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Gingerbread med side by side.

Iced Gingerbread Men Recipe

  • Author: Mindee
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus a couple hours for the icing to set)
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes (per batch)
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Dozen Cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


You have to try these soft gingerbread cut out cookies with icing!  They are nothing like the crispy, stale gingerbread cookies from a bag from the store.  They're so addictive you'll make them every Christmas!


Units Scale

Gingerbread Dough

  • 1 cup Shortening (don't sub butter)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 2 Tbs. Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 5 cups Flour
  • 1/3 cup Warm Water


  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Clear vanilla (regular vanilla is fine but your icing won't be as white)
  • Milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or lightly spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar.
  4. Add the molasses, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Mix well.
  6. Stir in 3 cups of the flour.
  7. Add the water; mix well.
  8. Add the 2 remaining cups of flour.
  9. Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  10. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. You can sprinkle the dough with a little flour if it is sticking to your rolling pin.
  11. Cut out the gingerbread men and place them on prepared baking sheets.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
  13. Make icing by beating a little vanilla and milk into the powdered sugar a little at a time until it's perfectly smooth with a consistency a little thicker than syrup.
  14. Ice the gingerbread men a while they are still just slightly warm.
  15. Leave them on your countertop until the icing is set. This will take an hour to two hours. 
  16. Test by lightly touching the icing top. It should not be soft or squishy.
  17. Store the cookies in an airtight container with wax paper in between the layers.  


  • If you do find that your gingerbread people are spreading too much when baking.  Chill the cut outs in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.  I live in a colder, dryer area so I've never had a problem with them spreading however, if you live in a hot, humid area you may want to test bake a cookie first to see if you need to chill them first.
  • Shortening - DO NOT substitute butter for the shortening. The shortening is what stops these cookies from spreading. You could substitute a very solid coconut oil however you may need to increase the flour a little and chill the dough for 20 minutes before rolling out.
  • Molasses - I recommend going with the strength of flavor you like best. If you like dark molasses or blackstrap molasses that's fine. I personally like a lighter version. I like Grandma's Brand best.  
  • Don't overcook or these cookies won't be soft.
  • If you do happen to overcook them go ahead and ice them like normal.  Store them overnight in an airtight container.  The icing will soften them up.
  • Ice cookies when they are still a little warm.  It makes the icing spread easier.

Keywords: gingerbread men, soft gingerbread cookies, classic gingerbread cookies, soft gingerbread cut out cookies