By Cassie Johnston
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My parents were over at our house watching JuneBug while I was testing these cookies. It’s always nice to have a larger sample size to use as guinea pigs for my recipes, so I handed two cookies, fresh out of the oven, over to my Dad and Mama for sampling. I was telling them what they were, and I said that I decided I wanted to make a chewy gingerbread cookie, because I’m just not at all a fan of the typical hard gingerbread cookies you find on dessert trays around the holidays.
This comment spiraled into a discussion over gingerbread semantics. In my Dad’s mind, 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? Those, I’m all over.
I have to admit, being a five-alarm chocoholic, it was a real struggle for me to avoid making all the Christmas cookies I’m sharing this month chocolatey. I understand that some people aren’t quite as keen on chocolate as I am, so I wanted to include a wide variety of flavors, but honestly, I didn’t expect the chocolate-free cookies to really impress me.
But let me tell you. These chewy gingerbread cookies are quite possibly my favorite cookie from the entire batch of 12 cookies I made for you guys! 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.
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.
In case you were wondering, my larger sample group was very pleased with these cookies. So much so, it put an end to the gingerbread 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.
5 from 3 reviews
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies have all the warm and spicy holiday flavor you are used to, but in a soft and chewy cookie that is sure to please all your holiday guests.
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Do you use regular molasses or blackstrap? Thanks! Can’t wait to try these!
Either works! Blackstrap will just make for a richer molasses-y flavor.
I’m with you. Chewy all the way! I’ll do gingerbread in cake, in granola, or even as an ice cream flavor, but not a crunchy cookie. These look gorgeous!
I’m an awful baker, but I feel like I could handle this recipe! And yes, gingerbread should mean chewy, but rarely does.
I think of soft gingerbread cookies as “ginger snaps.” Or am I totally wrong and that’s something different?
See, my Dad says “ginger snaps” are the hard ones!
This is very similar to my grandmother’s recipe for gingersnaps, which was my absolute favorite cookie growing up! In fact, I didn’t even realize a gingersnap could be hard until I was a teenager and tried a store bought one at a friend’s house. Someone told me gingersnaps are meant to be hard – that’s where the “snap” come from – but I’m sticking with grandma on this one!
These look SO good! I’m working on a gingerbread cake right now with cream cheese frosting. I’m in love with all the ginger goodness happening all over right now!
I am with you on the chewy vs. crispy with one exception; I believe that thin, crunchy, spicy gingersnaps (so, an entirely different kind of cookie) must be served with rhubarb fool in springtime. They are *perfect* together, IMHO.
Thanks for the recipe – I will definitely give it a try!!
I used to make gingerbread from the Laura Ingalls Wilder cookbook, and it was chewy and delicious. I don’t care for the hard ginger snaps at all although I can tolerate them only with that pumpkin/cream cheese/powdered sugar dip. Your cookies look amazing–I want to try them asap–I even have molasses in the pantry from making spare ribs recently.
I just made a giant batch of soft gingerbread cookies to recipe test and I’m hooked! I can’t agree more that soft and chewy is the way to go but they have to have lots of spice too!
Doug asks for “ginger cookies” all the time. They are his favourite. I am not a fan of the crunchy ones, either, but these look amazing! I’m actually really bummed right now that I’m out of butter, because I really want to make these this weekend.
Actually, I’m out of eggs, vanilla and brown sugar, too. Guess a trip to the store is in order.
I’ve made three batches of these in the last week! They are amazing!
My 3 year old son has asked to make gingerbread men for the mailman. :) But I’d like to avoid the hard, crunchy gingerbread cookies also! Is there any way to make these into “men” or would they immediately lose their shape when baked?
I haven’t tried it, but try chilling the dough for an hour, then rolling out, cutting the shapes, and then chilling again for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before baking—that should help them retain some of their shape (although, no guarantees—I’d love to know how it turns out!).
Instead of shaping these as round cookies, can you shape these as Christmas cookies? Also, could you decorate these with frosting given the sugar coating you put on them? I am trying to find a good cookie to do for a christmas cookie swap and I wanted to try a chewy gingerbread cookie.
Since they are so soft, then tend to spread a bit in the oven, so they wouldn’t be great for cutouts. And yes, you could definitely put frosting on top! They’d be yummy with a cream cheese frosting. Yum!
Oh my! I just made these this morning. SO DELICIOUS, Cassie!!! I think the black pepper makes a difference and adds a little spicy edge! Loved them!
When you say 1 1/2 sticks of butter, what size sticks are you using? I buy the smaller 4oz ones so I want to make sure I’m using enough.
1/2 cup sticks—so 1 1/2 cups of butter total.
Hi Cassie, this recipe sounds so yummy and I can’t wait to try it! However I’m in the UK and I’m confused about the butter amount (each conversion website I use tells me something different). Can you possibly tell me how much a stick of butter is in oz or grams?
Thanks so much and sorry to be a pain.
I can do you one better! Here is an online butter converter: http://www.traditionaloven.com/conversions_of_measures/butter_converter.html
Just want to be sure, if they are 1/2 cup sticks and you need 1 1/2 sticks… is that 3/4 cup total butter?
Hi Cassie – is it definitely 1 1/2 cups of butter or 3/4 cup butter (as stated in later comments)?
Thanks so much!
1 1/2 sticks of butter= 3/4 cups
At first I was thinking it was ginger snaps like this that my mom’s cousin used to make, but while reading the comments, I remember it was molasses cookies-yum, I can still taste them. She used to let me eat some of the raw dough (raw eggs and I’m still here).
Could these be cut into gingerbread shapes before baking?
I just read the comments and got my answer thanks
can I freeze the dough ahead of time?
I made these twice so far. They were delicious the first time but almost perfect the second time. The first time I couldn’t get cracks in the surface even after 15 minutes in the oven at 350 (maybe a calibration is in order!). The second time I used convection for about 5 minutes and then backed off to ujust backing for another 5 minutes and they were beautiful.
I thought the sugar from rolling the cookies in sugar before baking didn’t add much as these are pretty complex so when I was at the grocery store I looked at all the sugars and finally settled on C&H Washed Raw Sugar – now that added the right complexity to the finish.
sorry for the spelling – cold fingers the last sentence should read
… to just regular baking for another 5 minutes
I made these exactly as the recipe said and 7-8 minutes just wasn’t enough cook time. More than half of them had to be thrown away :( I’d suggest baking longer.
Sorry about that! Oven baking time is a very inexact science, it’s better to go by looks than time. And next time, you can just pop the cookies back in the oven for a minute or two until they are in good shape. :)
These cookies are OUT OF BOUNDS good. I am hooked. I gave almost all of them away and am bothe sad and thankful because all I want to do is eat them. Thank you so much for this recipe. I did add one tablespoon of finely chopped candied ginger.
These were pretty good before I had to throw them away, I’d really suggest stating the amount of butter in cups instead of “1 1/2 sticks” for idiots like me who put in a 1/2 cup stick of butter and then 1/4 stick of butter from cutting another 1/2 cup stick in half. Phew. I will try these again some other time when I’m not emotionally and physically drained from Christmas music and tree decorating.
Hi Cassie – I’m a bit confused – in the comments there is a reference to 1 1/2 sticks being 1 1/2 cups of butter, then further on you mention the sticks are 1/2 cup each and that its a total of 3/4 cup butter.
What is the exact cup amount of butter?
I made these for a Christmas party and added drizzled dark chocolate on top, everyone was raving about them. Excellent thank you so much!!!
I just made these cookies and I tried the batter and it was SOOOO GOOD. But question, if I made a royal icing to decorat with would it be too sweet all together? Thanks!!!
Was looking for a simple gingerbread cookie recipe to make with my 3 yo daughter when stumbled upon this one. All the other recipes I had found used a ton of Molasses (too messy for a small kid) &/or required the dough to chill for upwards of an hour (too long a wait for an impatient toddler). This recipe looked too good to be true, but it wasn’t! The cookies were SO EASY to make & tasted SO GOOD! We ended up making 3 batches & printing the recipe out to make sure we don’t lose it!!
Followed everything to a T (baked for exactly 7 minutes) & our cookies look identical to the ones pictured here. Thanks for a great recipe, it will hence forth be a family favorite :D
These were completely addictive!! Neither my SIL nor I could stop eating them. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe.
I would love to make these tomorrow for a group of friends that I ma hosting, but unfortunately I am missig two of the ingredients! Vanilla and molasses; do you know what I could substituite them for? And would they taste the same?
Vanilla you could get by without, but molasses is the key flavor ingredient to Gingerbread cookies (well, other than ginger!). I wouldn’t skip or replace it (unless you might have sorghum around, that might work).
I am so dumbfounded as to why I’m reading so many comments left by people who were confused how to measure their ingredients. Really? You can’t understand what one and a half sticks of butter means? You honestly don’t know the difference between actual butter and margarine?
I have made dozens of batches of these cookies ever since I was fortunate enough to find this recipe, and they come out PERFECT every time. Chewy, spicy, Christmasy, delightful.
Outside of the US, butter is not in sticks.
Here in Canada, butter is sold as a 1 pound block, which equals 2 cups. We measure butter in cups or in grams. We are not stupid, simply have different formats for ingredients.
Sticks of butter is a meaningless unit of measurement for many people in the world.
Looks great! Can you freeze this dough in a roll and just cut and bake it when ready?
Bridget, how are you dumbfounded by our confusion on butter. I am still confused. She said 1 1/2 sticks – what size sticks? One comment says 1 1/2 cups butter and another comment says 3/4 cup butter. From those of you that made this, how much butter did you use?
1-1/2 sticks of butter equals 3/4 cup. A typical U.S. stick of butter is 1/2 cup. Thanks!
Can this dough be made and frozen several days before use?
Oh My, my new favorite cookie. Shared on Facebook its so good. If there were a Santa and he had a house, this is what it would smell like! My whole house smells wonderful not to mention these tender tasty morsels! Thank you for the recipe!
Light or dark sugar? Or does it not matter?
Has anyone tried adding additional freshly grated ginger to this dough? I love ginderbread, but like mine extra gingery!
I’m a bloody moron. i greased the pan….
never grease the pan for these.
final product great though, thanks!!
IIII’m about to make these, IIII’m soo excited!!!!
Love this recipe- I made 2 batches, one following recipe religiously. I made medicinal honey for my kids a few weeks ago (simmering fresh ginger slices in honey) and in the second batch, I added the reserved sliced honeyed ginger- it made a much spicier, even chewier cookie that was a huge hit. If you get a chance, try it out.
Thanks for sharing this- I love ginger but hate hard cookies, so you are a big help.
Oh, I lied- I did do one other difference- I shook a dusting of powdered sugar over the baked cookies just to make them look a bit more festive. Still perfect.
THESE WERE AMAZING. Chewy, fluffy, moist. I kept them in a rubbermaid and they stayed good and soft for 5 days. I’m already making a second batch. I’m printing the recipe for easy access. I will be eating these all winter long. I might share them with others but I’d rather they just make their own so I’ll share the link to the recipe.
I made these tonight and tried using 1/2 white whole wheat flour. I have to say, the substitution made them a bit disappointing. I don’t think it’s fair to rate the recipe based on my substitution. They came out flat (despite chilling for over an hour) and more dense than intended. I’m not real familiar with baking with white whole wheat flour, so it was definitely an experiment. I can tell they will have a nice flavor when I try the recipe as intended. I’ll give them another go next week, with all purpose flour.
Wonderful flavor and soft. Yum!
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
Wonderful cookies! Soft, tasty, but not overwhelming. I recommend this recipe! Five stars!
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?
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!
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