dedicated to the cookie, so it doesn’t count and you can’t convince me of it.

But the thing is, not all gingerbread recipes are created equal.

gingerbread cookie recipe that won't spread feature
This easy recipe for gingerbread cookies that don’t spread is a great way to make traditional gingerbread cookies you’ll love.

No, some spread, some aren’t very gingery and some are just plain hard as a rock. I don’t want any of those.

I want Soft Gingerbread Cookies that Don’t Spread. If it’s ok with you, I will have one with a little hot cocoa.

Frankly, that’s the best way for hot cocoa to be served–with a little gingerbread man takin’ a dip. LOL!

easy gingerbread cookies for making gingerbread men fb

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

The one thing I love about this recipe (aside from the fact that it is delish) is that it doesn’t spread. It makes a perfect recipe for laying out a sheet of parchment paper, running over the dough with a rolling pin until its really thin, then letting the kids go to town with cookie cutters.

But, you could also use this same recipe to roll out 1-inch balls of dough (or use a cookies scoop) and put them on the cookie sheets before flattening with your palm to make nice, round old fashioned ginger molasses cookies like the ones you get at the grocery store.

Should Gingerbread Cookies be Hard or Soft?

This is really a personal preference – and always depends on what you want to do with it. If you’re wanting to build a gingerbread house, you are going to want a hard gingerbread cookie recipe, and you aren’t going to care about the chewiness factor.

But if you want to eat them and not break a tooth off, I’m personally on team soft.

So, just think about what you plan to DO with your cookies before picking a recipe.

How Do You Keep Gingerbread Cookies Soft?

As far as MAKING soft gingerbread cookies, you just find a recipe (like this one) for soft gingerbread cookies). Now, KEEPING them soft is easy.

You’re going to store them in an airtight container at room temperature for no more than 5-7 days.

Can You Freeze Gingerbread Cookies?

You can definitely freeze them (again in an airtight container) for up to a month, but I find that my gingerbread cookies don’t sit around that long – too many people in my house love to snatch one before I can even put them away!

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Why Are My Gingerbread Cookies Dry?

Often, when you’re making cookies, they get dry because there’s not enough fat in the dough.

With this particular recipe, you should not see that, because there’s ample butter, eggs and other fats.

So, if you’re baking your cookies and they’re coming out dry, you likely have another problem: cooking them too high or too long.

Check your oven. If it has a tendency to run too high, knock down the temperature by 25 degrees, then bake your next batch.

If you don’t normally have a problem with your oven, just pull them from the oven 2-3 minutes early on your next batch.

Why are My Gingerbread Cookies Flat?

They’re supposed to be. Gingerbread cookies are super flat and really they should be.

This particular recipe does not spread, so it’s perfect for cutout cookies, but the deal is that means they’re supposed to be flat.

They don’t rise in the oven – that’s part of the magic for this recipe.

What Kind of Molasses do you use for Ginger Cookies?

I just use the molasses you get at the local grocery store here. And I’m in Texas, so it’s not like we have a very large number of options, to be honest. My mom used Blackstrap Molasses (paid link). This particular molasses has a distinctive flavor, even among molasses.

You can use any molasses, just use the molasses you can get your hands on. You only need 1/2 cup for a batch of these cookies, so make it work.

The good news is this is where the cookie gets one layer of the complex flavor.

So, if you do have to spend a little extra, it is well worth it for that sweet, sweet molasses taste.

The cloves, ground ginger (obviously), nutmeg, allspice, and brown sugar are the other flavor heavy-hitting ingredients to bring out that true gingerbread spice taste.

But there’s no need to get spendy for them.

They’re typically pretty reasonably priced.

Is Butter or Shortening Better for Gingerbread Cookies?

I prefer butter. I have used shortening before, but I found that I missed that buttery undertone that I get with these cookies.

It’s not strong, it’s very subtle, but that melt-in-your-mouth texture of the soft cookie with the buttery undertone…it’s unmistakably wonderful.

That being said, if you would prefer to use shortening, go for it. It’s just not for me.

These SUPER soft Gingerbread Cookies that don't spread are AMAZING. Best. Recipe. EVER!

How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies

My favorite decorating method for gingerbread cookies is with a dab of royal icing for eyes, buttons, a smile or, in this case, a mustache.

Super easy to make, you can just whip up a bowl of it then color it for whatever you need with some gel food coloring.

My quick recipe is:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp milk
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup

Then you can pipe just about anything onto your gingerbread man cookies.

If you’d prefer, you can use sprinkles, affixed with the royal icing (so no need to pipe, just get some icing on the sprinkle and put it on the cookie). Here’s a link for Mustache Sprinkles (paid link).

How to Make Soft Gingerbread Cookies

If you’re loving this recipe, but don’t have a chance right now to break out the hand mixer, be sure to pin these gingerbread man cookies to your favorite cookie recipes board on Pinterest so you can find it again later when you are ready!

gingerbread cookie recipe that won't spread feature
Yield: 24

Soft Gingerbread Cookies that Don't Spread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

Soft, sweet and gingery-ful Gingerbread cookies that don't spread and make PERFECT gingerbread men.


  • 4 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground Ginger
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 2 T Butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease 2 cookie sheets.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices–mix well and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the molasses, applesauce, and vanilla extract–mix well.
  5. Incorporate the flour mixture and stir. The result should be a stiff (yet soft) dough. If the dough feels sticky, add more flour.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap placed on top of the dough and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  7. Flour a cutting mat or wax paper and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick.
  8. Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes.
  9. Place cookies on cookie sheets and bake 9 to 11 minutes (edges should be golden).
  10. Immediately remove cookies to wire rack to cool–after about 10 minutes, the cookies should stiff but still pliable and soft on the inside. Save one for me!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 121mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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These Soft Gingerbread Cookies are Amazing, Right? Here are More Ideas You Need to Try:

OMG Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Pinwheel Cookies

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