Soft ginger cookies full of warm spices and flavor...without using molasses. A family favorite that we make multiple times a year!
Updated in April 2020 with updated content, tips, and improved images.
Even though these cookies usually make their debut in the fall I have made them many times to bring for new babies, neighbors, or other hospitality trips. When my husband was super sick for many months I tried to keep a stash of these on the counter for my son. These cookies smell and taste like a warm hug. Make them anytime you need to give or get a bit of comfort.
Once the weather cools down, ginger cookies are one of the best sweet treats you can have. They're sweet, spicy, and warm up your throat and soul when the temperatures outside do the opposite. And here in our family, we love ginger cookies and eat them every year once the pants start coming out (OUT, guys... not off :)).
These cookies are one of the first recipes I learned to make. After the divorce of my parents (and even before), my siblings looked forward to celebrating holidays at my house. In the early years, it was probably because I provided yummy meals and treats. These cookies were one of the first I learned to make because they were so traditionally Christmas and fall (we YEARNED for traditions). And because my siblings loved them so. I remember them walking into the house and smelling the ginger...."YES! I was hoping you would be make ginger cookies!". They would congregate in the kitchen waiting for them to come out of the oven willingly burning their little fingers to get them right away. Chaos and competition in the best version! --decades later I still make these at least once or twice a season.
Can I use Gluten-Free flour?
Go ahead and sub gluten-free flour for regular flour in these cookies...they will still turn out great!
A little history about ginger:
When I wrote about these cookies I thought to do a little bit of research on the history of ginger in baking. Apparently, ginger was used in cooking during the Middle Ages because it could disguise the taste of preserved meats. We mostly know ginger for gingerbread, and the term gingerbread was coined in Medieval England and originally just meant preserved ginger--it wasn't until later that the word was used to describe desserts.
Ginger, and ginger baked goods, have been around forever. In fact, the first known recipe for gingerbread dates back to 2400 BC! In the late Middle Ages, Europeans had festivals where the ginger cookies were so popular that the festivals were eventually known as Gingerbread Fairs, and the ginger cookies you could buy there were called "fairings". Even the first American cookbook had three variations of gingerbread recipes.
Can I use fresh ginger instead of the powder?
YES! It will take on a stronger flavor (which most people love!). Try using 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger for the powder.
We can understand why ginger baked items have had such a long history...they simply taste sooo good. They are warm, comforting, sweet, savory, and all the good adjectives that warm your belly and heart.
Try my Gingerbread Cake...you'll love the warm flavors and how easy it is to make!
This recipe is Levi's favorite cookie recipe and he asks for these cookies often, all year long.
Can I freeze the dough to bake later?
Yes, for sure. In fact...I recommend making a big batch of dough for this purpose. Create the cookie dough balls and put them into a large freezer bag and pop them into the freezer. When ready to bake simply take them out, set them on a cookie sheet, and let them thaw. Bake as usual. They may need an extra minute or two if they are super cold.
Sometimes I will mix a bit of cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger into the sugar I use to roll the cookies in. Adding those spices ups the flavor. But lets be honest, most of the time I simply use sugar and call it a day.
Go ahead and skip rolling them in sugar if you are in a hurry. Just sprinkle a little bit on top after they have been pressed.
If you have kids helping you this will be their favorite part! Have them gently press the cookies down into flat little wheels. You'll probably turn around to find them licking their palms to taste that sweet sugar. Ignore them ;).
-Ask them to count the cookies on the pan and be sure there are 15 with 5 rows of 3 each.
-Make sure they wash their hands and then ask them to gently press the cookies flat.
-Skip the sugar and go for colored sugar. Ask them to lightly sprinkle the sugar over the cookies.
-Have kids taste the ginger and ask them if they can guess what kind of plant ginger comes from. Have them google it and see how close they were.
These cookies won't last long. But, if they do...keep them in a closed container or bag for a few days on the counter. Or freeze them and pop them out for about 15 minutes before you want to eat them.
easy Ginger Cookies
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 3 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Sift flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugars, beat in the egg.
- Gradually stir in the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir well.
- Gently form 1 inch balls from the dough and roll them in sugar, if desired.
- Put them on a ungreased cookie sheet and press down gently.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.