Looking for deliciously spiced holiday cut out gingerbread cookies? This gingerbread cookie recipe is so simple and fun to make. I hope you enjoy my family’s favorite holiday cut out cookies.

It’s the perfect time of year for special cut out gingerbread cookies, which resemble the Norwegian ‘Pepperkaker,’ which is an absolute “must” at Christmas.   

Cut out gingerbread cookies after decorating with white icing

Some of my fondest childhood memories are making Christmas cookies with my family. Try my favorite cut-out sugar cookie recipe or use a cookie press to make these festive spritz cookies. Looking for quick and easy cookie recipes? I love to whip up my vegan gingersnap cookies, or vegan snowball cookies for a delicious Christmas cookie treat.

Why you’ll love these cut out gingerbread cookies 

  • Tradition: Baking and decorating holiday cut out gingerbread cookies is a cherished tradition for many families. It brings generations together and creates lasting memories.
  • Creative outlet: Decorating these cut out cookies allows for endless creativity with different colors and designs. Get creative with different cookie cutter shapes for endless possibilities.
  • Festive aesthetics: Holiday cut out gingerbread cookies are beautifully adorned with festive shapes and vibrant icing.
  • Versatile shapes: Cookie cutters come in a variety of holiday-themed shapes, allowing you to tailor your cookies to match the occasion, whether it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or any other holiday.
  • Customization: You can customize the flavors and decorations to suit your preferences. From gingerbread to cut out sugar cookies, you can make them as spicy, sweet, or colorful as you like.
  • Wonderful smell and cozy aroma: The delightful scents of spices like cinnamon and ginger wafting through your kitchen as the cookies bake are irresistible and evoke feelings of warmth and comfort.
  • Great for gifting: Holiday cut out gingerbread cookies are an excellent homemade gift. They show thoughtfulness and care when given to friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues.
  • Perfect for parties: These cookies are a hit at holiday parties, whether as dessert or party favors. They’re small and easy to serve, making them a crowd-pleaser.
  • Edible décor: Cut out gingerbread cookies make fantastic edible decorations. You can hang them on the tree, use them as place cards, or create edible centerpieces.

Ingredients and substitution notes

  • Vegan butter: Earth Balance is a popular vegan butter substitute. It has a similar consistency to dairy butter and works well in baking. You can use other brands of vegan unsalted butter, but check for the same consistency.
  • Organic cane sugar: Organic cane sugar is a less refined option compared to white granulated sugar. It provides a slightly different flavor and may have a coarser texture.
  • Smooth applesauce: This serves as an egg replacement in vegan baking. It adds moisture and helps bind the dough. Make sure it’s unsweetened and smooth in texture. You can also make your own by pureeing cooked apples.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a delightful flavor to your cut out gingerbread cookies. I recommend using pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for the best taste.
  • Molasses: Unsulphured molasses contributes to the rich, warm flavor of the gingerbread cookies. Molasses also adds moisture and helps the cookies hold their shape.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is commonly used for cookie recipes.
  • Cornstarch: This helps create a tender and delicate texture in the cookies. It’s often used in cookie recipes to improve their texture. Ensure it’s fresh and clump-free.
  • Baking powder: This leavening agent helps the cut oat gingerbread cookies rise.
  • Salt: This enhances the overall taste of the cookies and balances the sweetness. Use fine-grain salt and mix it evenly into the dough.
  • Ginger: Ground ginger adds a warm and spicy flavor to the gingerbread cookies. Adjust the quantity to your taste; you can add more for a stronger ginger taste.
  • Cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon is known for its sweet and mild flavor. It’s a popular choice for baking due to its pleasant taste. Ground cinnamon adds a classic holiday spice to your cookies.
  • All-spice: This versatile spice combines flavors reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It adds depth to your cut out gingerbread cookies.
Holiday Cut Out Cookies decorated as snowflakes

How to Make Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies

  1. Use an electric mixer to cream the softened butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the apple sauce, vanilla, and molasses, and mix until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and all-spice.
  3. While the mixer runs at a low-medium speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
  4. Shape the gingerbread dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap before chilling it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will help the cookie dough be easier to roll out and work with. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour a silicon baking mat or a piece of parchment paper. Roll out the chilled dough to your desired thickness — I like 1/8-1/4 inch thick. It is normal for the dough to crack a little, so use the warmth of your hands to press the cracks back together. Next, cut the dough with a gingerbread man cookie cutter or any cookie cutter you prefer. Remove the access cookie dough and ensure that the gingerbread cookies are spaced out enough to give room to spread in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and roll it out again.
  6. Bake cookies in the oven for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges. Cool completely before decorating.

How to Make Icing to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies?

Making Icing for cookie decorating is very easy. I recommend using powdered sugar mixed with a little water to make appropriate Icing. You want the Icing to be thick enough that it will not roll off the cookies, so add a few drops of powdered sugar until you get the perfect consistency. If you are looking for another Christmas cookie decorating option, you can also try my vegan royal icing recipe.

Top tips for making the best cut out gingerbread cookies

  • Use chilled dough: Chilling the gingerbread cookie dough for at least 1-2 hours (or overnight) before rolling and cutting will make it easier to handle and prevent the cut out gingerbread cookies from spreading too much during baking.
  • Roll dough evenly: Roll the gingerbread dough to a consistent thickness using a rolling pin. This ensures that all your gingerbread cookies are of uniform size and bake evenly.
  • Flour your work surface: Lightly dust your work surface with flour to prevent the dough from sticking while rolling. Too much flour can make the cookies tough, so use it sparingly.
  • Use non-stick baking mats or parchment paper: Line your cookie sheet with non-stick baking mats or paper. This makes transferring the gingerbread cut out cookies to the baking sheet easier and prevents them from sticking.
  • Freeze the cut-out shapes: After cutting out the shapes, place the cookie cut-outs in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. This helps the cookies maintain their shape and prevents spreading.
  • Avoid overmixing: Mix the dough until just combined. Overmixing can lead to tough ginger cookies. 

Make ahead instructions and storage

Make-Ahead Instructions:

Cookie dough can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Follow the recipe instructions to make the dough, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. 

Chill the dough:

If you’ve made the dough in advance and it’s been in the refrigerator, allow it to come to a workable temperature before rolling it out. This may take 15-30 minutes at room temperature.

Decorate later:

You can also decorate the cut out gingerbread cookies in stages. Bake the cookies one day, let them cool completely, and store them in an airtight container. Decorate with icing and decorations closer to when you plan to serve them.

Storage instructions:

Once the cookies have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container with layers separated by parchment paper. Cut out gingerbread cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to a week.

Freeze baked cookies:

If you need to store cookies longer, consider freezing them. Place the gingerbread cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then, transfer them to a resealable freezer bag or airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper. Frozen gingerbread cookies can be stored for several months. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.

Looking for another gingerbread recipe? Try making your own gingerbread house with my family’s gingerbread house recipe for a fun activity the whole family will love.

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Holiday Cut Out Cookies after decorating

Cut Out Gingerbread Cookies

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  • Author: Chef Ani
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour


Looking for a deliciously spiced holiday cut out cookie recipe? This one is so simple and is a family favorite.


  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup smooth apple sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use Ceylon Cinnamon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon all-spice


  1. In a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the apple sauce, vanilla, and molasses, and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and all-spice.
  4. While the mixer is running on low-medium speed, slowly add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture.
  5. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Lightly flour a silicon baking mat or a piece of parchment paper. Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.
  8. Bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges. Cool completely before decorating.


For the icing I recommend organic powdered sugar mixed with a little water to make an appropriate icing.

Looking for a soft gingerbread cookie recipe? Try by vegan gingersnap cookies for a delicious, chewy, and soft cookie version.

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