Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

These soft gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite non-chocolate cookies ever! They are just…perfect. They are the perfect texture (slightly crunchy on the outside, but totally gooey and tender on the inside). They are the perfect flavor (rich and warm, with a little bit of added kick thanks to black pepper). They even look perfect. Like perfect little pillows of sugary deliciousness.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Should gingerbread cookies be hard or soft?

This comes down to gingerbread semantics. In some people’s minds, the word gingerbread means soft and chewy—you know, like bread. But in my opinion, gingerbread is all-encompassing of the flavor, but most frequently refers to the crispy cookies (like gingerbread men or gingerbread houses). If someone says, “here, have a gingerbread cookie” the first thing that pops in my head is a crunchy gingerbread man—which I’ll pass on.

But these tender, soft, chewy gingerbread cookies? These, I’m all over.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

What makes these soft gingerbread cookies so great?

I think what makes these cookies so spectacular is that they are spectacularly simple. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing cookies with sprinkles and candy and add-ins galore, but all these cookies need as far as accoutrements is a quick roll in granulated sugar before baking to give them a sparkly shine that looks a little bit like a frosty snowfall. That’s it. The dough does all the talking.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

In case you were wondering, my tasting group was very pleased with these cookies. So much so, it put an end to the gingerbread definition debate. It was decided that whatever the previous definition of gingerbread was, it should be erased from the books and replaced with a description of these cookies, because this is what gingerbread should be.


Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

The smell of fresh gingerbread baking is unmatched. Make a batch of these soft gingerbread cookies with your family this holiday.


  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the molasses, egg, and vanilla and mix until well-combined.
  3. Add in the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and salt, and mix until just combined. Add in the flour and mix until well-combined, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. Then roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll each dough ball in granulated sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them 2-inches apart.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the cookies just begin to crack and crinkle, and the edges barely start to brown. Do not overbake or they won't be chewy!
  6. Let cookies cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 267mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. The amount of cooking time, 7 – 8 minutes, is not enough cooking time! I would say cook for 9 – 11 minutes. By the time I figured that out I had a batch of under-done cookies!!! Some of the comments I read makes me believe that is the source of the problem others have had with this recipe. While you certainly don’t want them over done, they are a huge disappointment when they are not cooked enough. When they are properly cooked they are a wonderful, tasty cookie. I will make them again with my adjustments to the recipe.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Barbara! Every oven is different, which is why you’ll see baking times in the recipe and visual cues. We want to give you as many tips as possible to help you bake the perfect cookies. We’re glad you found a baking time that’s just right in your oven and that you enjoyed the cookies! =)

  2. These are soooooo good! I have been making them the past couple of years and they are my favorite Christmas cookie by far. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You’re so welcome! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and tell us. We love hearing that! =)

  3. So I made these and they spread and came out soft but really thin not like the picture. I made the balls after leaving in the fridge over night and baking. So I am unsure what I did wrong

    1. Oh no, Jo! I’m sorry to hear your cookies didn’t turn out the way you expected. It’s hard to say exactly what might have happened, but I have a few thoughts:

      -First, double-check that all of your ingredients are measured correctly.
      -If all is well there, try to keep the cookie dough as chilled as possible before putting them into the oven. If you leave the cookies out at room temperature for too long while rolling or while the first trays are baking in the oven they could get too warm and spread too much.
      -Also, if you’re baking multiple batches one the same cookie sheets, make sure to wait until the cookie sheets cool off before adding the next batch of cookies. If the cookies go onto a warm tray they might spread more than you want.

      Let us know if you think any of these could be the reason or if you’d like to troubleshoot more. We’re happy to help!

  4. Forget my last comment! I just realized that I used way too much butter! Instead of 1 1/2 sticks of butter, I used one and a half cups! That was totally my mistake! I’m going to try this again!

  5. Is there really supposed to be three sticks of butter ( 1 and 1/2 cup) and this recipe and only 2 cups of flour? Mine did not come out right at all. I have a lot of experience with cookies and I ended up having to add another cup of flour in order to salvage the recipe. Can you tell me what I did wrong? I followed the recipe exactly as written.

  6. I made these today, followed the recipe exactly, but they turned so thin and fragile that I can barely pick it up without it falling apart. What could have gone wrong?

    1. Hi Dawn: I’m so sorry you had troubles! I’ve never had that happen with this recipe, so I’m afraid I can’t help you much. My only thought is that maybe your baking soda is bad? I’m sorry I’m not more help!

  7. My cookies keep getting flat. They puff up in the oven then fall when I pull them out. My baking soda is good because my other cookies are baking fine. So either I am being to light on the flour or I don’t know what. Help