These soft gingerbread man cookies have been a favorite since my childhood. Butterscotch pudding mix gives them incredible flavor, and keeps them nice and soft.
I entered this recipe in a contest at Taste of Home over a decade ago and actually ended up winning a prize. Try them warm from the oven and you may not even want to decorate them. They are that good!
GINGERBREAD COOKIES WITHOUT MOLASSES
Traditional homemade gingerbread cookies call for molasses, which adds a distinct color and flavor. I like a mild molasses flavor, but I’m not a fan of overpowering molasses that is often found in gingerbread.
And like many kids, mine aren’t fond of molasses in anything. I take that back, they do love my white chocolate gingersnaps. Haha. But that’s it.
Instead of molasses, these cookies get their flavor from cinnamon, ginger, and the secret magical ingredient – butterscotch pudding mix! It makes them so incredibly yummy!
Even if you don’t like traditional gingerbread, you might like these gingerbread cutout cookies. The dough is easy to work with, and they have the best flavor. A perfect Christmas cutout cookie recipe!
SOFT AND CHEWY GINGERBREAD COOKIES
Instead of being soft and fluffy, these gingerbread cut out cookies are slightly chewy. More like a chocolate chip cookie than a puffy cake cookie. Baking powder does help them puff up a bit as they bake, but they flatten back down as they cool.
They are so tasty that most of the time we just eat them plain. But of course they are pretty dang cute decorated as well. I use melted white chocolate to decorate mine, but you can use royal icing or buttercream if you prefer.
Watch the video below to see step by step instructions on how to make gingerbread cookies.
- Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature before you start. For best results, let it soften on the counter for a couple of hours. Using the microwave sometimes leaves you with hot spots and cold lumps.
- Use cook and serve butterscotch pudding, not instant. If you can’t find it at your local store, you can buy it online.
- The dough is best chilled for about an hour. Skipping the chill step leads to dough that is so sticky you have to use too much flour, leading to dry cookies. If you chill longer, you will need to let it sit at room temperature till it is soft enough to roll.
- For soft cookies, bake them till they are just barely set up. If you like crisper cookies, bake them till the edges are browned.
- Traditional gingerbread cookie cutters are fun, but you can use any shapes. Snowflakes turn out just lovely.
- Instead of decorating them, make sandwich cookies by spreading buttercream or cinnamon cream cheese frosting between two cookies.
- If you are really in a hurry, you can just roll the dough in balls and flatten them with a glass dipped in sugar.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the dough a few hours or a few days before you are ready to bake them. Just make sure it is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
After an hour in the refrigerator, the dough does get very stiff though, so you will need to let it sit at room temperature until it is soft enough to roll.
How to store leftover gingerbread cutout cookies?
Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Royal icing and white chocolate will harden enough that you can just stack them. But if you use buttercream I recommend placing waxed paper between the layers.
You can also store them before they are decorated. They stay nice and tender for days!
Can I freeze the butterscotch gingerbread cookies?
Yes, they freeze really well. I recommend freezing them before you decorate them. I haven’t used royal icing or buttercream, but the white chocolate sometimes falls off the cookies if they are frozen.
Cool them completely, then freeze them in airtight containers. I like to freeze my cookies in heavy duty freezer ziplock bags. When ready to serve, just let the cookies thaw at room temperature, then decorate.
I don’t know if any other cookies scream Christmas quite like gingerbread men! The delightful spicy aroma and taste, the cute smiling faces, they are definitely a holiday classic.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIES:
- White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- Almond Sugar Cookies
- Butter Shortbread Cookies
- Pistachio Cookie Recipe
- Mint Chocolate Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cookies with Kisses
GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIE RECIPE
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 3.5 boxes of cook & serve butterscotch pudding mix
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Beat butter, brown sugar, and dry pudding mix in a large mixing bowl till creamy. Add egg and beat well.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and stir just till combined.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Roll dough 1/8" - 1/4" thick on a lightly floured counter, and cut out with cookie cutters.
- Place cutouts on silicone or parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
- Let cookies sit on pans for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- Frost and decorate if desired, or just eat them warm!
You can use royal icing, simple glaze, or buttercream frosting to decorate your cookies. We like to decorate them with melted white chocolate.
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