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Gingerbread Cookies: German Inspired

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This is the best recipe for Gingerbread Cookies, inspired by German spices, making soft cookies with molasses and brown sugar. These Gingerbread Cookies are Christmas in every bite, and perfect for decorating!

Decorated Gingerbread Cookies on a White Stand

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When I begin dreaming about Christmas, gingerbread cookies are never far from my mind. They are, essentially, the taste and aroma of Christmas. Their darling shapes and simple design, their irresistible flavor is what Christmas is all about.

I’m not sure a Christmas cookie platter could ever be complete without gingerbread cookies! 

Simple Gingerman Cookie on a White Plate

While all gingerbread cookie recipes vary from person to person, family to family, country to country, there are some basic similarities. Which include: 

  1. Molasses and spices for flavor.
  2. Egg, to give the gingerbread cookies structure. 
  3. Brown sugar to enhance the richness and flavors of the butter, molasses, and spices.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough with Gingerbread Man Cutter

Hints and Tips

Making the dough: This dough comes together quickly and easily. I like to use a stand mixer, which makes this job simple. One hint, when measuring molasses in a measuring cup, consider spraying it lightly with cooking spray

Chill the dough: This step is really important. The dough is soft and chilling will give it structure when it comes time to make shapes. It also gives the beautiful flavors and spices a chance to absorb into the dough, making for delicious gingerbread cookies. Once mixed, divide the dough into two portions, shape into round discs, and wrap in plastic before chilling. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours or even overnight

Rolling the dough: After chilling, roll out one of the cookie dough discs on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. I like the baked cookie shapes best when they are at this thickness. Flour not only the surface but your hands, the rolling pin, and the cookie-cutter. Cut out the shapes and re-roll the dough scraps. Continue until the dough is used. 

Baking the cookies: Transfer the cut-out cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are browning and the center is set. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Gingerbread Cookies Stacked

What makes these cookies ‘German Inspired’?

German Christmas cookies, like Lebkuchen, have distinctive flavors. Much of that is attributed to the spices used. A Lebkuchen spice mix will most often include ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, mace, and aniseed. 

With a nod to traditional German spices used in Christmas baking, we’ve included some of these spices in our Gingerbread Cookies recipe.

Gingerbread Cookie Shapes decorated with frosting eyes, buttons and read scarves.

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Single Gingerbread Cookie on White Platter

Gingerbread Cookies

This Gingerbread Cookies recipe, inspired by German spices, is soft and perfectly delicious with molasses and brown sugar. These Gingerbread Cookies are Christmas in every bite.
5 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 24 4-inch cookies
Author: Stephanie Wilson


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium speed. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until the dough forms and is well mixed. Divide the dough in half and shape it into thick flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut shapes using your favorite cookie cutter and then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges of the gingerbread men are set. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack for cooling.




Store cookies at room temperature in an air=tight container for up to 5 days. Freeze for longer storage.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 150mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Christmas Recipes and Ideas
Cuisine: German
Keyword: gingerbread, gingerbread cookie recipes, gingerbread cookies


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